David Stevens

Posts Tagged ‘cinema’

DUNKIRK

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2016 at 8:22 am

I just saw the teaser trailer, and I am really looking forward to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. I’ve relished the developments in technology and filmmaking that allow us at least a little glimpse of what historical events might have been like. I know, I know, it is still filtered through perceptions and shaped by market demands and limited in so many other ways, but I say we have a chance of a glimpse at what we didn’t live through. Even if not, though, it allows for an expansion of imagination, and a sympathetic imagination that allows us to stand in another’s boots for a moment is halfway there to creating decent human beings. Perhaps I will be disappointed – it will neither be the first nor the last time – but fingers crossed.

And as for Dunkirk itself, I can’t ever finish Paul Gallico’s The Snow Goose without crying. The bravery of all of those on the armada of tiny vessels, the fishing boats, the little sloops that sailed to and fro across the English Channel to rescue the stranded soldiers – just writing this gives me goose bumps. Unarmed recreational and commercial vessels up against the Luftwaffe. Thousands of men standing neck deep in water for hours, hoping to get onto a ship before the paused blitzkrieg begins again, before a dive-bombing stuka blows them to bits.

All of our lives are contingent on so many things, even just going back one generation, let along to the primordial slime: that our parents met, for a start. We could go crazy thinking about all of the things throughout history that led to us being here, all the happy accidents and the disasters which did not destroy our line. There is an infinity we will never know. However, I know this: my grandfather, serving with the BEF, was evacuated from Dunkirk. If history had been this tiny bit different, neither my mother nor me and my siblings would ever have been born.My grandfather never spoke much of the war, but one thing he did say was that if some bastard hadn’t stolen his boots, he would have drowned during the evacuation. So to that bastard, and to the good Lord who gave us all life, I say thanks.

Advertisements

Dracula is dead

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2015 at 7:23 am

Christopher Lee is dead, and no one is going to bring him back by dripping the blood of a virgin on his ashes in a deconsecrated London church (I walked past many such buildings last Christmas, I didn’t notice any jaded covenists hanging around waiting for dark, they all seemed to have been converted to rather jolly Sikh function rooms or mosques). I read today of an interview where he complained his Dracula was never given anything to do, and on reflection, he was blood well right. His immortality was a hunger driven needy thing, Hammer providing heaving bosoms and bare necks, but it was strangely sexless. There was no intellect (except at the end, where he planned to end humanity by plague so that all the nongs would stop bringing him back from the dead and he could just have it all over with), none of the drive that powered Stoker’s Dracula, nor the existential horrors that challenge Kim Newman’s Dracula. For all the foreboding and drama, his nosferatu was reminiscent of Janos Skorzeny in The Night Stalker, existing only to feed (unlike the rest of us – we also have consumerism!). Then we have Peter Cushing fretting away in his cardigan, and who can blame him, he’s getting on and who wants to step away from the three barred gas heater on a cold English night? Still, no one else is going to do anything, so van Helsing has to step out from his bed sit, probably wondering why he never emigrated to Australia when he had the chance, when there was plenty of work on the Snowy Mountain hydroelectric scheme, oh those jolly times of nation building before environmental assessment plans spoiled everything. A spot of fresh air will do him good, you can smell the cigarette smoke coming from the screen, no wait, they were the days when you were allowed to smoke in the cinema. I can remember having to stand for the national anthem before the movies started, and in the pre-Whitlam days, that was ‘God Save the Queen’.  For the life of me, I do not know why her Majesty had to grace each cinema broadcast, just as I do not know why each rugby league game has to begin with a rendition of ‘Advance Australia Fair’. Is someone trying to prove that rugby league is more authentically Australian than football, aka soccer?

But anyway, Christopher Lee is dead, and though he may rise on the last day, he isn’t going to rise before then, regardless of the Satanic Rites of Dracula or Dracula has Risen from the Grave, and at 93 he had a pretty decent innings, so it is a bit hard to complain if you aren’t a member of his family or one of his friends. Don’t come here for the facts, you can search anywhere else on the internet, I just want to say I enjoyed many of his films, especially when I shouldn’t have.

PS: This is nice.