Monday, August 10, 2020

What Do You See?

 It's been a while since I did this, but how about we talk today in one sentence about two random films that have nothing to do with each other and that probably no one else has even seen?

The two films are 2012's Liberal Arts and 2016's The Lion Woman (which is a Norwegian film that started playing on my stream with English dubbed dialogue that I quickly changed to original dialogue with English subtitles). The common link between them is image, how you perceive both yourself and others and also how they perceive you.

The Norwegian movie is about a girl who is born with a condition that leaves thick hair all over her body. Her father tries to keep her secluded from the world, but of course you can only really do that for so long. And when you do venture out into the world, most people don't react well. So Eva grows up knowing that she is different and that people will never see her as anything else. And yet somehow the journey she goes on is not fantastical at all but is really just the journey so many people go on of finding comfort with themselves physically and learning that their identity is formed by the choices they make, the things they choose to do, and the way they live their lives. Eva finds her place in the world and is known for her mind and her contributions to mathematics, not for her fuzzy skin. (That sounds so funny to say. This seems like a weird movie to watch when you give a synopsis, but it's pretty good.)

Now to Liberal Arts, which shows a 35 year old falling for a 19 year old when he goes back to visit his old college campus. It's about his eventual realization that he's 35 and that's a perfectly fine place to be and also a very different place from being 19. I might also add here that this is an interesting movie to watch at 28/29 because I'm still in the middle of both ages, closer to his but not quite there yet. So who knows, maybe I'm even more wavering between the two places than he was. 

What I did like about this movie was a certain line in there. Or a couple of lines. When Jesse talks to Peter at the end, he tells him to set aside that book (which they both love) because the author ended his life. He tells him to live a long life, that that's a better arc. He also talks a little with Ana about age. And it's that concept of, what is wrong with age? Absolutely nothing. Age and aging mean that you are living your life, and that is good. 

They only barely touched on the physical aspects of aging since the movie was more about the different mental perspectives we tend to have at different times in our lives. But the concept is still in there--and that's where I got my connection to the Norwegian movie. What do you look like and how does it affect your life? There are the things you cannot change that will stay with you forever. And there are the things that do change and develop with time. What do you see it as? What do other people see it as? 

Live a life in which you can be seen because if we are visible there is nothing wrong with being seen. But live also a life in which you are seen for who you are, what you think, what you do, and what you decide, not just what you look like. That's my takeaway from watching these two movies in close proximity. 

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