Entries in the Category "kazuo ishiguro"
30 Before 30 (Six Month Progress Update), Part 1
Just over one month late! Tee hee. Back in May, I established a 30 Before 30 list, tasks I aspired to accomplish within two years. I'm sure everyone's been wondering how I have doing on this, and so, over a fourth of a way through my allotted time, here is (the first half of) my update!
Click ahead for completed and half-completed items! Check back soon for not-completed and modified items.
Movie Reviews: Stuff I've Seen Lately
This movie was a real strut for Warren Beatty—throughout he’s the smartest, craftiest, stealthiest, studliest guy around. When his character—a journalist—literally won a barfight, I gave up expecting anything else. That made the movie sort of silly, in addition to the narrative, which was quite obscure and impenetrable for an action-thriller. Also, the last section went on for ages. There are some really great suspense movies from the 70s, but this isn’t one of them.
I saw the remake, with Jude Law, way back when, and thought at the time that it felt old-fashioned. The refrain of, “What does it all mean?” was, I think, by 2004, a question that people born in the era of self-help were a little more used to asking themselves. I was interested, then, in seeing the original, with a youthful Michael Caine, to see if it made more sense in a historical context. The answer is, yes, it does. The incredibly shallow journey to selfhood really should belong to a guy with sideburns, who calls women “birds.” I could quibble with the sexism in the movie, but it was positively quaint, with Alfie having a moment of realization that his victimized girlfriend “has feelings! Just like me!” As a period piece, it was fun. (It seemed weird, though, to have Shelley Winters in a glamorous role—could Roseanne’s Nana Mary really ever have been a sex symbol?)
Click ahead for five more films (but only two produced in my lifetime!)
Excerpt, When We Were Orphans
I’m reading this book right now, my second by Kazuo Ishiguro (I read The Remains of the Day earlier in the summer). It’s about a British boy living in Shanghai whose parents disappear under mysterious circumstances. He goes on to attend prep school in England and, as a young man, begins working as a detective in 1930s-era London. His success does not settle his mind about his parents, their disappearance representing the one case of his life that was never solved.
I wanted to reproduce the passage in which Christopher’s mother is abducted from their home, but it was both too long and too spoiler(ish) for people who might still want to read the book (not because of the abduction, which is part of the plot from the beginning, but because of which characters turn out to be involved in that scene).
This passage, which I chose instead, represents a major theme in the book—the unreliability of memory (especially that of a child) and how our perceptions of events may be shifted according to what we know and what we only think we know.
I suppose I must then have told her a few further things from the past. I did not reveal anything of any real significance, but after parting with her this afternoon—we eventually got off in New Oxford Street—I was surprised and slightly alarmed that I had told her anything at all. After all, I have not spoken to anyone about the past in all the time I have been in this country, and as I say, I had certainly never intended to start doing so today.
But perhaps something of this sort has been on the cards for some time. For the truth is, over this past year, I have become increasingly preoccupied with my memories, a preoccupation encouraged by the discovery that these memories--of my childhood, of my parents—have lately begun to blur. A number of times recently I have found myself struggling to recall something that only two or three years ago I believed was ingrained in my mind for ever. I have been obliged to accept, in other words, that with each passing year, my life in Shanghai will grow less distinct, until one day all that will remain will be a few muddled images. Even tonight, when I sat down here and tried to gather in some sort of order these things I still remember, I have been struck anew by how hazy so much has grown. To take, for instance, this episode I have just recounted concerning my mother and the health inspector: while I am fairly sure I have remembered its essence accurately enough, turning it over in my mind again, I find myself less certain about some of the details. For one thing, I am no longer sure she actually put to the inspector the actual words: “How is your conscience able to rest while you owe your existence to such ungodly wealth?” It now seems to me that even in her impassioned state, she would have been aware of the awkwardness of these words, of the fact that they left her quite open to ridicule. I do not believe my mother would ever have lost control of the situation to such a degree. On the other hand, it is possible I attributed these words to her precisely because such a question was one she must have put to herself constantly during our life in Shanghai. The fact that we “owed our existence” to a company whose activities she had identified as an evil to be scourged must have been a source of true torment for her.
In fact, it is even possible I have remembered incorrectly the context in which she uttered those words; that it was not to the health inspector she put this question, but to my father, on another morning altogether, during that argument in the dining room. (70-71)