Motifs in 2012 Cinema: Appreciation of Life
Andrew, over at Encore's World of Film and TV is hosting a blogging project regarding motifs in Cinema. Choosing only films from 2012, he presented a list of themes to pick from, and I chose appreciation of life.
Motifs in Cinema is a discourse across 22 film blogs, assessing the way in which various thematic elements have been used in the 2012 cinematic landscape. How does a common theme vary in use from a comedy to a drama? Are filmmakers working from a similar canvas when they assess the issue of death or the dynamics of revenge? Like most things, a film begins with an idea - Motifs in Cinema assesses how the use of a common theme across various films changes when utilised by different artists. - Andrew, Encore Entertainment
Appreciation of Life:
Finding the silver lining
Creating the perfect life
In Ruby Sparks, Calvin, after suffering from serious writer's block creates the perfect girl for him. When she suddenly appears, it's his dream come true. Whatever he types, Ruby does. He loves her little legs, and the fact that she's an artist, but soon Calvin stops appreciating her for what she is, and takes advantage. Ultimately he lets her go, and takes a good look at himself. All of that power got in his way of appreciating his life. He doesn't need to control every little thing Ruby does, he just needed to get an idea, put it on paper, and hopefully he'll get another chance to meet someone that's perfect for him.
RedemptionIf anyone appreciates life, it's Jean Valjean of Les Miserables. He has been given a second chance after prison. After a factory worker under his supervision is fired, falls ill, and dies, Valjean takes it upon himself to find this woman's daughter and raise her well. While he's still being pursued by the law, he has time to raise Cosette into a fine young lady and to let her go to the man she loves. On his death bed, he looks content with how everything ended.
To say Bruce Wayne's very life is tested in The Dark Knight Rises is a serious understatement. Bane seeks to destroy everything Batman is about, but he won't go down with a fight. Batman needed to go back to being Bruce Wayne to regain his appreciation of not only his life, but all of Gotham's. He had to test himself mentally and physically to rise above the darkness. He saves the city, passes on his vigilante duties, and starts to enjoy the ride without living secluded. He lives the life that Alfred always hoped he would live.
Helping those in need
Nothing says "appreciation of life" than helping others in need. That's what the Canadian Ambassador did for his American friends in Argo. Instead of only looking out for himself, he extends a helping hand to his southern neighbors, and they are able to escape the unrest in Iran. To fully appreciate your life, you need to appreciate others, and that's exactly what happened here. As an American, I love Canada. Always have. This is just one of the many reasons.
I decided to end this piece with something a little different. With a film that does not follow the motif of "appreciation of life." Instead, it gambles it away, and cheers when things go wrong.
For the sake of entertainment
Without blowing the big ending of The Cabin In The Woods too much, this is a pretty good example of not appreciating life. These 5 twenty somethings are put in an impossible scenario, with an entire business of people watching, making bets on who dies first, what kills them, and how long it will take. Even when we get the big reveal, it's still not enough to sacrifice clueless people. Although, we can't really blame our brood for saying essentially saying "fuck it" in it's darkest hour.