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1) I am afraid of this day, of where it may lead us, and I do not only mean America, but the entire world.

2) It's sunny here in Providence, but only 40˚F. The leaves have all dropped off the tree Outside my office window.

3) The shortest distance between two points is the path of least resistance.

4) Yesterday, we drove to Attleboro for a 4:30 (CST) matinee of Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer's Cloud Atlas, based on David Mitchell's 2004 novel of the same name. I am, honestly, at a loss to explain the effect this film had on me, except to say it was profound. I spent most of the last hour of the movie crying – not because of the sorrow in the film, but because of the sheer fucking beauty of it. Crying at beauty. Here, I'm going to defer to a more articulate voice, via Roger Ebert, from the Chicago Sun-Times, Omer M. Mozaffar writes:

Cloud Atlas (2012), directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, is a thing of beauty, the likes of which I have not seen in American Cinema. While I regard Rian Johnson's Looper as easily the best film of the year thus far, this film might be the best film of the decade. Nevertheless, considering how many people walked out of the screening within the first hour, I suspect that this film will successfully alienate or confuse most of its viewers, earning more appreciation in the years to come, long after most of us have expired. If you have the patience, it might take forty minutes to begin to understand it, and to subsequently immerse yourself into it. In that way, it also reminded me of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (2011). It is that good. It is so good that I can tell you everything about this movie, and I will still have told you nothing. (bolding mine)

Yes. A hundred times over yes. And here, from Ebert's own four-star review:

I was never, ever bored by Cloud Atlas. On my second viewing, I gave up any attempt to work out the logical connections between the segments, stories and characters. What was important was that I set my mind free to play. Clouds do not really look like camels or sailing ships or castles in the sky. They are simply a natural process at work. So too, perhaps, are our lives. Because we have minds and clouds do not, we desire freedom. That is the shape the characters in Cloud Atlas take, and how they attempt to direct our thoughts. Any concrete, factual attempt to nail the film down to cold fact, to tell you what it "means," is as pointless as trying to build a clockwork orange.

But, oh, what a film this is! And what a demonstration of the magical, dreamlike qualities of the cinema. And what an opportunity for the actors. And what a leap by the directors, who free themselves from the chains of narrative continuity. And then the wisdom of the old man staring into the flames makes perfect sense.

And from Neil Gaiman's Twitter feed:

Just saw Cloud Atlas. It made me feel like I should try harder and make better and more ambitious art. So good.

I know the truth in these thoughts, and yet the expression of my own, an expression of my own reactions, slips through my fingers every time I reach for it. I am not a hopeful person. Quite the opposite. But here is this hopeful film, hopeful despite all its tragedies, and I am utterly in love with its genius. Perhaps I cried, in part, because I cannot truly have this hope for myself. I can only be on the Outside looking in. But, then, one of the countless messages of Cloud Atlas might be that the hopeless also have their place in the creation of the ripples through time that shape human history.

Just go see the movie.

Also, Cloud Atlas will be, along with House of Leaves, the selection for November's book of the month. So, see the movie and read the novel.

Awed and Terrified,
Aunt Beast


( 9 comments — Have your say! )
Nov. 6th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid, too, from over here in the UK. The BBC reported last week that there were only two countries in the world in which Obama is not a shoo-in, and one of them is the US. It baffles me -- it baffles my friends and, apparently, even much of the right-wing here in Britain -- that Romney could be considered credible as a president. Mind you, it also baffles me that enough of my British compatriots were selfish enough to vote into power the Conservative party here.
Nov. 6th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
worried today too
seems like so much is on the line. I find the vast gulf between political parties depressing. I used to have a fair bit in common with those "on the right" (with me being on the left) but it seems like things are completely polarized now and I can barely stand conversing with the few conservatives left in my life. I miss my grandparents; they were conservative without hating people, seems to be in short supply today.
Nov. 6th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
Re: worried today too
My mom used to be like your grandparents. Now? I think she's spent too many years living with a Faux-News junky bigot. But I dragged my roomie to vote this morning, so that was good.
The thought of that guy winning is so horrible my lizard brain won't let my mind dwell on it.
Nov. 7th, 2012 08:31 am (UTC)
Re: worried today too
Oh I know, my stomach was in knots imaging the terrible changes a "president romney" would bring. *shudders*

Now I am filled with relief and happiness that President Obama won. Maybe soon I can get some sleep. ^_^
Nov. 7th, 2012 02:10 am (UTC)
I also am worried, but full of hope. Regardless, I'm glad that you liked the movie so much; it had a similar effect on me.
Marisa Sandlin
Nov. 7th, 2012 02:18 am (UTC)
Thankfully, I had read Cloud Atlas before seeing the film. The book is not perfect, but it is sprawling, ambitious, and unlike anything I've read in a while. I feel that the filmmakers did a pretty amazing thing with a pretty huge book book. Not an easy task but one well worth doing.

I just returned from doing all-day canvassing for the Obama campaign in New Hampshire. I feel he will win a 2nd term, but it will be embarrassingly tight because too many ignorant people make the poor choice for the wrong reason.
Nov. 7th, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)

Too nervous to watch the news, so I'm poking around for distractions. I've got some vanilla rum lined up for celebrating, but it'll be a while 'til I can break it out. We've got a nasty anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot here, and that needs to get over 50% to pass (not just a majority). My wife's choir been working against it (the choir's about 2/3s lesbian), and so we're watching that very nervously.

Cloud Atlas has been on my must-watch list since the first trailers a while ago. Hopefully we'll get a chance to go see it soon.

Best wishes for a tense evening...
Nov. 7th, 2012 07:00 am (UTC)
My own words seem inadequate to the task of describing my delight upon watching CLOUD ATLAS. I could say it was 'awesome' but the film requires a much more muscular, beautiful term than this and I don't know which word to choose. I wish I had more time and money to see it again on the big screen.
Nov. 7th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
I cried through a lot of Cloud Atlas too. I cried the day after seeing it when I was trying to find the words for what the movie made me feel. (I still haven't found those words.) Reading your thoughts here, my eyes started leaking again. I don't understand exactly why it affected me so strongly, but there's definitely some profound truth there, even if it's simply "this is an intensely fucking beautiful film!" It's powerful art, a masterpiece, for sure.
( 9 comments — Have your say! )

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