Sunday, July 12, 2009

How a movie can sway the lives of people. Real sentiments from real people.

How a movie can sway the lives of people. Real sentiments from real people. Your time spent reading won’t be wasted.

1. From Darryl (USA):

It was my son's favorite movie, and I can easily understand why. All his life, my son struggled with illness and the discomfort it brings. He never complained, however, making me feel a bit embarrassed whenever I tended to whine about minor problems. There were a couple of times during his teen years when we thought we'd lose him, but he'd fight back. He never appreciated anyone's pity. He hated to be doted upon. And yet, he was the kindest, most compassionate person I've ever known. All of the kids at the hospital were attracted to him; because he wasn't only nice, he was so brave (no doubt the result of knowing every doctor, nurse, and candy-striper after years of going in and out of the hospital). The parents of these children loved him for the way he made their kids feel more comfortable in their surroundings. He was a great looking kid, and he made friends very easily. He was always the informal leader of his group of friends (for better or worse), and it seems that he would always be attached to one girl or another. He had a great smile, and was aware of his ability to charm the socks off anyone. He used this gift unscrupulously.

My son died earlier this year, of complications relating to medication that had been prescribed to him. He was 27 years old. On Christmas day, in his memory, I will be watching his favorite film, and be inspired by it as I know he was inspired. There is one passage in there that I thought was so appropriate to his life. It comes toward the end of the movie, when Red is assessing his relationship with Andy. "Sometimes it makes me sad, though, Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are just too bright, and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them does rejoice. But still, the place you live is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."

2. From Jason Travers (New York, NY)

When I first saw it, I was going through a terrible period in my life: I had dropped out of college, quit my job, and spent my days drinking, eating, and sleeping. In a month, I had gained about 75 pounds and was becoming more depressed by the second. Suicide seemed to be the only way out. Then I saw this masterpiece. The movie has great quotes, but the two that pulled me out of the darkness were these: "Get busy living, or get busy dying. That's goddamn right," and "Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things." God, I cried when I heard those words because somehow, though it was a movie, I believed them as if they had been uttered by friends. It was like a message of hope, a simple yet undeniable revelation: like Red and Andy, I was in charge of my future. I could be brave and fight the problems I was facing, or I could chicken out and end it all. The movie changed everything. And whenever I need to remind myself why life is so priceless, I see it again. There will never be another experience like it.

3. From Tanner Fnk (Overland park, Kansas)

My grandmother once said you’ll experience only one or two things in your life that will change you forever. I know for a fact this film is one of those moments. I will never forget the first time I saw this film. Never. I remember it as one of the best days of my life. Never had I cared so much about two characters and the story of a film. I watched the first two hours of that film saying to myself," I will never see anything better then this in my whole life." Then I watched the last twenty minutes of the film. I never knew life could be so beautiful! I will never be able to express in word the ending of the film. There is not a day that goes by where I haven’t once thought about the ending or the film. It has forever changed me in the greatest way possible. It has taught me the greatest things in life are still down the road and life is indeed...oh so beautiful. The last paragraph of Morgan Freeman's narration in the film has inspired me greatly to always smile and look at beauty around you...Because it’s everywhere! I could talk forever and a day about this miracle of a film, because that’s exactly what it is. I always love watching this movie with people who have never seen it; it’s like experiencing my first time all over again! It’s funny. I never knew that what my grandmother was talking about would someday be this film, I thank god this film came into my life, because I know I would be a much different person without it. Thank you Shawshank Redemption!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bridge on the River Kwai – The Hollywood masterpiece shot in Ceylon

I had heard of The Bridge on the River Kwai back when I was a kid. It wasn’t much – just that the film was shot in some Sri Lankan locations. I only got hold of the disk from an MC joint a couple of weeks back and was able to watch it just a few days back. The movie is of such cinematic brilliance, which makes me feel regret of the age I took to press play. The plot for the movie is loosely based on the British POWs who were forced to build a bridge over the river Kwai in Burma. This 7 Academy Award winning British 1957 World War II masterpiece was filmed almost entirely in Ceylon. 1957 may seem too far away; yet, the 1997 film restoration was done to the very last wrinkle, and the unfolding utter picturesque sceneries of Ceylon is an unforgettable pleasure to watch. Spanning across the beds of Kelani river in Kithulgala (where the legendary $250,000 wooden bridge was constructed and destroyed before S.W.R.D Bandaranayake’s entourage), panoramic views high above from Diyathalawa, blossomed flower fields of Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, and finally extending to the Mt. Lavinia beach in the west, The Bridge on the River Kwai is the ultimate and solitary signature of Sri Lankan splendor in Hollywood. In my opinion, it’s a movie that every Sri Lankan should experience – the marvels English did on our soil. It’s also one of those rare movies where each minute spent before the screen pays off in the end.

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