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A Time To Live, A Time To Die



Some of the greatest films will make you feel right at home even though their settings are not exactly like your own. Culture specific as they may be, they have the sort of universality that can endear them to any person in any part of the world. They will make you feel nostalgic about times you have never lived through. The way they show life in all its pain and glory, through all the heartache and hopefulness, is downright magical. The Time to Live and the Time to Die performs this magic to perfection. It is a nearly unmatched Asian family portrait, perhaps only matched by the two best Edward Yang works.




A Time to Live, a Time to Die


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Yes, for the first time in the character's 59-year cinematic history (and 68-year literary one), 007 is killed. The movie's title lied to us. It's pretty definitive too; he'd been badly wounded by Safin and the missile strike wiped out the island. But the legendary spy also seemed at peace with his fate.


This comes after Bond became a father for the first time (that we know of) and seemed ready to settle down with Madeleine and Matilde, making it all the more devastating. Pardon me, I have something in my eye.


Longtime Bond fans will recognize that We Have All the Time in the World from 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the sixth movie in the franchise and George Lazenby's one and only outing in the role.


After the Berlin premiere of Casino Royale in 2006, Craig told Variety in a Dec. 30 interview. The original plan was to kill the character at the end of Craig's fourth movie (Spectre), but longtime series producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson wanted him to do one more.


The Bond franchise has always been a bit fuzzy in terms of continuity -- newer actors' movies sometimes referred to events from a previous era, so it seemed like Sean Connery, Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were all playing the same person.


By the time I was ready to leave, my training partner, fellow patroller and sweetheart, Tim Madsen, had signed on, too. Though Tim had never climbed anything higher than a Colorado 14er, both Neal and I knew him as an exceptional athlete who was born and raised in the mountains around Aspen. He may not have had as an impressive climbing resume as many, but he had probably spent more days in the mountains over a lifetime than any of us. He would just have to see how well he acclimatized when he got there. Tim was willing to chance it, and on our recommendation, Scott became willing to give him a chance, too.


Dawn came, and the conga line neared the Balcony. It was one step up, two steps back in the four inches-plus of snow on top of loose down-sloping shale. Occasionally, grunting up a small rock step completely took my breath away. In the growing morning light I was conscious of the fact that, though the going was hardly technical, I could step or slide off of the route to my destiny at any time. Just below the Balcony was an old, half-buried fixed line, the kind we would see more of further up. Things started to slow down.


It turns out I had plenty of time to contemplate our next move. We waited again while more people arrived at our small sheltered nook under the South Summit. All were due for a last bottle of oxygen at this point (which we would use to summit and descend to the South Col) to be delivered by Sherpa staff. I recall some discussion there about the possibility of more rope to fix the narrow ridge and the Hillary Step. After waiting for more than an hour the oxygen bottles finally arrived and someone produced just enough rope for Anatoli to fix the Step; the ridge up to it had some old exposed lines that would have to suffice. One mis-step here and it was a oneway ticket into either Nepal or Tibet.


Tim turned his attention to the four of us. With the hope that we were going to get out of this thing alive, Sandy and I took to slapping each other and working our arms and legs as never before. We had to be able to walk. My hood was still tightly drawn around my face as protection against the intensely blowing wind, so I was only dimly aware of Beck and Yasuko beside Sandy, Tim and me.


In short, logistical problems plagued the summit teams from the start. Lines were not fixed by Sherpas, who were to leave (and did not) two hours earlier than the clients. Slower climbers created congestion on the entire route. Oxygen bottles were not delivered on time to the South Summit by Sherpas. Leaving the summit late in the afternoon sealed the fate for many.


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...


For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.


O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah


But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ...


The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood ...


The presumed writer, King Solomon expressed these sentiments in this passage found in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13, one of the books of the Old Testament. It might be familiar as they were used in a well-known song from the 1960s:


There's a time to liveThere's a time to die, And a time to laughAnd a time to cry, Seasons stopSeasons go, Sometimes blocked Sometimes flow.We're disappointedWhen things go wrong, When a life eventTakes our song, We're unpreparedWhat comes by stealth, And seem so shockedAt a loved one's death.But part of lifeIs a time to die, Accidents happenThat make us cry, We must acceptThat life's not level, So don't be shockedOn the way to heaven.


As Bond is having his final conversation with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) they mention time often. Couple these final moments of Bond's life with the movie's title and the Jack London quote used takes on extra significance.


I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.


In this scene, Ralph Fiennes' M reads a small passage in Bond's memory, which goes as follows: "The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."


But what's particularly interesting about the use of the quote here is that it is not the first time it has been used to described Bond. In Ian Fleming's novel You Only Live Twice (which bears only a passing resemblance to the 007 film of the same name) there is a brief moment where the world thinks Bond has died and his obituary appears in the paper. The same London quote is used as an addendum to the obituary, supposedly added by his love interest Mary Goodnight.


In its original context, the quote is actually just the end of a longer passage, which reads in full: "I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, ever atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." 041b061a72


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