Cinerama: Paint It Black II

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama

Paint It Black II

By Mike Derderian

October 4th 2004, dear diary it was a dark and stormy night. Life couldn’t get bleaker, blacker, more brutal and cruel. The worrier won, how and why? Life came to a halt as a distraught sigh echoed through the darkening horizon for how can you reason a deaf ear and a blindness of an eye. Suddenly, all that I can hear was Wishbone Ash’s lyrics resonating in my overloaded cranium, “I want to be a warrior; a slave I refuse to be; a soldier and a conqueror; fighting to be free by usurping other people’s land.”

Julius Cesar, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Hannibal, Richelieu, Caligula and Yankee Doodle Dandy, great people they may be—dubbed by very biased historians—were all psychos with nothing in their minds but a chronic megalomaniacal phrase. “I have a dream to conquer the world and I don’t care about the little people I’ll step on—squish, kill and rape. All I want is to quench my thirst for power, women, human blood and oil.”

Ba Humbug! I just killed an elf! Sorry Santa for what’s the life of an elf compared to the lives of Arabs who will perish the next four years? Well, it is nothing if you ask me. All I care about is dedicating this for that and that for this, I don’t care who dies, lives, ends up in a wheelchair and loses an arm or a leg, especially if he or she was a child heading for school when some trigger happy soldier decided it was time to kill the will.

You’re damn right I am mad. Mad at those who killed liberty and raped humanity. “Wow, I’m sick of doubt; live in the light of certain south cruel bindings; the servants have the power; dogmen and their mean women pulling poor blankets over our assailers,” spoke Jim Morrison as he awaited his turn to enter the Severed Garden.

We no longer live in the Garden of Eden—they had to eat that cursed apple—but we certainly are living in a hell so before further reading into this week’s column “relinquish all hope ye who enter here” for its all painted in second layer of black with a brush of pink.

Nominated for nine Oscars, five of which it won (best actor in a supporting role, best director, best editing, best picture and best sound) Michael Cimino’s 1978 Deer Hunter takes us into the lives of Michael Vronsky, Stanely Stoch, Steven, Nick and Linda.

Cast: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, Meryl Streep and John Gazale.

Synopsis: The Deer Hunter is an in-depth film about the devastating effects of war on people’s lives.

Growing up in a Pennsylvanian steel-producing town, Michael (De Niro), Nick (Walken) and Steven (Savage), are three middle class citizens who decide to go to Vietnam and fight for their country. In most of the Vietnam-American war films, it was the simple folk who joined in America’s overseas wars. Those who were trying to find a role in a society that got so over consumed in tending for the needs of the metropolis rather than the individual who went to war and returned in plastic bags. Life doesn’t have a meaning so go to war in search of answers.

Best Scenes: the Russian roulette scenes at the POW Vietnamese camp and at the sleazy backroom of a bar where Michael find Nick playing the deadly game for money. Russian roulette is a dare game, where a revolver with only one bullet placed in the chamber of the gun before spinning it, and pointing the gun to the head—the game was invented by army officers as a pastime. Michael Vronsky’s gradual change of character is also worth watching.

“Don’t you know what it means to me to be a Marine, Dad? Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted this—I’ve wanted to serve my country—and I want to go. I want to go to Vietnam—and I’ll die there if I have to,” says Ron Kovic early in Oliver Stone’s 1989 Born on the Fourth of July.

Cast: Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, Raymond J. Barry, Carolina Kava, Tom Berenger, Lili Taylor, and Michael Compotaro.

Synopsis: Boy meets world the hard way. Born on the Fourth of July is about the tragic life of Ron Kovic (Cruise), a middle class young American, who experienced both the worst of Vietnam and America. Joining the army in order to impress girlfriend Donna by acquiring the false ideals of patriotism, courage and brother in arms, Kovic finds himself stuck in his own ill judgments that soon puffs away upon his troubled return to the US.

“I had a mother; I had a father, things—things that made sense. Do you remember things that made sense? Things you could count on? Before we all got so lost? What are we gonna do, Charlie? What am I gonna do?” exclaims a frustrated Ron Kovic.

Now one might ask: What kind of a film would offer a white shade of pink to what the world considers as one of America’s blackest stains in history? The Vietnam war, now of course Iraq will soon overshadow that period and in a few years time you’ll soon be watching films based on the shameful ill-justified war of the century.

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