Monday, October 23, 2006

The Departed Box Office Take is Over 77 Million and Counting...

I was in Boston the only time anyone ever called me a nigger to my face. A bunch of us college interns were pumping gas, and a cherry-red pick up containing a couple of white boys sped by and screamed the word.Our group stopped and stared. Things moved in slow motion. We were stunned into silence.

The Departed is Bloody Hell
This memory emerged this weekend, when my husband took me to see The Departed, Martin Scorsese's ultra-violent pseudo remake of Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak’s 2002 Hong Kong action film, Infernal Affairs.


Set in the gritty side of Boston, away from the cobble-stoned niceness of Newbury Street, The Departed opens with Jack Nicholson using the slur. I sat there in the packed theater and tried to play it off like most blacks do in that sort of situation, pretending it didn’t really matter, and went ahead and absorbed myself into the crime drama, experiencing it as sort of a black fly on a rough white underworld wall of the Irish Mob.

Besides, Scorsese has a predilection for the N-word, I remembered, as he displayed so honestly in that Taxi Driver scene where he watched his wife's silhouette in the window of a black man from the vantage point of the back of Deniro's cab.

"You know who lives there?" a young Scorsese asked nutso Deniro. "A nigger lives there." It was so no-holds-bar that I can write the lines from memory.

Son, can you play me a memory? No? Well, keep reading mine then...

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Paula Neal Mooney