Sunday, July 02, 2006

Community: Sustainable Relationships

Apart from a familial or love interest, many films often highlite the deep forming relationship that form in the midst of a shared mission, shared space, or a shared relationship.

Recent examples of movies where people develop meaningful community because of...

Shared Mission:
  • Dusty (Woody Harrelson) and Lefty (John C. Reilly) in A Prairie Home Companion
  • The Soldiers in Saving Private Ryan (or any war movie)
  • Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption
  • The Fellowship in the Lord of the Rings series

Shared Space:
  • Crew members of United 93 (remember the woman who shared her phone)
  • Pedro and Napoleon in Napoleon Dynamite
  • Jack Black with his music students in School of Rock
  • Harry and Ron in the Harry Potter series
  • Todd and Neil as roommates in Dead Poet's Society
  • Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story

Shared Relationship:
  • Ashley (Amy Adams) and Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) in Junebug
  • Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult (the boy) in About A Boy
  • Sir James Barrie (Johnny Depp) and the boys in Finding Neverland

But coming up with films that show deep sustainable relationships that last on a day-to-day level is challenging. Are there stories that are about not just community being created but movies about people who make decisions based on the community and friendship that they have.

This is very challenging if you exclude familial relationship and romantic relationships. The film The Motorcycle Diaries seems like a good film to mention because the film begins with a deep friendship between Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Alberto Granado (Rodrigo De la Serna). And although the film begins with them having a deep relationship that only gets deeper through the course of the film, the film ends with Guevara and Grandado going there own ways and allowing life to play out independently.

There are many films that show people that form deep, honest, and meaningful relationships. But why is it so hard to come up with a list of films that show that relationships and community like this is sustainable and last beyond the shared mission, the shared space, or the shared relationship?

Click here to see my previous Community: What Does Film Have To Say post.

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Jim Jannotti said...

So, what is there "beyond shared mission, the shared space, or the shared relationship?" It would be difficult to show something like that because you enter into a more metaphysical kind of thing. That's much easier to illustrate with poetry or prose, much more difficult with visuals.

Though it is possible, and I think Grand Canyon is one of those films that succeeds to some extent at it.

Lord of the Rings does too: the book(s) especially, but also the movie. We get into some pretty deep community territory as we follow the progress of the quest. Here is a story that actually explores all of the dimensions you mentioned-- mission, space, and relationship. Plus it goes much deeper, exploring the history of the characters and allowing them to be transformed by the mission, the place, and the relationships. The length of the trilogy helps a lot, revealing character and motivation through long acquaintence. I also think that spacing the movies out over three years helped in this regard; forcing us to re-engage all the major characters again and again as they change, which is a subtle illustration of how community works in life.

It may be that exploring your three dimensions across time is a way of going "beyond" them now that I think of it.

Tommy said...

Simon Birch is one of my favorite films for many reasons, one being the relationship between Simon and his best friend. R.C., what do you think of the film? Have you seen it?

Ando said...

Ok, just wanted to tell you that I've spent the past hour cruising your blog and I am officially a fan. Keep it up. Consider this your ego boost for the week.

Useless Major said...

Look into "My Private Idaho," and "Paper Moon." Very good companion flicks.

Also, it's Harry and RON, not Ralph, friend.