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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Why we should listen to Cloud Atlas (2012)…

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

16 May

I begin with some Tweets :

@theagentapsley I'm good, but tired. But I'm now somewhat scared by the meat eating piggies!

Maybe, @barackobama, but Asimov and others wrote about The Greenhouse Effect DECADES ago - was it just OK on other Planets ?! #Ostriches

Thesis : Any good ‘literature’, something that – in the broadest sense – we can just read, or choose to read deeply in, yields understanding.

It could be Measure for Measure, about which Peter Brook spoke last night (in conversation with @DrMatthewSweet on @bbcNightWaves). Brook’s right about its depths, of course : it’s a play that I haven’t thought about in a long time, but, with its shady Duke, shadier Angelo, dubious Friar, and its Isabella, who wrestles with accepting how the world is to save her brother Claudio, it has heaps to tell us about our own time(s) !

Significant interjection Stuff the people who, intellectually*, reject the term ‘emotional intelligence’ – being truly understanding about the emotional life of ourselves and of this world is a form of intelligence, that some scorn to own, lack, or haven’t learnt to use !

They are the ones who fail to employ the patent wisdom of Pascal’s wager, because they wrongly think it only relevant to belief in God through Jesus Christ : such is not just emotional ignorance, but intellectual suicide through philistinism. At school, geography (and my reading in Asimov and the like) told me all about The Population Explosion and The Greenhouse Effect.

Years later, how can politicians** tell us that this has become a problem, when (for example) US Presidents have quite deliberately ignored the truth for years : the truth being, not whether climate change is or is not a reality, but that – in accordance with the wager – one has to act / believe, because, if one doesn’t, it will be too late by the time that one’s scepticism is proved wrong.

Why didn’t those Presidents act ? Sheer political self-interest in the face of the car lobby, i.e. the manufacturers, drivers, gasoline merchants, petrochemical industries, geologists, and all those who propel the resistant forces against change or invest (financially, emotionally or intellectually) in the status quo. With four-year Presidential terms, who was going to screw their hopes or those of their party ?

You’re gonna miss that train, if you don’t leave now. Who speculates on the possibility of supraluminal travel to get him or her to the station as the train is parting ? Who except abusers, crudely put, fuck their children’s and other generations’ future by selfish inaction to retain power ?

The message of Cloud Atlas, of (at the heart of the film) Sonmi-451, played beautifully and with great inner sensitivity by Doona Bae, opposes such greed, such mean-spiritedness, such lack of human-kindness. We need cultural messages such as this one to overcome our base, venial and mean-minded inclinations and to look to the interests of others – whoever they may be, seen or unseen…


* And do so on the level of Intellectual Intelligence, i.e. little better than Mental Masturbation, the game that we can all play with reality : good sex is an escape from how terrifying life can be, in my view, and masturbation (when only bad or no sex presents itself) is, as Woody Allen’s script for Annie Hall (1977) has it, ‘sex with the person I love [most / best].

And, people who knocked To Rome with Love (2012), is the failure and condemnation of the Nazi-styled opera vindication of his lovely parody in the guy who can only sing well in the shower ?!

** Arguably, rooted only in getting re-elected, not frightening the frail and frightenable electorate with awkward truths that might have them do things differently, which they don’t want, of course.

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