Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where are the strong? Who are the trusted?

I've listened to Elvis Costello's version of Nick Lowe's "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?" hundreds of times, but never with tears in my eyes. That changed Saturday when Lucy and I went to see Morgan Spurlock's new film "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?"

I have mixed feelings about the documentary as a whole. I've never been a huge fan of the filmmaker as intrusive on-camera narrator, and the hip graphics and video-game title segment, and the wise-guy humor, though all of it does bring a sense of humanity to the topic.

The parts of the film which work best are when Spurlock travels to the dangerous nations of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan and meets with the people who live there. These human interactions say more about the condition of the world than any report by any pundit, more than any speech by any politician, more than any governmental public relations report.

The film ends with a series of portraits of these people as Elvis Costello sings. And it made me cry listening to those words and seeing those faces. I guess it says something about me and my state of mind, but it's a musical question for the ages.

BTW, Nick Lowe is playing a solo show in Northampton on Thursday May 1 at the Calvin Theater.

No comments: