Day Eight – Facing up to inconvenient truths

I am up early because I need to write this.

I thought my visit to the film festival would be a jolly one. Little did I realise I was about to be presented with something that I had lost within myself.

The day looked innocent enough beginning with one of my favourite films on the telly Sanjuro. Though I own it on DVD, I let it play with adverts. The character that Toshiro Mifune plays for the second time is an inspiration to me, he is like an unsheathed sword and rough on the the edges. I do not blink at the end.

Still gullible to what will come, I proceeded into town while sipping Rum Punch with my eyes. I get to the bar, enough time for a couple of pints and some more Rum Punch.

There is time for another film in my schedule as I only have the one planned for the day.

I ask for a recommendation and, like room service with a smile, they give me one.

Reading the blurb, I admit that I was hoping they would suggest something fun to go with my mood or keeping it near the venue I was at. After some debate within myself along with some playful tweets, I purchase a ticket to the second film to see where it will take me.

Up those familiar stairs and find my seat as I take up for my fourth year to watch McLaren Awards: British Animation 2 – I tell myself that it isn’t the festival without watching at least one of the McLaren Awards. Sitting in the audience, watching the animation films screen stir up memories not of what has been but what will be. I am sobering up. Keeping silent in the crowd, I have nothing for the animators, I am lost in myself about what the future will bring to me.

Move on to the next venue, my throat is dry. Go in and hope that the vendor is selling some water for me – no such luck.

I enter for my second film that the Filmhouse Recommends – Virunga. A documentary about the park rangers in Congo trying to protect the wildlife especially the gorillas – working in an area under conflict against those that see the habitat has value for a quick profit.

I may never leave my homeland, never see these beautiful creatures in real life – see their innocence and fear in their eyes and hear their laughter. Heck, even share a tube of Pringles with them despite not liking the stuff myself.

Throughout the film I find my fist clenched, I want to grasp something, do something. Something is burning inside me.

The lights come on, I see some tears on the faces of my audience members. There is the Q&A in front of the people taking bigger risks than I will ever accumulate in my lifetime. Some are still passionate and want to do more reminding us that we have lost out touch with nature.

I want to say something, do anything.

I have nothing.

My words are hollow. I feel like a traitor in this audience’s midst for not doing or saying.

I leave.

I walk down the road, ignoring the nearest bus stop. I want to keep walking away from the cinema.

Further down the street with fire glowing in my belly and hand clenched, I feel that it is trying to grasp something, something with a handle.

There is a bus. I get on. Home. Try to sleep. Only a few hours. That fire is still glowing when I awake. I can see what is unsheathed and I know how to use it.

Excuse me, there is an email I must write.


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