Thursday, March 30, 2006


Happy Endings

Sometimes, as in the movies, life has happy endings. Today, it's a double feature. American journalist, 28-year-old Jill Carroll, a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, who had been held captive since January 7, 2006 in war-torn Iraq -- in a protest against Iraqi female prisoners -- has been set free, unharmed. As news of Carroll's release circles the globe, newspapers in the U.S. are also reporting Randal McCloy, Jr., the sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia, has been released from the hospital, almost three months after he was trapped underground in a mine filled with toxic fumes for more than 40 hours. Back when it was believed (and reported) that all but one of the miners had survived, I said the story was sure to become a motion picture. When word came that, in fact, the opposite was true -- all but one died -- I still believed, as I do today, that this story, now along with Jill Carroll's, will make it to the screen. Ironically, it was Carroll imagine on screen, twice seen pleading for her life on videotape, that backfired on her captors, and ignited a worldwide outrage of protests for her release. The power of the moving image to stir. While pursuing both of these stories as films would clearly be a form of "ambulance chasing," it is still, by far, a more noble endeavor to relate these triumphs of human will, than it is to clamor over who will get the tell the tale of an alleged Mafia Cop, currently standing trial for murder and betrayal. I generally don't like film endings which tie things up in a neat little bow, and have always preferred an ending which leaves the audience wondering, and perhaps wanting more (Broken Flowers is a great recent example of this), but today, I must say, "Here's to happy endings!"

Why is it more noble for producers to want to capitalize on the mine disaster or the journalist's kidnapping than on the mafia cop?
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