A Good Yarn

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I See A Light

Only two more days left to wrap things up and I think it can almost be done. I've gotten a lot of the documents I needed to draft done and I think I'll be able to finish one custody report tomorrow. That leaves one home study which I know I won't be able to finish because a key person I need to talk to is gone until Monday. So, I'll have some stuff to finish up in the evenings and weekend after I start the new job, but it's doable, I think. It's been really hard to tell the kids that I'm leaving.

I took a break and saw this documentary on Tuesday night:

In English, Terror's Advocate. It's about French lawyer Jacques Verges, who has made a career of defending various terrorists, dictators and other unpopular clients. Verges' mother was Vietnamese, so he says that he knows what it's like to be discriminated against and colonized. He seems to see his work as defending those who have been colonized and discriminated against, too. The film is very dense and involved and I think my lack of knowledge of world politics hampered my understanding, especially in some parts that were setting up a theory that Verges maybe went beyond just zealous legal representation. He's a fascinating character, with a lot of contradictions, so I enjoyed the film when it was more concentrated on him and his motives. The political intrigue sometimes lost my attention, but it was necessary to understand the theory that Verges crossed a line. Verges disappeared for 8 years and refuses to say more than that he went underground. The director, Barbet Schroeder, uses STASI survellience records and interviews with people who knew Verges to suggest he was involved in activities with the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal. There's even a knitting reference - Carlos insists that his live-in girlfriend "get her hands dirty" since she knows so much about his activities. She's arrested for planting a bomb and Verges represents her at the trial. She ends up in prison for 4 years and Verges visits her something like 150 times during that period - the implication is clear that he's got a personal relationship with his client and that he probably used his private meetings with her to do more than discuss legal strategies - very dangerous when she's involved with a man like Carlos the Jackal. Anyway, Verges shows us a sweater that the woman knit for him while she was in prison - and later she slying says that she didn't knit Carlos a sweater -wink wink nudge nudge. Knitting is so sexy! Anyway, it's a pretty interesting documentary, but a bit dry if you're not familiar with middle-eastern politics.

This film was expected to perhaps be nominated for an Academy Award, but the short list was revealed last week and this is not on it. Every year the Academy releases a list of 15 finalists for the nominations before it releases the final nominations, so that members have a chance to see as many of the potential nominees as possible. This year it seems like so many really good documentaries have been left off the short list: Air Guitar Nation, King of Kong, The Davil Came on Horseback, In the Shadow of the Moon, Crazy Love, Darfur Now, Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains, Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, Kurt Cobain: About a Son, My Kid Could Paint That and Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. I haven't yet seen every single one of those, but I've seen most of them and they all have gotten really good reviews. If you like documentaries, I'd highly recommend adding them to your Netflix list. I've only seen two of the short listed documentaries, but I liked them both very much. I really wanted to see a couple of the others when they were here, but documentaries typically only play a week at the most, so if you're busy that particular week, you're out of luck. It's frustrating. Anyway, here's the list of semi-finalists, if you will:

Autism The Musical
Body of War
For The Bible Tells Me So
Lake of Fire
Nanking (which played here last night only - I couldn't make it, argh!)
No End in Sight
Operation Homecoming
Please Vote for Me
The Price of Sugar
A Promise to the Dead
The Rape of Europa
Taxi to the Dark Side
White Light/Black Rain