Saturday, January 17, 2009

Movie Mystery

I got on the bike/trainer combo last night, so I turned on the TV and found a move. Hey, it's The Last Samurai, and I haven't seen that. And I've been to Japan and all, and even read up bits about 19th century Japan and stuff (but just bits).

Movies like that are a bit of a mystery to me, really. I mean, Orientalism and other works on race and western culture have pretty much helped me understand why it is that a single white male will always find a cooperative Asian (or "Oriental") female. Those works also help me understand why it is that the white male taken captive by people of color will always end up hanging around with the highest ranking person in the area.

Aside: I can't help wonder when I see that happen in films how that would work in real life. Imagine, if you will, a scenario in which some folks from, say, Mexico are caught having crossed the border illegally into Texas. Imagine with me, the authorities saying, "well, you're our prisoner now, but fortunately, the mayor of our town has an extra bedroom, so you can stay there with his [always a "his" in these films] family and learn English almost overnight while we figure out what to do with you." That would just make everything feel so much friendlier, wouldn't it?

Back to my real question, though. I'm riding along, paying semi-attention to the film (look cherry blossoms! It's hanami season!), and there's a huge battle, with men just dropping like flies. Howitzers! Gatling guns!

How is it that the white guy is the very last person on the battlefield to die? Statistically, that just seems way unlikely, especially since he's riding at the front of the bunch along with the highest ranking Japanese guy, who also, shockingly enough, survives the fight mostly (until the white guy kills him by request).

Is that even imaginable in a real battle? (I must confess, I've been no closer to a real battle than the Ring War in Everquest, which was quite the event when we first did it, but death has a whole other meaning in a game.) But didn't Nelson die pretty early in the Battle of Trafalgar? (Because, after all, the sharpshooters were always looking to kill the important/officer looking folks standing around directing things.)

I got bored/tired of riding the bike on the trainer, and turned the movie off after the white guy killed the highest ranking guy he'd been fighting with. I'm guessing he died shortly thereafter, or maybe was killed himself?

I DID like the journal bit, where he gave his journals to the photographer to use for his book. I like texts that play with their supposed sources while they do their thing.

(Today I went out and tried skiing again, and fell several times, once on my rear. Why is it that falling on my rear hurts way more than on my knees, and shakes the confidence in my legs? I tried skate skiing, and it's HARD!)

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen the movie, but I'm guessing the white guy is the last one to die because he is played by Tom Cruise ;-).

    Seriously, I like your scenario for the reverse-roles version of this plot.