Saturday, February 28, 2015

March 1 Hyenas

I have seen hyenas in the wild. They are a disturbing, opportunistic predator.

A favorite film shows today at noon. It is Hyenas, based on Friedrich Dürrenmatt's the Visit of the Old Lady. The play is often recontextualized to new times and places. This, by Djibril Diop Mambety, it is a tragedy set amid stunning production design in Senegal. Some plot elements parallel critiques of World Bank activities in Africa.

It is said that there are only a few plots. The protagonist leaves town, the protagonist arrives in town. The Visit is the protagonist who left town, and returns to town, for revenge. The final revenge is a small death, but the enormity of contributing revenge is epic.

Playwright Dürrenmatt/Duerrenmatt is known for his tragicomedies. Three stand out. This is the most tragic, though the dialog is subtile and there is scattered humor.

The most humorous of his plays is Romulus the Great. The protagonist is a fictional last emperor of Rome. He encourages its fall to barbarians because he believes it corrupt. In the end, it is revealed the barbarians are invading to adopt the culture of the empire.

In the middle is The Physicists. It is a meditation on the responsibility of scientists and engineers for the commercial application of their individual work. Let's just say this has been one of my projects over years. I have had some successes. But in the play, the dénouement is the utter failure of ethics against commerce.

This is a fine rare film to see.

Hyenas at the Cascade Festival of African Films. At PCC Cascade Moriarty Arts and Humanities Building, Room 104. 705 N Killingsworth. Noon Free