So last night, after finishing late at work, I headed to the coffeeshop to relax and to catch up on a bunch of work.
No sooner did I sit down with my tea did a friend of mine walk in and invite me to share in her stash of passes to an advance screening of a film--Into the Wild. The film started in less than an hour. Naturally, I went.
Boy did I make the right choice.
Right from the start, I could tell I'd click with this film.
It's based on a true story, starting off at the main character's college graduation, where he laments the artifice of society that has been constructed around him, and the goals that people have to achieve these empty status symbols.
He chooses to cut off all ties, and starts living a life of his own with nothing but the clothes on his back and his own two feet.
In the year or so of time the film covers, he Lives, with a capital L. That is to say, he experiences life far more deeply and truly than I fear I may ever live mine.
About halfway through, he decides that his goal is to go up into the bowels of Alaska, away from all society, living completely off the land. You know he makes it there, because the film switches between his journey in Alaska and his journey to get there.
I am in awe of this film. It reminded me to put things into perspective, to really evaluate the decisions I make as a member of society. To justify the way I live from the ground up, not based on what others have done before.
On my way home, I bumped into a friend of mine who is has been an active participant in the Canadian Friends of Burma for a few years. His committee is organizing Burma related events right now, including a film tonight at Ottawa Cinema Politica, and a demonstration tomorrow at noon on Parliament Hill.
After walking with him to where he was going, I went home, and just laid in the backyard, staring at the stars and collecting my thoughts, reflecting on what I had just seen in this film.
It reminded me that there are risks in life in everything you do. As much as you try to preserve your own existence, you can't eliminate those risks, and when you try to, you keep yourself (at least in part) from Living. You have to balance the preservation of life with the realization of life; you can never be completely in control, so don't try to be.
Now, I'll tell you to see this film, but please don't pay for it. As great a film it was, it was produced by Sony BMG, who has been part of the coalition trying to restrict artistic expression for corporate profit by buying out politicians the world over. (Well, also I don't want to look like a shill because I got a free pass to an advance screening)