“I look at the world and I see absurdity all around me. People do strange things constantly, to the point that, for the most part, we manage not to see it,” said
And that is exactly what films are meant to expose. They take an oath to uncover those minor absurdities in life that we overlook. Yet, it manages to question our inner consciousness through the characters that indirectly mock us on screen. The real burning question is, ‘Are you brave enough to face the bitterness?’
2020 started off with the wake of a deadly pandemic that restricted us to the 4 walls within our homes. Despite the virus being accountable for those countless lives, a sinister presence that never seems to perish called ‘Racism‘, is turning into the real horror. At a time where humanity is on the verge of an outbreak, it’s saddening to note the alarming rate of racism against innocent Asian people entering the headlines. Once again we are standing on the wrong side of history. A great man, John Dickinson, Founding father of the United States once said, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Today in the dreads of history, we are unknowingly falling bait to such nonsensical separation of people.
Movies tend to become a reel-life adaption of the real world and this director is not here to sugar-coat it for us. The movie titled, ‘CORONA: Fear is a Virus‘ that released during the lock down period compels us to focus on a faceless virus that belongs to no race or ethnicity. The director, Mostafa Keshvari explores the invisible “Chinese Virus” as a symbol of racial discrimination by building tenants towards a Chinese girl in this trapped-in-an-elevator drama.
The director in a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter quotes, “The virus doesn’t discriminate, so why should we?” It is interesting to note that the director was unaware during the film’s shooting that this would turn into a global pandemic and somehow the awful scenes and the bigotry remarks from the movie took place in the real world.
Besides merely depicting the immaturity amongst humans, movies profoundly interpret the level of insanity they can endure to satisfy their needs. One such film that constantly reminds me of the dark side within humanity is Jordan Peele’s Get Out. This movie perfectly ticks the boxes of horror to literally scare us and scar us for eternity.
Unlike movies that depict a sound version of racism, with lynchings and cross burning, this movie resorts to wicked humour to depict how a black man enters an empire of white people, who happen to be creepy and inexplicably reserved. Almost constantly making you uncomfortable. And that is the narrative behind the film, to broadcast that unsettling casual racism that lurks around without an iota of shame.
The movie explores the white supremacy that conveniently mocks the protagonist for not being ‘White enough’, or about black skin ‘Being in fashion’. Every new scene is an array of shock and disbelief as we see the protagonist feeling mortified and trapped within his own body. The black skin that is his soul and identity.
This brings me back to the George Floyd’s unfortunate incident that became the root cause for riots and campaigns across the world, showing compassion yet rage demanding justice to many other similar cases of racial discrimination. But, are we willing to accept the accusations in this film? Are we entirely committed to eradicating racial discrimination?
Movies speak. They speak louder than conversations. They open a dialogue within your own consciousness that drives you to question your morality. However, it all lands on the way the beholder perceives the piece of art. Take for instance, the classic blockbuster of the 90s, ‘Birth of a Nation’, that was celebrated by white supremacists and the abhorrent Ku Klux Klan while black people suffered the backlash of incessant racism.
This movie was termed to be revolutionary but only in terms of cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene and camera angles, besides which the rest was simply agonising and intolerable. This movie paved the way to America’s virulent racist history that seems to continue evolving, with no feeling of remorse.
Do movies influence our habits and change us for the better? I can’t help but quote Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa: ” The characters in my films try to live honestly and make the most of the lives they’ve been given. I believe you must live honestly and develop your abilities to the full. People who do this are the real heroes.”
If we are meant to live like heroes, we must start paying close attention to our inner sentiments that screams at us to do the right thing. During times of a global pandemic, despite some media mongrels delivering fake news or social media platforms claiming to be a credible hub for news, there is genuine fear and disorder amongst us. All it takes is a bold step to let news that informs you of these misfortunes infest your mind and trouble your soul at a minuscule level to make you politically and morally correct.
Even movies tend to do that, make you uneasy for a while. Let that sink and not vanish. As movies are tossed in the bucket of entertainment, its time to see the other side to it. They are created to emphasise a straightforward message to the audience, ‘Don’t be ignorant’. Be the movie-lover that brings a change, not who watches and forgets.
Let films not expose you anymore.
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