Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Poetry, Ghost City

During high-school and the early parts of college I'd been intrigued by poetry, and read regularly; however, in recent years prose had occupied me nearly entirely, and only a few weeks ago did I begin once more to walk upon poetry's strands. What I find compelling is the way in which certain poetry blurs the demarcation of narration and pure aesthetics, in the way that a powerful painting captures the eye with its beauty, yet also hints at the larger background story of the elements that compose it.

There is a segment in the film Ghost in the Shell that is imbued by a like composition of content and form, which has made it a very powerful piece for me. It is the Ghost City chapter, a nominally uneventful five minutes during which one travels through a rendition of Hong Kong while the dusk fades and a rain begins to fall; Kenji Kawai's melancholy strains provide the background as neon signs flash like idols in the gloom and the people of the city go about the routine of their lives. The tableau, positioned as it is against the larger story of the movie, evokes in me a sense of the beauty and unreality of everyday life: though were either of those aspects---the seemingly aimless artistry of the city, or the underlying plot and characters---removed, the force of the scene would be greatly diminished.

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