Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We Honor Your Memory

There was a time, for several years, when I couldn't watch movies to do with war or anything like that because I was still struck by the very real human experience of tragedy. I was, after some of the reading I did in Holocaust Studies in high school (particularly The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak) still heartbroken by the fact that bad things happen to real people, not to "the people bad things happen to." It's almost like I was in mourning and couldn't get near anything sad to do with war, etc. because it just brought up anew the pain for these people.

And then, as this maybe started to fade without me realizing it, I kind of started to feel like maybe I didn't want to watch war movies or such because I wanted to watch movies for entertainment and so real tragedy wasn't entertainment.

And now I think I've been easing back in. A Tale of Love and Darkness, which is interesting to see if you're used to seeing Natalie Portman in Star Wars and forget that she was born in Israel. It made me realize how little I know about Israel's (recent) history. Or The Promise with Oscar Isaac; that certainly made me feel ignorant. So by the time I finished Colonia with Emma Watson, I resigned myself to the fact that there are so many countries with so much history that, well, I wouldn't know all of it unless I made world history (especially recent world history) my area of focus (which is not, of course, to say that we shouldn't always strive to know more than we currently know).

Especially with that last film, there was kind of this sense as it ended of the fact that the audience was simply giving acknowledgement to the people who experienced sorrow. This world is filled with darkness. And sometimes films simply allow us to remember people's sorrow or to give voices to the people who were silenced. We don't have to be going in to war films for the horror factor; we can simply experience such films in order to honor the memory of the people portrayed. In doing so, we are acknowledging the fact that every person matters and every person's life is important and significant. Every smile and every tear is precious.

May we never not be saddened by tragedy.

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