Monday, January 14, 2008

“An Idea Is A Greater Monument Then A Cathedral”

While the movie Inherit the Wind has very little to do with the trial it was based on, it still expertly demonstrates and dramatizes the underlining battle of ideas that went on there.

Art can be seen as a reflection of culture; a collage of its dominant ideas and conflicts. Watching the clip below, I'm surprised how different movies where back then; sure, they lacked the subtlety and finesse of modern movies, but there was little of the vagueness and that certain evasive relativism that’s hard to define.

While movies are more technically brilliant then they ever where, in many ways they are much more cowardly; even those movies which are supposedly “cutting edge” or “controversial” stink of this same vagueness, the same fear, the same unwillingness to commit to anything they say. In the end, they only end up being offensive, and even at that they mostly fail.

A movie about a child molester (The Woodsman) ends up saying nothing, even committing to a solid picture of the character. A movie that explores racism without ever exploring racism (Crash.)Vague pseudo-philosophical rhetoric that attempts to be “deep” (The Matrix sequels.) And a movie that plays with, but never commits to, the idea of fate and God (I am Legend.)

All these movies are a testament to our time, to the post-modern, anti-ideas that have become almost entirely dominant.

Well, below is a movie that has none of that vagueness, whose characters declare exactly what they believe in, and why.

I have to say, it’s refreshing:

There is another good clip here.

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