Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Movies and messages.....

A few weeks ago I found myself watching a movie that I asked myself "why am I watching this?" several times....it wasn't a very good or well made movie....but. I am glad I didn't stop because the movie (Outlander, 2008) had a sequence near the middle of the movie that epitomized the cultural narcosis that exists in much of the world. Here is a synopsis from IMDb:
During the reign of the Vikings, Kainan, a man from a far-off world, crash lands on Earth, bringing with him an alien predator known as the Moorwen. Though both man and monster are seeking revenge for violence committed against them, Kainan leads the alliance to kill the Moorwen by fusing his advanced technology with the Viking's Iron Age weaponry.
The phrase "both man and monster are seeking revenge for violence committed against them." is a little misleading. There is a sequence somewhere during the middle of the film where the protagonist (Kainan) explains how his culture invaded the home planet of the "monsters" because they liked it and in the process attempted to exterminate all of the beings (the "monsters") living there so they (Kainan and his folks) could take possession of the planet. They missed one "monster" and this "monster" killed Kainan's family.

It is amazing to listen and watch this explanation because it simply ignores the obvious lesson(s) to be learned...don't be taking things that don't belong to you, don't be invading someone else's home, don't be violent toward those that aren't attacking you, etc. Nope, the lesson the movie and Kainan promote is that he (Kanian), failed to adequately protect his family....

I thought that section of the movie did a terrific job (albeit inadvertently) of highlighting how "normal" thinking often consists of logical inconsistencies and blind spots when dealing with violence toward sentient beings that aren't human animals.

A few days ago I re-watched an older movie (1987), Harry and the Hendersons, and it was interesting to see the movie from a vegan perspective. The movie had a number of pro-animal and vegetarian messages, with a strong emphasis (from Harry the bigfoot) on Ahimsa (non-violence). Harry, however, was accorded respect primarily because he was increasingly seen....as the movie progressed.......as more and more "humanlike" and less and less as an "animal". Still, it was interesting to watch Harry advocating the respectful burying of hunting trophies (a stuffed deer head and others) and a mink stole instead of wearing or displaying them...... and to note that his adoptive family (the Hendersons) buried a beef roast instead of using it as the main dish at a meal. If you have had a change in perspective since you first saw this movie, go back and rewatch it....it might be an interesting experience for you.

Year of the Dog is a movie that grabbed me the first time I saw it and while I haven't re-watched it yet I am slowly getting in a mood to do so. It is a sort of comedy written and directed by Mike White. He has also written a several other movies that I enjoyed (The Good GirlSchool of Rock, Orange County). Mr. White, who is a vegan, does (along with the cast) a fairly good job of presenting notions about caring about our fellow living beings (in a comedic, tragedy tinged, way). I suspect anyone who is a vegan will spot a number of things in this very good movie that resonates with some of their life experiences. For those not vegan, it might challenge you (gently) with some different ways of thinking.

I especially enjoyed the farewell email sent by the main character to her family, friends and co-workers:
If you all didn't think I was crazy, I'm sure you will now. How do I explain the things I've said and done? How do I explain the person I've become? I know I've disappointed everyone and I'm sorry for that. I wish I was a more articulate person. I believe life is magical. It is so precious. And there are so many kinds of life in this life. So many things to love. The love for a husband or a wife, a boyfriend or girlfriend. The love for children. The love for yourself. And even material things. This is my love. It is mine. And it fills me and defines me. And it compels me on.
What she is referencing when she writes "This is my love" is her love for other animals....

If you haven't seen Year of the Dog.....do so.....remember "there are so many kinds of life in this life"....go vegan.


Krissa said...

I haven't seen any of those movies, but I read the links. Mike White sure has an interesting background. Anyway, of all those movies, "Year of the Dog" is the one I'd most likely watch.

veganelder said...

Thank you Krissa for commenting. Year of the Dog is definitely worth watching, it combines thought provocation with laughter (as well as some sadness).