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Friday, July 15, 2005

I watched Sin City yesterday with Injenue and Icebreeze. I personally thought the show was fucking brilliant, although both Injenue and Icebreeze thought that it made no sense. I must confess here that I pretty much love Quentin Tarantino, who was a guest director for Sin City. Man, I'd go down on my knees and fellate Tarantino if he threw me a fiver, believe you me. He first made an impression on me with Pulp Fiction, followed by Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2. And now there's Sin City, which isn't really his project, but is pretty damned cool anyway.

Just so you understand the rest of this post, I shall give you some idea of what the movie was about. Sin City is a movie adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novels of the same name. It is set in a fictional city, Basin City, and is basically a series of short stories about the struggles of a few individuals who live in that city. It was filmed in black and white, with only the occasional flashes of colour to highlight something or other. It boasts a star-studded cast that includes Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Josh Hartnett, Clive Owen, Michael Rourke, Elijah Wood (he's definitely no wimpy hobbit here, heheheh) etc, just to name a few.

Ok, that was the unimportant stuff. The most important stuff is, of course, the plot and what I took from the movie. There is no singular plot. As I have said, the show was actually a series of short stories about individuals living in Sin City, and the city is just about the only thing connecting all the stories. The city is an extremely corrupt one, ruled by a corrupt Senator and a cannibalistic Cardinal. They have almost absolute power in the city, and they're pretty much above the law. Just about everyone in the city is a crook, no matter which side of the law they're on. Let's put it this way, it's definitely not a place where you'd want to raise your kids in.

The protagonists of the show aren't exactly the golden heroes of romantic novels either. They're anti-heroes with many dark sides to their nature. Killers. Whores. Or both. You see, but that's what it so brilliant. The city is absolute corruption, a total shithole of a place, and yet, these people who live there manage to show heroism against overwhelming odds. Some of them even made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives because of the values they believed in. This may or may not have been one of the objectives of the author, but it really made me think about the duality of most things.

For example, only in the absolute pits of the darkest evil can the highest deeds of heroism be performed. Beauty can only exist with contrast. If a nugget of gold were found on a mountain of gold, no one would think anything of it. If, however, you found a nugger of gold in a pile of shit, you would be overjoyed. Well, ok, maybe people would laugh at you for digging in shit in the first place, but hey, you're the one with the gold, right?

I know that my observations are hardly new, but I do feel driven to talk about them. This sort of duality between the good and the bad can be found in so many things. Take beng culture, for example. In the time when I was a teenager, our bad fad was triads and secret societies. In those days, all the rebellious kids worshipped the characters in the hit movie series from Hong Kong, 古惑仔, and wanted to be like them. Consequently, there were lots of incidences of gangsterism among secondary school students. There were gang fights and some casualties. Some of my former acquaintances got themselves into really deep shit, too. However, even those of us who grew out of it gathered one important lesson from those times. We learned the value of loyalty to "brothers". Yes, no matter what the media or the CNB ads might tell you, there are still some of us former bengs who really swallowed that loyalty shit and who would sacrifice a lot for friendship. Some people may be cynical about this sort of thing, but I think that any friend who would stand by you against more than 10 other dudes can be counted as loyal. It may be misguided loyalty, but it is loyalty all the same.

But friendship is also a double-edged sword. It is always a joy to find someone out there among all the other assholes and jerks whom you can really connect with and share experiences and secrets with, isn't it? All this joy usually lasts until you finally find something on which you do not agree but which you both feel strongly about. Then, you start to fight and you tear each other to shreds with everything you've learnt about each other. Pretty soon, you wonder what you ever saw in that person. Even if you find a friend whom you never quarrel with, what happens if that friend goes missing in one way or another? You fret and you worry about that friend, and sometimes you wonder if the joy is worth the pain.

Even life itself shows this duality between the good and the bad. We all know that we will die someday, almost from the moment that we learn to be aware of ourselves. Why are we given the miraculous gift of life, if it will only be taken from us?

But then again, isn't that what makes it all so unbearably beautiful? The contrast of colours. The highest heroism in the worst of people. The finding of something precious within dross. The gift of loyalty in your darkest hour. The discovery that you do care about someone, if only for a while. The savouring of every moment of our precious three to five scores of years before the death we know is inevitable.

That is life.

you know, i'm still a few months short to watch Sin City. is the show somewhere along the line as City Of God?

I've always wondered about something similar before: How would we know if anything was good if there was no evil?
Zhe Bin: I don't know, man. I did not watch City of God.

Ivan: *bows*
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