Monday, June 25, 2007

Give Me the Words


I struggled a bit over what to say about this film. Indeed, it is well made. Michael Winterbottom, Angelina Jolie, and a terrific ensemble cast all deliver. It's a taut and wrenching thriller, and it successfully serves Marianne Pearl's aims of creating a dialogue for cultures to meet and attempt to understand each other. But given the unpleasant and timely subject matter, it was admittedly painful to watch. Yet it is an important film to see, and I am glad that I did.

The film is set in bustling Karachi, the scene of the grisly death of journalist Daniel Pearl. And in this colorful whirlwind, you realize just how impossible it must have seemed to find him. By the time you learn all of the conspirators' real names, and your hopes are let down by a dizzying list of fruitless leads, your heart leaps out of your chest and your sense of dread mounts; despite already knowing the horrid outcome. It's a bit much to take.

And then there is Marianne Pearl in the midst of the storm. I sat in the movie theater, marveling at her miraculous ability to see past her pain, to see that it is poverty and misery that breeds the violence that erupted and shook her world to the core, not a singular hate for her beloved. She lost her son's father, and possessed such a clarity to look into the face of death and defiantly say, "I am not terrorized." How does she go on? I honestly don't know.

Watching the film, I admired both Daniel and Marianne's incredibly idealistic commitment to their life's work as journalists, to uncover the truth however harrowing a task that might be, to lay all of the facts bare for an international community to become more aware and work towards a better tomorrow. Yet I wondered the same way I wonder about the BBC reporter that is currently being held captive by an extremist group in Gaza. Is it a certain western naivete and brashness to be so bold in a stranger's land? Whatever the answer, I would like to think that they are doing our world a great service. They are writing history as we live it.

free music


This is the song that plays at the end of the film. After Marianne says, "This movie is for Adam," the son Pearl will never know.

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