Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Village - Hauntingly Like Our Reality

In the wake of the terrible shootings of school girls this week in Pennsylvania, I am newly amazed by the violence and depravity our society seems to be reeling into. We caught the news of this story as it unfolded last Monday. My daughter and I were driving in the car when the news was announced on the radio. It's about the third school shooting story in the past 2 weeks, and they are all horrendous. In West Nickel, Pennsylvania, a man had entered a one-room schoolhouse of an Amish community of school children, made all the boys leave the building and systematically lined the girls up in front of the chalkboard and gunned them down executions style before killing himself. It's mind numbing. After hearing the news, my daughter turned to me and asked, "Mom, why did this happen? Did stuff this bad happen when you were growing up?"

I grew up in the 70s. Yes, there were murders then. One of my cousin's childhood friends was kidnapped from her grandmother's hotel - she simply disappeared and her body was found many years later buried nearby. There were killings. But it was an outrage. We were deeply upset as a society when it happened. And somehow, I just don't recall the constant stream of violence, cruelty, total depravity almost being commonplace like it is today. I am stunned.

And I'm wondering why we, as a society, don't feel more outraged. Have we grown numb to it? I don't know what we can do about it. Maybe it's that feeling of powerlessness that overtakes us individually and collectively. Maybe it's the insanely hectic pace of our lives that sweeps us away in our own concerns and daily rat race. I don't know, but it's really sad - and it somehow feels much different than the time when I grew up. What's different? I don't know. How are we creating such crazies in our society to do such things? I don't know.

So how does this relate to The Village? Well, our friend Patricia came to dinner last night and we watched. This is a movie by M. Night Shalyman, who produced and directed Sixth Sense (one of my all-time favorite movies). While The Village doesn't have the twist ending of Sixth Sense, in fact it's not a plot-driven movie at all. It's a romance, a suspense that has horror elements. It's an oddly haunting, 1800's period piece ironically set WHERE ELSE? Pennsylvania. Don't worry, I won't reveal the plot, but I'll just say that the movie portrays a society of innocence, very similar to the type of community where these real-life serial murders took place. The movie is about a village who have tried to shut themselves off from general society, to shelter themselves from the violence, dangers and lures of modern life. Then it's about the events that unfold as a result of that. I won't tell you more plotwise - just watch it.

The theme though is a resounding, Love drives everything important in life - and we must overcome our fears of bad things, monsters and the unknown. Because love is so strong, it's worth the risk of overcoming our fears and stepping outside the safe and innocent zone into society at large. It's also about, in my opinion, the sweet beauty of innocence and the trade-off that must be made when we venture outside the safe zone.

I hope others of you will see it and let me know if you see other angles of the story that I may have missed - or if you interpret the theme differently. The thing I liked best is that The Village is the kind of movie that makes you think - it keeps popping into my head over and over again, and that's why I will see it again today. And it's theme helps me cope with my own fears as a parent, knowing that I can't ultimately protect those I love most, yet must pray that they somehow stay safe in spite of the risks.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I totally agree with you Chelle. Bad things will continue to happen to good people but this does not mean that we need to shelter ourselves from the outside world.

The same goes for people being ugly to nice people. It will not stop that nice person from being nice.