Sunday, January 20, 2008

色,戒 (short story, long film)

The secret police chief wore a grave and serious expression. It was the troubled look of a man who could have still been doing kung fu movies if he hadn’t fallen out of a bamboo tree whilst defeating the forces of evil in his last film. It was clear there had been words with the director about having a flying part in this film, the insurers insisting on giving his character a chauffeur instead, and making him a baddy. Milly leaned over her popcorn. 'Mummy', she whispered. It had seemed a good idea to take the children to the cinema, less so when we got there and found we couldn’t get into Enchanted but the children were interested in the far east after their cousin had told them she was going to China this summer to spend a couple of weeks lounging by a pool over there, and very proud we all were too that she had got into the british Olympic swimming team, so getting tickets for Lust, Caution instead had seemed a good idea at the time.

'Mummy!' whispered Milly (woman moaning), ‘what is that man doing to that lady?’ I sighed. (sigh). ‘Look darling’, I explained, ‘You really must try and get used to reading subtitles for when you grow up and become an intellectual so please try and follow the plot dear’. Milly raised her eyebrows. ‘I didn’t mean the man on the screen mummy, I meant the man in the front row’. Well, I suppose I should have anticipated some awkward questions. (man sitting in next row behind going Shuush!) ‘I think his girlfriend lapsed into a coma during the last mahjong scene and he’s reviving her dear’, I ventured. Milly looked uncertain. ‘Mummy’, she continued, ‘yes dear?’ I replied. 'Why is this film so long?' Ah, the poor innocent child. She has so much to learn. 'It's character building dear', I explained, 'maintaining the same position for hours on end is part of kung fu training'. My daughter had the expression that told me her curiosity was not satisfied. ‘How can Tilly and I get in to see an 18 film when we’re only 7 anyway?’ she asked. ‘Because’, I began, trying not to sound like it the answer was really obvious to me as a grown up, ‘This is an Ang Lee film so you’ll probably turn 18 before the end, so it’s OK darling’. ‘Oh’ said Milly, clearly still not satisfied. ‘So Mummy..’I tried to remain patient. ‘Is that what men and ladies really do to each other?’ ‘Look’ I said, wishing to draw this conversation to a close, ‘It’s nearly eight years since you were conceived', (hotdog going limp), 'How am I supposed to remember?’

My daughter opened her fizzy drink (pop) and went back to eating her popcorn (crackle). 'Milly!' I snapped (snap), a little irritated, 'use your chopsticks or you'll show us all up!' Now I began to think that perhaps I had been mistaken to bring the children to the cinema at all. It’s not that I don’t encourage the girls to ask questions; Is crouching tiger a sexual position? Is Lust, Caution hailed for it’s realism because it actually lasts as long as the Japanese occupation of China? Is it true that the resistance leader did actually say listen very carefully I shall say ziz only once but this was edited out of the subtitles? Why was it necessary to subtitle the sound effects and English dialogue? But sometimes I just want to watch the film. My attention returned to the screen. I didn't think the heroine could keep her secret much longer. I just hoped my daughters would hold out a bit longer when questioned by my London friends as to whether foreign films were shown in the North. I had my reputation to think of and I hadn't even confessed to my chums back home that there was television north of Watford yet. Returning my attention to the film the sinister secret police chief was clearly planning to have his wicked way with the heroine again. He took off his shirt and undid his belt ( things looking up). I looked across to Milly and Tilly to check they were not too shocked by a naked man in the bedroom but they were both sleeping soundly. They grow up so fast nowadays, sigh


mutterings and meanderings said...

More to the point, Rilly dear, were you shocked by the sight of a naked man in the bedroom?

aims said...

Hotdog going limp....good one Rilly.

So - are you saying it's worth seeing? Or that there's a lot of nudity and sex - so then it's worth seeing?

(it must have ended or did you take your laptop with you?)

Frog in the Field said...

Must get to the cinema, the only thing between me and darling husband is a little girl, a skinny girl and a bigger girl. We had a whole night on our own while the girls had a sleepover, and felt really naughty being on our own in our own bed!

rilly super said...

M&M, well, to be honest, actually by the time recognition dawned it was all over, story of my life, sigh

aims dear, I suppose I sometimes feel in the cinema like a poor little unfed orphan girl standing barefoot in the snow looking in through the steamed up window of a warm cake shop for three hours. I suppose you could say this particular film is a story woven as finely as the silk dresses worn by the heroine, but also as thinly and although you probably shouldn't rely on my exerience, with today being offically the most depressing day of the year you might want to leave this one untill the days are a little longer, sigh

frog in the field, thanks ever so for dropping by. I can assure you that you are among friends here my dear and you have no reason at all to feel naughty for getting a good night's sleep whilst the children are away.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

it sounds tantamount to child abuse to subject them to such a tedious film...

go on tell us, which one is the cousin?! Give me a clue, first column? Second?!

rilly super said...

ah PITK, you are wise and I know you are right. Actually, even before your comment I had decided to pretty much abandon the childcare self help book I've been following this week and in fact I've a mind to ask Claire Verity for my money back, sigh

@themill said...

Any naked men in your bedroom recently, Rilly sweetie?

Eats Wombats said...

This is making me feel old. My children warn me when there are scenes on TV not suitable for parents. Last time I went to the cinema with the youngest I fell alseep. It was Lord of the Rings III and the last 40 minutes felt like 400 years and it was hot.

But... I have just realized that I haven't heard any tiresome references to MY PRECIOUS for a long time.

Are we in the home stretch to the empty nest?

"QUICK, Let's have sex on the sofa!" I suggest to the boss, and we laugh, and nothing happens. I need to come home with lipstick on my collar.