joi, 15 martie 2018

Dead Poets Society by Tom Schulman

Dead Poets Society by Tom Schulman

This is not just one of the best films ever made, but also one of the most important for its messages, role models and educational value.

It should be taught in schools and indeed, it is, for Harvard Professor Tal Ben-Shahar used the Carpe Diem segment in his lectures, which are the most popular in the prestigious University's history.
The English teacher John Keating aka the late, regretted and phenomenal Robin Williams, is not just unusual, different, provocative, he is a role model and a Superman.

Perhaps with one caveat, which refers to his destruction of the introduction to the manual of English literature, which, even if very bad, excrement Keating says, might be better ignored, even dismissed, but not so violently attacked.
After all, in his own philosophy, one is a free spirit, must find the path, shout like Walt Whitman over the top of the houses, and could let the author of the textbook alone in his incapacity to understand great poetry.

The school where John Keating is a new teacher has very rigid, retrograde views and the leaders insist on rules, obedience, principles, tradition, punishment over anything else.
Flaunting the achievements of the past, principal, the board see no reason for change and they apply the same old fashioned, ultimately counter productive methods that had been used for...ever.

Whenever a student makes a mistake, even a minor one, he - there are only boys allowed here - faces corporal retribution, a painful beating with a heavy, wooden bat.
John Keating is the exact opposite of the stuffy, cruel, vicious, sadistic staff that takes such a sick pleasure in domination, abuse, destruction of natural tendencies and the urge to find a calling.

John Keating insists on Carpe Diem, seizing the moment, for we are all going to be food for worms and need to celebrate the magic of life in the manner of Walt Whitman, who is quoted a few times, and other poets.
Inspired somewhat by their Superman role model, but this is by no means his fault, some bright pupils form the Dead Poets Club, that gathers in a cave and where they recite poems and eventually find new meaning, some fact all, discover their humanity, manliness, wisdom, bravery, transcendence, temperance and sense of Justice.

One of them, Neil, finds out that he is not destined to become a doctor, as his domineering, absurd father imposes on him, when he has the chance to act in A Midsummer Night's Dream, in the leading role of Puk.
Another is inspired by the mantra of Carpe Diem to pursue his love interest, find the courage, perseverance, vitality, social intelligence, hope, modesty and perspective to engage with Chris, the girl he loves, in spite of the fact that her present boyfriend is a rude, thick, primitive, but very strong individual, who kicks him once and will do so again and harder, whenever he has the chance.

Professor Keating is crucial in helping his students find themselves and their true calling, which might be different from what they are forced to contemplate, study by their parents and perspectiveless educators, by offering the repeated example of WW, insisting that simple words can reveal great thoughts, nudging them to be creative.
They have a different relationship with the manual, this teacher thinks outside the box and mocks the official graphics that take in account coefficients, surfaces, like poetry is some mathematical operation that has equations, variables and one can just use formulas and...voila, there is a sonnet by Shakespeare resulting from calculations.

Nuwanda is the new name of one of the most enthusiastic members of the Poets Society, probably the one that came closest to Whitman and his beautiful lines in Miracles..."I know of nothing but miracles"

Nuwanda publishes a note in the journal where he is a corrector and the leadership of the school is stupefied, infuriated and revolted by the request that girls should be admitted in this school, alongside boys.
It goes to prove how fundamentalist, medieval, stupid, fixated, calcified these talibans were.

When they gather all the boys, Nuwanda makes a joke and when the principal makes his threat regarding those involved in this "unforgivable" act, he makes the sound of a phone ringing, answers the one he had brought with him and says that "it is God and he agrees".
The daring, humorous Nuwanda is beaten, but not expelled yet and even John Keating scolds him, for his pushing too far and risking expulsion and adding, after the student argues that the atmosphere is suffocating and there is nothing to do if they are so much oppressed, that the boy should stay, if for nothing else, for the privilege of attending the English classes.

Alas, a terrible drama is about to happen, which also serves the purpose of highlighting what happens when parents impose their view on the children-which it must be said that it happened decades ago in the Western world, today children suffer from the opposite pernicious attitude, they are allowed to do anything.
Neil has found that acting is his calling, only his father would have none of that, his son is destined to be a great doctor, not some performer and the parent takes extreme steps, disregarding the obvious, common sense, the interest of the boy and furthermore, blames the Ubermensch Keating for the resulting tragedy.

The moment when students climb on top of their desks and honor "Oh Captain, my Captain" is divine, glorious, of the most memorable scenes in Cinema History.

But then, this masterpiece is destined to be part of that Glorious History of Art.

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