I recently watched Slumdog Millionaire with my mom and sister, and much to their surprise and bemusement, when the movie was over, I burst into tears. When they asked me why I was crying, I couldn't explain it. I felt ridiculous.
The film starts with a multiple-choice question: “In Mumbai 2006, Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees. How did he do it? (a) He cheated. (b) He’s lucky. (c) He’s a genius. (d) It is written.”
I wasn't crying because I enjoyed the movie - I didn't. (I have a low tolerance for violence in my entertainment.) And it wasn't the love story that got to me, with it's choreographed, dance party resolution (although admittedly that was my favorite part.) What really, really struck me, were the simple, white-on-black words on the screen – the answer to the opening question: "It is written."
Those three little words seemed huge. They encapsulated the idea of destiny, of struggle and redemption, of biblical importance. If that tiny sentence had not been at the conclusion of the movie, I would not have been blubbering into my popcorn. That is the power of words.
I especially love the random words of people, sometimes in unexpected places, expressed through graffiti, flyers or signs. With my cell phone camera (and sometimes my Nikon) I try to capture the occasional phrase, warning, exclamation or opinion. Here are some samples from this growing collection:
To see the entire set, go here.