Hell is empty, and all the devils are here

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It’s been awhile since I’ve last written here. The thoughts, theories and ideas continue to scream in my mind, but my time, unfortunately, leaves me little space to let them out. But you are not forgotten, I just need to get used to my new life and my new passe.

Nonetheless, today on my way back to Lisbon I had time to think about something that I haven’t thought about since 2004. Maybe because it’s Easter Sunday, today I was thinking about the concept of evil and the most terrifying image of the devil that I’ve ever seen in my life: the devil that in 2004 came to life in Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of Christ. Kind of ridiculous to think about this, right?

When the movie was released in 2004 there was a really big buzz about it: people said the images were too strong, critics said the argument was all wrong, people thought the actors were just amazing, and fans cried because Jim Cazievel deserved an Oscar nomination… you name it! Fuss aside, for me, the thing I found most impressive in the movie was satan’s representation and how Mel managed to portray it so realistically.

All our lives, religion beliefs aside, we have been haunted by stories, movies and testimonials about big red horned devils, spitting fire, with a bi-forked tale and with a really scary face and mean attitude.

Satan Image

But not in The Passion of Christ… here the devil has a human form: he talks, walks and looks like one of us. His face is as pale as ice and incredibly thin. His eyes are blue, almost white, completely empty in expression. You can’t really say if it’s a he or a she, it’s both! It has no hair or eye brows or anything that would make it look like a living being. His movements are fluid and ghost-like. In fact, although it has a humanoid form, you look at it and you know instantly that there is nothing human about that creature, it’s void, it’s dead, it’s empty, it’s cold… it’s just pure evil. I don’t know why I react like this when I see the character, but to me, never has evil been so perfectly portrayed in a character.

Another thing I found really curious, is that whenever the devil appears in the movie, he appears among people, he never appears alone, always hidden in the crowd. I find that surprisingly ironic and in some way really disturbing, because most of the times when we come to face evil, it doesn’t come in a horned scary figure, it comes in the form of people’s actions and behaviors. That is why, I think, I find that image so disturbing, because it’s probably the most realistic representation of Evil: it’s hidden among people, you can’t spot it easily because it’s among your equals, it can easily get to you, touch you and you won’t know it ’till is too late.

I’m not a very religious person, I’m kind of sceptic when it comes to Christ, Saints, Prophets and all those things, but as any other person, I know that evil exists, most of us have seen it and, unfortunately, most of us have experienced it and we know it doesn’t need Satan to exist. Like Shakespeare wisely put it  “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here“.

Mel Gibson did a great job, in my opinion, he portrayed the scariest and most disturbing devil in the History of Cinema.


As Good As It Gets

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Not the best month of my life, specially the last few weeks…
As a good movie fan, I usually go to the cinema twice a week and today was the perfect day for my weekly fix! I was going to let go of all my problems and stress inside that magical little dark room where I can always relax and think clearly about all of life’s mysteries… Guess what happened?

I was talking on the phone while I was driving (I was talking to my mom about an emergency in the arrangement of my dog’s funeral), when a cop politely asks me to pull over. “This is my lucky day“… I got a beautiful and expensive ticket and the possibility of being forbidden to drive. So, right then I though “Well, I WAS going to get my weekly fix of peace and quiet… not anymore I guess”. And after this “pleasant” third degree encounter with the Police, without any control over my reactions I start crying. Fortunately, it didn’t last long,  my imagination got the best of me, and a memory of a movie just popped into my head, that movie was no other than “As good as it gets“. I love this movie because it basically puts out there every lousy aspect of your life and makes fun of it, slams into you face how ridiculous some situations are, how ironic this life can be and how the only way to get through it is with good humor and a dash of irony… Irony can be a powerful tool!

So what’s the lesson here? Well, no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse! Just kidding, now seriously… I think no matter how bad things are, you always have the power and ability to turning them around and making them better, you can make these things work FOR you and not against you. Through laughter, patience and strength you can turn your problems into lovely stories to tell your kids, free lessons and unique tools to build your own stairs to overcome those apparently colossal walls…

What if this is as good as it gets?” Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets

“Heads Will Roll”

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A couple a days ago I was talking with a friend of mine about favorite movies. My personal favorite is Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. I remember that when it was released in 1999, I saw it like 6 times when it was playing in the movie theaters (only paid for 2 tickets since back then I had a really close friend working at the movie theater). But where does my fascination with the movie come from?

First of all the Story itself – it’s based on a children’s novel by Washington Irving – the quest for the legendary headless horseman that suspiciously kills Sleepy Hollow’s inhabitants. This story manages to gather all the main plot genres (horror, mystery, adventure, fantasy, romance, action, comedy) in the most perfect and appealing screenplay I had ever seen.

The Scenario – Tim Burton once again proved his genius and managed to create the most magical scenario to help deliver this horror tale.

The Actors – the cast was brilliant: Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Christopher Walken, Jeffrey Jones, Christopher Lee and of course the leading man Jonhy Depp. Definitely one of his best performances, he was just hilarious!

Last but not least the MESSAGE behind the story: although the movie is held on a fantasy environment, the characters dramas and the lessons they learn along the way fit perfectly into our reality.

We’re presented with 2 different realities and mindsets: the backward thinking of Sleepy Hollow’s citizens that believe in witchcraft, “ghouls and goblins” and the forward mind of New York’s Constable Crane, a science man that believes in nothing but “sense and reason, cause and consequence“. The arrival of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow to investigate the mysterious murders by the Headless Horseman, generates a conflict between these 2 mindsets: sense and reason don’t seem to work in the backward town and Ichabod is forced to consider that there might be some things that go beyond our common understanding. As he unveils the mystery, he gets to know 2 lovely characters, Katrina and young Masbath, and his science is put to the test. The empirical knowledge from Sleepy Hollow’s citizens and the common understanding based on appearances are also put to the test: the citizens start to believe that the “scientific props” and theories might help them solve this dark mystery.

Well… I will not tell you how the movie ends (although I love to be a spoiler), but I can tell you that both parts learn their lesson through an equilibrium of forces.

Sense and reason are in fact the primary tools of evolution and knowledge, but life not always obeys those laws. There are things that happen without sense or reason, that go beyond our ability to understand what surrounds us and we must always be prepared to accept them and not be blinded by reason. As for empirical knowledge and appearances, well we all know how vicious appearances can be… “It is truth, but truth is not always appearance

“Are you so certain of everything?”