Who goes to see a blockbuster on a Saturday night a few days after its release? A whole lot of hardcore fans, many movie buffs, some fools, and me. And Silvia. And Seida.
It was actually Silvia’s idea. It was nuts, so I went along. Let’s meet after work, she said. I’ll be there at 7:30 pm, I answered. I got there at 7:25. The movie was showing at 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:45, 10:00; 10:30, 11:00 and 11:30. The first 4 or 5 shows were sold out. What’s the earliest available? we asked. 10:30. Sold, I said. I paid, got handed the tickets, and as I was reaching for them, a voice announced the 10:30 show was sold out. Pfew.
So we were told to get in line at 9:30 pm for the 10:30 pm show. The line stretched through a corridor and resembled a concert ticket sale overnight waiting line. We sat on the floor and read movie magazines. Then we were let in and sat some more while the seats filled one after another. A theatre employee was kind enough to provide distraction and trivia games, and threw new Hersheys at the crowd. It was odd.
And then the Da Vinci Code started.
Now, I’m not going to fuel the gossip and controversy that have surrounded the book and now the movie. If one wants to make an opinion about these things, there are already a millions sources out there that have taken this all too seriously and commented furiously one way or the other. So no pros and cons in my post, no black or white. A lot of grey, and some nuances.
From a cinematographic point of view, I’d say things were ok. Great actors, doing their best with a script that wasn’t always very easy to deal with. The action scenes were a little too "music-clip’ styled for my taste: flickering hand-held shots and flashing blurry visions. The technique had annoyed me in The Bourne Supremacy, it did tonight too. But Tom Hanks with longer hair is credible. Ian McKellen is up to the challenge and manages to make us forget he – recently – was a mutant. Audrey Tautou is… Well, très jolie. Jean Reno sticks to his quite successful French cop character. And Paul Bettany improvises with brio on the freak-villain genre.
But hey, so what? The movie is not about itself. It’s not about acting or directing or Hollywood or religious beliefs or theories of this and that. It’s not offering solutions or rules or dogmas. It’s just a mirror. What it really does is make you think. About yourself and your own beliefs. It’s about symbols and how we interpret them. It’s about the choices we make and the people we choose to follow. It’s about the incursion of legends into our daily lives, and why we accept some and reject others. It’s about faith, not as a religious quality but as something more universal; faith as a survival skill. As a drive and an example. As a reason. And a question.
I came out of the theatre rather happy. I had anticipated a terrible disappointment based on the rumors I’d heard form Cannes. Instead my mind was tickled. No matter how we rate The Da Vinci Code, the fact remains that it deals with what is probably the most important aspect of our society, history. And history gets distorted, that much is clear. Understanding this might be the lesson hidden behind the Code.
I find symbols fascinating and I can relate with people who spend their lives studying their meaning and separating facts from fiction. Good symbols are like a very strong thought or an excellent quote: they carry much power and need not be adjusted or revised. They can probably survive the passage of time and remain today what they were thousands of years ago. It makes me want to walk around looking for clues of the past in my daily life.
Let’s just not fight about history. It’s as ridiculous as the two drivers at an intersection arguing about who ran into the other. It’s too late for that; instead figure out how to make sure it won’t happen again.
Riding back on the night bus, surrounded by a lot of loud and inebriated younglings, I had time to wonder how we all fitted in the global picture. All of them together exhibited the mental agility of an average pig, and yet we were going the same way, on the bus and in life. The history having bred us and the symbols guiding us are the same… Tolerance is sometimes as costly as Vancouver real estate.
I got home at 3:00 am. And the tap dripped dripped dripped dripped dripped… ;-)