Awakening films and tv series

During times of change and related turmoil like our current one, there are some films and TV series that can help us, not only to motivate us to take action outside and change inside, but also to better understand the deeper meaning of what happens on the surface.

Enjoy (or enjoy again)!

Title: The Hurricane
Year: 1999
Director: Norman Jewison
Writers: Sam Chaiton e Terry Swinton (book); Armyan Bernstein e Dan Gordon (screenplay)
Actors: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiberl, John Hannah

“It’s very important to transcend places that hold us.”

A not so recent film, yet an evergreen: the story of the boxer Rubin Hurricane Carter, who was jailed for murders he didn’t commit after a trial marked by corruption and racial prejudice. Every day we witness different kinds and degrees of inequities, but when they happen to us, are we able to find the strength and the courage to change inside in order to cause change outside, like Carted did? Or do we just complain and beat ourselves up doing nothing about it? The amazing film starring Denzel Washington shows there’s always an alternative and a way out, it’s up to us to choose.

“What was the first book you ever bought?”
“You think that was an accident?”
“No, me neither. Lesra, short for Lazarus: ‘He who is risen from the dead.’ Rubin, Genesis, chapter 29 verse 23: ‘Behold a son.’ You put those two together, Lesra, and you have, ‘Behold a son who has risen from the dead.’ That’s no accident. Hate put me in prison. Love’s gonna bust me out.”

Title: 3%
Year: 2016-present
Creator: Pedro Aguilera
Actors: Bianca Comparato, João Miguel, Michel Gomes, Rodolfo Valente, Vaneza Oliveira.

A Netflix original TV series set in a future where only 3% of the population live in progress and abundance, in an ideal place called “Offshore”, while all the others are alienated and live in a ghetto. When they turn 20, and only then, the suitable young people from the 97% have the chance to go to the Offshore and become part of the elite, but will have to overcome great physical, mental moral and spiritual trials in order to be accepted in the “world of the perfect ones”. At the same time, a group of “resistant ones”, called “The Cause”, want to sabotage “the Process” so that everybody have the chance to a better life. But is it really so? What compromises should people be willing to make? Is the Offshore a truly magic place? And  are the Cause’s intentions really pure?

A fascinating TV series, not at all abstracted from reality, if we manage to look beyond the surface.

Title: Black Mirror
Year: 2011-present
Creator: Charlie Brooker

A British TV series first produced for Endemol and then continued by Netflix. Also set in the future, but inspired by our current society, each episode tells differently (through different, unrelated stories) the challenges and  results caused by the new technologies, media and growing “lobotomization” of human beings.

This surely isn’t a light view, and the fact the all the stories somehow resonate with our daily experience (our dependence on the social media and on other people’s judgment, our blind belief in the media, the automatic way we live in, the loss of humanity and empathy, and so on), tend to disturb. But if we find the “courage” to go on watching, we may avoid manifesting events like the ones in the series.

A push towards the return to authenticity.

I haven’t got a speech. I didn’t plan words. I didn’t even try to, I just knew I had to get here, to stand here, and I wanted you to listen. To really listen, not just pull a face like you’re listening, like you do the rest of the time. A face that you’re feeling instead of processing. You pull a face, and poke it towards the stage, and we lah-di-dah, we sing and dance and tumble around. And all you see up here, it’s not people, you don’t see people up here, it’s all fodder. And the faker the fodder, the more you love it, because fake fodder’s the only thing that works any more. It’s all that we can stomach. Actually, not quite all. Real pain, real viciousness, that, we can take. Yeah, stick a fat man up a pole. We laugh ourselves feral, because we’ve earned the right, we’ve done cell time and he’s slacking, the scum, so ha-ha-ha at him! Because we’re so out of our minds with desperation, we don’t know any better. All we know is fake fodder and buying shit. That’s how we speak to each other, how we express ourselves, is buying shit. What, I have a dream? The peak of our dreams is a new app for our Dopple, it doesn’t exist! It’s not even there! We buy shit that’s not even there. Show us something real and free and beautiful. You couldn’t. Yeah? It’d break us. We’re too numb for it. I might as well choke. It’s only so much wonder we can bear. When you find any wonder whatsoever, you dole it out in meagre portions. Only then until it’s augmented, packaged, and pumped through 10,000 preassigned filters till it’s nothing more than a meaningless series of lights, while we ride day in day out, going where? Powering what? All tiny cells and tiny screens and bigger cells and bigger screens and fuck you! Fuck you, that’s what it boils down to. Fuck you for sitting there and slowly making things worse. Fuck you and your spotlight and your sanctimonious faces. Fuck you all for thinking the one thing I came close to never meant anything. For oozing around it and crushing it into a bone, into a joke. One more ugly joke in a kingdom of millions. Fuck you for happening. Fuck you for me, for us, for everyone. Fuck you!

Title: The Matrix
Year: 1999
Directors/Writers: The Wachowski Brothers
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

“Sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Released on the same year of The Hurricane (an accident?), this is now considered a “classic”, one of the most successful films in the history of cinema, but that to a keen eye (the inner one) is not a sci-fi film but rather a depiction of our human condition.

What is true and what’s not? What’s beyond appearance? Who are we and are we really our own masters? Is the world we live in real, o is it just an illusion?

The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.