Christina/ September 8, 2012/ Culture

So it happened that last week was stamped by some cinematic events which gave me food for thought. In retrospect all movies had things in common: They were about culture. They were about money. They were about power. They were about ‘walking in somebody else’s shoes’ and about understanding.

First of all there was “The pig from Gaza”. What the film is about is best said by Sylvain Estibal the director of the movie. About the confinement of the Palestinian people living in the occupied Gaza strip Estibal said: “Being trapped is something terrible. Psychologically it must be horrible to know that you cannot escape. That is something that’s unconceivable to Europeans.”

The mexican-american moview “Sin Nombre – train of hope“, deals with another type of confinement. The film depicts the hopeless and violent gang life in Mexico embodied by a young man who is trying to save the leftovers of his humanity by saving a young girl from being raped by his ‘gang chief’ on the way to the USA on a goods train by killing the chief. With this act of altruism the guy signs his death sentence and is literally being chased to death from now on. This also represents to me a situation of absolute hopelessness that might be completely unknown to most Europeans – but for our protagonists of the Sunday-evening-film out of the ‘Tatort’-series.

The episode “fat dogs” of the ARD-detective story describes the impraticability of coming home and the reintegration of Federal-Armed-Forces soldiers from Iraq into the German society. A topic that receives from my point of view still too little publicity and public awareness: the subject how war traumata are being reprocessed? Experiences of German soldiers in former Yugoslavia, at the Hindu Kush or in the Iraq.

And not only of German soldiers but also from soldiers in general. What it means to grow up in a family of soldiers where war traumata are being stigmatzed is displayed in “The valley of Elah”. The mere inapprehensible of the movie is that you are watching the father of the murdered soldier being completely incapable of grieving for his son, due to his own unprocessed experiences during the Vietnam War. There is no tear to be seen, only frenetic rage to lay the culprits by the heels. Close to the end, however, the father has to confess to himself that his unemotional behaviour towards his son had its share on the son’s death. A realization that seems to be more intolerable to the father than the son’s death itself.

Four different movies. Four different countries. Four different cultures. And still all of it is tied to each other at some point. There are no winners. It’s a small world – let’s face it. That is not meant as a ‘plea to a guilty conscience’ but a reminder that we sometimes seem to live in a ‘bubble of blessedness’ immune against the occurrences that surround us. Even though we are right in the middle of it.

Further readings:

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