LISTENING

I was watching a video about #VanLife on Outside Magazine’s website and the next recommended video was Summer Cannibals at Pickathon, a music festival in Portland, Oregon. I was immediately hooked. I really dig the energy and the groove of the rhythm section.

I then checked out their live performance on KEXP and it was, again, very rad. They seem like an excellent band to see live, so hopefully at some point they’ll tour the U.S. Or maybe I’ll try to catch a show if I’m ever in Portland.

 

WATCHING

I watched The Bridge On The River Kwai (Lean, 1957) and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I’m weary of older films that are long (The Bridge On The River Kwai clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes), but this held my attention throughout. Alec Guinness is amazing. William Holden is gorgeous (I seriously think directors purposely have him play characters that have their shirts off at some point in the script).

The premise is British POWs are ordered to build a Japanese bridge over the Kwai River. There are cultural misunderstandings between British colonel Nicholson and Japanese colonel Saito. This is the major conflict during the first half of the film. But once that’s resolved, being British, Nicholson wants his men to do the best job they possibly can to build the bridge. Thus the second half of the film deals with the tension around completing a bridge for the enemy.

Having been in Asia and toured several WWII sites on vacations in Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan, I feel like I was able to appreciate the cultural tension between Nicholson and Saito. (I also wished that there was some sexual tension between them because it totally seemed like it towards the end when they’re on the bridge. But alas… 1957… But actually, I think if they were to make a reboot of The Bridge On The River Kwai, why not make Nicholson and Saito attracted to each other. Because one of the main themes of this film for me was the idea of societal norms and expectations. Saito has been trained to see prisoners as animals because they surrendered. He has no problem treating them like shit until they die [and the film definitely doesn’t go into the full horrors of the Japanese treatment of POWs]. Nicholson has been trained to follow the rules to the T. At the one point Nicholson discusses with his officers if trying to escape would violate orders because his superiors ordered him to surrender. Also, he would rather spend time in a sweatbox than violate the Geneva Convention by performing manual labor. So the theme is don’t follow orders blindly, consider context. To me this is the essence of what I’ve learned being in Asia: nothing is “normal,” nothing is “standard,” every norm should be questioned because just because it’s the way everyone’s always done it doesn’t mean it’s the way it ought to be. So yeah, let’s get some Nicholson/Saito slash fanfiction going please.)

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Nicholson and Saito during a tense scene.

The ending is phenomenal. Very moving and powerful. You should watch it.

 

READING

NOTHING. BECAUSE I AM LAZY. And binge-watching television.

 

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