Friday, June 16, 2006

Fanny and Alexander Meet Al Gore

I haven’t yet seen the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth, about global warming, but I know it warns about earth reaching a “tipping point,” possibly in the very near future if we haven’t reached it already, where the destructive effects of global warming will be impossible to turn around. Bear with me here, but last night I happened to find Bergman’s great film Fanny and Alexander on TV and watched it again. What it made me realize is that the human race may also be at a tipping point when it comes to our emotional, psychological life, the life of the soul. This film is incredibly rich in imagery and imagination, so sensual and philosophical at once, and has an emotional range that would be inconceivable not only in most Hollywood movies but almost anywhere in our society.

I think it’s this issue of emotional range that for me is the key. I imagine that if you hear sounds and music only within a narrow frequency, or see colors only within a narrow band of the spectrum, you slowly but surely become blind and deaf to anything outside that narrow band. Once that happens, you just can’t hear those sounds or see those colors anymore. You’ve lost them for good. Doesn’t the same thing happen when we’re only exposed to a narrow range of emotions day after day in the media? We literally can’t feel anything outside that range anymore. This is serious! When you wonder why people don’t feel more outrage at Bush claiming a God-given right to ignore the law, is it perhaps because they’ve crossed a tipping point where they can literally no longer feel that sort of outrage? Have our hearts atrophied to the point where they are so small that once they’re filled with the fake sentimental emotions of talk shows and politicians, there’s no room for anything else? If they haven’t reached that point yet, they’re moving in that direction, and there will come a tipping point. Isn’t that exactly why poetry and art are so crucial? They’re all that keep us open to something more than the pablum we’re fed every day. Okay, end of rant. See the film. Both of them—they’re connected!

1 comment:

Diane K. Martin said...

Yes to everything you said!