Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Paprika and Serenity

I liked Paprika, though it's hard to describe. A movie about people getting lost in dreams, which is -- I think -- also about getting lost in our current media world, in movies and the Internet and so on. The reviews I read complained that it didn't have a plot, was all spectacular images. I don't think this is true. But it is hard to describe, since the plot is full of twists, and the process of getting lost in dreams in told from the inside. Reality keeps shifting, events are not what they seem, people are not what they seem.

The message about dreams and the media is not clear to me. It's not as simple as reality = good, dreams = bad. I suspect the message is -- dreams can be shaped for good or ill, we can use dreams and the media to help or harm.

But I'm reducing a thought-provoking movie to something simple minded.

Serenity gave me nightmares Sunday night, after I saw the ending. I think it's a deeply disturbing movie.The Alliance -- so sweet and sane on the surface, so crazy and violent underneath -- is disturbing. The Reavers are deeply disturbing. They ended in my dreams and made for a very uncomfortable night's sleep. Especially bad was the ordinary people won in my dream and then had to kill all the surviving Reavers, including Reaver children and babies. The heroes of Serenity are damaged people. Both Mal and River are scary.

The name of the movie is deeply ironic. There is nothing serene here.

I woke up Tuesday morning with Serenity still on my mind and sense that I might have had more bad dreams, though I didn't remember them.

Maybe I shouldn't see two movies in one day, especially since both are -- in different ways -- challenging.

It's occurred to me that another problem might be the section of the sequel to Ring that I'm currently writing. It's the autobiography of a rather odd hwarhath male. He's an important figure in the novel, and Timmi Duchamp (my editor)thinks we need to know more about him. I don't know if this autobiography will be in the novel, or if it's back story.

Anyway, right now I'm describing his childhood, or rather he's describing his childhood, which isn't a bad one. He grows up in his grandmother's huge house, cared for by many loving female cousins. But he isn't close to his mother, who is Ettin Gwarha's aunt Aptsi; and he isn't close to his aunts, who are Gwarha's aunts Per and Sai. Should this be a problem? Why does Gwarha, who grew up in the same house, have no doubts about the strength of his relationship to his family, while this young cousin feels isolated and remote from his kin?

I keep wanting to have Gwarha comment on the autobiography the way he comments on Nicky's journal. "This isn't the childhood I remember. What is wrong with this young man?"


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