Last night I had my parents, a friend, and my 13-yr-old brother sit down to watch “Beyond Borders” with me, and realized something about my movie-watching habits. Since I have returned to the States I have this handful of movies that I want everyone I know to watch with me – why? They are good movies, but not all excellent films….maybe it would help if I told you the titles: “Yesterday”, “Tsotsi”, and “Beyond Borders” are the main ones so far.
In last night’s film there is a scene near the beginning when “Sarah” stops the caravan to pick up a child who is scarcely recognizable as that, and being eyed by a vulture. My friend said, “Oh come on, there can’t be children like that”, as he turned toward me all I could do was nod. And it clicked all of a sudden why I show the same movies to everyone – because a handufl of scenes in them show the things that I can’t say. I can’t explain what it’s like to hold a child dying of starvation or how hard it is to tell a woman she is HIV+ or what it’s like to live in a place where one block is mansions and a mile down the road is corrugated shanties. Each of these films expresses a scene, a story, or a context that I know but cannot share.