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Chain Of Desire !!EXCLUSIVE!!

Venezuelan-born writer/director Lopez successfully brings together an ensemble cast in this social commentary on the morals and sexual politics of the 1990s. Structured in an episodic fashion, the narrative does not necessarily adhere to a standard plotline. Rather, its trajectory moves through a related chain of events which result from the individual characters' actions -- actions that are fueled by the flames of erotic desire. The first link in this chain begins with a chanteuse named Alma (Fiorentino) who sings in a trendy Manhattan nightclub that is a cross between a 1930s Berlin cabaret and a cyberpunk/clubkids disco. Alma has just ended a relationship with her boyfriend, and one afternoon, he telephones her, urgently insisting that he needs to see her. Fearing that her ex will show up at her apartment, Alma flees to a nearby church, where her tearful prayers catch the attention of a workman (Koteas) who bears an uncanny resemblance to Christ. The workman -- Jesus (how convenient!) -- takes her hand and with a silent compassion, offers Alma comfort. But soon, his touches become more intimate and seductive and before long, the pair are locked in a passionate frenzy that begins in the church's basement and continues to Alma's apartment. She asks Jesus to have dinner with her, but he reveals that he has a wife and child to go home to. From this point forward, the consequences of Alma's sexual encounter with Jesus takes the viewer on a journey into the sex lives of various other characters -- a journey that cuts across class, race, and sexual orientation -- and which ultimately leads, full circle, right back to Alma. Lopez's direction is reminiscent of several of Robert Altman's films in that he is able to marshall an ensemble of characters in a complex scenario of shifting moods and settings, and still keep a level of comprehension and cohesiveness in the film. But unlike most of Altman's work, which seems to rely more on medium shots, Lopez chooses to use close-ups in the camerawork to pull the viewer more intimately into the emotions and behavior of the characters. Yet in doing so, the viewer also becomes absorbed into the lives of interesting, but for the most part, unlikable people committing despicable, selfish acts all in the name of their libidos. These negative aspects, however, actually make Lopez's film work as a message for the masses: Don't let an overactive libido make you a link in a chain of fools, or the chain of desire will lead to a chain of death.

Chain of Desire

The day that Alma, a singer in a hot Manhattan club and Jesus, a Hispanic worker, meet by chance, they set off a chain of erotic entanglements that cross the vast city's social and psychological boundaries. Chain of Desire is an original and daring chronicle of sexual politics in a precarious time. Weaving timely issues into the fabric of its varied tales, the film portrays sexuality as a relentless force blind to social and gender rules. This erotic merry-go-round binds the lives of a renowned TV anchorman, his wife, a decadent professor a hustler, a social worker, an aspiring rock singer, a virginal nymphette, a famous painter, his bored wife, a working man and a black female performer among others. Desire in its many forms possesses the 14 main characters, revealing unexpected psychological layers in each story, building up emotional resonance towards a powerful and thought-provoking climax. This sweeping portrait of urban life in the 90's, celebrates diversity with insight, poignancy and wit.FILM DIRECTOR

''If I claim desire as my right,'' the central character in Brink's novel asks himself rather awkwardly, ''does not my right to desire invoke the right of the other to refuse me? And does that not make a mockery of 'right,' as much as of 'desire'? The most I can claim for desire is the right to be frustrated, to be denied.'' What would make a person calmly rest a case on such a basis, or desperately claim a right that looks more like a deprivation? He (it can only be he) would have to be caught up in something resembling the plots of these two novels.

When David Lurie, the central figure in ''Disgrace,'' makes his remark about the rights of desire, he is talking to his daughter about the accusation of harassment that got him sacked from his job at the Cape Technical University. ''So males must be allowed to follow their instincts unchecked? Is that the moral?'' his daughter asks sharply. ''No,'' Lurie says, ''that is not the moral.'' The moral is that even rampant, philandering males should not be taught to hate their nature -- that would add dishonor to disgrace. Lurie's suggestion is not that desire should never be disciplined, or that one can't regret its consequences, but that one can't regret desire itself, and one should never have to apologize for it.

Is she just teasing him? Not ''just.'' Their relationship is full of talk and confidence and genuine intimacy, and each learns a great deal from the other. But Tessa does seem to need the proximity of Ruben's unfulfilled desire as a measure of her youth and freedom, of her entitlement to the rackety life she is living: she is safe as long as he needs her and can't have her. Ruben makes it clear that he always wanted a daughter, but then fatherhood, as it is displayed and tested here, would no doubt have been one long resistance to the act of incest. Neither Tessa nor Ruben seems to have any idea how cruel each is being to the other, although I assume Brink expects the reader to notice right away.

Ruben is surrounded by women, in his life and in his mind. He dreams of Tessa and remembers his wife, Riana; he tries to help Magrieta; he even sees the ghost, who usually appears only to the women. But the story is all about him, the tangles of his desire. He evokes Magrieta wonderfully, conjures up the desolate details of her life in several bravura passages. But he also says she remains ''as unreal to me as any ghost.'' He quotes Tessa's belief that men ''always let you down. It comes with the job description,'' and he obviously accepts the charge. Nothing really interests him except his own complicated feelings, and he would rather be interesting than courageous or virtuous.

I take it Brink is hoping to revise or complement Coetzee's novel (there is a Mike Coetzee in this book who is a smart young lawyer), to put in all the emotions Coetzee so scrupulously left out and to see the relationship of the older man and the young woman through its long details to its broken end. ''I can't pretend that I do not desire you,'' Ruben says to Tessa early in the novel. ''Because what I feel for you I haven't felt for anyone in years. If ever. . . . But one thing you've got to know is that I cannot deny the fact of my body.'' This is indeed very close to David Lurie's defense of desire. But the final effect of this readable and always intelligent book is curiously blurry and wordy.

Ram Dass answers a question about dealing with addictions and attachments. He explores the roots of suffering, and how we develop addictions to things which take away that pain and make us feel at home. He talks about the chain of reactivity that fuels our deepest attachments. And how spiritual practice helps us develop the awareness to begin breaking the chain.

Ram Dass answers a question about how to be in a relationship with God, talking about how we can get attached to our models of God. He suggests turning to the wisdom of nature. Ram Dass then answers a question about dealing with greed and other strong attachments. He talks about how identification with desire is imprisoning and gives his take on Right Livelihood.

Historically, the Church has taught that the graces of baptism can be received not only through the administration of the sacrament itself (baptism of water) but also through the desire for the sacrament (baptism of desire) or through martyrdom for Christ (baptism of blood).

With this doctrine as a starting point, radical traditionalists use a simple chain of reasoning: No one outside the Church is saved. All unbaptized persons are outside the Church. Therefore, no unbaptized person is saved.

Likewise, in the thirteenth century, and in response to the question whether a man can be saved without baptism, Thomas Aquinas replied: I answer that the sacrament of baptism may be wanting to someone in two ways. First, both in reality and in desire; as is the case with those who neither are baptized nor wish to be baptized; which clearly indicates contempt of the sacrament in regard to those who have the use of free will. Consequently, those to whom baptism is wanting thus cannot obtain salvation; since neither sacramentally nor mentally are they incorporated in Christ, through whom alone can salvation be obtained.

As these passages indicate, Catholics have historically understood that what is absolutely necessary for salvation is a salvific link to the body of Christ, not full incorporation into it. To use the terms Catholic theology has classically used, one can be a member of the Church by desire (in voto) rather than in reality (in re).

This is necessary background for understanding the papal and conciliar statements radical traditionalists appeal to when trying to deny the reality of baptism of blood and desire. The popes and councils of the Middle Ages who emphasized extra ecclesiam nulla sallus had no intention of overturning what was standard teaching in their day regarding catechumens and baptism of desire.

Trent teaches that, although not all the sacraments are necessary for salvation, the sacraments in general are necessary. Without them or the desire of them men cannot obtain the grace of justification, but with them or the desire of them men can be justified. The sacrament through which we initially receive justification is baptism. But since the canon teaches that we can be justified with the desire of the sacraments rather than the sacraments themselves, we can be justified with the desire for baptism rather than baptism itself. 041b061a72


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