Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Inglourious Basterds

Genre: Action & Adventure
I couldn't sleep last night due to the heat. So I watched "Inglourious Basterds", the Tarantino war flick. Its really a homage to the silly war movies of the 1960s and 1970s/80s, ie the "Dirty Dozen", "Inglorious Bastards etc.. If you're into pretty women getting shot, strangled and explicit autopsy type of violence, then this film is for you. If you prefer not to have the mental image of a beautiful blonde woman getting strangled by a homo nazi, then I suggest you look away.

Its a Tarantino movie so there's a lot of dialogue but the man has lost his touch. The dialogue in his films has lost its charm - compared with Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs even Jackie Brown. Now his films seem to be too stylized - its like someone pretending to be too clever or too Tarantino. I found them a bit boring, like a long joke that's taking the Uncle half an hour to tell it and the punch line falls a bit flat.

Nonetheless it did have some magic moments and some good acting. I liked the British actor. And Diane Kruger aka Bridget von Hammersmark had quite a few choice lines.

Lt Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt): "I want to get into that cinema..."
Bridget (Diana Kruger): "In case its escaped your attention, my leg has a bullet in it, your men can't speak German and there's a pile of dead Nazis in the next room."
Lt Aldo Raine: "Well I can speak some Eye-talin (italian)."
Bridget: "Yeah, probably as well as your German; is there any language you stupid Americans can speak apart from English?"
Aldo: "No, we speak Americann, lady."

(Or something to that effect)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich (1973)

Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.


(Commentary: I don't think this is a great poem about diving. But it does contain evocative images and descriptions which are pretty good; they ring true. And I'll try and use them in my scuba poems.