Watched The Interpreter tonight.
Directed by Sydney Pollack.
Starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn.
I loved it.
* * *
I thought I'd share some words from the film.
The scene is riveting.
The words are poetry.
* * *
We don't name the dead. Everyone who loses somebody wants revenge on someone. On God if they can't find anyone else.
And in Africa, In Matobo, the Ku believe that the only way to end grief is to save a life.
If someone is murdered, a year of mourning ends with a ritual that we call 'the drowning man trial.'
There's an all-night party beside the river. At dawn, the killer is put in a boat. He's taken out on the water. He's bound so that he can't swim.
The family of the dead then has to make a choice. They can let him drown, or they can swim out and save him.
The Ku believe that if the family lets the killer drown, they'll have justice, but spend the rest of their lives in mourning.
But if they save him, if they admit that life isn't always just, that very act can take away their sorrow.
Vengeance is a lazy form of grief.
* * *
I've been thinking lately about a scene from a play I wrote five years ago: End of the Line. I thought I'd share it with you on this Valentine's Day.
* * *
In one of the final scenes, Maria has just broken up with her boyfriend. She's at a bus station, not far from her sister's. She's trying to get up the nerve to call and ask for help.
She's just run into her old first-grade teacher, Mrs. Drayer. They watch a young couple leave the station, arms around each other, smiling. They've just made up.
DRAYER: See what happens when you aren’t afraid to ask?
DRAYER: Well, then. Isn’t it about time you call your sister again on that little phone you have there?
MARIA: Dixie's busy. Her best friend's in town. They're taking Candace to the Zoo –
DRAYER: Think how much she'd enjoy having her favorite aunt go along.
MARIA: They don’t want to hear about my problems.
DRAYER: Talk to your sister after your niece has gone to bed. She might be able to give you a fresh perspective on your young man.
DRAYER: What did you tell your sister? When you called her?
MARIA: I didn’t want to bother her. She told me –
DRAYER: You have to tell people you need help, Maria. You find it easy to give. Much harder to take. Love demands as much as it gives. Go on. Call her.
(MARIA gets out her cell phone. Punches in the number.)
DRAYER: And don’t give up until she tells you she’s coming to get you.
MARIA: Dixie? Yeah, it's me. ... Hey, I'm at the bus station on 49th and -- You can? ... Okay. ... See you in a few.
(She looks over at DRAYER, who sits with her eyes closed. Her hands rest in her lap.)
MARIA: Thank you.
(DRAYER looks over. Smiles at her. Takes her hands and covers them with her own.)
DRAYER: You're welcome. So while we’re waiting for your sister, how about joining me for my evening prayers?
(MARIA looks around cautiously, but DRAYER simply begins talking.)
DRAYER: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth, as it is in heaven.
(MARIA joins in)
BOTH: Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us, And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
(When Drayer is done, she rises and gives Maria a hug. Yelp of a DOG in the background.)
MARIA: What was that?
DRAYER: What? Oh, that’s Zack.
MARIA: No, that prayer. What do you think it means?
DRAYER: Those people around you today? Did you notice what they had to do to get help?
MARIA: They had to ask.
DRAYER: Yeah. (rising) I've got to go.