Sunday, March 06, 2011

Trying Not To Think In Russian


by James Jarvis
02/09/02

Watching Andrew Tarchovski's art film,
a dark film,
in Russian, with English subtitles,
a film that looks like there was no money in the budget
for a light man,
a film about gray people standing around in the dark
talking about the virtues of grief
and the hopelessness of hope . . .
good grief, this movie is not film noir;
it's life noir.

Good grief.
This dark, hopeless Russian movie
makes my worst day of American homelessness
(the day in the stolen port-o-john,
the day of the attack of the property owners)
look in comparison
like a day at Disneyland high on X.

Can't figure out what the Russian fascination
with maudlin grief is all about,
of course, because I am an American,
a man of action, any action . . .
any action is better than standing around
yakking about grief,
an American:
I've got the native son optimism
of Jon Voight's 'Manny'
in "Runaway Train", who said,
"You do what you have to do,
I'll do what I have to do.
Whatever happens, happens."

You tell 'em, Manny,
tell those grieving, philosophizing Russians
how we do it in America,
with or without subtitles.

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