The looping matrix

After being immersed in the guilt of being indifferent, I opened the door of my broken-arm-housemate
“Hi!”
“Hi?”
“Do you wanna come over and watch a movie?”
“A movie? Sure, just let me know when you are ready”
So at around 8 she came over with a huge casted arm and we started by a movie I quickly come up in mind.
“Do you know Matrix?”, I ask.
“No. What’s it about?”
I hesitated at choosing the right words to summarize. How can I best describe it? Hmm
Uhm, it’s a movie about another world. It’s mysterious, and entertaining”
She seems to be okay with that short sentence and together we cradle inside a big blanket, some snacks on the side. This is my 5th time watching the movie and I find myself pausing every 10 minutes to explain the culture cues that I am able to interpret. The same feeling when a friend from Saigon, reversely, says about Foucault as a matter of fact while I stare at him cuelessly. Feeling the big gap, I stop explaining after a while and exchange plain so-called observations
– He is so fast!
– Yeah
– Is this a horror movie?
– No, it isn’t.
Movies, more than entertainment, can be the gateway to understand culture and complex ideology of another world. Depending on how well a viewer can explore, the effects of a movie will vary. Despite my good intention, the housemate can not share my pleasure, and till my turn,  I cannot reflect on that work as deeply as someone who are more familiar with cyberpunk, Plato’s cave or Simulacra and Simulation which serve as inspirations for the movie’s premise.
Screenshot
However the purpose of a movie is often not to educate. Movies, first and foremost, need to sell. A movie like Matrix needs to be thought-provoking enough to draw viewers’ attention and at the same time, entertaining enough to give us a good time even when we don’t get the deep culture cues. Ignorant audience still feel the pace of action scenes, like the moment Neo raises his hands to stop the bullet flow
Screenshot001
That superhuman power scene with his calm posture and ultimate control to twist a fatal incident to a different turn is enough to leave a long-lasting impression, urging us to want more.
Yet, movies fans after enjoying that, dig deeper and spend hours exploring premises constructed by screenwriters and even create website like this
Screenshot002
When it comes to interpreting fictions or cinematic works, I can’t help feeling we are sheep. My housemate is the ignorant sleepy sheep and the ones contributing to Matrix101 site are passionate sheep who may pat themselves on their shoulders for exploring deeper layers.
Yet, altogether, we are just exploring pieces of a game set up by screenwriters and producers which might or might not make any sense. If that’s the case, I would rather join the second gang.

Hidden Figures revealed in Hanoi

It’s been a long time since I came back to American Center, this time, for a short heat and mental escape. Both reasons. I got through the security gate and immediately facing a bunch of Vietnamese high school and undergraduate students talking with each other in loud american english. The charming woman with a stylish dress who has been working there greeted us with a smile.

– Coke & popcorn are outside.

“Free food !!!”, the scarcity mindset that dominated me for nearly a month makes that industrial coke suddenly very attractive. “Hmm, do I deserve it? But it’s free food”, I took a sip of coke without touching the popcorn.

Soon enough we came to the event & movie room, opposite to the library section. An American woman stood up to introduce the movie called “Hidden Figures”, in which the setting is 1960s while black segregation was prevalent. The main characters were 3 bright black women working for NASA, hoping to help US not behind in the space race.

The plot is predictable – the 3 black women are, in the beginning, very talented. They are so talented that NASA cannot put segregation rules on them, eventually. And sure, something’s gonna happen to change racism. A positive vibe is radiant from the screen.

It’s not difficult to see why hordes of teenagers rush here (and will be more in summer). It’s $ from America spent in educational resources that we can benefit, in a regime of instructing a positive image of that country.

Thank u, American tax payers. For your WiFi, books, coke & movie.


P/S: despite all that, the film is quite idealistic. The women there are top notch. They are built to succeed and there is not any moment that they lose faith or spirit, which is too hyped up.

But it’s still a movie to inform I guess. Thank u