Monday, August 12, 2013

Fruitvale Station (This year's Sundance Grand Jury and Audience Award Winner)

After watching this movie, I thought two things.

1) It was a bit slow and foreboding but balanced and kind.

2) I must give up my life to the welfare, amelioration, well being, dignity and love for the place African-American Men (Black Ones) hold in this society.

Bonus Point:

Movies, I have always maintained, do NOT have the ability to inspire or change people. At the end of this movie, I felt inspired to change. I was greatly moved. I was horrified. Furthermore, you get to know anyone, closely, and then watch them get gunned down for no reason, you just feel awful.  And so at that moment of feeling awful, I was transformed.  But after I ate, read the paper, switched my attention, I did not feel the great need to make my life about helping anyone.


You should see this movie. In fact, everyone could benefit from this movie. It is very effective, though, it is a piece of fiction (closely sticking to fact), one that has some tonal up-sweep mixed with a plodding march toward death.

Big emotions for an audience member don't hold. One wants to homeostate back to normal.

But if everyone was just a tiny bit changed by seeing this film, the world would change, true.

So, perhaps movies do have the ability to alter points of view. But it depends who is watching and how many of them there are.


Tandava (Carol Henning) said...

In the 80s, I went to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo perform at the Central Park Bandshell with a friend in radio production. They were still riding high on their success with Paul Simon's Graceland and my friend smirked that all this popularization was for naught -- because those who were into their music will see Simon's influence as corrupting, and those who got into it because of Simon will lose interest when his next non-Ladysmith album came out.

But this is not so -- he exposed their music to millions upon millions who would have never heard it, a substantial amount of which grew an affinity for it, and granted them a continued success and appreciation for African music that would not have occurred otherwise.

Now this is somewhat different from what you are talking about -- emotional change-the-world resonance that can happen after seeing a powerful work of art (or having any moving life experience), may compel us strongly, albeit briefly, in a particular direction.

Eventually we will return to "normal" but we often remain changed ever so slightly.

At the end of my show I invite everyone in the audience to dance on the stage. There was a woman in the front row -- tall, heavy-ish, and apparently insecure about her body -- I sensed something big was going on with her and took her hand to lead her up, and the moment she stood, she burst into tears.

Because the show deals with body image issues -- and healing through dance -- a lot came up for her. But she danced and cried and by the end of the song was smiling.

Now -- will she grab a hipscarf and start taking class? Probably not. But at the next party, will she feel slightly more able to get up and dance and enjoy herself? Yes, I think so.

And bit by bit, if that message remains with her, she may indeed take a class now and then, and feel a bit more free and loved in her body. What is most important that, however minute, her definition of beauty may have changed just enough to include her body and herself.

And that's a lot -- as an artist hoping to achieve that end in my audiences, I could not ask for more.

* said...

Yes! Carol you are so smart, right, smart. Incrementalism.