The Invisible Spark

Those who would come to kill
Fear we have an invisible spark
Yet it’s our fear that keep us still
And so our light dies in the dark.

In Paris and Beirut and elsewhere
In the midst of all that is terrible
One with another starts to share

That lighting of a spark invisible

Once it’s seen the pursuers’ eyes melt
For they know they will see death’s mark
Conquered by hope and love heartfelt
Kindled by an invisible indivisible spark.

Before Midnight

If you’re expecting a fairy tale ending to the story of Jesse and Celine, you may be disappointed. But the final instalment in the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset does have a real world ending and all in all a satisfying one. But to reveal it would give away too much.

Beautifully filmed in Greece, we begin the story realising that Jesse stayed with Celine in France. His marriage has dissolved and now he is separated from his son. Celine and Jesse have now twin daughters who are peripheral to the story.

So now we enter the lives of a middle aged couple on holiday with friends facing all the doubts of career, children and blended families. And yet   the couple still that same spark of conversation shown in the previous two films. But underlying the dialogue is a harder edge than Before Sunrise  and Before Sunset had.

What’s different about this film, is that other characters move in and out of the story. Both Jesse and Celine chat with others but even in these conversations there’s a sense of unresolve. At times the dialogue is genuinely laugh out loud funny but teases out all the questions one wants to ask in conversation but rarely does so. But as to answering those questions, well that would end the conversation I’m afraid, which is the charm and joy of these films.

But it’s the last part of the film which is no holds barred where accusation and counter accusation escalate. Though awkward and at times harrowing, the audience is made to feel as if they have wandered into a play punctuated by off stage dramas. Both Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are mesmerising in this last stanza. And its not until the last lines of the movie that the unexpected ending is revealed.

What Does the Ultimately Downsized Government Do?

With the death of Margaret Thatcher, many people have been reflecting upon her legacy.

Since her time as Prime Minister of Great Britain, governments of all colours have rolled back their dominance through spending cuts, tax cuts, withdrawal of services, privatisation and/or deregulation.

As the GFC and its after effects continue, austerity is the new watch word. Countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, USA and France are struggling due to even more tax and spending cuts, privatisation, withdrawal of services, etc.

Even when governments change (See France ), the incoming administration struggles to replace what is lost. The loss of revenue and spending cuts create difficulties in replacing what has been lost. Even Australia despite its world class economy will face this problem if there is a change of government.

This trend to roll back government raises the following question:

What does the ultimately downsized government do?

  • Are they reverting to the nineteenth century role of administering defence, foreign affairs, law and trade?
  • Will downsized governments have no role in the areas of health, education and social security?
  • What then happens to the poor, homeless, sick, unemployed, old, disabled and unfortunate?
  • What about the attendant social dislocation?

What does the ultimately downsized government do?