A visually stunning film but Malick – the dinosaurs! You totally lost me with the dinosaurs. I lost 15 minutes because I had to pause the movie and interrogate Adam to see if he was messing with me, double-check that I was watching the right movie and finally do some frantic google searching to see if The Land Before Time somehow got spliced with my 50’s era Brad Pitt-ness.
OTHER than the dinosaurs, I liked it but found it a wee bit too-too. Perhaps it’s because I was watching it with Adam, who every time the film cut to a dramatic nature scene narrated by winsome whispers, would emit an aggravated groan of “Oh. My. GODDDDDDD!”.
It did seem at some points like the film was made up entirely of Windows wallpapers: Sunflowers! Beaches! Waterfalls! Space! Waves! I adored the actual acting, I adored the storyline, I adored the family dynamics and Jack’s turning point and his struggles with and against his father, I just couldn’t focus when my investment in the characters was being interrupted constantly to go on some sort of nature walk. Do you disagree? Are we fighting?
Perhaps it was beyond me, above me. Perhaps I don’t have the depth or attention span for Malick anymore.
After the credits rolled I lay in bed thinking (weird!) and despite my quibbles with the nature of the film, I couldn’t argue with its unmistakable beauty. I couldn’t let go of the way it explored the desperate ways we reach for for grace even as we fail those whom we love, in the most basic of ways.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how we as human beings are capable of creating such beauty and engineering such atrocities.
The Mona Lisa and the Holocaust.
We are impossibly dualistic. Impossibly at war with ourselves.
Father and mother, always you wrestle inside me. Always you will.
It’s too much, too overwhelming to know that our world can simultaneously contain both of these realities:
And you don’t care. I don’t care. That’s how it seems.
These are children. They are children like I was once, children like I will have one day.
They do not have enough to eat and they will most likely die. Their mothers will mourn their deaths and carry that loss, that absence with them for the rest of their lives. They will forever know the feeling of the most basic helplessness, powerlessness; that their children were hungry and they had no way to nourish them.
When I see images like this my heart screams, it’s so deeply uncomfortable and unsettling. And I want desperately to escape the knowledge of it, to click away and change the channel and wait for the crushing sensation of guilt to pass as the image recedes from my memory enough for me to continue worrying about whether I will ever buy a house, whining about the perfect boots I can’t seem to find.
About the holocaust everyone wonders “How could the world stand by and witness such atrocities, such unimaginable cruelty, and do nothing?”
This is how. Here, now. They did it exactly as we are doing it. You know about it, I know about it and yet life goes on.
“I think if people see this footage, they’ll say ‘Oh, my God, that’s horrible’. And then they’ll go on eating their dinners” (Hotel Rwanda)
I sponsor one child and make donations to the Red Cross whenever I hear about an international disaster or food shortage. Does that $30 a month, or $100 donation absolve me? Does my conscience operate like the 18th century Catholic church where I can throw money and purchase indulgences to regain my innocence? At what cost?
Why don’t we care? HOW can we not care? Do we suffer from compassion fatigue? We are so informed, perhaps OVER informed. Is it simply too hard to care about global warming, poverty, homelessness, breast cancer, sexual abuse, disability, infertility, overpopulation, starvation, obesity, deforestation, slaughterhouses and all of the other evils afflicting the world, all at once?
Have we given up?
So. In other words, just a little light thinking for a Friday night. Needless to say I didn’t sleep well. I can’t bring myself to reconcile all of these disparate aspects of human nature.
People speak about evil as though it were some foreign concept existing outside ourselves, taking up residence in a specific few who murder or keep people against their will in basements. People who harm children, mutilate animals.
But if that is evil, what can our apathy be called? Aren’t we murderers? Aren’t we, by our very lifestyles, harming children and mutilating animals? Are our hands clean because we’ve outsourced the knife to someone else?
If we all did more, if we all did enough as dictated by human decency, we could fix it.
But perhaps we know deep in our animalistic selves that the earth can not support all of us at once. Perhaps that’s why the apathy, the ignorance. Perhaps we know that in order for us to live like we do, others have to hustle and starve and scrabble for the basics.
I’m sorry, I can’t stop thinking.
What are we doing?