On the BBC world news report, I’m on the same map as the new war zone.

One of the RFC staff is from Lebanon. I gently ask her if her family is ok.
“Oh yes,” she says, “they’re on the roof, watching the fireworks.”

She tells me later that she hates Hizbollah. They came in from outside Lebanon (Syria and Iran) in order to cause trouble with Israel.

Lebanon should force Hizbollah to disarm, she says, agreeing in principle with Israel. But then, it’s hard to justify bombing the runways of a commercial airport. I keep trying to find the right and wrong answer. It appears, though, that in the Middle East, everything is negotiable.

When I arrived at the Villa today, a few people were watching Gus Van Sant’s Elephant in the screening room. It would have been beautiful and boring if not for the fact that the Colombine events upon which the movie is based still hold tremendous intrigue for me. The bottom line is, I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It’s hard to argue with a movie that makes you think that.

I ran a sound workshop all day today. Acting under the advice of the incomparable Doug Vaughn, I shocked them by declaring definitively that the only element of a soundtrack you care about during production sound recording is dialog. That got their attention. I spent the rest of the day trying to keep it.

Boom operating is not instinctual for anyone. But these guys seem to have an inherent physical resistance to holding the boom over their heads. Maybe they’re afraid to expose their armpits.

The cinematographer set up a demo for exterior night shooting. On the nice monitor, it looks amazing. He pans the camera to include Amman by night, the lights winking different colors, then back to the rough texture of the villa light by a single source.

We have a mini-screening to show the first little projects that they have done. They set up the screen outside on the terrace, leaving all the lighting from the demo up. The drinks arrive. Everyone laughs during the whole screening, especially during the scene between gay Adam and exasperated Eve. The drinking and talking continues into the night, well after the screening is over.

They didn’t show Motaz’s movie during the screening. Apparently it was just too bad. I’m not sure how I feel about that, since he worked just as hard as everyone else, and it’s not like any of these scenes were perfect.

I met a Jordanian tool last night. A friend of a friend of one of the students. I could tell by his demeanor, by the annoying way he mixed Arabic and English and by his slick way of trying to include everyone in the conversation while skillfully maintaining himself as the topic. Somehow he ends up sitting next to me, jawing my ear off. He reveals that Back to the Future is his favorite Spielberg movie. Suddenly I’m much more interested in talking to him.
“That was Robert Zemeckis,” I say.
“Who is this Robber Zemacky? I bet my life that Back to the Future is a Spielberg movie.”
“Sorry. Definitely Zemeckis.”
He refuses to believe me. After making a few calls to friends, and some angry shouting in Arabic, he moves on to another movie, since admitting he is wrong is the death of the tool.
“The next thing you’re going to tell me is that Tim Burton didn’t direct Godzilla,” he says.
“I don’t know who directed Godzilla, but it sure in hell wasn’t Tim Burton.”
“Oh yeah, it was that other guy. The French guy.”
“The guy who directed The Professional.”
Say what?
This is so delightful.

Eventually, a few drinks later, he starts in on how salsa music is the worst music ever, and people who dance to it look stupid. Hm.
“Do you prefer to have sex with men or women?” I ask him.
“Women!” He’s scared, as many tools are, by the mere insinuation of gayness.
“Well,” I say, “the movements you make in salsa dancing are based on a man having sex with a woman. If you think that’s stupid, you must think having sex with a woman is stupid.”
I don’t remember what he said, because I was so pleased with myself.

Ahmad introduces me to his two cousins. Nora and Dora. At least that’s what my mind called them the instant I saw them. They are sisters. Plump sisters. It turns out they’re from Madrid. I immediately start speaking to them in Spanish. Ahmad is blown away. The two sisters are so excited to speak their language that they literally talk at once. It’s fun to speak a language that the students don’t understand.

Later, when the night is over, another friend of a friend of a student drives me home. His name is Osama. In the car ride, Firas tells me that most Arabs don’t like Israel. I figured as much.


Blogger Greg said...

yipes. i leave for a week and kevin goes nutso.

careful over there...especially if that war widens up.

fyi, the reason the israelis are bombing the airport and roads are a) so hezbollah can't transport the soldiers to iran and b) more importantly, so hezbollah cannot transport their rockets to iran...

israel plans to destroy or account for all of hezbollah's rockets that can hit northern israeli cities.

if they just bombed the houses and civilian areas where hezbollah hides the rockets, hezbollah would transfer the remaining rockets out of the country for use on another day.

suspicions remain saddam did the same with chemical warheads both during the first and second gulf wars.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

and give your arab friends who have beef with israel a message from me: spend their time thinking of ways to make cool movies instead of worrying over israel and i personally promise their lives and their countries will be better off.

the world wants to see movies people over there can make...

11:47 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

also ask anyone you meet over there that says they hate hezbollah, why don't they disarm them and force them to join the regular political process where they can be exposed as they kooks they are?

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

you're free to respond with your political opinions, greg, but it's seems a bit ridiculous to suggest that the students who live here have an all or nothing choice to "worry over israel" or "think of ways to make cool movies"
they do both.
or do you think it's impossible for them to make a cool movie about their beef with israel?

i'll do you a favor and not tell them about your personal promise.

1:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home