Slow West (2015)
Note1: Another fine short film (84 mins) from the school of If you feel you have a story to tell, then you may as well tell it straight. A good storyteller has no need for padding. Just think of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, Walker’s The Color Purple, Roché’s Jules and Jim, et al. At this point, I feel morally obliged to mention that both Helena: The Small Town Throwdown and Igor: Wrong Place Wrong Time each contain just over 60,000 words.
Note2: “Slow West” juxtaposes innocence with experience. Enthusiasm with jadedness. Romanticism with earthiness. Jay’s hologram-like presence with Silas’s weary earthiness. But, unlike many other movies with the same general premise, “Slow West” isn’t about the loss of innocence; it’s about the power of true and open heart to transform and redeem even the most villainous of sinners and show them the way home.
Note3: When I say sinners… Did you know the original meaning of New Testament Greek word for sin (ἁμαρτία hamartia) is missing the mark, especially in spear-throwing? Hebrew word hata (=sin) originates in archery, and literally refers to missing the gold at the centre of a target, but still hitting the target – in other words, a mere error.
Note1: “Slow West” is a Western. As a general rule, I’ve been successfully avoiding Westerns ever since, as a ten-year-old, I saw “Soldier Blue” – the uncut version (Yugoslav state TV was great like that; no cutting, no dubbing, no content censorship, just plenty of pure unadulterated fun. Bet it was all down to President Tito. He sure was a wise leader, who knew that the peoples of Yugoslavia needed bread as well as cake, else they could fall back into their trigger-happy ways and start shooting one another for no apparent reason whatsoever – just like they do in the Westerns their beloved President was so fond of… and right here, dear reader, we have a fine example of paradox, overstatement, understatement and irony, all in one place.).
But Olga bribed me. Not allowed to give you much detail; all I can say is keep an eye out for her next novel, which will reportedly feature this very cool Japanese girl who gets thrown down a well by a pissed off samurai, then, centuries later, returns as a vengeful spirit to haunt people to death via a videotape, of all things. Must admit that right now I feel fairly impressed by Olga’s surprising outburst of originality, not to mention her sudden willingness to accommodate the wishes of her best leading character ever.
Note2: Just read Olga’s note numero uno. Reminded me of this man I bumped into once or twice, if you get my gist, who named his German Shepherd puppy Vonnegut. He was a member of drunken intelligentsia (the man, that is, not the beast), which kind of explains it. And: Olga’s neglected to mention everything ever written by the great late Marguerite Duras. No-one cuts you off like La Duras, no-one leaves those loose ends untied quite like her.