15 March 2009

when I cry, it's totally because of the wind.

by Cecily
Phoebe took me to see The Silent World at the Library of Congress last week. This movie is so, so great.

Summary of the plot: Mostly-naked French guys are on a boat. They have aqualungs. They smoke cigarettes and drink wine. They encounter wildlife. They have emotional responses to wildlife. They kill wildlife. They smoke more cigarettes and drink more wine. The end.

Throughout these events, Jacques Cousteau narrates and commentates and ruminates and explicates. He does things with scientific implements. He stages casual conversations with crew members during which everyone points at a chart and looks serious.

Then they find land! It is a desert island! The men ride giant tortoises while smoking cigarettes.

Then they discover footprints, and the footprints lead them to Black Native Islander Man, who is digging for turtle eggs. Luckily, he speaks English.

There are many bizarre aspects of this movie but I think Black Native Islander Man is the winner. No one ever explains why he is on the island, how he got there, or why he cares about the turtle eggs. He has a fake Jamaican-style accent (on top of the French) and he tells us about the giant turtles and their life cycle. When the mother turtles return to the ocean after laying their eggs, they are crying. Some say it is because of the wind, but Black Native Islander Man knows better: it is because of Sorrow.


  1. That happens in our neighborhood. Really. Maybe it'll happen again when you come visit.

  2. Wait, what happens? Black men tell you about turtles in Jamaican accents?

  3. No, you silly. Turtles crawl up on the beach and lay eggs. In Mozambique!

  4. Do they cry? What's your opinion on the Sorrow v. Wind question?