I love movies (like Moonlight) where the director believes in the intelligence of his/her audience while telling a powerful story and delivering a powerful message. For me, “Fire at Sea” was that way. It was a movie that was comfortable delivery subtle comments and with letting a scene slowly unfold, where it is comfortable showing the doctor give an ultrasound for five minutes or just showing four workers stare out at sea. It is a wonderful, powerful movie and the most beautiful film that way since “The Great Beauty.” Some observations (with some spoilers):
- The beginning of the movie we see the boy making a weapon and hunting birds, but at the end of the movie he is merely singing to the bird – shows our ability to change our ways.
- The doctor makes a comment that it is the responsibility of all of us to help the immigrants (who are dying).
- The doctor, during the ultrasound, can’t make out the sex of the second child since they are too intertwined. “But don’t worry, we’ll get it.” He patiently, patiently seeks the sex. I see that scene as stating we are all intertwined and too intertwined, and it will take patience and diligence and care and perserverence to resolve our/this problem. I also see the scene later in the movie where the woman takes a full five minutes to carefully make her bed as again emphasizing that things take time and persistence and patience.
- The boy is having struggles rowing – his friend throws his a lifeline so he is not crushed by the boats, then rows him to safety. That is, we all need a helping hand and we need to offer a helping hand.
- The boy has a lazy eye, so he works to correct his vision from 20/100 to 20/30 by wearing the eye patch. Later, when he is sea sick he is told to to go the sea when there are high waves to get his sea stomach. That is, we have a problem (the refugee crisis) but we can fix it with work.
- The woman wishes for a little health that day, like we all want to be healthy and happy (including the refugees). It’s not too much to ask.
I’d love to watch this movie again – these are just a few observations off the top of my head a day later and I am sure there are more.
It is a tragic tale but one that also offers help and a nudge for us to help. I wish we in the US were helping more (at a time when Donald Trump wants to do less!) – I am going to write my congress person about that. Those poor souls – and the scene of the people dead at the bottom of the boat was awful but moving, like watching the Holocaust images in some ways (and to the people who died in such misery, the result is the same).
The movie makes me want to move to Sicily 🙂
Finally, it has been a great year for documentaries. OJ: Made in America, 13th and I Am Not Your Negro were all wonderful and deserving; my vote for Oscar this year though is this one (“Fire at Sea”).
We watched the Oscar Nominated documentary shorts yesterday, and 3 of the 5 films were about Syria. In one of the films, the Greek coast guard is helping rescue the boatload of Syrian refugees risking their lives to cross the Aegean Sea towards Europe. In the second, we see a family whose father is killed and migrates to Turkey then Germany. In the third, we see the volunteers who rescue people whose buildings are blown to bits by the airstrikes.
This compelled me to read about what is happening in Syria. From what I see, in 2011 Syrians rose against their restrictive government. Soon, a full blow Civil War materialized. There are government loyalists, Free Syrians who want a free Syria, ISIS, and other groups all fighting. And, of course, other countries such as Russian and the US are contributing. Syrians are getting killed, buildings are getting blown to bits and it looks like an absolute war zone, with the people of Syria caught in the middle.
What I saw from the movies and what I sense from my reading is that the Syrians are not diabolical terrorists but people fleeing a worn torn country much as people fled Europe in the 1940s. Why the heck aren’t we the US not allowing them in? We took in countless Vietnamese in the 1970s, which is great – why won’t we take in the Syrians now? Might there be a terrorist or two in them? Sure, maybe a bad apple or two. But we have domestic terrorists, too (Boston Marathon bombers, the many school shooters, etc.). For god sake, let the people in. Show some compassion like I’d love to have compassion if Trump Supporters and Hilary Supporters were blowing up my neighborhood.
I loved those three films. They showed the humans behind the news headlines. And if we want to make America great again, instead of blowing the heck out of neighborhoods how about we show a little compassion.
I never lived in Stalinistic Russia, but my understanding is someone might come for you in the middle of the night (and you were never seen again), and then that person in turn was executed at another time. I always wondered how it was that humans could do that, how they could kill or imprison other human beings because of some mad man’s bidding, but I am seeing it now in Corporate America. A VP fires people, then he/she is pushed out, only to repeat the process. It becomes so that the individual in absolutely no way matters, no matter how high or low in the corporate ladder they are. I see this at both my employers and at my client’s companies.
Today, I learned that a VP who’d cut me loose (despite my making quota and doing everything I was asked to do without complaint, except in truth I thought he was a horse’s ass and perhaps that showed on my face 🙂 ) during a reorg was himself terminated last week, which was both thrilling for me and underscores my point. It is sooo important when you are the VP or the lieutenant not to become the executioner just because you are told to be the executioner, because then you lose your humanity and when you yourself are executed you’ve got no one to blame except yourself. When this happens, it really is the lieutenants who are to blame – an owner or leader is powerless without people to do their bidding, so if everone refuses to do their bidding then the leader has no power. So although the VP C who let me go was not fully responsible, I do fully blame him and fully revel in his firing, especially since I learned it took him by surprise 🙂
I can talk this talk because I’ve been tested this way in battle. I’ve been told to fire someone or some people, when I knew that I myself may be terminated down the road (such as the example I gave above); the easy thing to do would have been to panic, and to fire people in the hopes of saving my own job. But instead of being the lackey and pulling the trigger, in once instance I stalled completely, and in another I privately warned the employee, stalled long enough for her to find another job (provided she continued to do what I needed her to do to support our team) and then she was able to resign on her own terms. So I was able to allow the people to keep their dignity, and was able to avoid becoming the sucker in some sociopath’s hierarchy. In short, I am able to sleep at night and look my kids in the face.
I will never be Stalin’s executioner. Unfortunately, Corporate America is filled with these folks today…
I did something I would have thought unthinkable to me 5 years ago – gave a hungry person two protein bars and 10 dollars… He didn’t say thank you, but then again I didn’t do it for the thank you – I did it because he was hungry and few things are worse than hunger…. It has been nearly 5 years since I survived lung disease with a 50 percent mortality rate, and I just can’t get over that awesome feeling of compassion that that experience gave me since before my disease I would have judged (and not helped) that man. Every day I feel grateful that for the first time in my life I understand there are people who will never be in a position to take care of themselves.
Without having experienced the inexplicable chronic fatigue that came (and persists) with my disease, I would have never felt the warmth of compassion. How strange life is. I was given such a wonderful thing by such an awful (and freaky) disease.
Every time I see my lung doctor (pulmonologist), I thank him for saving my life. I should be thanking him for the gift of compassion….