Sunday, October 03, 2004

Popped Quill into the VCD and I have to say that this narrative is the most devoid of conflict I have ever come across. Quill is the most ordinary dog ever and his biography is so bland, it's beautiful.

Quill's name comes from a dictionary entry as his first trainers name their dogs in alphabetical order as they arrive for training. In advanced training, his instructors notice that he has no particular talents and from time to time they comment on his ordinariness which eventually becomes his most outstanding feature. There is nothing in the story that indicates his rising above this label. His most significant contribution is that he worked as a seeing-eye dog for a feisty chairman of a society for the disabled and a champion for disabled people's rights . Quill's job doesn't even last very long, though it's no one's fault except, perhaps, circumstance. He leads a long and relatively useful and happy life until he returns to his first trainers' house to live out his final year.

There. He was born, he was educated, he worked, he made some friends, he made some people happy, he lived to a ripe old age and then he died. This plotline breaks every convention of how a story should be constructed. The cardinal sin -- no conflict. Yet in so many scenes, my eyes just could not stay dry. It is in how much he was loved, how much people depended on him and how committed he was in doing what was needed of him that is the heart of the story. Though the camera's focus is on Quill, the perspective is from the many people who have to say, "goodbye," to him as he moves from one development phase to another. That is the really sad part, the part where the tears freely flow; it's in the letting go, no, make that the letting grow.

Quill's life is the sort of life we all desire; without all the distracting frills that we want added on to complicate things for us. Quill's life is A Very Good Life. We should be so lucky.

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