Wednesday, November 12, 2008


the man who wasn't there

That evening, I went to the video store and almost rented “Wuthering Heights,” then switched to “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” then, feeling haunted in a dumb way, ended up renting nothing at all.

well, her loss really. that came from a short story that i read in a back issue of the new yorker (March 24, 2008) a couple of nights ago. it's one of those literary sci-fi short stories that got you hooked because you wanted to know 'what happens next'.

i've not been reading much fiction lately and come to think of it i've never finished any fucking "booker fictions" since god knows when. the last one i did was many years ago . it was the folding star , a great book by alan hollinghurst, much better than the line of beauty in my opinion (which i managed to read half way through before other books hijacked my interest away from it). i'm a bit tired with all this smart ass writing with no real meat in it but that doesn't mean i am out of love with good writings. it's just that the moment someone says 'literary fiction' i feel like throwing up. it's not them . it's just me . i think i'm getting stupider by the day. to finish a 400 page 'literary' fiction these days seems like a very daunting task and is a torture rather than a pleasure as it should be. but i won't be touching any sophie fucking kinsella any time soon. not in this life time anyway.

and as a compromise i suppose, i go and read short stories. good literary ones i might add. in the new yorker or story or granta ...all those good literary weeklies and quarterlies. and as i said i read this story The Region of Unlikeness by one young lady with a very exotic name. Rivka Galchen. i know absolutely nothing about this writer so as usual i turned to the net bible (the wikipedia) and an entry about her is there. so i suppose she has arrived as a somebody. a writer in this particular case.

and while i was at it (googling wiki) just for fun i typed a few big local names - or probably more appropriate to call them 'glocal' personalities- a term derisively dismissed by just about everybody (except umno assholes) coined by that guy najib tun razak in a fit of inspiration a while back to describe this kind of successes. and there it was. tash aw is there. but preeta hasn't yet. or may be i just misspelt her name. may be i spelt it as preeta rasamasam. that can't be right?! but amir muhammad(director) is there. so this man with so much potential but despite everything managed to make some of the worst films in the world has arrived. well done!

but to tell the truth i'm greatly dissapointed with amir's films. yes i've never seen worse films in my life. however i must say this . it has to be just me. or it could be because of my worse half. (one good advice; always blame women for any wrongs in the world). one time i went to watch an amir muhammad movie at the matic (i think that's what it was called) under the royal selangor club padang which is now no more - i think.. the whole place was flooded several years back in one of those famous kl flash flood. the unfortunate thing was this. i went to see the films ( lthe big durian , mona fandey and one or two other local art house movies and documentaries) and for some forgotten reason me and my worse half had a 'war' - as one of my vietnamese goat friends refer to the usual family tiffs- on that night.

and on my way back this worse half of mine kept on chiding me for bringing her to see crappy movies where perverts sniffed shoes etc ( amir muhammad's lips to lips). and another time when i brought home a pirated copy of lelaki komunis terakhir (the last communist) she just said; you and your shoe sniffing movies again. i said, it is not! it is a good movie. lets watch. but she just went and make bubur kacang in the kitchen within ten minutes. and she was right. it's one of the worst documentaries i've ever seen . it's certainly no crumb.the only thing i find mildly interesting is the scene where this guy was explaining different varieties of petais. but what the fuck petais have anything to do with chin peng our great last communist was beyond me.

i don't get it. i couldn't get it. it must be me. i own up, all these art house movies are beyond me. i can't remember but i've already mentioned somewhere . all art house movies are like watching turtles fucking. the idea of watching sex act is always interesting , but turtles fucking? and that's how most art house movies are. they are the equivalent of, yes, literary fictions. both are variations of turtle fucking.

but just like literary fictions, art house movies can and do grow on you. if you perservere , and be patient enough to give your full concentration turtle fucking CAN be very interesting and you don't have to be david attenborough to enjoy it. and that brings me back to that sentence in the short story above. i don't know about wuthering height (the movie) but i sure as hell know "the man who wasn't there". this black and white coen brothers' film is the quintessential art house/turtle fucking movie. but a great one at that. it won the best director award and was nominated for the palm d'or at cannes film festival (2001).

i first watched it on singapore airlines on the way to new york quite a few years ago. and by the way, singapore airlines is my preferred airline. singapore may be the most boring country in the whole of the universe, but you got to give it to them. they have the best airline in the world. MAS? i avoid it like a plague.

i was sitting beside this guy in business class (company money mah) and to be friendly i just asked what line of work he did and he mentioned someting about 'investment banker'. so i just shut up and clicked the remote and out of the 80 or so films available i just watched the man who wasn't there TWICE all the way to NYC. that was how good it was.

but if you want to watch the ultimate turtle fucking movie i think nothing can beat Bela Tarr's satantango. a seven hour plus hungrarian film in black and white. incidently a guy with a strange monicker pan tat ( which translates as "cunt") posted a comment in my recent post with a very good turtle fucking movie discussion blog site and the last entry was on bela tarr.

i may not get too many comments in my blog but one thing is for sure. i sure get interesting people visiting mine. people with brains! i don't get ball licker assholes like those that post comments in dr M's hugely popular blog che det. i imagine mahathir must be quite dissapointed with so many apple polishing retards hanging around his blog . i would if i were him.

ps;, i found out that the new yorker story i mentioned is available on line . you can read it here.

Love your blog. Could you plse drop me a line?

Best wishes,
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