December 26, 2013

The Curse of Deficient Perspectives

I have always aspired to not judge people on the basis of conventional morality. I have always tried to let go of even the slightest need to fit into other people's idea of right or wrong. It has not always been easy, especially when deeply personal issues and intimate relationships are concerned. But I have always tried, and often succeeded, and have felt guilty and inadequate all the time I failed. It is almost an obsession, and is born out of one fundamental truth that I very strongly believe in: that it is not important to label things as right or wrong. And the conventional morality and the popular perceptions of correct and incorrect, and righteousness and sin, fail to appeal to me. In this life, it seems, I wouldn't be able to conform with the world around me, the world that is habitually used to classifying people, judging them, forming opinions, and almost imposing their perspectives on to others. However difficult it might be, I would, or at least want to, give the person in question a valid benefit of doubt. And nothing would please me more than finding that my assumptions about his or her wrongdoings were nothing more than acts of misjudgment.

Thomas Vinterberg's unforgettable and heartbreaking drama, 'The Hunt' (2012), is entirely based on a very innocent and unintentional mistake committed by an otherwise very sweet and loveable character. But what it snowballs into is a series of misconceptions, premature and unfair judgments, and devastation of reputations, self-esteems, and lives. The biggest achievement of the film is the way it manages to make you hate the gentlest of humans, because of the way they are hurting the protagonist, and also how it forces you to empathise with the very same people, because you know that what they are doing is only normal from their perspective. It is the kind of film that makes you feel fortunate that you are the audience, and not a part of the film's universe, because being the audience gives you the complete picture, and a rare blessing in the form of objectivity. You do not judge the characters, who are disillusioned by half-truths and rushed opinions, but still desperately wish the truth to come out in the open and everything to get right all over again.

"The world is full of evil. But if we hold on to each other it goes away," says an important character at the beginning of the final act of the film. It is then that you have your first sense of relief, and you start hoping that things will be fine soon. This character then makes the difficult decision to take the first step toward mending the ties, and get rid of the unwanted and unfortunate bitterness that has destroyed the peace of their lives. Also, perhaps that decision is not that difficult at that moment in the film because of the clarity this character has achieved, and he knows that this is the only way to correct the wrongs.

But in our real lives, we often lack clarity, and at times the intent, to set things right all over again. Despite realising the futility of bitterness, especially with people whom we love or loved, we fail to take that first step. And as the closing images of the film show, at times, the delay in that causes an irreparable damage to the soul of the victim, who is often the person with the best intent, almost closing the possibilities of the person's liberation from the unjust and unfair judgement forced upon him. Knowing all this, what do we keep waiting for? Why is it so difficult for us to seek that clarity which would hopefully erase all negativity, to make that effort to fill up the gaps in communication? Are we waiting for someone to take us out of the movie of our life, so that we are no more a character but the audience, with a complete perspective of things, and free of the curse that the characters seem to be bearing - the curse of incomplete understanding, premature judgments, and insufficient communication? Since we cannot be both the characters and the audience of the movie of our life, shouldn't we just act on our own, out of faith, trust, mutual respect and the desire to set everything straight, once and for all?

No comments:

Post a Comment