Distant Voices Still Lives Film Analysis

Sunday, March 27, 2022 12:48:43 AM

Distant Voices Still Lives Film Analysis



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Terence Davies on Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

Hiro applies to get in a "nerd" college, only to be traumatized. But with the help of Baymax Hamada, Hiro goes on an unexpected journey with some of his friends. Watch as Hiro Hamada takes down an evil villain and some very important people pass away. In San Fransokyo, the fourteen year-old Hiro Hamada is a little genius who makes money in illegal robot fights. His older brother, the college student Tadashi, saves Hiro from a dangerous gang and brings him to his laboratory in the university to convince him to forget the fights.

When Hiro meets his idol Professor Robert Callaghan, he decides to join the university. Hiro needs to invent something to attract the attention of Callaghan and he brings tiny robots called microbots that are useful for many applications to the science fair in the university. The entrepreneur Alastair Krei wants to buy the microbots but Hiro prefers to stay with Callaghan in the university. When Hiro and Tadashi leave the fair, there is a fire and Tadashi returns to the place to rescue Callaghan. However the building blows up and Tadashi dies. Later, Hiro activates Baymax and the robot follows the direction pointed out by the last microbot kept with Hiro.

The boy chases Baymax and they come to an abandoned building. Hiro discovers that someone is producing microbots and they are attacked by a masked man who controls the microbots. OWEN Well, he'd better have those units in the south range repaired be midday or there'll be hell to pay! LUKE yelling How's that. Threepio signals that is fine and Luke turns back into the wind-whipped cockpit and pops the canopy shut. We must have missed him. Uncle Owen isn't going to take this very well. LUKE brightening Sure. He needs you. He'd probably only deactivate you for a day or so Well, on the other hand if you hadn't removed his restraining bolt LUKE Wait, there's something dead ahead on the scanner.

It looks like our droid Suddenly in the foreground two weather-beaten Sandpeople shrouded in their grimy desert cloaks peer over the edge of the rock mesa. One of the marginally human creatures raises a long ominous laser rifle and points it at the speeder but the second creature grabs the gun before it can be fired. The Sandpeople, or Tusken Raiders as they're sometimes called, speak in a coarse barbaric language as they get into an animated argument.

The second Tusken Raider seems to get in the final word and the nomads scurry over the rocky terrain. The monstrous, bear-like creatures are as large as elephants, with huge red eyes, tremendous looped horns, and long, furry, dinosaur-like tails. The Tusken Raiders mount saddles strapped to the huge creatures' shaggy backs and ride off down the rugged bluff. Luke, with his long laser rifle slung over his shoulder, stands before little Artoo. LUKE Hey, whoa, just where do you think you're going? The little droid whistles a feeble reply, as Threepio poses menacingly behind the little runaway.

We'll have no more of this Obi-Wan Kenobi jibberish You're fortunate he doesn't blast you into a million pieces right here. LUKE Well, come on. It's getting late. I only hope we can get back before Uncle Owen really blows up. LUKE No, he's not going to try anything. Suddenly the little robot jumps to life with a mass of frantic whistles and screams. LUKE What's wrong with him now? Luke swings his rifle into position and looks to the south. LUKE Sandpeople! Or worst! Come on, let's have a look. Come on. He spots the two riderless Banthas. Threepio struggles up behind the young adventurer. I can see one of them now.

Luke watches the distant Tusken Raider through his electrobinoculars. Suddenly something huge moves in front of his field of view. Before Luke or Threepio can react, a large, gruesome Tusken Raider looms over them. Threepio is startled and backs away, right off the side if the cliff. He can be heard for several moments as he clangs, bangs and rattles down the side of the mountain. The towering creature brings down his curved, double-pointed gaderffii -- the dreaded axe blade that has struck terror in the heart of the local settlers.

But Luke manages to block the blow with his laser rifle, which is smashed to pieces. The terrified farm boy scrambles backward until he is forced to the edge of a deep crevice. The sinister Raider stands over him with his weapon raised and lets out a horrible shrieking laugh. The Sandpeople ransack the speeder, throwing parts and supplies in all directions.

Suddenly they stop. Then everything is quiet for a few moments. A great howling moan is heard echoing throughout the canyon which sends the Sandpeople fleeing in terror. Artoo moves even tighter into the shadows as the slight swishing sound that frightened off the Sandpeople grows even closer, until a shabby old desert-rat-of-a-man appears and leans over Luke.

His ancient leathery face, cracked and weathered by exotic climates is set off by dark, penetrating eyes and a scraggly white beard. Ben Kenobi squints his eyes as he scrutinizes the unconscious farm boy. Artoo makes a slight sound and Ben turns and looks right at him. BEN Hello there! Come here my little friend. Don't be afraid. Artoo waddles over to were Luke lies crumpled in a heap and begins to whistle and beep his concern. Ben puts his hand on Luke's forehead and he begins to come around. BEN Don't worry, he'll be all right. LUKE What happened? BEN Rest easy, son, you've had a busy day. You're fortunate you're still in one piece.

LUKE Ben? Ben Kenobi! Boy, am I glad to see you! BEN The Jundland wastes are not to be traveled lightly. Tell me young Luke, what brings you out this far? LUKE Oh, this little droid! I think he's searching for his former master I've never seen such devotion in a droid before He claims to be the property of an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Is he a relative of yours? Do you know who he's talking about? Ben ponders this for a moment, scratching his scruffy beard. Now thats a name I haven't heard in a long time LUKE I think my uncle knew him. He said he was dead. BEN Oh, he's not dead, not LUKE You know him! BEN Well of course, of course I know him.

He's me! I haven't gone by the name Obi-Wan since oh, before you were born. LUKE Then the droid does belong to you. BEN Don't seem to remember ever owning a droid. Very interesting He suddenly looks up at the overhanging cliffs. BEN I think we better get indoors. The Sandpeople are easily startled but they will soon be back and in greater numbers. Luke sits up and rubs his head. Artoo lets out a pathetic beep causing Luke to remember something. He looks around. LUKE Threepio! Luke and Ben stand over a very dented and tangled Threepio lying half buried in the sand.

One of his arms has broken off. Luke tries to revive the inert robot by shaking him and then flips a hidden switch on his back several times until finally the mechanical man's systems turn on. I must have taken a bad step LUKE Can you stand? We've got to get out of here before the Sandpeople return. You go on, Master Luke. There's no sense in you risking yourself on my account. I'm done for. Artoo makes a beeping sound. LUKE No, you're not. What kind of talk is that? Luke and Ben help the battered robot to his feet. Little Artoo watches from the top of the pit. Ben glances around suspiciously. Sensing something, he stands up and sniffs the air. BEN Quickly, son Luke is in one corner repairing Threepio's arm, as old Ben sits thinking. LUKE No, my father didn't fight in the wars.

He was a navigator on a spice freighter. BEN That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved. BEN He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand you've become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend. Which reminds me Ben gets up and goes to a chest where he rummages around. As Luke finishes repairing Threepio and starts to fit the restraining bolt back on, Threepio looks at him nervously. Luke thinks about the bolt for a moment then puts it on the table. Ben shuffles up and presents Luke with a short handle with several electronic gadgets attached to it.

BEN I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did. LUKE Sure, go ahead. Ben hands Luke the saber. LUKE What is it? BEN Your fathers lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster. Luke pushes a button on the handle. A long beam shoots out about four feet and flickers there. The light plays across the ceiling. BEN An elegant weapon for a more civilized time. For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.

Before the dark times, before the Empire. Luke hasn't really been listening. LUKE How did my father die? He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. BEN Now, let's see if we can't figure out what you are, my little friend. And where you come from. LUKE I saw part of the message he was Luke is cut short as the recorded image of the beautiful young Rebel princess is projected from Artoo's face. BEN I seem to have found it. Luke stops his work as the lovely girl's image flickers before his eyes.

Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father's request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I'm afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it.

You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope. There is a little static and the transmission is cut short. Old Ben leans back and scratches his head. He silently puffs on a tarnished chrome water pipe. Luke has stars in his eyes. LUKE laughing Alderaan? I'm not going to Alderaan. I've got to go home. It's late, I'm in for it as it is. BEN I need your help, Luke. She needs your help. I'm getting too old for this sort of thing. LUKE I can't get involved!

I've got work to do! It's not that I like the Empire. I hate it! But there's nothing I can do about it right now. It's such a long way from here. BEN That's your uncle talking. How am I ever going to explain this? You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you're going. BEN You must do what you feel is right, of course. An Imperial Stardestroyer heads toward the evil planet-like battle station: the Death Star! Imperial stormtroopers stand guard around the room. Commander Tagge, a young, slimy-looking general, is speaking.

The Rebel Alliance is too well equipped. They're more dangerous than you realize. The bitter Admiral Motti twists nervously in his chair. Suddenly all heads turn as Commander Tagge's speech is cut short and the Grand Moff Tarkin, governor of the Imperial outland regions, enters. All of the generals stand and bow before the thin, evil-looking governor as he takes his place at the head of the table. The Dark Lord stands behind him. I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away. How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station. If the Rebels have obtained a complete technical readout of this station, it is possible, however unlikely, that they might find a weakness and exploit it. MOTTI Any attack made by the Rebels against this station would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they've obtained. This station is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it! The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebel's hidden fort Suddenly Motti chokes and starts to turn blue under Vader's spell.

Vader, release him! Lord Vader will provide us with the location of the Rebel fortress by the time this station is operational. We will then crush the Rebellion with one swift stroke. Luke and Ben walk among the smoldering rubble and scattered bodies. Look, here are Gaffi sticks, Bantha tracks. It's just I never heard of them hitting anything this big before. Ben is crouching in the sand studying the tracks. BEN They didn't. But we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side by side. Sandpeople always ride single file to hide there numbers. BEN And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise. Luke looks back at the speeder where Artoo and Threepio are inspecting the dead Jawas, and put two and two together.

LUKE If they traced the robots here, they may have learned who they sold them to. And that would lead them home! Luke reaches a sudden horrible realization, then races for the speeder and jumps it. BEN Wait, Luke! It's too dangerous. Luke races off leaving Ben and the two robots alone with the burning Sandcrawler. Luke jumps out and runs to the smoking holes that were once his home. Debris is scattered everywhere and it looks as if a great battle has taken place. Aunt Beru! Uncle Owen! Luke stumbles around in a daze looking for his aunt and uncle. Suddenly he comes upon their smoldering remains. He is stunned, and cannot speak. Hate replaces fear and a new resolve comes over him.

Princess Leia's face is filled with defiance, which slowly gives way to fear as a giant black torture robot enters, followed by Darth Vader. The torture robot gives off a steady beeping sound as it approaches Princess Leia and extends one of its mechanical arms bearing a large hypodermic needle. The door slides shut and the long cell block hallway appears peaceful. The muffled screams of the Rebel princess are barely heard. Luke drives up in the speeder and Ben walks over to him.

BEN There's nothing you could have done, Luke, had you been there. You'd have been killed, too, and the droids would be in the hands of the Empire. There's nothing here for me now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father. The speeder stops on a bluff overlooking the spaceport at Mos Eisley. It is a haphazard array of low, grey, concrete structures and semi-domes. A harsh gale blows across the stark canyon floor. Luke adjusts his goggles and walks to the edge of the craggy bluff where Ben is standing.

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious. Ben looks over at Luke, who gives the old Jedi a determined smile. A Trooper questions Luke. LUKE About three or four seasons. BEN They're for sale if you want them. Luke becomes very nervous as he fumbles to find his ID while Ben speaks to the Trooper in a very controlled voice. BEN You don't need to see his identification. BEN These are not the droids your looking for. BEN He can go about his business. BEN to Luke Move along. Move along. Various strange forms of transport, including several unusual beasts of burden, are parked outside the bar. A Jawa runs up and begins to fondle the speeder.

Disgusting creatures. As Luke gets out of the speeder he tries to shoo the Jawa away. LUKE Go on, go on. I can't understand how we got by those troopers. I thought we were dead. BEN The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded. You will find it a powerful ally. BEN Well, most of the best freighter pilots can be found here. Only watch your step. This place can be a little rough. LUKE I'm ready for anything. The murky, moldy den is filled with a startling array of weird and exotic alien creatures and monsters at the long metallic bar. At first the sight is horrifying. One-eyed, thousand-eyed, slimy, furry, scaly, tentacled, and clawed creatures huddle over drinks.

Ben moves to an empty spot at the bar near a group of repulsive but human scum. A huge, rough-looking Bartender stops Luke and the robots. Luke still recovering from the shock of seeing so many outlandish creatures, doesn't quite catch the bartender's drift. LUKE What? They'll have to wait outside. We don't want them here. Luke looks at old Ben, who is busy talking to one of the Galactic pirates.

He notices several of the gruesome creatures along the bar are giving him a very unfriendly glare. Luke pats Threepio on the shoulder. LUKE Listen, why don't you wait out by the speeder. We don't want any trouble. Threepio and his stubby partner go outside and most of the creatures at the bar go back to their drinks. Ben is standing next to Chewbacca, an eight-foot-tall savage- looking creature resembling a huge grey bushbaby monkey with fierce baboon-like fangs. His large blue eyes dominate a fur- covered face and soften his otherwise awesome appearance. Over his matted, furry body he wears two chrome bandoliers, and little else. He is a two-hundred-year-old Wookiee and a sight to behold. Ben speaks to the Wookiee, pointing to Luke several times during his conversation and the huge creature suddenly lets out a horrifying laugh.

Luke is more than a little bit disconcerted and pretends not to hear the conversation between Ben and the giant Wookiee. Luke is terrified but tries not to show it. He quietly sips his drink, looking over the crowd for a more sympathetic ear or whatever. A large, multiple-eyed Creature gives Luke a rough shove. The hideous freak is obviously drunk. Luke tries to ignore the creature and turns back on his drink. A short, grubby Human and an even smaller rodent-like beast join the belligerent monstrosity. The big creature is getting agitated and yells out some unintelligible gibberish at the now rather nervous, young adventurer.

You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence in twelve systems. LUKE I'll be careful than. The rodent lets out a loud grunt and everything at the bar moves away. Luke tries to remain cool but it isn't easy. His three adversaries ready their weapons. Old Ben moves in behind Luke. BEN This little one isn't worth the effort.

Come let me buy you something A powerful blow from the unpleasant creature sends the young would-be Jedi sailing across the room, crashing through tables and breaking a large jug filled with a foul-looking liquid. With a blood curdling shriek, the monster draws a wicked chrome laser pistol from his belt and levels it at old Ben. The bartender panics. No blaster! With astounding agility old Ben's laser sword sparks to life and in a flash an arm lies on the floor. The rodent is cut in two and the giant multiple-eyed creature lies doubled, cut from chin to groin. Ben carefully and precisely turns off his laser sword and replaces it on his utility belt. Luke, shaking and totally amazed at the old man's abilities, attempts to stand. The entire fight has lasted only a matter of seconds.

The cantina goes back to normal, although Ben is given a respectable amount of room at the bar. Luke, rubbing his bruised head, approaches the old man with new awe. Ben points the the Wookiee. BEN This is Chewbacca. He's first-mate on a ship that might suit our needs. A creature comes out of the cantina and approaches two stormtroopers in the street. Han is a tough, roguish starpilot about thirty years old. A mercenary on a starship, he is simple, sentimental, and cocksure.

HAN Han Solo. I'm captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you're looking for passage to the Alderaan system. BEN Yes, indeed. If it's a fast ship. HAN Fast ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon? BEN Should I have? HAN It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! Ben reacts to Solo's stupid attempt to impress them with obvious misinformation. After some commanders of the National Revolutionary Army flee Nanking, a Chinese soldier Lieutenant Lu Jianxiong and his comrade-in-arms Shunzi attempt to stop a group of deserting troops from leaving the city, but as they exit the gates, they are captured by Japanese forces that have surrounded the city.

As the Japanese comb the city for enemy forces, Superior Private later Sergeant Kadokawa Masao and his men are attacked by Lu Jianxiong and a small unit of both regular and non-regular soldiers, who fire at them from buildings. Lu and his companions are eventually forced to surrender as more Japanese troops arrive. The Chinese prisoners-of-war are systematically escorted to various locations to be mass executed.

Thousands of Chinese women, children, elderly men and wounded soldiers take refuge in this safety zone. However, the zone is forcefully entered several times by bands of Japanese soldiers intent on making sexual advances on female refugees. Due to the repeated intrusions, the women are urged to cut their hair and dress like men to protect themselves from being raped. A prostitute called Xiaojiang refuses to do so, saying that she needs to keep her hair in order to earn a living. Meanwhile, Kadokawa develops feelings for a Japanese prostitute named Yuriko, and struggles to come to terms with the omnipresent violence around him with his own conflicting impulses.

Despite his feelings of alienation, Kadokawa brings Yuriko candy and gifts from Japan, and promises to marry her after the war. Rabe's secretary Tang Tianxiang and a teacher named Jiang Shuyun manage the daily operations of the safety zone. Even though he is in a privileged position, Tang is still unable to protect his young daughter from being thrown out of a window by a Japanese soldier, and his sister-in-law from being raped. When the Japanese officer Second Lieutenant Ida Osamu demands that the refugees provide women to serve as " comfort women ", Rabe and Jiang tearfully make the announcement to the community. Xiaojiang and others volunteer themselves, hoping that their sacrifice would save the refugees.

Kadokawa meets Xiaojiang and brings her rice but witnesses another soldier raping her as she lies almost lifeless. Later, many "comfort women", including Xiaojiang, die from the abuse, and Kadokawa sees their naked bodies being taken away. Kadokawa feels further estranged when he witnesses Ida shooting Tang's sister-in-law May, who has become insane. Rabe receives an order to return to Germany because his activities in the safety zone are detrimental to diplomatic ties between his country and Japan. Tang and his wife are allowed to leave Nanking with Rabe. However Tang changes his mind at the last moment and trades places with a Chinese soldier pretending to be Rabe's assistant, saying that he wants to stay behind to find May.

Mrs Tang reveals that she is pregnant before bidding her husband farewell. Not long after Rabe left, Ida has Tang executed by firing squad. The Japanese disband the safety zone and start hunting for Chinese men who were previously soldiers, promising that these men would find work and receive pay if they turn themselves in. However, men deemed to be soldiers are huddled into trucks and sent for execution.

Shunzi, who survived the earlier mass killings, is physically checked and initially deemed to be a non-combatant, but is later recognised by a Japanese soldier and brought onto a truck as well. After Minnie Vautrin and other Westerners plead with the Japanese, Ida permits each refugee to choose only one man from the trucks to be saved.

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