Remembrance Day

Today is a solemn day in which we remember both the sacrifice and horrors soldiers have faced over Canada’s short history in face of war. We take the time to reflect on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, on the eleventh hour, when World War One end nearly 90 years ago. The reflection that this was the “War to end all wars”, is especially heartbreaking considering how often soldiers all over the world have been sent to their death since. This is not a day to be patriotic, but rather hope that one day we will have no new soldiers to remember, and war will be a relic of the past.

Written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, “In Flanders Field” was one of those poems I remember distinctly learning in school. Since I live in Quebec, I actually know it in both French and English, though it wasn’t until recently that I grew to appreciate it’s beauty and wishfullness. It’s a simple plea, but no less effective… the imagery especially is so strong. I remember writing an essay on it and another WW1 poem a few years ago, and both mentioned the lark. I did some research, and found that the lark is the bird that sings at the gates of heaven. It really evokes incredible sadness and power when the beautiful songs are drowned out by the sound of gunfire and death. And the final cry of the dead, that if we continue to fight, they will never be able to sleep below the red poppies… well, it brings tears to my eyes.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

large_impressionist_landscape_with_poppies_flanders_field

Ginger Snaps: Unleashed (Sullivan, 2004)

For a sequel, Ginger Snaps: Unleashed is actually a fairly decent film. It never reaches the same quality of the first film, but it’s still a very watcheable horror film. It continues a little after the first, Brigitte is now on the run as a werewolf is in pursuit because it wants to mate with her. Having been infected in the first film, she’s also constantly battling with her own infection obsessively. Bad luck brings her to be staying in a clinic for girl drug addicts, in what is easily the strongest portion of the film.

What first struck me about this segment is it’s subversive attack on the medical system, which is underfunded and largely inneffective. First and foremost, there is a brief and scating comment about the government being unwilling to support a clinic that supports and helps drugs addicts. Seriously underfunded, they also became a long-care facility for burn victims. Corruption and ridiculous sequences follow, the treatment of the characters in the facility is much like those in high school in the earlier film.

Taking off from the first film, Ginger Snaps: Unleashed further explores the nature of the beast, and Brigitte’s persisted reluctance to conform and let the beast escape. A bit more obvious then the previous film, Unleashed seems to acknowledge more fully that there is little difference between the werewolf and your every day next door neighbour. We are all ruled by our baser needs and desires, and will do depraved and ruthless things to get them. The difference is, we have a choice… if that is the right choice is another matter entirely. Is Brigitte’s choice to keep running, keep drugging herself the right one? I’m not entirely sure.

The film though, is imperfect. Much of this having to do with a new character, Ghost, a young girl staying at the clinic who is well… annoying. Though she is annoying to Brigitte too, I’m not entirely fond of her character arc and how her involvement develops the story. Once they leave the clinic, it becomes even more Ghost centric… and really, it’s quite weak comparitively to the first half of the film. I don’t particularly like how the film ends… it does play into the same themes and ideas presented earlier on, but it’s far from satisfying and is not particularly interesting.

Though apparently the weakest in the trilogy, I think I will check out the third film… which is also a prequel, just for completion.