Categories
cinema Essay

A Society Under The Influence

So yes this is a reactionary post(sad, always like to be proactive).

I have not seen Arjun Reddy/ Kabir Singh; even when I see it I am sure to dislike it(prejudice alert), but that is because I dislike most movies, it also because we make a lot of dislike-able movies. 

But there is also something to like in all films. What I take away is my own.

As is usual a certain section of well meaning, focused on the future types telling (yelling) about the values of the leading man in the films above mentioned. They have also qualified saying that this is not just about the values but also because the Sandeep Reddy Vanga film ‘glorifies’ such disgusting values.

Somewhere in these cautionary posts of value education would be the mention of the over influence of movies as a whole on society. As a constant movie watcher I would like to agree that movies are influential to the individual, but what these activist uncle types don’t get is that source of influences are multifarious and never really pinpoint.

<I like to use the word uncle a lot, this is not something I picked up from the movies, but maybe because I like to use uncle because I don’t like to use swear words. I dunno, I don’t want to psychoanalyze myself to death, so whenever I use uncle it can be substituted to a word of your choice>

So yes, uncles think there is some kind of linear relationship between the content (or malcontent as they would say) in movies and the depletion of our value system.

Again, they have only good intentions, but they get only linearity, maybe they did social sciences. So they immediately get enraged and come to conclusions that if guy watches a certain actor’s films and stalks girls then surely movie only gave him the idea, where in reality it could be multiple inputs of different magnitude for a person to make any action.

Guy treating gal badly-hey stop showing such things in movies- sooo toxic etc- but guy could have watched his father do it.

Influences are multifarious and come in different sizes and their impact too.

Second question to uncles is that would you really want movies to be the moral compass for the next generation? 

If you really are so concerned about falling values then you must be in a position of greater influence to tell next gen of what good values are and more importantly tell them to avoid movies with bad values.

But here of course, uncles want to just shout at filmmakers for having bad values, not realizing filmmakers themselves are under multiple influences and their values are a resultant.

A good activist uncle who truly believes in the values he wants next gen to have will work himself to become a bigger influence than the movies that he so hates, or he could put trust in his upbringing system and in the next gen wards to choose the best for themselves.

Unfortunately, uncles will do neither, they seem to have understood that movies are soft targets and probably gain from taking moral high ground. Uncles also want to be seen as commentators on art etc. Lool, that’s another long post.

I believe that deep down people know what people are doing(mostly with their own code), so I also have a code to illustrate this. Simplified in the form of three truths.

1. Movies are movies

2. Life is life

3. Uncles will be uncles.

See, three distinct things, no confusion. It is perfectly possible to bring up the next generation with the simple notion that movies and life are different things seldom do they intersect.

But hey, movies are fun. The problem lies only when in social studies driven shixx analysis of it. 

The manual of which is below:

“Every comment on a movie should be a statement (socio-political), every movie should be about some big social theme. Even superhero movies must have some substance”

Social studies analysis be like

X/Y movie is very important because it deals with social factor Z in which director A has infused political theory B but using modern & commercial elements to illustrate the stigma around C

or a trashy analysis would be like

X/Y the movie should not exist (because toxic something something) in the first place now A/B has tried to remake it in some other language. It’s all very toxic and people are clapping in cinema halls and I fear they will these people will turn into mobs and collectively bring down our society etc. X/Y movies must be banned.

Social studies driven shixx analysis has effectively ruined whatever fun movies had little in them for me and I effectively try and avoid reading much into them. At least I am not calling for a ban on social issue based analysis of film- I only say it is an easy way to analyse any art because there will always be problems in society. Unlike  how some uncles are intolerable of movies that show bad values. 

If I want to know about social issues and human suffering( no I really don’t, call me anything) I won’t reach out for a movie because I have encoded values which immediately shout into my ears

Movies are movies

Life is life

and in a much softer tone ” go read a book or something”

A note on Chinatown

Chinatown is one of my favourite films, I also consider it (from my limited understanding of film) one of the greatest films ever made.

It’s got a great cast, Jack Nicholson playing a Marlowe type detective who gets sucked into situations far greater than his doing. Made in the seventies and in colour, but is very much a fascinating take on film noir- a great score, brilliant visuals, a twisted screenplay and a climax that shocks me every time I see it. 

Oh Chinatown  is also about the politics behind water,abuse of power, city corruption and red tap-ism in Los Angeles.

Why did I go off tangent with Chinatown? Ah yes-the need to learn ‘good’ values from film cannot be imposed. Vice versa- bad values too are not immediately lapped up.

Everyone takes home something different from it(that takeaway could be something even the director or writer did not intend), many could very well miss the societal aspects of Chinatown and some could miss its hat-tips to film noir. 

Chinatown is not great because it tackles these social issues, it is great despite it. 

It is great because it tells a great story. That’s what great movies are all about.

Distill that even further, that’s what movies are about. They can be good or bad irrespective of theme or issues addressed or abused. 

“Forget it uncles, these are just movies”

A short note on values 

I have my own or whatever I believe in, three of which I have shared with you already; similarly social values is a collective of all our individual values that doesn’t mean all our values are the same. 

It is also that these values do undergo a lot of change over time. 

Just because a movie is seen by a lot of people does not increase the responsibility quotient of the filmmaker, he/she has the same responsibility like everyone of us. What he conveys is his set of values and what we take away is based on ours. 

Do not forsake important things like values to films and filmmakers and expect to learn from them. 

Summary for some

  1. Influences are many for any action
  2. Filmmakers are easy targets 
  3. Filmmakers have the same social responsibility as the rest of us (not more) 
  4. It is easy to overestimate the influence of movies and underestimate the influence of other factors.
  5. Movies are movies
  6. Life is life
  7. Belief in law is more effective than belief in outrage
  8. Keep watching movies, they are fun

Fin. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s