Saturday, September 25, 2004

I watched Tony Scott's "Man on Fire" in the middle of the night, Friday to Saturday night (don't ask me why - there're too many answers but none makes enough sense). In Russian, the film is called "Wrath" ("Gnev"), and though I wouldn't say that the Russian word necessarily implies vengeance, the English one does, and this is what the film is about. (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

It was horrible watching it - but I enjoyed it, in a masochistic way.

A relative fiction about one little, non-Mexican girl kidnapped somewhere in Mexico - and a vivid memory of a non-fictional kidnapping of several hundred non-Russian kids somewhere in Russia. The film is based on a true story, so it's only partly fiction - and a memory of something seen on TV isn't the actual experience, so, to most of us, Beslan is only partly non-fiction. Denzel Washington's revenge - the rescue of the girl - and his death at the end. An attempt to rescue the real kids - a total mess - and the real, irreversable death of too many of these real kids, and many of the adults. Bruce Willis in "Die Hard I" on an all-Russian, state-funded TV channel just several hours after the awful finale - Bruce Willis saving everyone - just like they all had been expecting him to do on Sept. 11 three years ago. Him or someone like him. Waiting for Putin to make some kind of a statement - thinking, with no real hope: what if he resigns?

I still can't believe they were showing "Die Hard" that night. "Man on Fire" would've been as inappropriate. Taking revenge instead of waiting for a hero. But revenge in real life never goes as smoothly as it does in Hollywood. It's never as beautiful and satisfying. Denzel Washington thought the girl was dead, this was his motivation for revenge - but she turned out to be alive. It's not like this in real life - those Beslan kids are dead, and their parents know it. Denzel Washington had the skills and the movie luck to hunt down and kick the shit out of the bad guys, causing no collateral damage. And just imagine what might happen after Oct. 13, when the 40-day mourning period ends in Beslan.

And still, on that night, I would've rather watched Denzel Washington's rage than Bruce Willis' heroics. Or none of it at all, not ever.

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