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Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Writer's Life 6/10 - Words & Pictures

The Arrival (2016) was nominated for eight Oscars, winning for Sound Editing. I caught up to it last night courtesy of Netflix. It is far more cerebral than most Hollywood sci-fi. The story concerns the landing of 12 space craft across the globe. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner play specialists assigned to communicate with the aliens at the Montana site. They are supervised by a Colonel played by Forest Whitaker, a character refreshingly free of stereotyping. Of course, the main question is why have the visitors come? I didn't know the answer until I googled for explanations of the film, which led me to an excellent Q & A at Adams' character gradually begins to understand the gist of the foreign language, its symbols. Clues come from the past and future, as the aliens show that time is not linear. Will she make a breakthrough before fear compels parts of the world to attack the unknowns? The screenplay was adapted by Eric Heisserer from The Story of Your Life, a short piece by Ted Chiang, who has not written many works but has nonetheless received numerous awards in the genre. Denis Villeneuve, a Canadian, directed. He was at the helm of two other movies I enjoyed: Incendies (2010) and Prisoners (2013). He is currently in post production on Blade Runner 2049, which I look forward to. Although I doubt it will reach the heights of the classic that preceded it, it's reassuring to know a fine talent is in charge of the sequel. The Arrival is not only an artistic success, it fared well at the box office, bringing in $100 million in the USA alone on a budget of $47 million. It runs a bit less than two hours. Those who prefer slam-bang sci-fi should probably pass. 348,000+ users at IMDb have rated the flick, forging to a consensus of eight on a scale of ten. The only aspect I didn't like was the dark lighting throughout most of the narrative. I'll hazard a guess and say it probably reflects that mankind is still in the dark in terms of universal knowledge. Here's a still:

Sometimes real life imitates the movies. Remember the harrowing scene in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) when a flock of seagulls (not the new wave band) attacked school kids, and then the hilarious lampoon of it in Mel Brooks' High Anxiety (1977) when pigeons pooped on him? Well, 17 people, including six children, were hit by bird droppings at Disneyland by a flock of geese. The folks were taken to a private restroom and given clean clothes.

There was an event dubbed Body Notes in the heart of Manhattan, Times Square. Here's a pic:

My thanks to the gentleman who bought a book in Russian, to the elderly woman who purchased Lisa Gardner's Right Behind You, to Monsey, who added Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo to her collection, and to the gentleman who donated a cache of fiction and non, English and Russian, which includes Thomas Mann's Death in Venice.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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