I am enjoying a series of foreign films shown at the the Cape Cod Community College, a free course that is open to regular students and we over-50s it the Academy for Lifelong Learning. Last week's film was a sad and moving story of a peasant in Bolivia and his family trying to simply life their lives in the mountains while the guerrillas were trying to take control of the area by intimidation that did not stop at murder. Colors of the Mountain was the English title.
Fewer people were at today's film possibly because they do not wish to see serious foreign film that touch the heart in a way very few American films do. Film makers in other countries are not slaves to the "entertainment" ethos but have the freedom to express themselves in an artistic and serious way. Today's film was The Human Resources Manager, an Israeli film which was actually set mostly in Romania. The HR manager of a large bakery finds himself reluctantly accompanying the body of a Romania employee who was killed in a suicide bombing attack back to Romania where everything that can go wrong goes wrong. The divorced husband is estranged from the punk son. Son insists mama should be buried in grandma's town which is in the far boonies, grandma doesn't want her buried there. The HR guy has many personal troubles as well as accompanying the body -- and he is dogged by a nasty little newspaper reporter. Everyone gets marginally humanized in the course of the film. This is a 2010 movie, for those who wish to trace it for rental or viewing.
The dean of the college who introduced the film said that traveling in the Central Europe with a body to be buried is so grim she wouldn't give us the whole story but her grandmother's body was being smuggled across borders in the trunk of a VW which got stolen and the body totally disappeared. She then talked a little bit about the theatre of the absurd and we understood that indeed much in life is absurd.
People who avoid films, books, whatever that might be a bit uncomfortable are depriving themselves of a depth of experience that could make them stronger and even happier people. By dealing with difficult emotions vicariously through art, especially good, complex art, we are better prepared when we face difficult emotional problems.
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