Saturday, 8 October 2016

An Ending...

Just fresh from revisiting Steven Soderbergh's 2000 film Traffic (inspired by a screening last week of Sicario), and it's always a pleasure to see again one of my very favourite final scenes in Cinema, as Benicio del Toro enjoys a late evening children's baseball game. It's one of those endings that seems to have strayed from another film and it's given a majestic quality by Brian Eno's track An Ending (Ascent). That Eno piece, composed for the Apollo missions film For All Mankind seems at first an odd choice, such is its irrevocable association with space, but in fact it lends the baseball scene a nice cosmic touch, the weightlessness of the music echoes an earlier scene in the film where del Toro first mentions baseball whilst floating in a swimming pool. I like the end titles too, which appear to be influenced by Dan Perri's titles for All The Presidents Men, placed at the bottom of the screen in a simple yet elegant sans-serif font.

Watching this final scene of Traffic again, the surreal sulfuric light put in mind Seamus Heaney's poem Markings, in which the poet describes a children's game of football and that singular skill that children have to see their surroundings long after the light has faded...

Youngsters shouting their heads off in a field
As the light died and they kept on playing
Because by then they were playing in their heads
And the actual kicked ball came to them
Like a dream heaviness, and their own hard
Breathing in the dark and skids on grass
Sounded like effort in another world

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