Friday, April 1, 2016

On Snowpiercer, Movies, & the Zeitgeist

 For a good while I was turning old before my time. I speak not of the pain in my joints, the decrease in flexibility in my muscles, and the slight increase in the viscosity of my thoughts. No, I mean the decoupling from one's society's zeitgeist: you know, when what is stated to be good or representative of reality does not seem so. Once this is added to the wont to not keep up with the zeitgeist, I'm told, one is truly old [1]. 

I think it was about eight years ago, when I started to grow completely disinterested in contemporary movies. Anything that had a modicum of "deepness" about it—as proclaimed by critics—would seem the most superficial. [2] Recently, however, there seems to have been a detente between me and the movies out there. [3] I'm not sure if this is a result of lowered expectations, but at least I have been enjoying the movies that I have watched... Well, I'm not being entirely honest, many have been chosen for their ability to simply entertain. [4]

But then I'll go and make the mistake of watching a supposedly good or edgy movie and find myself disappointed once more. One near-exception to this is Snowpiercer

Let me explain: I found the world, the train cars as classes, to be somewhat interesting. That end, though, what's one to make of it? Of course, I would think it reactionary: the man who leads the revolution is so filled with rage that he willingly blows it all up. If only he knew what sacrifice meant and had been willing to be docile. 

For when they stepped out of the train, what happened? The ideologists had destroyed the only protection the humans had and left them exposed to uncaring nature. The cold and the polar bear, as it were. The latter would surely see them as food and would show no mercy. What then is the moral? That any leader should only then be as kind as nature?

It probably speaks to my narrow imagination that I cannot see any other reasoning for this ending. What did you see?

[1] Of course, now this seems at best a narrow view of the world for it ignores the need to have a sliding scale of which zeitgeist matters—from entertainment to politics. The former usually being the purview of youth and the latter of those who are older. (I should also add that I'm speaking of entertainment in general, I suppose, but one could separate them into two different kinds: that of the movie/music of the day kind and that of the political theater... and a case could be made for history as well). This also misses many aspects of "my story. By which I mean the status quo has rubbed me the wrong way and thus I can't stand many simple facts about the zeitgeist. The other point that is missed is how the Internet has fractured the zeitgeist, so it could very well be that the idea of a national zeitgeist could only be a part of mass media... a whole other post.

[2] I'm talking high school levels of understanding.

[3] I take this to include the books from the mainstream as well—yes, even literary types.

[4] And usually the veneer wears off these films with the passage of time. Even a weeks will do it. Contrary to what my better half says, I can walk out of a film fully entertained, but slowly find that the movie was tripe and speaks but to the status quo of the time. This makes me hate it. An interesting psychological phenom, this. I suppose one could look at me simply enjoying it to begin with as setting aside all my learned reservations about such tripe and simply enjoying a moment with those I'm watching it with.

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