Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Parts And What They Make Up

After almost 30 years, the magic of this still holds. 

Peter Weir is one of the few directors who has managed to allow-in, for his audiences, a sense that the world isn't flat, that our apprehension of it as a scientific object or manipulable set of economic relationships -- that understanding -- isn't the prime or only way of taking-in the world.

His The Mosquito Coast, his Picnic At Hanging Rock, his The Last Wave, surround eccentricity, weirdness, or mythic spirituality.  The Year Of Living Dangerously, which might be a love story alone, or an earnest socio-political pitch set in Sukarno's Indonesia, gains immensely from the character Billie Kwan, Linda Hunt's smashing 'trouser' role.

Billie is the puppeteer, the clever arranger of his part of Jakarta, maneuvering foreign journalists and embassy people, as he may try, to effectuate success for a -- depicted here -- sympathetic Sukarno walking a thin line between Communist insurrection and military repression.

The film is not just a liberal plea, worthy though that is.  Sacrifice shows itself, several people risking real personal jeopardy and giving themselves over to doing the right thing while surrounded by corruption and cynicism.  

The clip above, while (still!) hotly romantic, represents a moment not simply of sexual assignation, but of moral choice -- Jill (Sigourney Weaver) is betraying and committing at the same time.  In accepting what she gives, Guy (Mel Gibson) is now placed at a moment of choice himself. 

They're not conscious of it, but they have been taught Billie's idealism and they do not fail him.



  1. Such a kiss,rain falling, this music, danger what danger? It doesn't matter!

  2. Isabelle,

    You're on the right wavelength. Moments like this one diminish everything else around.

    (Not too many outside art, not true?)