Compared to the time I was in New York, catching up with art movies as well as acclaimed regular movies at Lincoln Center, Angelica Theater, and Film Forum, I am badly out of touch with the movie scene.
In the last 2 days, however, I have seen three powerful movies, two of which are about artists who are unrecognized for decades. Marina Abramovic, a powerful and courageous performance artist, says that it took 40 years for her to be accepted. And Rodriguez, a singer who is as big as Elvis in South Africa, selling over half a million records in that small country, was totally unrecognized in America . . . until now.
These movies ought to be compulsory viewing for all writers who are about to begin their careers. It is like in the music business: there are no guarantees, but there is some likelihood that if you keep on keeping on doing what you believe in, honestly, and with integrity, you may one day triumph. I am all admiration for the courage of Marina, and for the stoicism of Rodriguez. Interestingly, what both of them do as artists is, as President Clinton said of Bob Dylan, “disturb the peace, and discomfit the powerful.” Or, as one critic describes Marina, “she made a rent in the fabric of the Universe.”
The third movie was “Beyond the Hills”: funny at first, sad and tense later, and perhaps at least 40% longer than it should have been. It reminded me of my childhood in Mangalore, where some adults, including a few of my relatives, still live with the mindset of the nuns and priest in the movie: so powerful is the force of blind religion.