Sunday, January 18, 2009

Slumdog Hope

We don't have a television here. We feel the loss periodically on nights when we're tired and it's cold outside and we want to do nothing. But on the whole, our lives are better for it.

And I confess that I am generally hostile to movies, too. I feel about them roughly as I feel about casinos or bars -- what a way to waste your life. Although I know I am a bit odd for this, on the whole my life is no worse for it.

But tonite, we went to see a movie. A real theater with a big screen and a line at the doors. We went early, because we didn't want to sit in the front. And we stayed late to watch the credits. Everyone stayed late. Not a soul left until the credits and the dancing and the celebrating were done.

I mostly managed to control myself during the film, finding it difficult only at times, for example when the 10 year old brothers walked down the gardens of the Taj Mahal, and when Latika let go of Jamal's hand and got left behind. But at the end, with the yellow scarves streaming and the music pulsating and the crowd dancing on the train station platform, I had tears running down my cheeks.

It's a metaphor for this new century. Wretched poverty. The poor clambering over garbage heaps. Torture justified. Brutality. Murder. Crime thriving behind the veneer of fabulous wealth. And yet hope — the idea that in spite of this all, there is reason to hope.

You need to see Slumdog Millionaire.

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