...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

March 16, 2006

The Brothers Grimm - 7

I suspect that many will disagree with my ranking here, but I was taken in by Terry Gilliam's ability to tell a story that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. It is interesting that the film plays on the dualism of scientific objectivity vs. subjective experience. There is a great line in the film where Will (played by Matt Damon), who does not believe in magic like his brother Jake (played by Heath Ledger), when asked if he is seeing the trees moving as if they have legs responds: "I most certainly am not!" The film also seems to be influenced by C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, it mixes the traditional fairy-tales to tell a new story. The story takes place in 1796 French occupied Germany. The Brothers Grimm have developed a system where they charge money to get rid of the village evil. This is working quite nicely as they are acting out and only convincing people that the evil has been destroyed. When they come upon a real cursed forest, they actually have to start using their belief and courage to come out with a "happily ever after." I interpret the film to be talking about the title of this blog, storied living and moral meaning. The film does a good job of showing how reality is what we see it to be, but more than that. Reality requires our response, and ultimately our responsible action in the story to really come alive, to actually have meaning and give our lives meaning. The story calls us out, and it is both our view and our entering into the story that determines what we can see and hear and do in the world. It is the mutual interaction of a story and our actions that helps us understand reality and its meaning. If we reduce life down to any one thing or part then we take away from the complexity of life and we drain it of its complex story and meaning, and we are left with "The words of the Teacher, 'Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.'" Even the teacher comes to understand the world and wisdom.

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