scene 5 from the movie Elektra

is one of the best pieces of filmmaking i can remember seeing. the shot selection, post-production, lighting, photography, editing, music, dialogue, acting...two minutes of absolutely perfect filmmaking, and very moving. this is why we watch films: to be inspired by both the story and its expression through the work of the artists. to discover or be reminded of some aspect of the truth, of what it means- or can mean- to be human.

i, like most people, experience very little personally that is truly inspiring, and like many i'm more inspired by fictional characters and events (in films, or books) than by real ones. i enjoy movies (and books) precisely for the rare moments the art is executed so deftly that it becomes invisible, and i empathise so completely with the characters i disassociate from my self, and live in their moment. the best movies (books....stories) aren't just a trip to another world, they're a series of opportunities to experience the distillation of someone else's more inspiring existence, and even when the moment's passed, that experience becomes part of you, enriches you, expands your perspective. you carry it with you; it changes you a little. those less-than-common moments become real for me in much the same way events experienced in dreams do; they're as valuable in their way as any real life experience, because they gain you insight into who you are, what you value- and that's powerful stuff!

as i said, i don't get those moments from a film often; only through a compelling story, its elements revealed in precisely measured sequence; through great dialogue, delivered sincerely, often subtly, through a graceful performance, captured in beautiful cinematography, deftly edited; all supported, driven, and accompanied by ever-present, thematically sympathetic music, masterfully composed, performed, recorded and mixed, reinforcing and adding emotional depth to all the other elements.

film is meant to be a marriage of all the art forms: story telling, graphic representation, music, acting- and there are certainly scenes in Elektra- like the one i mentioned above- that meet that goal.

Elektra flashing back, on the deck of a ferry. remembering dying in an ambulance, then being brought back to life by her mentor, the sensei Stick. training in Stick's compound, devastating her sparring opponents...

Stick [instructively]: "Do you know the way, Elektra? Kimagure, the ability to control time....the future...even life and death?"
Elektra [strongly]: "I know I'm the best student here."
Stick [patiently]: "Not the best....the most powerful. You understand violence, pain....but you do not know The Way."
Elektra [respectfully, determinedly]: "Teach me, then."
Stick [regretfully, firmly]: "That's my point. I can't teach you. I want you to go."
Elektra [hesitantly]: "Is this a test, sensei?"
Stick [sadly, resignedly]: "No. Not a test. Just go."
Elektra [meekly]: "...I don't have anywhere to go."

[no response....brilliant end to the dialogue allows the actors to play out the scene through facial expressions and body language, while the music speaks volumes]

it doesn't get much better than that.

but evidently, i'm the only person who appreciated this movie? well, i'm no critic, just someone who loves movies and music and books, and that's just my two cents. one man's truth is evidently another man's drek. to each their own, and may we all find inspiration where we can.

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