Yet More Words on Marriage Equality

Marriage is, at its core, a social contract. Two adults pledge to be responsible for each other. If they want to add a spiritual or religious element to it, they have the freedom to do so.

If marriage were purely a faith-based institution, the federal and state governments would have no legal basis for enacting any laws relating to marriage. Adults would only be able to file taxes as individuals – at most their spouses would be dependents (a whole other can of worms). Spouses would be obliged to testify against each other (maybe that’s just a TV thing). There would be no divorce – good luck getting your records after the split.

On June 6, will it be legal for all consenting adults to marry each other, regardless of gender, or will there be enough religious fanatics in Washington to force the issue to a popular vote? We’ll just have to wait and see.

My Next Great Idea: Returnable Shampoo Bottles

I’ve been thinking lately about water bottles (who isn’t?) and it led me to thinking about shampoo bottles. The average American surely goes through much fewer in a year than the evil store-bought water bottle, but we still must go through quite a few. So I got an idea. There could be a little return receptacle at the grocery store/pharmacy where consumers can place their empties while picking up their new bottle. When the distributor comes to refill the shelf, they take the empties back to the distribution center, and then they make their way back in bulk to the manufacturer. There they get washed and stuff, and then refilled. If the bottles now are not in a reusable state, they may need a redesign, or maybe they just need to be melted and reformed, I don’t know.

I’d like to start a pilot program with a smaller company – I was thinking Giovanni since I use their product – and see how it goes. It may be an idea that fails miserably, but it may be the start of something much bigger.

Sensational View! *sizzle*

Last night I had the opportunity to see Tabloid, which is currently in limited release in the US. Primarily an interview of Joyce McKinney after the fact, the film shows what can be accomplished if one completely disregards the thoughts and opinions of others and acts accordingly. Ms. McKinney almost literally goes by the beat of her own drummer and got into a bit of trouble because of that, back in the 1970s. She followed her one true love to England where she ultimately was to stand trial for kidnapping said true love. Much happened – or didn’t happen, depending on who’s telling – before and after the alleged kidnapping, which is revealed bit by bit as the film goes on. Delusional or completely truthful, McKinney is a unique individual who managed to give a small group of people quite a wild ride. A bit odd at times, there were moments which caused me to laugh out loud. The story is ridiculous in the best sense of the word.

SIFF 2011 Day 11: And So It Ends

My final day at SIFF was one of annoyance and melancholy.
After a morning of Vampire Diaries on DVD, I headed over to SIFF Cinema (conveniently located!) for Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians. I watched this film mainly because a friend of mine would be referenced in it. As it turns out, Benjamin had quite a bit more screen time than I had anticipated, and I was surprised and delighted to see his wife, also my friend, Megan on-screen as well. (It really should not be a surprise to see Megan on the silver screen, and if you have spent ten minutes with her, you’d know why.) It is really difficult for me to write objectively about this film for the very fact that it’s about self-proclaimed Christians. The film follows a team of blackjack players made up of primarily pastors and other “devout” Christians. I use the capital C to emphasize that the appellate is more name than description. The only player that seemed a true christian to me was Mark, the pastor who quit because he could no longer correlate his spiritual life with his casino life. The filmmaker of Holy Rollers was on hand for a Q&A but I felt my mind would burst if I had to listen to more of the claptrap. So I left during the credits and headed to Pacific Place for my final film.
The evening ended with a sorrowful Belgium film called Illégal. A single mother of one has made her way in Belgium as a cleaner for nearly ten years when she is randomly spotted by police and detained for lack of papers. Not wanting to be deported back to Russia, she hides her identity from authorities while waiting out her time at a detention center. She suffers while also bonding with fellow detainees. A guard at the center empathizes with the foreigners although she needs the job to support her own family. Events reach a cresendo at the center, bringing the guard to a turning point and bringing a sincere tear to my eye. Illégal is available on DVD and will be on Netflix Instant Watching in July.

SIFF 2011 Day 10: Crop circles, or Corpsicles?

Friday night found me again at the Harvard Exit for All Your Dead Ones (Todos Tus Muertos), a sort of social commentary out of Colombia. A farmer finds a pile of dead bodies in his corn field on election day. The tempo was a little off in my opinion (surprising, then, that action junkie Toni liked it), but there were some nice, comic moments. I expected more activity from the dead – I know, that’s a peculiar thing to say, but I think you’ll get what I’m saying if you read any reviews. One of the actors was in the house for the screening and was able to shed some light on the political landscape of Colombia which made the film, for me, much more understandable and enjoyable. (I was also impressed with myself for how much of his spoken Spanish I was able to understand.) I didn’t really understand the reason for bookending the film with scenes of the farmer having sex with his wife, but I suppose in retrospect it was a way of “grounding” the story in the reality of the day which was, in it’s own weird way, supernatural. I don’t expect All Your Dead Ones to have a US theatrical release, so look for it on DVD.

SIFF 2011 Day 09: Listen Up

One of the highlights of this festival for me was seeing Sound of Noise, a Swedish film about music appreciation, if you will. Written around a group of renegade musicians, it is a presentation of a work for “one city and six drummers” in four movements. The musicians’ comic foil is a tone-deaf policeman from a family of accomplished musicians. There was very little in the way of plot, but who cares when you can watch the masterpiece unfold in Malmö? Instruments were front-end loaders, jack hammers, electrical cables, respirators, and even a human body. For someone like me who responds to percussion, it is a sonic delight. Hopefully Sound of Noise will see at least a limited run in theatres outside the festival circuit. If not, look out for it on Netflix.