Posts Tagged ‘little people’

Thumbelina- retold ©
The Feminist moment was at its height when Margaret a woman of thirty and single wanted to have a child. She approached a sperm bank and found a donor for the purpose. As required of her she signed the necessary papers and Life.Inc., agreed to try out a method never tried before.  This impersonal technique of choosing a child was new so her doctor monitored her progress and did everything that she could bring the child to the world without subjecting the mother or her baby to any risks whatsoever. In due course Margaret had a baby.  The baby was sound as any normal child but so tiny. She was as big as a man’s thumb. So she was called Thumbelina.
Science proved the world wrong and medical Science went on from strength to strength. Only that Thumbelina’s personal battle had just begun.
Growing up with everyday objects at home was as perilous as a walk in the park. A box of chocolates that her mother had always on hand was as risky as a sudden brisk wind. Her mother saw to that she did not get stuck in chocolate by securing in a spool of wool by her work-table. Unfortunately the cat took a fancy to ball of wool and went on playing with it. Poor Thumbelina was carried away against her will as far as the birdbath where the cat was distracted by some house-tits that drank from it.
Thumbelina somehow extricated herself only to stare at a toad that stood in her path.
The toad was so pleased to see a girl as pretty as she was tiny. ‘Why are you gallivanting in this weather?’
‘Oh I just thought I would look for Mr. Handsome.’ Thumbelina was bright and knew how to put words to good use. The scabrous Toad, an oaf that he looked closely at her. ‘My son is Mr. Handsome. I shall take you to meet him’.
He asked her to sit on his back and conversationally he said,’You don’t mind getting wet. Do you?’ He was negotiating his way through a gutter overflowing and she said quietly,’I don’t mind as long as I am not asked to drink it.’

At last he took her to his home where his son was sulking for some reason. Thumblina thought she had never set sights on a more hideous toad. Before her host introduced his son he whispered, ‘He is a toad of few words. You may find it somewhat a redeeming feature in otherwise appalling qualities’.  The young toad sure enough stuck his tongue out to pick up Thumbelina. But for Mr. Toad’s insistence to leave her alone he would have hurt her. He put her down and said, ‘Croak, croak.’
Thumbelina was certain Master Toad was not ready for her hand.
‘Why not?’ Mr. Toad could not believe. ‘No one had said no to him’ he said surprised. ‘No one has said ‘yes’ either.’ Mr. Toad thought for awhile and nodded.’You are right.’
A fine drizzle turned into rain and it soon began to fill the drains and somewhere a pipe burst and the ground became filled with water. Mr. Toad dragging his sire by hand said without even looking back, ’You keep the house while we are out.’ Then they were gone.
Thumbelina could not help saying,’ Mr.Toad takes too much for granted.’
‘Life is like that’, she heard some one speak gruffly and there stood Mr. Mole as large as life.
She raised her eyebrows in amazement. Mr. Mole blandly said,’What is a nice girl like you doing in a dump like this?’
Thumbelina could not contain her surprise,’I thought moles are blind.’ Mr. Mole tittered,’You should not judge others by hearsay. ‘I know this is a dump and you are not suited  to keep the house of a toad who is neither here or there.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Mr. Toad wants to make a splash as a nabob and waxes eloquent of making the world better. But whenever given an occasion he seeks seamier side of life.’
Thumbelina fell silent. Mr. Mole came closer to say,’ Take me for example, I love low life and I thrive in it.’ Hearing no response he became confidential. He suggested,’You come along. I will show you low life in its worst. I am the purveyor of all things awful.’’
Thumbelina shuddered. She had to keep her distance from Mr. Mole. His very closeness made her uneasy. She mused,‘If only I could fly away on the wings of a swallow!’ But there was none in view. She noticed that the sky had cleared. She knew that she had no chance of coming across a swallow unless she went out in the open. ‘Anyway I shall be get going,’ she said as if to no one and stepped out. Sure enough she saw a swallow a-winging.

She called out, ’Hello Mr. Swallow wait for me’. The bird quickly careened without breaking his flight to get closer. Thumbelina asked, ‘Will you give me a ride, friend?’
The bird said, ’Why not, Get on my back’. He made another turn to fly still lower and said, ‘I cannot stop since the wind is on my back. So you have to take a chance.’
Thumbelina did not mind. She made a run and leaped. Unfortunately she missed and she fell with a thud. It hurt and she let out a cry.
There was her mother wondering why was she crying for. Indulgently she picked up her from the work-table. Putting her back in the basket she said,
‘Thumbelina, you have been dreaming again!’



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Los Olvidados/The Forgotten Ones is a film directed by Luis Buñuel, which stands apart from his other works. As with great creative artists, Buñuel is multifaceted. Consider the sheer range of his output! Between his surrealist phase (Un Chien Andalou, L’Age D’Or) and his last which were done in Europe (Belle de Jour)  falls the present film and it is a bitter indictment of poverty.
Over an opening montage of the some famous landmarks – the Manhattan skyline, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower – the narrator sets down the film’s motto: “behind every beautiful city are poor children.”
In one of the film’s early scenes, we see Jaibo, a gang leader, beats his rival Julian to death in the shadow of a half-built high-rise building. Yes beneath the secular cathedral reaching out to the sky things are as before: it is a shadowy world where desperation turns the knife where it will. The plot concerns Jaibo and his associate, Pedro, and their efforts to evade punishment for Julian’s death. The gang leader is sly and intelligent and we see through the eyes of Pedro his predicament. The hold of the more brutal and older Jaibo has the nightmarish clarity of a waking dream.
There is a dream( the surrealist in Buñuel cannot resist I suppose) and it is brilliant. For Pedro the only softening hold, like security blanket is his mother.  In Pedro’s dream the disturbing sight of Julian’s bloody dead body under the bed is offset by the pacifying visage of his mother, soothing him, “Listen, you’re not that bad. I’d like to be with you all the time.” Pedro offers to work in support of his mother, but wonders why she refused him any of the meat she had served to her other children. She smiles, and walks in his direction in slow motion, a rotting slab of diseased-looking meat in her hand. As she walks, a long, distended hand emerges from beneath the bed, looking supernaturally extended as it grasps at the meat. This hand is revealed to be Jaibo’s, at which point the dream ends.

The dream exposes the rot like the worm in the forbidden fruit at the Garden of Eden, and Pedro must live with it. As a coda to this we hear Pedro tells his mother who leaves him at the Farm School,“ Just now you remember that I’m your son”.  Between the harsh reality represented in Jaibo and redemption that his mother  holds out to him, his life has drawn from both and how he is torn by it makes a powerful film.
Alfonso Mejía, Estela Inda, Roberto Cobo, Migual Inclán, Efraín Arauz, Alma Delia Fuentes

Óscar Dancigers, the producer, asked Buñuel to direct this film after the success of the 1949 film El Gran Calavera. Buñuel already had a script ready titled ¡Mi huerfanito jefe! about a boy who sells lottery tickets. However, Dancigers had in mind a more realistic and serious depiction of children in poverty in Mexico City.

After conducting some research, Jesús Camacho and Buñuel came up with a script that Dancigers was pleased with. The film can be seen in the tradition of social realism, although it also contains elements of surrealism present in much of Buñuel’s work.

It is considered number two among the 100 best movies of the cinema of Mexico and earned Best Director and Best Film awards at the Cannes Film Festival.
*  UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. This film and ‘Fritz Lang”s Metropolis (1927) are the first two movies (and in 2004, the only two movies) with this recognition.

* Recently a ninth roll off the movie was found after decades of thinking that the movie only had eight. The ninth roll includes an alternative “happy” ending, and is included in a new DVD released in Mexico with a book about the movie.

* When it was released in Mexico in 1950, its theatrical commercial run only lasted for three days due to the enraged reactions from the press, government, and upper and middle class audiences.

* The film unfolds exactly in 365 shots.
Duration of the film: 88minutes

(Ack: wikipedia,sensesoffilm- Saul Austerlitz)

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