The antagonist’s power (2)


How wonderful that scripts mirror life, I marvel

going to a lecture by an accomplished writer/director

with a huge output, many awards, international status.

Yet, his public talk is sprinkled

with bitterness and resentment,

a few times almost boils with anger.

This guy is for real, he really hurts, I discover,

suddenly liking him more.

Then I remember that some time ago

upon watching (graciously I must say)

one of my docs, he said:

“You defended yourself in this one.”

What kind of a statement is that, I fumed long afterwards.

Movies are not about “defending”!

Not understanding that the metaphor

is quite apt for the screen battles,

so hard to win.

Anyway, the lecture continues.

The speaker proceeds to exculpate himself.

From living in the 20th Century?

(an urge that many intellectuals feel compelled to address)

From success?

From being alive?

He, who remembers the second world war,

says in reference to one of his films:

“We know about ourselves

only as much as we have been tested by life.”

He sounds serious, real and sincere.

My lofty and comfortable concept of writing

as a magical tool that gives great power to the writer

is defeated on the spot.

(As in "In this one, you didn't defend yourself.")

I could not.

(How could I forget uncontrollably shaking arms

of that beautiful woman

suddenly destroyed by the news given

on the hallway of the oncology female hospital ward,

while her paled companion

tries to protect her from falling down.)

Sadly, we don’t choose our antagonists.

Neither in war nor in peace.

Neither publicly nor privately.

Neither outside nor inside.

Instead something writes us

with a cruel or a gentle pen,

challenging us with horror,

other times with luck,

selecting our antagonists.

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