Daily Archives: 10/29/2005

Strelnikov

After work this evening, I stopped off at the Guam Megaplex at GPO to watch A History of Violence. It is directed by David Cronenberg, the vision behind a series of surreal and vaguely erotic films like Dead Ringers, The Naked Lunch, Scanners, eXistenZ, Crash and The Dead Zone. And A History of Violence certainly fits right in with the rest of his ouvre. Flashes of chilling violence, and vague unease that makes a person squirm in his seat.

But if this film really resembles anything, it is Clint Eastwood’s paean to blood lust and revenge, Unforgiven. A man of violence, reformed in his ways and living a small, quiet family life, returns to violence with irrevocable results. I left the theater appreciating A History of Violence, a good film with a difficult path to tread. A man remaking his troubled past into a picture perfect vision of respectability, only to succumb to violence in the end. A good movie, but I doubt I’ll watch it again. It’s just too damn violent.

I returned home and discovered Doctor Zhivago on TCM. Which of course got me thinking about a character from Pasternak’s novel who does the reverse, a moral and high minded man remade into an avatar of violence under the assumed name of Strelnikov. Tom Stall and Pavel Pavlovich Antipov, inverse mirrors of each other. One abandons a life of senseless violence for a simple life, the other abandons a simple life to bath the world in blood. Curious.

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam: This made me laugh, mostly because I remember a time in my life when I spent far too many hours crafting the framework of a fantasy world that I spun intricate tales of high fantasy around. And it was all hackneyed crap, that hits dozens of these no-no’s on the exam. But hey, I was a pimply 13 year old at the time.

As an added bonus, the exam contains an interesting link to this essay about the weight of medieval and renaissance swords. Contrary to what is commonly portrayed in movies and popular culture, these historical swords were actually light and nimble killing machines, with many weighing around 3 to 4 pounds. A far cry from the massive cudgels of pig iron with sharp sides that folks today seem to think they were. Hell, the iBook I’m writing this on right now weighs 5.9 pounds.

Well, I’m off to hit the movie theater after a Saturday at the office. More on that when I get home tonight…

Ponder This

Before I head into the office, here’s a smattering of links that I would like to share: