Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Movie review: "Flight"

Great men and heroes are human beings just like you and I. They too have sides to their personality that do not live up their overall image. If this side does not surface too much, it does not take away from the greatness or heroism in question. But how much is too much?

This is the question that the film "Filght", directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Denzel Washington(one of my favourites), poses and tries to give an answer. Washington plays Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot with whose shambles of a private life we get acquainted right in the opening scenes. He is an alcoholic, a drug-addict and a divorced father of a teen-aged son, largely estranged from his wife and child. During what seems to be a routine flight from Orlando to Atlanta an accident happens and most of the people on board are saved only through Whitaker's remarkable maneuver and the resulting crash-land. But behind the scenes of public accolades for undoubted heroism troubling aspects of Whitaker begin to emerge...

Zemeckis then gives the conflict from several points of view. The main one is Whitaker's. The aftermath of the incident sees the pilot attempting to live with himself. Unable to wrestle with the more unsavoury aspects of his personality Whitaker develops a self-destructive streak which he tries to cover up with arrogant posture towards people who he can not lie to. As rationalization and self-justification, he begins to see his act not as a defining feature of himself but merely a tool to balance or even obfuscate his alcohol and drug abuse.  Moments of clarity and lucidity, however, reveal an individual desperate to find redemption.

Another angle is the more technical one, but it is closely connected to first one, and involves the reaction of officialdom, namely the air traffic authorities and airline executives which is at first brought through the characters of Charlie Anderson(Bruce Greenwood), pilot union liason to Whitaker and Hugh Lang(Don Cheadle), the attorney for the union. While willing to help Whitaker avoid any legal problems as well as overcome his personal conditions it is not clear throughout the film whether their actions driven by motives that are noble and altruistic or merely in service of the airline company's wish to avoid any liability, the wish that becomes clear in the most brazen and callous ways during a meeting with the airline's owner(Brian Geraghty).

In the climactic moment Whitaker is forced to ask the question of "how much awful behavior is too much" himself. And the answer brings him the moral and spiritual redemption he desired, ironically, just as he was about to achieve the ultimately false deliverance his helpers, whatever their motives were, intended to provide him. What is also a paradox is that through this his act of saving lives is also cleansed from any possible minimization or misrepresentation and presented in all it's purity(although this is not presented in the film itself).

On a final note about the film's message, one can not escape, once the film is seen, the somewhat ambiguous title. "Flight" can really refer to the main incident that triggers the plot, but it can also have the meaning of "running away from something" because, indeed, most of the characters, main or supporting, are indeed throughout the film trying to run away from something, whether it is the personal problems that dog them or responsibility for their actions. In the end it all catches up with them, showing that to make problems disappear it is necessary to take them head on. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What to expect

Yesterday I blogged about the struggle for historical truth and memory and the need to protect it from falsifiers whose objective is to delegitimize Serb claims to their ancestral lands and the Serb people as a whole. Lest nobody think it would be as easy as it was in Norway, read Julia Gorin who wrote about Prof. David Gibbs of Arizona University who dared to stay true to his academic calling and keep away from the anti-Serb party line. For his trouble he has become a target of smears, slanders and character assassinations from the Usual Anti-Serb Suspects(as I will call them from now on).

As the cliche' goes, read it and weep. And not so much about the Suspects' gutter-standard writings but rather about the fact that the institutions that employed them descended with them to the nether regions that they occupy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Challenge lying ahead

The struggle for the liberation of Serbia and Serbs is most certainly not limited to the political and diplomatic arena. In fact, battles won in the media and scientific sphere if not outweigh in importance then at the very least precede those lead by the formal leaders. 

In the past week my attention has been drawn to a successful action on the part of organized Serb diaspora in Norway that resulted in preventing Croatian and Bosnian Muslim lobbyists from falsifying the historical record concerning internees from former Yugoslavia in Norway during World War Two. 

Make no mistake, this attempt at an exibition is but a prelude of things to come, and according to some sources those "things" are here already. During the 1990s Western commentators and diplomats scorned Serb adherence to their own history as "living in the past". But derisive comments in that sense that even now appear from the usual anti-Serb suspects hide a much more sinister motive. George Orwell wrote that he who controls the past controls the future and EU/NATO power-brokers are all to aware of the truthfulness of those words, just as they are aware that their creations in the Balkans can not last in the long run if they are based on naked force and mere political circumstances. 

What they need is not, however, a legal fig-leaf over their actions, because try as they might they can not find one. What they must resort to is manufacturing historical reasons for their actions, to make it appear that the Serb people never had a just claim to the lands brutally taken away from them nor a rightful place in the echelons of civilization earned in two world wars. And it is not so much themselves that they need convincing but Serbs, because the only way to truly ensure that the present state becomes long-term and even permanent is to have the side interested in changing it relinquish such interest. The only way to achieve that is to indoctrinate the Serb population at large into their twisted version of history.

It is therefore imperative that all patriotic Serb organizations and individuals are ingaged in this battle to protect our historical memory and heritage, since to rely on the Governement of Serbia in this matter(or any other) is a fool's errand.  The battle needs to be primarily fought within our nation because it is the primary target of such assault and there are numerous ways of fighting it, from publishing pamphlets and books that reveal the truth to simple things such as educating your own children. And just as the Norwegian example shows, it is also a battle we can take to the enemy and his territory. In fact, we must, because the more he is occupied with protecting his own falsehoods (usually by entangling himself in more and more falsehoods) the less time he has to poison us with them.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Never was there a comparison more apt

I'm reporting a "man bites dog" story, or rather, an EU official actually making sense in his statements: 

The Dutch government says European countries should be allowed to exit important European institutions after joining them, including the European Union, the eurozone and the Schengen free travel zone.
In a letter to parliament Thursday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said achieving that possibility will itself require treaty changes, because the Maastricht Treaty that established the euro and Schengen Agreement don’t allow for exits.
The statement echoes remarks that Rutte made at the World Economic Forum earlier in January, when he said the EU shouldn’t be like the “Hotel California” described in the song by the rock band The Eagles as a place where “you can check out any time you like — but you can never leave.” 

Somebody should inform the Serbian government about this part I bolded.

"Hotel California" was meant as an allegory of hell so make your own judgement. As for the parallels with Serbia's relationship with the EU, you need not go any further then the lyrics to see them at first glance.