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Yesterday, I wrote 1,397 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. I also reached page 200 of the manuscript. The revision of my revised schedule puts me finishing the novel sometime between August 31 and September 3, if I can write at least 1,150 words per day. Oh, and I'd love to hear thoughts on Chapter Two from those who've had time to read Sirenia Digest #68.

It's raining today. The rain began last night. It'll be a little warmer tomorrow, but the rain will become thunderstorms.

I'm running so very, very late. There were many things I was going to discuss in this entry that are going to have to wait, if I want to get anything written today. And I kinda, sorta have to get something written today.

Last night, we watched Christopher Smith's Black Death (2010), and wow, this is the film that Season of the Witch tried to be and pretty much failed utterly. And it's a surprisingly complex film. On the surface, Black Death seems to be only another entry in the recent resurgence of the fear-of-pagans genre of film. And it would be easy to walk away from this film with the impression that it's pro-Christian and anti-pagan. But...it's only easy to do that if you don't stop to think about what's actually being said. A lot of this stuff isn't even subtle. It's a film about how power is wielded through belief systems, about fear and obsession and love. About exploiting ignorance and superstition. About egotism. And in the end, the Church, the "witch" Langiva, the monk Osmund – none of these are portrayed as virtuous. All are victims, and all create victims of their own. All are hungry for one thing or another, and all, ultimately, are rapacious in their quest to have this thing, be it power or revenge or whatever. The film does present "good" men and women who mostly exist beyond the boundaries of this power struggle – Wolfstan, Averill, and so forth. But even they are not genuinely innocent. Because the film tries hard to be a true film, and this world is all but devoid of innocent human beings. Black Death is a film about people who try to do good – Ulrich and Langiva are both trying to protect "their" people from the plague, but both are deeply flawed. Anyway, yes. Good movie. See it. Right now it can be streamed from Netflix.

And I must go meet the Word Monster.

Aunt Beast


( 8 comments — Have your say! )
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
You summed upexactly how I felt about Black Death. The first time through, right up until the end, you think, "Yeah, yeah, woman leader = evil." But then the whole story comes together, and it's almost mind-blowing how much it's not a movie about faith (considering how Hollywood loves to pit sides against one another). It is about power, and doing what you have to do to protect your people, and about using faith for control. I also loved the human aspect of it, how the main characters really go through changes from the beginning of the film to the end. So many of these period movies exist only to show off pretty costumes and awesome sword-fighting scenes, without giving any real character depth.
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
And in the end, the Church, the "witch" Langiva, the monk Osmund – none of these are portrayed as virtuous. All are victims, and all create victims of their own.

Between your review and handful_ofdust, I will have to see this; it sounds very good indeed.
Aug. 8th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
Chapter 2 reveals much and somewhat calmed the smartass side of Siobahn. Your music references are much appreciated and always make me seek out new songs I've never heard or haven't listened to in many years.

Aug. 8th, 2011 04:21 am (UTC)
Forgive me, for I have fallen behind in reading the mighty Digest, and lo, I am a miserable laggard.

Due to your positive review of Stake Land, I added Black Death to my Netflix list yesterday and moved both films into my top ten list. How did this dork miss hearing about these films?

Aunt Beast to the rescue!

Aug. 8th, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
I read chapters 1& 2 back to back last night and I think the contrast and the "all junkies lie angle" works very well. Very funny, I'm annoying my wife by quoting bits at her out of context still. I'll try to be more objective when I've stopped spontaneously chuckling to myself.
Aug. 8th, 2011 02:30 pm (UTC)
Chapter 2 was very good. I'm even more excited, if possible, for this book!
Aug. 9th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, I just watched this last night and thought it was amazing.
Aug. 11th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
Agreed on Black Death--it had me hooked at the beginning, had me worried in the middle, then sewed it up so tightly at the end...and it's a film I like more with distance, rather than less (as is too often the case once my initial charity's worn off). Reflecting on it, The Wicker Man flourishes really work in the service of the film's themes, and that ending is positively haunting--best film of its type since the days of <>Witchfinder General<> and Ken Russel's The Devils, in my opinion. And really, as far as cheap thrills go nothing tops seeing Percy Percy from Black Adder as Langvia's nefarious henchman.

By the by, have you seen the Finnish film Sauna? It remains one of my very favorite movies of the last decade, and one of the best period horror flicks I've ever seen. I raved about it way back when I first saw it, and Black Death reminded me of it in all the best ways.
( 8 comments — Have your say! )