Sunday, July 20, 2008


Glen Velez and Coleman Barks at the November Rumi event

I just read about the 47-minute film called "Rant" that came out in 2006. I watched the 7-minute YouTube video, below, and added the film to my Netflix queue. Here's the summary:

In this intoxicating blend of words and images, the observations of great poets mingle with the images of cinematography's masters to bring seven poems alive to viewers. Footage ranges from the front seat of the Cyclone roller coaster in 1940s Coney Island to present-day gun battles in Iraq. The film's visual underpinning gives an immediacy to the poets' words, touching on a wide range of social, political and spiritual issues.

Yesterday Don and I watched the new Batman movie: "The Dark Knight." It was splendid, in spite of the times I wanted to walk out, sick from disturbing scenes. It reflects what I feel from this video: that power is a frightening intoxication; a very few have gotten drunk with it and nearly ruined the world; we need to tap our power and change it, even if the change is only in the world in ourselves.

See what I'm huffing about . . .


Loring Wirbel said...

What is troubling is the people making distinctions between "hard power" (Cheney-style) and "soft power" (international aid, back-channel diplomacy), as though one is preferable to the other. Soft power may be coming back in style, but it still involves an effort to bend others to your will, not to exchange ideas. The one interesting thing about the Zapatistas was their explicit choice to not seek any kind of power. How many individuals, political movements, etc. could make that pledge? Obviously, there must be a way of subtly using power to have any influence in others' lives, but the Zen model of abandoning power is closest to what would be an ethical way of living. And that would require people stop looking for heroes and lionizing strong personalities. No pedestals! This will take a long time.

Ruth said...

Loring, excellent and succinct. I'm gonna come back to this as a mantra.

Have you seen "The Dark Knight"? That bit about heroes is spot on parallel to ideas the film.

Oh, and I just added a huffing post. Nothing earth shattering, but since I rarely post there, I wanted to let you know.

VioletSky said...

I have not heard of this "Rant" before, so thanks for sharing it. The video was tantalising.

I'm sharing an award with you. So, drop by ... plant it in your garden ... grow ... share

Ruth said...

Thank you, Sanna, that is a kind honor!

I think I watched the video 5 times already, it mesmerizes me.

Loring Wirbel said...

Haven't seen "Dark Knight" yet, Abby's seen it three times, post-midnight show each time.

Ruth said...

Abby sounds like my kids, though I think they haven't gotten to 3 yet.

Rauf said...

Batman Superman Spiderman Snakeman, Tigerman, i'll have none of them Ruth. James Bond is the only super hero movies i have watched, The blow comes when the movie is over when you get up and walk towards the door. i feel dwarfed by the super hero. i actually feel that i am only 6 inches high may be less. i feel like an ant. i have never struck any one in my life nor any one struck me. i wonder if i can take one blow from the superhero. Oh deeah ! While walking out i watch the faces of others. all pretty excited. Once i watched a movie about Evel Knievel, some 30 years ago i think. George Hamilton playing the character, handsome guy. oh Evel Knievel is the American motorcycle stuntman daredevil. This was a movie about him. Fine, the movie was over, i was with my friend. i am actually surrounded by theatres, that theatre now is demolished, some complex is coming up.
So the movie of daredevil motorcycle feats was over and i was in a hurry to get out. My friend said, wait, watch the fun in the parking lot. i heard race track sounds coming from the parking lot which is very small. within a minute there were 4 or 5 accidents, fights broke out, slapping hitting of drivers. And one poor chap on a motorbike with his girl friend on the pillion, took off racing with his front wheel up and ran straight into a wall, his girl friend was already on the floor before the impact. poor thing.

Ruth said...

That's funny, rauf. But I'd think Bond would be more intimidating since he's 'just' a man. At least superheroes have to be super to be more powerful than us.

I liked it about this movie that the idea of 'hero' was the point - maybe it's the point of comic book heroes in general - and whether it's a helpful concept at all, and what the superpower (maybe just a symbol of regular human power) does to a person, how they use it, etc.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Ruth thanks for sharing the Rant video.

I was concerned when music videos came out that I wouldn't be able to interpet the song my way, that I would be locked in to the writers version, but, I love it now, it is interesting to see someone elses interpretation of their works, love the Rant video for that reason.

I have seen every Batman movie, going to see this one when I get some time off from work, like a couple hours,lol. Actually I'm at work right now, finding lately the only time I have to blog.

jack said...

ermm the dark knight and the lone ranger have a lot in common
they represent the struggle of good against bad – white hat -black hat-these stories are the most modern morality tales -and every culture produces morality tales –England’s knights of the round table – that espoused any number of ideals
by which a man should live – the dark nights view of humanity is as the philosopher hobbs – which means also the view of the founding fathers - he aint going to hold his breath and wait on p.c – before giving the bad guy a good kicking –the citizens can get some sleep –
put a Liberal; and a sociopath in the same room and we know who is going to walk out –unless the dark knight walks in
American morality tales such as these – are stories you would hope / expect to read in a modern society - grappling with complex issues

Rauf makes a good point -of feeling small like an ant – I consider that is possibly a morality tales purpose

comics are undervalued -

lesleyanne said...

thank goodness there aren't real Jokers walking and prancing around our cities. i guess there are in some ways. i guess we would all love to have a Batman around to save the day. or maybe Superman, as he can't really get hurt. it's hard to believe sometimes that Batman is just a normal guy like you and me, with no super powers.

Rumi was quoted on the cover of the bulletin at church a few weeks ago. i need to send it to you.


Ruth said...

Hey Bob, it's strange about music, isn't it? I mean in some ways it seems that it should be free to use on videos, especially if you paid for it as you did. Music adds a lot to any film, as my son has discovered with his videos. It becomes more powerful, emotive. But he is also a musician, and he can see the perspective of protecting copyrights too.

^ ^ ^

Hi, Jack. I enjoyed reading your helpful thoughts about the place of the dark knight, etc., in our cultural mythology. Funny about the liberal and the sociopath.

I didn't grow up appreciating comics, Mom was an English teacher, if there were any in the house, they were hidden under beds quickly when she came in. So I avoided them. It's great that they have finally become a recognized genre (even in my English department), we have a fantastic (hehe) collection of them in our university library, though I've never seen it. My kids both collected comic books. Alek was telling me about the French one: MAUS which I have yet to check out.

^ ^ ^

Wesrey! I was thinking about that, how Batman is a normal guy, not a superman, watching this film. I mean he jumps off buildings! It's a fun part of these stories to watch the new 'technology' of the bat suit, batmobile, etc. And I'm with rauf liking Bond too for that reason.

Sounds like your church is pretty open, unlike churches where I spent my youth.


Ginnie said...

More stuff to talk about, Ruth, when we see you soon. I hope we DO talk about it. I find I don't read/write much about these things anymore but they're still inside of me. Where have "I" gone to??

Ruth said...

Boots, well that is also an interesting topic - you! Can't wait.