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  •  READER COMMENTS

    Reader comments on Valentďn

    Subject: My Thoughts
    Date: May 25, 2006
    Sender: Paperclip013Previous | Next

    I just found this website about movies and I looked up the Argentinean feature Valentin. I read Mr. Butterworth's critique of it and I could not help writing my own little piece in return.
    Mr. Butterworth, you might be paid to write newspaper columns about films, but that does not make you an expert on movies and especially it does not make you an authority on writing, feeling and life. Your scathing comments about Valentin indicate that you are affected by that rather clichéd malady of the modern world - cynicism. That you can find the semi-autobiographical story of Mr. Agresti sentimental and not worth seeing at all, tells me only one of two things: that you have either lost your ability to feel and appreciate life or that you never had it in the first place.
    I read your opinion on Amores Perros, in which you extolled the virtues of violence and some of humanity‚s less admirable qualities (let us remember the cheating pregnant wife having sex with her husband‚s brother on the floor of her room.) Yet, you find the struggles and aspirations of an eight-year-old boy laughable and unworthy of attention? And here I was thinking that any parent would feel inspired by Valentin‚s story! I guess I have retained some of my early childhood idealism, if I can still hope that humanity will save itself from its own vices by learning from its past experiences∑
    Tell me Mr. Butterworth, why should every face, every act and scene in a film be ugly, brutal and bloody in order to display verisimilitude and be cinematically valuable? What point can a director make by blood that cannot be made by words? Why is it that we, the adult viewers of films, cannot accept a child‚s point of view as valid? Is it because we are afraid that we were once optimistic and resilient, but now we swim in excuses, deadlines and apathy? I listened to the interview with Mr. Agresti, which was included on the DVD as a bonus feature. I suggest you devote it a few minutes of your time as well. If you do so, you will be able to hear the director‚s thoughts about children and their ability to deal with life‚s punches and kicks, about their natural inclination to overcome obstacles out of sheer love and necessity, not out of pride and fear. I know I was humbled by Mr. Agresti‚s insight and recollection. What is more, I felt inspired by both his words and his film to re-examine my own attitudes and habits as an adult. To my utter surprise and delight, I found that I could still learn a few things from my and his childhood.
    Don‚t get me wrong, Mr. Butterworth, I too like my thrills and action and the occasional dismemberment. I too can enjoy a good fight sequence, even if I know that the majority of the fight sequences in movies today are completely unrealistic (I am studying a martial art and I have some experts‚ opinions on what is feasible and what is not.) In short, as much as I am fond of physical feats, I know they have their limitations too. Blood can only take you so far, Mr. Butterworth; flying body parts and showing humanity‚s dregs at work can offer only the brief satisfaction of seeing someone behaving worse than us. To teach their audience to be kinder, more responsible and more generous in their life is a feat very few filmmakers of the past 30 years have been able to achieve. Many of them have shown us long legs, big boobs and fast tricks. Just a handful of them have been able to reach out and lift their audience, to inspire perfect strangers to be better human beings and to do so without being arrogant, glitzy or proud at any turn in their work. In my opinion, the latter category of filmmaker deserves accolades left, right and center. These brave men and women should be extolled in our hectic, brutal and bloody lives. They dare to be different and humane, not the guys who can spend $200 million on special effects when there are 200 million homeless, hungry or sick people in the world. I firmly believe that in this messed up global village we live in today, any offer of hope, kindness and love is worth all the more precisely because it is so rare, so unusual. To me, Valentin is, and always will be, a little treasure for that one reason alone - it gave me hope. It is a lesson in love, in forgiveness, in responsibility. I do not even have children, but I felt both inspired to be a better person and humbled by the prosaic mistakes of life shown in this movie. Valentin with his spacesuit and earnest love brought back so many memories of my own childhood, the childhood of my family and friends that I would need to write you another 2-3 pages just to give you an idea of what this little boy means to me∑In the end, Mr. Butterworth, I can honestly say I feel more human and I find my life more purposeful for having seen this picture after all. Had I listened to your vitriolic comments about it, I would have missed this unique opportunity to feel happy and inspired. Valentin is what we, the viewers, need more of today.

    Previous: Mantecarancia I | Next: I don't agree

    Respond to this message | Return to original article: Valentďn




    Comment index:

  • Valentin   from Angela, Nov 25, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Mili, May 9, 2005
  • you are an acid fucker   from matias kochman, Nov 27, 2005
  • Mantecarancia I   from Alex, Jan 3, 2006
  • » My Thoughts «   from Paperclip013, May 25, 2006
  • I don't agree   from AbJansen, Dec 26, 2007
  • What a waste of my time   from Jonathan, Apr 24, 2008
  • Lovely movie   from Colleen, Aug 31, 2008
  • valentin IS adorable bxtch!   from Hannah, Apr 13, 2010
  • Valentin   from Angela, Nov 25, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Mili, May 9, 2005
  • you are an acid fucker   from matias kochman, Nov 27, 2005
  • Mantecarancia I   from Alex, Jan 3, 2006
  • » My Thoughts «   from Paperclip013, May 25, 2006
  • I don't agree   from AbJansen, Dec 26, 2007
  • What a waste of my time   from Jonathan, Apr 24, 2008
  • Lovely movie   from Colleen, Aug 31, 2008
  • valentin IS adorable bxtch!   from Hannah, Apr 13, 2010