Friday, March 26, 2010

"New Year Baby"

We are overflowing with gifts and goods: food, books, magazines, movies, music, clothes, etc.  It is more than we can do to even note what we have, much less use it all.  One of the things we do to keep this flow of goods is subscribe to Netflix DVD's by mail.  We have done it on and off for years and have come across some very memorable films through them.  It has happened, though, that we keep a couple of DVD's for months and never get around to watch them.  That almost happened with "New Year Baby".  But at the last minute, Lynn said she thought we should give it a try.  I am glad we did.

We get many movie ideas from AARP's Movies for Grownups.  The link goes to the movies from 2009 but includes links to several years before that.  We often joke that movies and others things for real grownups are not about steamy sex or machine pistols but about disease, inflation and such topics that are about truly adult matters that only the more aged know matter in the long and middle run of our lives.  When we look over possible movies, we are fresh and rested and may allow our goodwill and rational mind too much sway.  So, we sign up for documentaries about volcanoes, birds, history or whatever in greater numbers that we can handle at more fatigued and tuckered times.  That is why several of the documentaries that we chose were sent back after little or no watching.  We just weren't in the mood.

But Lynn is somewhat conservative and is reluctant to send discs back without trying them.  "New Year Baby" is so genuine, honest and undecorated with fancy bells and whistles that is valuable to watch.  The Khmer Rouge years in Cambodia were not so long ago but were sufficiently murderous, Holocaust-like, that many young people find, on coming of age, holes in their history, knowledge and family trees.  Those holes are bothersome and confusing.  "New Year Baby" is the story of a young Cambodian-American woman whose parents lived through those bad times.  The parents were brave enough, smart enough and wealthy enough to agree to accompany her back to Cambodia and to forests and fields that now show no sign of the cruelty, confusion and death that attempts to create a perfect society with imperfect knowledge and principles often deliver.  It is not a long movies, about 88 minutes and has won a slew of awards.

We like to think the whole world is one, that all things are connected and related.  Just as we like pleasure and avoid pain, it is easy to like sunny days with flowers and forget about concentration camps and both human and mechanical or systemic cruelties and mishaps.  Whenever millions of people are involved, some of the troubles come from oversights, forgetting or poor education as well as the deliberate, planned and even celebrated violence that sticks in the mind more noticeably.  All over the world, cruelty and starvation make their marks in all eras.  This movie is a well-done, eye-opening and gentle reminder of the long train of pain and disturbance those negatives create.

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