Friday, February 16, 2007

Take a Life Ride with No “Amputated Spirit”

Few days ago I had the chance to watch the 1992 movie production, “Scent of a Woman”, by Al Pacino. I have watched this movie in Cairo in one of the movie theaters back at that time. I find it so interesting to rewind time and watch old movies again. I guess it is like leaving wine in the cellar. The older it gets the better it tastes.

The movie is rated as one of the top productions of the Hollywood movie industry. The dialogue and characters are fascinating. Two words or phrases drew my attention in this movie. They were said in two different occasions; “conscience” and “amputated spirit”.

It was that scene when Al Pacino or Frank Slade was about to kill himself with the gun in a very dramatic scene while wearing his army uniform. And Chris O’Donnell or Charlie tried to save him. The battle between Slade and Charlie seemed so unfair. With the determination, will and strength of Frank to kill himself and the inexperience in life and the lack of understanding of Charlie, the situation or the scene was so unbalanced. However, Charlie was determined also to save Frank. When Frank asked him why do want to save my life, he replied “conscience”. The impact of the word was too strong to bring back the balance to the scene again. When Charlie uttered such a strong value that he feels inside him, the scene almost unwrapped a new character in the movie despite his apparent inexperience about life and innocence.

In the finale or the last scene of the movie, Al Pacino used a phrase that caught my ears like thunder. He said “amputated spirit” when he was trying to defend Charlie against the disciplinary committee’s decision to expel him from university upon allegations that he is hiding the truth when in fact he refused to sell himself to buy his future. It is the first time that I hear this phrase. When I saw the movie the first time, I did not even notice it. The entire movie is about whether we decide to take our life ride with an “amputated spirit” or not. Our choice simply determines the feel, color and scent of our ride. The movie is not really about Al Pacino’s capability to ride a car or dance the Tango when in fact he is visually impaired. But it is rather about deciding to take the ride and enjoy it no matter what happens to us to cause defeat. With the help of Charlie, he succeeded in unamputating his spirit. The very popular Tango dance of the movie was very symbolic too. Though it is modern American Tango, however, it says life is all about the old saying “it takes two to tango”. Al Pacino decided to take the ride of life differently after taking another fraternal ride with Charlie that freed his soul and spirit.

Frank Slade in "Scent of a Woman"; "The day we stop looking is the day we die...."

Other Movie-Related Blog Posts:
Trois Couleurs: by Krzysztof Kieślowski (1993 -1994)
“Teach Me How to Dance”, Alexis Zorba
Syriana: Living Our Fragmented World and Shattered Dreams
“This is How the World Fucked Africa”


At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonderful analysis of a great movie. I watched this movie some years ago and I still remember the brilliant and deep performance of Al Pacino.
Egyptian in Germany


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