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Greatest Written Films - Missing

Missing is a 1982 film of the true story of a young writer, Charles Horman who is temporarily based in an unnamed South American country (it was Chile in 1973) when a military coup tears the country apart. Charles goes missing along with a few other Americans (mainly journalists) and thousands of locals, leaving his young wife Beth, played brilliantly by Sissy Spacek, to try and track him down without getting herself killed. She is soon joined by her cantankerous father-in-law, Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon).

The deeper they dig, the more the suspicion grows that the American Embassy is giving them the run-around, implicating the US government of playing a part in Charles' disappearance as well as having something to do with the coup itself.

The film was shot in secrecy in Mexico by Greek director, Costa-Gavras, as the topic was so controversial. The U.S. Ambassador portrayed in the film sued Universal Pictures for $150 million, but the case was later dismissed. The Horman's also acted as guides on the film, giving it authenticity.

The real horror is of course, the many thousands who went 'missing' and the fact that General Pinochet who became the country's president after the coup, was never held accountable for committing mass murder (though the Brits made a half hearted attempt) and he died in 2006.

The 1973 Coup

Personally I recall the 1987 U2 song, Mothers of the Disappeared, (see the excellent clip below) which speaks about Pinochet's crimes in a heartbreak way, while Vangelis produced the actual soundtrack.

The direction is a little flat at times but brilliantly captivating in others, yet this series On Greatest Written Films is a homage to writers, being about story and script first. Missing succeeds as a gripping, moving story, with great performances by Lemmon and Spacek, made more tragic by its truth.

Link to more Film info

Link - 1973 Chilean Coup

Link - the real Charles Horman

Coming Soon,

EnterNet - a bizarre flash fiction
And more Greatest Written Films

More Bad News, followed by a little Good...

Actually the good news came first but who wants to end on a downer? 

The Bad 

The day before I brought my partner home from hospital, my grandfather was diagnosed with a terminal illness and went into hospital. The day after I brought my partner home, I managed to speak to him on the phone and told him how I felt. He was 89, but sharp and good humoured to the end. He died a day later. My father and his brother rushed up (live 700kms away) but were unable to get there in time. However the funeral was rushed forward so that they could attend. My grandfather only wanted a simple service, but wants his ashes scattered in the Victorian Grampians (mountains), which will happen later. The three of us drove the 3 hours to the service then back to Sydney. This all during the week that my partner requires me for absolutely everything, as she is in a wheelchair. It's been a crazy week.

The Grampians 

My grandfather was healthy (up until the last few months) and of sound mind to the end. This is what I wrote and read out at his service. 

Every so often We are reminded of the shortness of Life And its fragility And when we witness the passing of someone dear we are humbled by its power For we are so tiny so innocent And at its mercy. We must be thankful for the days we see For the experiences we gather for the friendships we share for the family's we create They are precious For our time will come also and may we be as blessed and as loved as we have witnessed these past days With our dearly loved Stanley. His openness to the possibilities of Life were inspiring He was scared, yet he kept his humour Somehow Knowing what was to come. He was blessed with the longevity of life And he knew this That's not to say it was all roses & laughter It was not without stress or strife But there were many great memories that he left behind If we remember him, it's usually with a smile As he was always smiling and quick with a quip or joke And that says volumes about the type of person he was. E E Cummings, who was a poet and playwright said, The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. Friedrich Nietzsche the German philsopher once said: And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh. Stanley danced (in his own way) and laughed every day, and for that, his life was rich. His life was full. And that is as much as anyone could ask out of life.

(2005) The Good 

Just when I beleived that every literary submission I made was somehow sucked up into a cyber void, I finally had a story accepted for publication. It's for a regarded Anthology, only printed up once a year, and also a special 25th Anniversary edition, so I feel honoured. Honestly, it couldn't have come at a better time. I really needed some good news. I'll provide a link when it comes out if you're interested, which will be later in the year. Things are still very hectic at this end, but will endeavour to post once a week, and will try to get to your blogs when I can. 

Coming Soon, 
Greatest Written Films A Classic

Car vs Person. A True Story.. The FollowUp

It's been a difficult week. My partner had to go in for surgery on Wednesday. As she is six months pregnant she was concerned about going fully under Anesthetic, so she opted for a Epidural. She was awake for the operation and was okay coming out but once it wore off the pain settled in. She was on painkillers but not enough and it took hours of agony before they could administer her with enough. It was truly horrible to have to watch. (see poem below)

They had to cut into the bone beneath the knee to repair damaged bone and cartilage. She wasnt allowed to move her leg at all for 24 hours and it still is difficult to move and very painful as you can imagine. She has to keep it elevated at all times.

The baby is fine, thank God. Tough little nugget. The name we have chosen means strong in battle. She's certainly earned it.

My partner spent 3 nights in RPA, (Royal Prince Hospital Sydney, where the show RPA is filmed). I spent two in there as well. We were fortunate to get a private room. A chair folded out into a cot and that's where I slept. I was there for 60 hours straight, but had to get home to prep the house. Her father had to build a ramp to get her into the house.

So here we are. She has to spend 6 weeks with no weight on her foot at all, and a further 6 weeks with minimum weight. This takes us past the birth of the baby. It's going to be a challenging few months. She needs alot of painkillers and is understandably frustrated and upset as she is a very independant woman, who was fit and with a strong career. This loss of independance is hard for her to accept. We know it could have been worse but this doesnt help when it takes us a good 20 mins to get her to the bathroom in the middle of the night. This is of course, all compounded by the fact that she is 30 weeks pregnant. I'm her primary carer now. I have to do everything for her. It's draining and time consuming so forgive me if I do not read any fellow bloggers posts for a little while. I'll be lucky to do any of my own. Fortunately I have a few items in reserve.

I'm sure in the long term, things will turn out. We just have to be patient. I'm certainly seeing another side of life I didn't expect to see. From a purely selfish point of view, I'm sure elements of it will turn in my writing one day. For now, we have to simply get on with it.

When They Suffer

One of the most Difficult things in Life
Is to Watch those you Love
In Pain
Perhaps it the Hardest

Made Worse
By the Knowledge
That it was not necessary
All should have been Avoided
An extra
Swivel of the Blade

It Helps
If there is Something
You Can Do
If only a little amount.
And Yet, You still Must Watch
And if you're any sort of Person
It will Rip Your Heart
Down the Middle

And This is Me
And That is Her
And All I can do
Is Wait
And Suffer Alongside...

Coming Soon:
Back to normal posting, Greatest Written Films
Until Then

Some Bad News - Car vs Person

I don't normally post about things that aren't related to my writing, but the past two weeks has seen an impact on my writing and my life and though it is quite personal, I have decided to share it with you. For those who know me personally, you will already know that my partner was hit by a car while out walking on the 20th of June. She is six months pregnant. Fortunately the car wasn't going fast and she (and her friend) were not seriously injured. The baby is also safe. Believe me, it's the phone call you don't want. I was at work at the time and had to go to the Emergency department. It's terrifying, but of course, it's important to remain calm. I'm the main person she turns to so I have to remain calm. We are also grateful as we know it could have been much worse. She did go a bit up onto the bonnet but did not hit her head or stomach when she landed on the road. The man will be charged with negligent driving. He was in the wrong.

Her leg was damaged but not severly. She needs injections daily to reduce the chance of a blood clot, which I have to administer, as her leg is in a brace. She will have an operation this week to fix the bone fracture beneath her knee cap. It's painful and she is on crutches, but its even harder for her to get around as she is pregnant. She also has some torn cartilage. As she can't put any weight on her left foot at all, mobility is very limited. Naturally she is scared to have the operation but we have been guaranteed (as much as they can as there is always some risk) that the baby will be okay. My partner won't be able to walk for 3 months after the operation, which is past the date the baby is due. Challenging times ahead. (She also has children from a previous marriage). I will post an update after the operation. I'll return to my normal posts soon. Hope you bear with me for the next couple of weeks.