Titanic struggle

How is it that seemingly insignificant factors can conspire to defeat far greater forces? By Paul McDermott

I fought my way to a decant position in the middle of the cinema. I was early and the sombre warmth of the dark cinema lulled me into a sense of well-being. Meanwhile, the forces of evil were rallying at the candy counter. Before I knew what was happening, the place was awash with people.

A group of lanky students invaded my aisle from the left, and on the right two large buckets of popcorn sat down. They trapped me in a pincer movement. I consoled myself with the fact that no one was sitting in front of me... just as someone did. Not just someone. Someone who insisted on sitting up straight, someone with good posture.

Why is it people with bad posture never sit in front of you? Where are the people who slouch when you need them? No, I get a seven-foot-tall basketball-playing pinhead and his little dreadlocked friend.

I recently saw Titanic. I do not pretend to be a film critic and so I will not discuss the merits or otherwise of the picture. Given this tragic voyage is so well known, I do not believe I am giving away telling you the ship sinks and a great number of peope drown.

The central theme of the film is the enduring nature of love. The two main characters find that wealth and the trappings of opulence have no hold over this simple joy. I wondered why the most expensive film ever made has to tell us this? By its mere existance it suggests that perhaps there is something quite beneficial about having a great amount of money. Money and Love, Good v Evil, Man against Woman, everything competing against nature.

It's a titanic struggle across the screen between big themes and bigger budgets. Of course I'm concerned with size, but it is always the little things that grab my attention.

Why is it big things can be totally overpowered by little things? The big thing I refer to here is the film, the little things are the annoying habits of other human beings. Titanic was a massive project, years in the making, costing millions of dollars, employing thousands, and it can all be destroyed by someone sitting in front of you with itchy dreadlocks.

The titles blazed over my head, engulfing me in 70-millimetre grandeur, and my attention was dragged to this weird guttural noise, like a toad regurgitating its own phlegm- it was coming from the pinhead. How is it that one persistent cough can overcome even the most sophisticated audio system?

Yes, the audience is listening: to the slurping of watered down post-mix, to the crunching of popcorn and to the clumsy passion of 14-year-olds. This is a monumental undertaking that should totally absorb me in its fantasy, yet I get distracted by Gumby and his mate slowly tearing open a bag of Burger Rings.

The film was about 20 minutes in when the dread-head began to rock. He managed to rock rhythmically for more than two hours, only pausing to take something out of his bag, and he even managed to that quite loudly.

It was jarring me that Bullwinkle and Rocky were enjoying the film so much. And why not? They were well fed, they were having good conversation, the little one was even dancing.

It amazed me that all these miniscule, insignificant, puerile and petty things conspired to drag my attention away from the most expensive film ever made. I thought of David and Goliath, the mouse and the elephant. I even managed to relate it back to the iceberg and the Titanic.

At that moment I came back to the film. I no longer cared if the dreads left a trail of grease over my leg every time Rocky leant back. I didn't care about Moose and his pleurisy. I couldn't care less if he was suffering from TB, coughing up great hunks of blood over his Burger Rings. I was aboard Titanic and heading out to the open seas.

I focused all my attention on the screen. I broke through. I conquered all those annoying little things and could now concentrate on the big picture- a film about water. Lots of it, dripping, gurgling, swishing, trickling, dribbling, pouring in. Something inside me responded to the swirling majesty of the ocean, something deep within me stirred. It was an hour and a half after the film started when my body decide to betray ma and I faced the true terror, the true torment of TITANIC... (to be continued)

Typed up by kplacing from the MOSH!!! board.

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