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Lions Roar : May 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 97 LOOK BOTH WAYS, 2005, Australia 100 min.; director: Sarah Watt Packaged as an entertaining story of star-crossed love, it’s really an exploration of how our emotions color our perceptions. Nick, a photojournalist, and Meryl, a painter of seascapes for sympathy cards, meet at the scene of Australia’s most terrible train accident. Shortly before, he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and she has buried her beloved father. Despite the seemingly inauspi- cious timing, they are drawn into a relationship in which they quickly find their concepts of how things “ought” to proceed chal- lenged. Their experience is augmented by several subplots, which are artfully interwoven in the manner of Crash or Magnolia. Why It Matters: Sarah Watt has inadvertently made a quintessen- tially Buddhist movie: a film about death that is also entertaining. Enjoy how the taboo subject of death is skillfully blended with the filmmaker’s own brand of wry Australian humor. She never shies from the reality that death is everywhere and can come without warning—but she also suggests that this should not stop us from living. It’s a film about how to live in what Tibetans call a bardo, the in-between place that separates one story line from another. It could be actual death or, as is the case here, thinking your life is ending because you’ve been diagnosed with terminal cancer, then discovering you can still fall in love and think about a beginning. WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?, 2006, USA 92 min.; director: Chris Paine An information-packed documentary on efforts to introduce— and keep—electric vehicles on the road in the U.S. Electric cars got a big boost in the 1990s in response to California’s Zero Emis- sions legislation. GM moved ahead of the pack and created the EV1, an electric vehicle that inspired a dedicated sales team and found devoted drivers who fell for its stylish contours, smooth ride, and eco-friendly credentials. Despite their growing popu- larity, six years later all the electric cars were gone, recalled and destroyed. This film tells the story of what happened. Why It Matters: Note the juxtaposition of automobiles that re- quire little maintenance and offer low noise levels with no emis- sions, with the underhanded ways the cars were sabotaged: the existence of better batteries allowing more mileage per charge was ignored, the threat the cars posed to the lucrative infrastructure of automotive parts and gas stations was emphasized, and the willful distortion of market demand by the manufacturers undermined both the sales team and consumers. When we had a major oppor- tunity to improve our environment, we seemed to prefer to keep that opportunity firmly in the future. This film will make you weep at our unwillingness to face the challenge of change and our fixation on what we know and are familiar with—even if change would allow our planet and our children to breathe better. ♦ Note: If a specific source isn’t indicated, our recommended DVDs are widely available through Netflix, Amazon, and other major sellers.