The Bible talks about God directing our paths and, while I know that some people use this as an excuse for making every mundane event a miracle, I feel that I've been truly knocked south by the work of Hal Samples (also check out here). Hal is a photographer/filmmaker who is working on a documentary called "Dreamtown." It's focused on homelessness here in Dallas. Hal provided the backdrop for a recent lead story in the Dallas Observer. You can read it here.
Our paths crossed through a network of "small pieces loosely joined" called the City Core Initiative. I've been serving on the board of this group for several years now and have had the opportunity to hear Hal and break bread with him on several occasions.
Hal Samples is an artist of great vision. But, more importantly, he's a person of great heart. We're hoping to have him at church on Christmas Eve to share some of his vision and ministry with us, but for those of you who may never have the chance to see his work anywhere else, I just wanted to share this with you, partly because I love what Hal is doing, but also because I seriously love the blues. And you won't hear better harmonica playing than you'll hear from Scrap Iron Ford, the man in this video.
I caught wind of this over on one of the VH1 sites. Not quite sure what, exactly to make of it, but it all looks interesting. And, not really even sure if it's a REAL film. Either way, it's an interesting attention getter. The trailer is interesting, but not really suitable for kids.
It's easy to see why Hoffman's been pegged as an Oscar contender for his acting in this movie. He captures the essence of Truman Capote's self-absorbed whining with dead-on precision. I remember watching Capote on the talk show circuit when I was a kid and it was uncanny how much PSH was channeling this guy.
The movie's deeply disturbing in some places, extremely funny in others, particularly when Truman is voguing around in his silk robes and overcoats in front of Harper Lee (stunningly played by Catherine Keener).
The basic plot revolves around Capote's novel In Cold Blood and the Kansas killing spree that inspired it. Capote nearly self-destructs, however, as the story unfolds and the real tension here is the tension between Capote's artistic instincts and his human ones. And, while under ordinary circumstances, these two elements shouldn't collide, in Capote's instance, they do.
Much of the time, it's hard to tell whether Capote is being sincere or if he's just slinging sentiment to get what he wants from the killers, but that's part of the magic of the film in some ways. Trying to read the author is as challenging as trying to read the mind of a murderer.
This movie does a great job of raising questions about how far people are willing to go for their art. Capote never finished another novel after In Cold Blood and, after watching this story unfold, it's easy to see why. He pretty much imploded in a puddle of guilt and self-loathing during the writing of that one.
The main reason to see this film, though, is Hoffman's sterling performance. He just nails it.