Monday, August 15, 2016

Rolling with the Flow

A wander up another shady river's course, a river somewhat similar to the literary river featured in an earlier post. (HERE).

The mouth of the earlier literary river was a movie, "The Painted Veil" , the mouth of this river has many cinematic tributaries. I've chosen, from the many, the 1998 movie "Sliding Doors".

Two Different Paths - “Sliding Doors”
Everyone wonders what would have happened if they made the other decision instead of the one they chose, and this movie shows both sides for the main character Helen. Depicting parallel universes in which Helen either misses or catches a train and the results of that fateful action, “Sliding Doors” brings to life a concept that everyone wonders about. Great cast performances make it entertaining to watch how Helen’s separate lives differ, all while raising philosophical questions about fate and free will.

"Sliding Doors" wasn't adapted from a novel though many of the movies of similar theme were. In common: one small change has a ripple effect, resulting in massive changes.

Wandering back a short way along this river's course, I find that"Sliding Doors" reviewers have said that the film is a simpler version, more appealing to the general public, of a couple of other movies: Blind Chance and Run, Lola Run.

Numerous movies, and novels have comparable themes - many are listed on line, here or here for instance - from which it becomes clear that the theme has a "feline" cousin.

The "what if" and alternative reality tropes all base stories on a roughly similar idea, which, if we follow the literary river further back towards its source, likely gleaned inspiration from words and ideas originating many centuries ago: a proverb-turned-poem with its origins as far back as the 14th century (older than print). Probably the best-known version is that which appeared in Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac: (HERE)
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of a horse, the rider was lost;
For want of a rider, the message was lost;
For want of the message, the battle was lost;
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Is it possible the literary source goes back even further? Didn't the Greeks have a useful relevant theory ? They had them for just about everything!
How about this?

Although Heraclitus argued for eternal change, his contemporary Parmenides made the radical suggestion that all change is an illusion, that the true underlying reality is eternally unchanging and of a single nature. Parmenides denoted this reality as τὸ ἐν (The One). Parmenides' idea seemed implausible to many Greeks, but his student Zeno of Elea challenged them with several famous paradoxes. Aristotle responded to these paradoxes by developing the notion of a potential countable infinity, as well as the infinitely divisible continuum. Unlike the eternal and unchanging cycles of time, he believed that the world is bounded by the celestial spheres and that cumulative stellar magnitude is only finitely multiplicative.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”

~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Remembering that it's Music Monday, staying with the river theme:


mike said...

The Tardis fixes many things, just ask River Pond (aka River Song), but beware the Pandorica. Tempting to think one could go back in time and fix the errors of one's ways like a cross-word puzzle, but it's more a game of backgammon, with chance, planning, and potential errors played against an opponent (ourselves). Or the adage that life is what happens while one makes plans. The result is the here-and-now, like it or not. I'm pleased with my could have been scripted better, but it's perfect as is.

I watched Netflix' "Holding the Man" last night, which isn't about split lives or time travel, but it was about reflecting on life and telling a story about paths taken and consequences. The urgency that the moment holds upon our desires, which creates the steps of our future, with an endless pathway of divided lanes. A very good movie, but probably not for everyone.

You didn't critique "Sliding Doors". Was it worthwhile?

Twilight said...

mike ~ I remember River Song in "Dr Who", enjoyed her character - but I got off the Dr Who bandwagon when David Tennant left. After that all is fog - even before that it's still a bit misty for me. We transitioned to the "Torchwood" series (a kind of spin-off) because Captain Jack, the leading character in Torchwood is played by actor John Barrowman, who is a favourite of ours. :-)

Like you, I'm reasonably happy with the way my own story turned out. Any twists and turns, seemingly unhelpful at the time, worked out well, in the end.

"Sliding Doors" movie is a fairly chick-flickish affair, but better than the average chick-flick due to the dual storyline it contains. I think, perhaps the other two movies mentioned as similar in theme, in today's post, might be more brain-teasing, but I don't recall having seen either, although the title "Run, Lola Run" does ring a bell from somewhere. :-/

Will take a look at "Holding the Man" sometime. Right now we're watching some rented DVDs of the first TV series of "Fargo". We went to our local video store again, looking for a couple of new releases, but found they were on rent for one night only at wheat seemed an exorbitant rate, and would necessitate another trip into town, so soon, to return discs. Instead we chose something cheaper with longer rental span. I like to give the store a bit of biz from time to time. We also rented "Max" (a doggy movie - always love those! Nice one.) And "Miles Ahead" - a little slice of the life of Miles Davis - interesting, but not a full bio pic.