Sunday, 17 January 2010

Fires on the hill

The snow has thawed. Melted away to nothing, only small hard clumps stubbornly remaining on odd surfaces as proof that it was ever here to begin with.

Life feels normal again. My conjunctivitis heavy eyes are sparkly once more; my throat infection has disappeared, my cough has all coughed up and apart from two teenage style spots on my chin I am back to my usual fighting fit self. The acorn of fear that the snow watered into a giant tree has dripped away - no longer do I have to panic about how to get work, how to get food, how to get Sproglet to his school and nursery etc.

So just as life is starting to feel like it should have done come Jan 4th... I went to the movies. Husband turned 33 yesterday so he got the pick of the flicks. He picked 'The Road' which I barely knew about, save that the cinema poster was full of 4 stars - gushing what a masterpiece is was. Oh my god, if there is a bleaker film ever made, I have yet to see it. Every minute was torture. I stared at my watch, I chewed my straws (a habit I took up years ago trying to quit smoking and have continued as part of my viewing pleasure at the movies ever since), I stared at Husband, I did anything but try to look at the fucking screen.

Set in a post apocalyptic world, we follow the journey of a man with his son, trying to survive in the dusty grey wastelands, filled with cannibals and rapists, which the world has now become. I'm not a big fan of grubby, barren, rapist filled flicks - I don't appreciate Mad Max and most films set in the depressing post-bomb/environment eroded/post civilisation as we know it, world.

Eventually I could stand no more - not because the film wasn't beautiful, haunting, or engaging enough - simply because I couldn't bear another second. Husband came out about 15 mins later and promptly sobbed his heart out. The poor fella couldn't speak the whole journey home, nor even an hour later. Even today I tried to coax out of him the juicy final minutes but every time he spoke of the Father and son he welled up, choked up and couldn't speak. Now Husband is a hardened Aussie and yet he was like some pre-menstrual teen all day. He claimed it was the saddest film he had ever seen. What I saw haunts me still - and yet, it is only a movie, taken from the great imagination of Cormac McCarthy who apparently took inspiration for his book during a 2003 visit to El Paso, Texas, with his young son. Imagining what the city might look like in the future, he pictured "fires on the hill" and thought about his son.

It struck me that what we are witnessing now in Haiti, is not that dissimilar. With 200,000 feared dead, the capital flattened, thousands of injured people unable to get medical aid and thousands desperately trying to shelter from the baking heat in makeshift camps set up amongst the carnage. Unimaginable horror.

So if you haven't donated - please do: Monica is collecting donations for the Red Cross. The hell on earth I shrunk away from on screen is nothing compared to what is happening there, so go on, dig deep, as every penny counts.

And whatever you do, don't go seeing 'The Road' on a hot date. Or on any date come to think of it.

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