04 July 2006

The Left-Overs

Time to clean out the fridge where I store my unused blog post ideas. Alright, here it goes.

So I went and saw the rest of Much Ado about Nothing on Saturday. My family even came down from the SLC and saw it with me. No rain this time, but there were fireworks. But the actors took it all in stride: the firecrackers hit during the first scene with Dogberry, who simply looked shocked and said "Excuse me." Classic. The cast members did a very good job, turning a new light on an old play. I especially liked Claudio's delivery of "Another Hero!" in the final scene. Simply hilarious! Changing the place names to American ones was a little odd though. It simply doesn't work with the play, since there are no independent lords fighting wars against each other at any point in our history (so far as I know). But, all things considered, I will definitely go see Cyrano de Bergerac when they do it next week at the Botany Pond (6:30 pm, Th, F, or Sa, if you care to join me).

The lost post from the other day, the one that got bumped off by Brittany McComb, was supposed to be on how our personal perspective affects our happiness. I volunteered as a Y group leader this year--which I find ironic, since I went to only two events during my own freshman orientation. One of these two events was the showing of the Iranian film Color of Paradise. I forgot how completely amazing that movie is, and it made a lot more sense the second time around. If you haven't seen it, try to find it, or just sneak into the showing for the freshman next NSO.

The movie is about a young blind boy looking to belong, his father who feels burdened at having to care for a disabled boy, and the boy's grandmother. Through these three characters, you can see a scale of perspectives on the world. The grandmother chooses to believe that God is good, and consequently takes joy in most things, and takes the disappointments in stride. On the other hand, the father seems to believe God is punishing him for no reason--he has no son who can care for him when he is old, his only boy is blind, he lost his wife--and feels utterly hopeless and lost. The boy is somewhere in between: he knows that his father resents him for not being whole and people in general treat him strangely, but his teachers and grandmother have taught him that God loves him, possibly more, because of his blindness. His struggle to reconcile these two views leads us to find what the grandmother has that makes her life so much more bearable than the father's: she asks God for help, and is mindful of helping others, while the father seeks to find his own way and ignores the needs of his son. It's a very powerful movie and I highly recommend it to everyone. Even better, there aren't any sketchy scenes you'll have to explain to your friends and family!

Speaking of film reminds me of a talk I read for my persuasive writing class by a humanities professor at BYU. He talked about building a literate family--literate in the sense of intellegent and well-read, rather than just competent. I agreed with him on most points, but then he went off for a page or two on how awful film is as a medium. As an example of this, he compared several pop-culture, kitschy movies of the time (Rambo, anyone?) with great literary classics (Dostoyevsky, of all things), and concluded that this proved his point. Well, I personally would say he was comparing apples to oranges: if you want to compare your standard Hollywood film to something written, you'd do best to point yourself to the pulp fiction section rather than the classics. If I compare a thought-provoking film like Color of Paradise or a bizarre mind-warping film like Solyaris to, say, The Baby-Sitters' Club or Dragonriders of Pern, I would reach the conclusion that film is infinitely better at getting a deep message across than the written word. Really people, the medium is not as important as the person crafting it: any medium can be made into something mundane and boring. Same goes for genres. Just because it is sci-fi, doesn't make it garbage. It is up to the artist whether the medium is transformed into the Mona Lisa or the next fluffy pop song on the radio.

Related tangent (oxymoron? redundant?): I still get frustrated that some people can't take an animated film seriously. Just because this medium is used to produce Pokemon doesn't make it worthless. And Hayao Miyazki can prove that any day, if given the chance. But most people seem to come to his films from the mindset that animation can be only Disney or Saturday morning cartoons, and so the films just come across as wrong to them. Really, I think Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle are two of the most interesting films I have ever seen. Even My Neighbor Totoro has a perfect balance of innocent fun and thought provoking story.

Alright, that's enough.

No comments: