Friday, February 20, 2004

...And there was much of the gnashing of teeth and of the expurgating of tongues and then, Mel Gibson came forward with his own interpretation of The Script of our Lord's (temporary) demise. Now, everyone is entitled, with enough corporate backing, to voice or film their own opinion. So, the direction that Mr. Gibson goes is certainly both a liberty he has, and from the sounds of it, the liberties he has taken with the word of God. What with the recent happenings involving the Catholic Church in these U S of A, I'm sure the clergy is doing handstands and backflips that the Kleig lights are no longer on them, but rather on Mel exercising his God given rights here in the land of the vocal free and home of the breve (latte, that is...two shots of espresso,please).

What to do when the you are being hemmed in by the mis-timed patriotism of the "Miracle" of the 1980 US Hockey team on one side and the "Passion" of the painful last (sort of) days of Christ? Well, it's time to pull out or rent the ol' VHS/DVD of Jim Jarmusch's "Night on Earth". Aside from being a Ab Fab movie (Fabulous being defined as a movie you can REALLY see multiple times), Jarmusch's take on religion, in one of the 5 Taxi @ night sequences in the movie, is one to consider in these times of high energy proselytizing (both of the political & religious sort). Roberto Benigni, here before his "A Beautiful Life" days, has a taxi confessional that involves sheep (but not the Holy Lamb), Hotel Genius (and its twin Hotel Imbecile), driving at night with sunglasses, and expiring priests. This segment of the movie is in Italian, with English subtitles. The subtitles are so hilarious that you are compelled to learn Italian, 'cuz you know there's no way that all of the spoken Italian is being translated; the writing is too pithy. One of the times that I saw this movie, a friend of South Philly extraction was with me. Now, I was laughing at the English lines as they were streaming across the bottom of the screen. He, in the meantime, was in the grip of chest-aching mirth, since he did not have to do any reading at all and the speaking was at a faster rate than the translating. When I asked him what I'd missed, he passed me off as just an attaccabottoni (a doleful bore who buttonholes people and tells sad & pointless stories). Non capische! So, even if you are not blessed with the gift of Italian but you feel cursed by the weight of religious pedantry, ease your soul and open your eys to Mr. Jarmusch's gift. And..if you can't find this beauty, "Down by Law", also with Roberto Benigni AND Tom Waits is not a bad second choice for what ails you.

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