I loved the movie, "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Yesterday I tried to explain on my other blog what the film meant to me.
Don't feel like I succeeded. This try likely won't be much more successful. After all, what I love about "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is its -- no big surprise -- beastliness and wildness.
Guess I could roar. Or jump up on a table and scream "I'm the man! I'm the man!" like the marvelous Hushpuppy does in the movie. Or trample down buildings like the aurochs do.
Or... I can type away and try to say what I feel in words that are pale shadows of how the movie moved me. OK, I'll do that.
Watching the movie, I became aware of how judgmental I've been about rural southern rednecks, including the black equivalent, who obviously don't have red necks, nor the same political philosophy.
My wife and I are card-carrying Chevy Volt-driving, Starbucks Pike Place-ordering, obsessively-recycling, vegetarian-eating, healthful habits-following Oregonians. I wasn't born in a bayou. I was born in freaking Massachusetts, and still feel the psychic influence of my comparatively prim and proper New England heritage.
Compared, that is, to the world of coastal Louisiana shown in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" -- which must be fairly close to reality, because I couldn't help but feel this is so real throughout the movie.
What those strange soulful denizens of a land perched between sea and land, between chaos and stability, between drunkenness and sobriety, have is what I want. Well, let's say that I want to really want what they have, since right now I talk strange soulfulness more than I practice it.
I was inspired by the movie. I was moved by the movie. I was attracted by the movie.
My alcoholic consumption is pretty much limited to one glass of red wine per night, consumed not for purposes of intoxication, but for heart-healthiness. Yet I loved watching the human beasts of the southern wild clutch beers and other instruments of alcohol ingestion almost as often as not. I loved how they yelled, and screamed, and danced, and broke rules of all kinds -- safety, child protective, medical, environmental, whatever.
Understand: I still love my green, organized, methodical, practical, reasonable lifestyle. But I must have a longing for more beastly wildness, or I wouldn't have loved watching "Beasts of the Southern Wild" so much.
Echoing Freud, I usually feel like I'm not really discontented with civilization. Until I'm exposed to another view of what "civilized" means, like what is shown in this movie. Wikipedia's summary of Freud's book does ring true.
In this seminal book, Sigmund Freud enumerates what he sees as the fundamental tensions between civilization and the individual.
The primary friction, he asserts, stems from the individual's quest for instinctual freedom and civilization's contrary demand for conformity and instinctual repression. Many of humankind's primitive instincts (for example, the desire to kill and the insatiable craving for sexual gratification) are clearly harmful to the well-being of a human community.
As a result, civilization creates laws that prohibit killing, rape, and adultery, and it implements severe punishments if such rules are broken. This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that instills perpetual feelings of discontent in its citizens.
l don't long for lawlessness. Just more strange soulfulness. Not dancing naked under Oregon's fir trees on a cold wintry night while coyotes and wolves surround me with howls. But the everyday clothed wild-animal-free equivalent.
Lots of wonderfully human emotions were on exhibit in "Beasts of the Southern Wild." One wasn't: fear. Nor its cousins: anxiety, worry, tentativeness. (Well, maybe a tiny bit, but barely.)
I loved how people in The Bathtub really lived their lives in the movie. No one was just going through the motions, playing a role, doing what was expected of them, drawing completely within civilization's lines.
They screamed when they were excited, cried when they were sad, threw stuff when they were angry, fired shotguns at a hurricane when they wanted the storm to stop. Reasonable people could reasonably argue that a lot of dysfunction was on display in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
Can't argue with that assessment. I just don't feel like being a reasonable person arguing reasonably. I loved the beastly wildness of the movie, and the people in it. If that's dysfunction, let's have more of it.
(Tomorrow I might read this and want to add... "within reason." But I hope I don't.)