1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Counter-intuitive Films

Some films and their possible application to the spirit and vision of our school. In roughly alphabetical order.

Signs (2002). A fascinating meditation on how life's meaning unfolds through time, people, events, and - sigh - extraterrestrials. Mel Gibson plays Graham Hess who has lost faith in God and everything else after his wife's death. With the appearance of "crop circles" on his property, he seeks rational, pragmatic answers but these answers are ultimately unreasonable.

Though he fights it, Graham ultimately takes his dying wife's counsel to "see." Thus he connects the seemingly random events of his son's asthma, his daughter's obsession with "dirty" and "contaminated" water, and his younger brother's short-lived baseball career. Her death mysteriously leads to their living.

Isn't this the point of education: to help us see? Scanning high school graduation requirements, one may wonder what the point of all these disconnected courses mean. Helping students to sort out the important from the non-essential will be part of our critical role. Others may not be clear on what the point of what has been traditionally called a "liberal arts education" is, but we have the opportunity to show students that reality is coherent. Perhaps "show" is not the right word. How about provide them with a way of judging reality and their own experience?

The Terminator (1984). No, I'm not joking. This is a significant quotation:
Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn): "John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn't know why at the time. It was very old - torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you; I always have."

In the context of a new school, I take it to mean: We, like Kyle Reese, are going into the past for a kind of beauty that fascinates us. Yet that beauty is also something contemporaneous (not dead). Through out students we help perpetuate something more, something greater than we possess in the shattered ruins of our post-modern present. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088247/

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