In the Intense Now. João Moreira Salles. 2017. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
In the Intense Now is about the fleetingness of change and the inexorable sadness that comes with time's passage. Watching I would sometimes lose my attention, but wouldn't think about random bullshit, it'd be experiences I'd had that felt related. 1968 was the year Martin Luther King Jr. got murdered. The night it happened Bobby Kennedy said to a crowd in Indiana, "My favorite poet was Aeschylus, and he once wrote, 'Even in our sleep / pain which cannot forget / falls drop by drop upon the heart / until in our own despair / against our will / comes wisdom / through the awful grace of god.'" Kennedy was shot a few months later. In the Intense Now is a strange counterpoint to Aeschylus. Wisdom is in our heart, then pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop, until, through the awful grace of god, against our will, comes despair. The week that I saw this movie, a video of a neo-Nazi talking about the virtues of waiting for the perfect moment to act violently, went viral in my community. He lives here, attends the university I work at. The administration's response has been pathetic, one faculty member used the word "pablum" to describe the words coming out of the Chancellor's mouth, then she began to weep. My boss demanded they speak specifically to moral outrage. Afterwards we decided all they're willing to say is, "I'm saying something." A few months ago a graduate student was protesting a far right organization that puts professors on a "watchlist" and engages in harassment campaigns against them. Unsurprisingly, they did a harassment campaign against her, and she was eventually relieved of her teaching duties. This neo-Nazi, who was photographed beating someone with a flashlight in Charlottesville, who spoke days ago about how he likes to be presentable and walk around campus with a smile, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to be violent, he wants to be really violent. This jerk, on the day of the Charlottesville rally, was marching with the same organization as the young man who drove a vehicle into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer and injuring two dozen others. The University has NOTHING to say about ANY of this. It's all generic bullshit, "We condemn bigotry of all kinds. We find such views to be abhorrent," then emphasizing neo-Nazi's right to free speech. The same administration that fired a grad student because she had exercised her's. We've got people at high levels of the university and state government who want our student athletes EXPELLED for protesting against police violence. I had many sad, fucked up thoughts throughout the week. One of which was... maybe the only thing left is self-immolation. I remembered a dear friend of mine, she used to dread that her life was going to end via self-immolation, cuz of how fucked up and unchanging everything is. This was years ago. I went to see In the Intense Now with her. There's a stretch of the movie that talks about the deaths of young people, including Jan Palach, who, in an act of protest against the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia, ended his life via self-immolation. There's the famous image of Thích Quảng Đức, an image I first became acquainted with cuz of the band Rage Against The Machine. Right now I just want to listen to their entire discography. I am so fucking pissed. I am so fucking sad. I am feeling like so much shit and having so much thoughts. Nothing will ever change and society will always be organized in a way that fucks everyone. I emailed the regents of the university, asking them to say something publicly about this neo-Nazi, they say nothing, and act like I'm being a punk when I'm really being a human fucking being. I get on Twitter. A mildly influential Nebraska Democrat is saying to Senator Sasse something about how Sasse sucks cuz Sasse has said in the past that the college campus safe space movement is stupid but now Sasse has nothing to say about the neo-Nazi. In his previous tweet, which was tweeted two hours prior to the Sasse tweet, the mildly influential Nebraska Democrat was literally campaigning for a Republican to be Governor of Nebraska. I responded but I deleted my response because I don't want to engage with bullshit but I still want to scream at him that the crying faces I've seen on campus all week don't have much to do with Senator Sasse and how much Senator Sasse sucks and who the fuck are you to talk shit on Sasse anyways you stupid fuck who toes the current weak ass Nebraska Democrat party line which is, if you can't beat 'em, don't even try, just help a different fucking Republican win. I AM SO ANGRY. I just read a bunch of shit about internet addiction and it's crazy how long I've been glued. In the Intense Now says things can change, and even if they only change for a second, it shows that change can happen, which means it can happen again, that there's always glimmering potential for the unfolding of a new path. That this hope is deeply felt, upon watching a movie that's largely about people who tried, got tired, and died,... is really extraordinary. And that was to be the end of my review. But then a funny thing happened. I was trying to figure out where to watch another movie by this filmmaker, called Santiago, was doing some searching, and learned that he's a billionaire, like the 300th-ish richest person on Earth, owns a controlling interest in the world's largest niobium supplier, which is a metal that's present in most steel alloys, his dad worked for like, the last leftist presidents of Brazil, including a couple dudes who got overthrown by coups. I texted my friend a long string of the word HAHAHA and a picture of the filmmaker's Forbes.com page. I don't want it to seem like I'm taking a piss on the movie by pointing out that the guy who made it is richer than God. I still think it's beautiful. I'm just amused. Like earlier I was complaining about how my dickhead billionaire governor wants to expel student athletes for kneeling during the national anthem. This filmmaker has like, 150x as much $$$ as aforementioned dickhead. Enough about money. I talked about this movie with my friend and we talked about our lives and our ideas. I tried to explain how I feel so isolated lately. Sitting in Jimmy Johns and how sad it is to feel profoundly alone in a restaurant filled with people. I talked about how I think the most important thing we can do is go out into the streets and speak the truths we feel inside us. I was eating pizza with some old friends earlier. When your pizza was ready, they'd call your name over a speaker and you'd go up to a window and grab it. I remembered a time after one of our poetry groups, my friend asked some people in a taco restaurant if she could scream capitalism is bullshit into the intercom. We had a long conversation leading up to whether or not she should, or would, even ask the people if she could do it. When she ultimately did ask, It was unexpected but delightful, and then it seemed strange that it ever seemed off limits. The people at the taco stand didn't let her do it. I remember the time she burnt money in my sink and I posted a photo of the charred greenbacks on insta. Because of the neo-Nazi I did more public speaking this week than I typically do. I said to two people who each get paid more than 20x what I get paid, that by not acting with leadership and moral vision in response to this neo-Nazi situation, they were actively recruiting white supremacists, fascists, and members of hate groups onto our campus. I talked about looking on Twitter and seeing the neo-Nazi bragging about how the university stands with him. He tweeted #NoSuchThingAsHateSpeech and it makes me feel like putting a bullet in my brain typing it. A few days into it all, I saw the neo-Nazi on campus. I knew it was him from afar, but I kept hoping it wasn't him, but as I got closer it just became more and more apparent that it was. I felt like I had to do something, but didn't actually want to or even know what to do. I walked by him, turned around, and gawked as he talked to someone. He noticed, walked toward me, and said, "What's up man?" I said, "Just looking at ya." He chuckled awkwardly and said, "That's cool." I asked him if I could ask him a question and he told me he had to catch a bus and I said I understood. Then he said, "If you actually want to ask me something, you can ask me." He was implying that he was trusting me to ask a serious question, or maybe a question that wasn't unfair. I told him I was against white nationalism, I told him this because I thought perhaps he wouldn't want to engage with someone who didn't agree with his fucked up worldview. He said that didn't bother him. I asked him, "Do you want to hurt people?" A look of a strange rage, a rage heightened by his apparent inability to express it, filled his face. His eyes narrowed and his mouth contorted and he said, "I already answered that question. I never said that." Our back and forth was a thing where I pointed out that he, by saying he never said he wanted to hurt people, was failing to answer my question, which was, "Do you want to hurt people?" not "Did you say you want to hurt people?" and he got angry and never unequivocally stated, "I do not want to hurt people." I walked behind him loudly repeating the question, "Do you want to hurt people?" I couldn't really hear what he said in response. He said the name of a famous neo-Nazi who famously got punched and it sparked some stupid internet debate re: whether or not it's ethical to punch a neo-Nazi. I said I was asking him if he wants to hurt people because I feel strongly that his ideology does hurt people and I said Adolf Hitler hurt a lot of people. He got on a bus. A woman asked if I was okay and I said I was and she asked if that was "him" and I said it was and she said, "Thanks for saying that" then walked away. I don't know why I did this. I felt like I had to. But as I write now I feel like I'm engaging in some annoying self-mythologizing. But as I write the previous sentence I think, who do you think you are? Nobody on Earth is going to read this shit. I remember other instances from my past when I felt compelled to speak up. At a football game, Nebraska had lost a close one to Texas, and a kid next to me who was a Texas fan was gloating and this lady started berating him and I told her to shut up, it's not cool to be a sore loser, and that's not how Nebraska fans act. This dude Allen he was at a party and his girl caught him cheating on her or doing something damn near and he started going apeshit. He was knocking things over and being a madman. I went up to him and put my hands on him and talked to him and he cooled down. Everyone was surprised cuz when they tried it he took swings. The time I yelled at the pyramid schemer, I wrote a poem about that time. The truth is so slippery. That's the challenge of speaking it in front of people, cuz maybe a week later the truth you spoke will have slipped away from you but stayed with someone you spoke it to. When I was talking to my friend after we'd watched In the Intense Now we were sitting in my car, the car kept getting colder, and I said to her a thought I often think and occasionally write down, which is (and this is the saddest truth I hold in my heart): Every time I walk down the street I see people in pain. Thinking about this makes me want to listen to music. I open a playlist and click shuffle. "Pink Houses" by John Mellencamp. The one where he goes, "Ain't that America, home of the free" & "Like everything else those old days and dreams just kinda came and went" & "There's people and more people" & "There's winners and there's losers" & "The simple man pays the bills, the bills, the bills that kill". I've been wearing dirty socks every day for two fucking weeks. My back is sore. My fridge is empty and buying groceries makes me anxious. I never set my alarm clock. I'm beset by feelings of uncertainty. Every road is a dead end and the beaches are no more. I'm looking forward having my wisdom teeth extracted. This is what I've become. My goal is to be better about more frequently doing nothing. Jobs are so fucking stupid. I wish I was in a punk band. I can be. It's not hard to be in a punk band. I iMessaged Mike these shitty political ads. In one of them this guy says, "We have to create more opportunities for people to provide for their families and live up to their god-given potential." The meaninglessness of the words I just quoted is a black hole from which nothing can escape. I curse the river of time. Thirty-two years have passed. Set me free. Let me die. Show me something new for once in my fucking god damn life.