Sunday, 6 May 2012

Stage and Screen

Peace and Long Life

Let one walk alone
Committing no sin
With few wishes
Like elephants in the forest

— Based on a Buddhist poem

(Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell — Innocence, 2004)

Lilly & Lana Wachowski:
Free your mind! …

You've had your time.
The future is our world …
The future is our time.
(The Matrix, 1999)

Harry Morant:
Shoot straight you bastards:
Don't make a mess of it!
(Bruce Beresford, Breaker Morant, 1980)

Unknown platoon sergeant:
Come on you apes!
You wanna live forever?

SBS Television:
The world is an amazing place.

Stanley Kubrick (1928 – 99)

Dave Bowman:
Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

I'm sorry, Dave.
I'm afraid I can't do that.

Dave Bowman:
What's the problem?

I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

Dave Bowman:
What are you talking about, HAL?

This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

Dave Bowman:
I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.

I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

Dave Bowman:
Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?

Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.

Dave Bowman:
Alright HAL, I'll go in through the emergency airlock.

Without your space helmet, Dave?
You're going to find that rather difficult.

Dave Bowman:
HAL, I won't argue with you anymore!
Open the doors!

Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore.

(2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968)

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Eva Rodriguez

Just because people are poor, or have little, doesn't mean that their dreams aren't big and their soul isn't rich.

Rick Emmerson

[Sixto] had this kind of magical property that all genuine artists and poets have.
To elevate things, to get above the mundane and the prosaic … all the bullshit, all the mediocrity that's everywhere.
The artist … the artist is the pioneer.

Even when his musical hopes were dashed, the spirit remained.
And he just had to keep finding the place, refining the process of how to apply himself.
He knew that there was something more.

It was in the early 80s.
He wanted to … do something righteous.
He wanted to make a difference.
So, lo and behold, he told me that he was going to run for mayor.
And I thought:
Well, God bless you Rodriguez.
If you can become mayor of Detroit, anything is possible! …

What he has demonstrated very clearly is that you have choice.
He took
  • all that torment,
  • all that agony,
  • all that confusion and pain.
And he transformed it into something beautiful.
He's like the silk worm.
You take this raw material and you transform it and you come out with something that wasn't there before:
  • something beautiful,
  • something perhaps transcendent,
  • something perhaps eternal.
In so far as he does that … he is representative of the human spirit — of what's possible.
That you have a choice and this has been my choice: to give you Sugar Man.

(Malik Blenjelloul: Writer, Editor and Director)

The Smile of Reason

Kenneth Clark

Belief in Natural Law.
Belief in Justice.
Belief in Toleration. …

The philosophers of the Enlightenment pushed European civilisation some steps up the hill.
And in theory at, at any rate, this gain was consolidated throughout the nineteenth century.
Up to the 1930's people were supposed not to
  • burn witches and other members of minority groups, or
  • extract confessions by torture, or
  • pervert the course of justice, or
  • go to prison for speaking the truth
— except of course during wars. …

Grandeur and Obedience

… Ignatius Loyola, the visionary soldier turned psychologist. …

The great achievement of the Catholic Church lay in harmonising, humanising, civilising, the deepest impulses of ordinary people.

(Civilisation, 1969)

Monty Python

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Our CHIEF weapon is Surprise …
Surprise and Fear. …

Our TWO weapons are Fear and Surprise …
And Ruthless Efficiency. …

Our THREE weapons are Fear, Surprise, and Ruthless Efficiency …
And, An Almost Fanatical Devotion To The Pope. …

Our FOUR …

AMONGST our weaponry are such diverse elements as:
  • Fear,
  • Surprise,
  • Ruthless Efficiency,
  • An Almost Fanatical Devotion To The Pope,
  • (and Nice Red Uniforms …)

(BBC, 22 September, 1970)


Cameron, James

Clark, Kenneth
Hanson, Hart

Oliver, Neil

Roddenberry, Gene

Scott, Ridley

Shakespeare, William

Thorpe, Jerry

Whedon, Joss

Stage and Screen

Kenneth Clark (1903 – 83)

  • Civilisation, BBC, 1969.

    Romance and Reality

    Man: The Measure of All Things

    The Hero as Artist

    Protest and Communication

    Grandeur and Obedience

    [The] rarest, and most precious of all emotional states [is] that of religious ecstasy.
    [Bernini illustrates the passage in Saint Teresa's] autobiography in which she describes the supreme moment of her life — how an angel with a flaming golden arrow pierced her heart repeatedly:
    The pain was so great that I screamed aloud.
    But simultaneously felt such infinite sweetness, I wished the pain would last eternally.
    It was the sweetest caressing of the soul by God.

    I wonder, if a single thought that has helped forward the human spirit, has ever been conceived, or written down, in an enormous room.

    The Light of Experience

    The Worship of Nature

    A sympathy with the humble, the voiceless, be they human or animal, does seem to be a necessary accompaniment to the worship of Nature. …
    The new religion was anti-hierarchical.
    It proposed a new set of values.
    [It] was based on right instincts, rather than on learning. …
    [A recognition] that simple people and animals often show more courage and loyalty and unselfishness than sophisticated people.
    [And] a greater sense of the wholeness of life. …

    William Wordsworth:
    One impulse from a vernal wood, may teach you more of Man, of moral Evil and of Good, than all the sages can.

    Total immersion.
    This is the ultimate reason why the love of Nature has been for so long accepted as a religion.
    It is the means by which we can lose our identity in the whole.
    And gain, thereby, a more intense consciousness of being.

    The Fallacies of Hope

    The revolutionaries [of the late eighteenth century] wanted to replace Christianity with the religion of Nature. …

    People who hold forth about the modern world, often say what we need is a new religion.
    It may be true.
    But it isn't easy to establish. …

    In 1792, France was fighting for her life against the forces of ancient corruption.
    And for a few years, her leaders suffered from the most terrible of all delusions — they believed themselves to be virtuous. …

    The men of 1793 desperately tried to control anarchy be violence.
    [But were, in the end,] destroyed by the evil means they had brought into existence.
    Robespierre himself, and many many others, followed the members of the old regime onto the scaffold. …
    And thus for the first cloud to overcast Wordsworth's dawn, and darken the optimism of the first romantics into a pessimism that has lasted to our own day. …

    Then in, 1798, the French got a leader with a vengeance. …
    Communal enthusiasm may be a dangerous intoxicant.
    But if human beings were to lose altogether the sense of glory — I think we should be the poorer. …

    [After the storming of] the Bastille [it was] knocked down stone by stone.
    But repression did not come to an end.
    On the contrary, Napoleon organised the most efficient secret police in Europe. …

    [Rodin's] Balzac with his prodigious understanding of human motives, scorns conventional values, defies fashionable opinions — as Beethoven did — and should inspire us to defy all those forces that threaten to impair our humanity:
    • lies,
    • tanks,
    • tear gas,
    • ideologies,
    • opinion polls,
    • mechanisation,
    • planners,
    • computers
    The whole lot.

    Heroic Materialism

    It's reckoned that over 9 million slaves died of heat and suffocation in [the holds of slave ships], on the way to America. …
    The anti-slavery movement was the first communal expression of the awakened conscience.
    It took a long time to succeed.
    The trade was prohibited in 1807 and, as Wilberforce lay dying, in 1835, slavery itself was abolished.

    And in the middle of the century, Lord Shaftsbury, whose long struggle to prevent the exploitation of children in factories, puts him next to Wilberforce in the history of humanitarianism.
    In the middle of the nineteenth century there was no children's hospital in London.
    And children weren't taken into ordinary hospitals for fear that they might be infectious.
    Shaftsbury was one of the founders of the Hospital for Sick Children — Dickens helped raise the money for it.

    [Humanitarianism] was the great achievement of the nineteenth century.
    We're so accustomed to the humanitarian outlook, that we forget how little it accounted in earlier ages of civilisation. …
    We forget the horrors that were taken for granted in early Victorian England.
    The hundreds of lashes inflicted daily on harmless men in the Army and Navy.
    The women chained in threes, rumbling through the streets, in open carts on their way to transportation.
    These, and even more unspeakable cruelties, were carried out by agents of the Establishment — usually in defence of property.

Hart Hanson (1957)

  • Bones

    The sun comes up because the world turns.
    These things are beautiful to me.
    There are mysteries I will never understand.
    But everywhere I look I see proof that for every effect, there is a corresponding cause.
    Even if I can't see it.
    I find that reassuring.

Neil Oliver (1967)

Gene Roddenberry (1921 – 91))

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)

    Space …
    The final frontier.
    These the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
    Its continuing mission:
    To explore strange new worlds;
    To seek out new life, and new civilizations;
    To boldly go where no-one has gone before.

    What we need is a climbing song.
    Marissa, is there a song you sing at school?
    The Laughing Vulcan and His Dog?
    I afraid I don't know that one …

    No-one can deny that the seed of violence remains within every of us.
    We must recognize that.
    Because that violence is capable of consuming each of us.

Ridley Scott (1937)

  • Alien (1979)

    Ash, that transmission …
    Mother's deciphered part of it.
    It doesn't look like an SOS.
    What is it, then?
    [It] looks like a warning.

    This is Ripley.
    Last survivor of the Nostromo.
    Signing off.

  • Blade Runner (1982)

    How can it not know what it is?

    Commerce is our goal …
    "More human than human," is our motto.

    Painful to live in fear isn't it?
    Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch!

    Wake up!
    Time to die.

    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
    Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
    I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
    All those moments will be lost in time … like tears in rain.
    Time … to die.

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

  • Richard III (1592)

    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York …
    (Act 1, Scene 1)

  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1592)

    Dumb Jewels often, in their silent kind,
    More than quick words do move a woman's mind.
    (Act 3, Scene 1)

  • The First Part of the History of Henry IV (1596-7)

    The better part of valour is discretion …
    (Act 5, Scene 4)

  • Henry V (1599)

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
    Or close the wall up with our English dead …
    (Act 3, Scene 1)

    If we are marked to die, we are enow
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour. …

    We would not die in that man's company,
    That fears his fellowship to die with us. …

    This day is called the feast of Crispian:
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall see this day, and live old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends,
    And say, "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
    Then will he strip his sleeve, and show his scars,
    And say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he'll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. …

    This story shall the good man teach his son:
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be rememberéd,
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother: be he ne'er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition.
    And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,
    Shall think themselves accursed, they were not here;
    And hold their manhoods cheap, whiles any speaks,
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
    (Act 4, Scene 3)

  • As You Like It (1599-1600)

    All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages …
    (Act 2, Scene 7)

  • A Midsummer-Night's Dream (1600)

    Cupid is a knavish lad,
    Thus to make poor females mad.
    (Act 4, Scene 1)

  • Hamlet (1600)

    How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
    Seem to me all the uses of this world!
    (Act 1, Scene 2)

    What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals, and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
    (Act 2, Scene 2)

    To be, or not to be, that is the question,
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them? …

    [Who] would these fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
    No traveller returns …
    (Act 3, Scene 1)

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

  • Macbeth (1606)

    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.
    (Act 5, Scene 5)

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble. …
    By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes.
    (Act 4, Scene 1)

  • The Tempest (1611)

    We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on; and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep.
    (Act 4, scene 1)

    O, wonder!
    How many goodly creatures are there here!
    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
    That has such people in't!
    (Act 5, Scene 1)

Jerry Thorpe (1926)

  • Kung Fu (1972)

    Peace lies not in the world …
    But in the man who walks the Path. …
    To reach perfection, a man must develop equally compassion and wisdom. …
    In a heart that is one with Nature, though the body contends, there is no violence.
    And in the heart that is not one with Nature, though the body be at rest, there is always violence.

    I have three treasures which I hold and keep.
    The first is mercy, for from mercy comes courage.
    The second is frugality, from which comes generosity towards others.
    The third is humility, for from it comes leadership.

    The best charioteers do not push ahead.
    The best fighters do not make displays of anger.
    The wisest antagonist is he who wins without engaging in battle. …
    This is the power of not contending.
    It is how the weak, overcome the strong.

    Learn more ways to preserve, rather than to destroy.
    Avoid, rather than check.
    Check, rather than hurt.
    Hurt, rather than maim.
    Maim, rather than kill.
    For all life is precious.
    Nor can any, be replaced.

    Remember, always.
    That a wise man walks with his head bowed.
    Humble, like the dust.

    The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.

    [Life] does not end.
    The journey goes on, from one time to another.
    Nothing dies, that was ever something.

    When the soul becomes the warrior, all fear melts, as the snowflake that falls upon your hand.

    [Be] yourself.
    And never fear, thus, to be naked to the eyes of others.
    Yet know that, men so often mask themselves.
    That what is simple is rarely understood.
    The dust of truth swirls and seeks its own cracks of entry.
    And a tree falling in the forest, without ears to hear, makes no sound.
    Yet, it falls.

Joss Whedon (1964)

    Like nothing we've seen.
    All our subjects are conditioned for combat.
    But River, she's a creature of extraordinary grace.
    Yes, she always did love to dance.

    Earth that was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many.
    We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons.
    Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. …

    Do you even know why they sent you?
    It's not my place to ask.
    I believe in something greater than myself.
    A better world.
    A world without sin.
    So me and mine gotta lay down and die … so you can live in your better world?
    I'm not going to live there.
    There's no place for me there …

    Storm's getting worse.
    We'll pass through it soon enough.

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