Unreal Nature

August 18, 2016

Man Is Wolf to Man and Every Night Is a Full Moon

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:46 am

… It seems that old question of why are we here, and not getting a satisfactory answer, makes man’s fate intolerable.

This is from the essay ‘Inner City Blues’ by Charles Burnett found in Questions of Third Cinema edited by Jim Pines and Paul Willemen (1989):

… The question is how does one who is dissatisfied with the way things are going set about transforming society? To whom and to what should one direct the message and what will be the spark, the messianic message, to motivate people into altering their habits when reality hasn’t made a stir, when the realization of death itself has failed?

[line break added] However, time and again, you find in the testimony of ex-addicts and alcoholics that what made them stop and go cold turkey was that after years of destroying themselves, they looked in the mirror one day and did not recognize the person staring back at them. And having tried to change drug addicts, I was warned that no matter what logic, no matter what emotional appeal I used, it would have no effect on that person until he or she was ready to change; it is when the person has arrived at the conclusion that he or she needs help.

[ … ]

… One of the features of my community is that it does not have a center, does not have an elder statesman, and more important, does not have roots; in essence it is just a wall with graffiti written on it. Life is going to work, coming home, making sure every entrance is firmly locked to keep the thugs out, thinking on how to move up in the world or being a member of a street gang standing at neighborhood corners, thinking about nothing and going nowhere.

… Those who live a healthy existence, meaning those who live on the other side of the tracks, gain knowledge through learning, and those who live on my side of the tracks learned about the world through conditioning based on pain and pleasure, and what has developed as a consequence is that man is wolf to man and every night is a full moon.

… In trying to find the cure, what person do you address? It is not a matter of informing someone of the truth, the facts, reality; it is only when he finds that he can’t live with himself, when he has stopped deluding himself. The way back is redemption.

If film is to aid in this process of redemption, how does it work its magic? It seems that old question of why are we here, and not getting a satisfactory answer, makes man’s fate intolerable. I think that it is the little personal things that begin to give a hint of the larger picture. The story has the effect of allowing us to comprehend things we cannot see, namely feelings and relationships.

[line break added] It may not give you answers but it will allow you to appreciate life and maybe that is the issue, the ability to find life wonderful and mysterious. If the story is such, film can be a form of experience, and what is essential is to understand that one has to work on how to be good, compassionate. One has to approach it like a job. Until there is a sharing of experiences, every man is an island and the inner city will always be a wasteland.

My most recent previous post from this book is here.

-Julie

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