Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
As many of you may already know, my all-time goal is to become a Screenwriter, and that part of my motivation for becoming one is the desire to teach people about complicated issues in a manner that’s enjoyable. The only question is, how do I accomplish that latter objective? There are plenty of films out there that have underlying political messages, but because they’re either too didactic, heavy-handed, or simply too melodramatic, their relevance is lost. It’s no small task, striking that balance between entertainment and education. Some artists spend lifetimes seeking that happy medium. For years, I myself went back and forth on what the best way to go about it was, until I sawJames Longley’s Gaza Strip and Rami Loevi’s Close, Closed, Closure, and then I knew for certain. For although they focused on the same subject–the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–and employed a number of similar techniques–voice over, reaction shots, extreme close ups–the films elicited two completely different reactions from me, and left me with highly different impressions, and understandings, of the issue at hand.
For instance, while Gaza Strip, with its tearful interviews and graphic images of demolished homes and mutilated corpses, made me feel appropriately uncomfortable, it didn’t do much more than that. It never asked me to question my support of Israel, never asked me to donate to Palestinian aid organizations. It didn’t, to be quite frank, ask me to do anything. It showed me the horrendous conditions in Gaza, but never gave me the impression I could change them. The film’s overall tone seemed to be morbid acceptance, as if to say, “life here is hell, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” In the end, all that this film’s graphic imagery and morbid message did was make the movie seem less relevant. Yes, I felt depressed while watching it, but as soon as I left the room, I felt much better, and much less interested in the Palestinian cause. If you’re going to manipulate someone’s emotions, you should do it for a reason, and if that reason is to guilt people into supporting the inhabitants of Gaza, make it abundantly clear that that’s what you’re going for. Otherwise, the person you’re manipulating might, like me, forget why they care about the issue at hand.
Loevi, by contrast, presented the conflict in a far more academic light, and challenged the audience to get involved. This, to me, made the picture as a whole more intellectually and emotionally relevant. Not only did the stock footage, interviews with people on every side of the issue, and background information he provided make me feel far more educated on the subject, he also kept me emotionally involved by asking, over and over, “what now?” It’s one thing to simply show someone a horrible event elsewhere in the world, and quite another to show them the event, and then challenge them to change it. This creates discomfort, and is far more likely to lead to action. And as we all know, action, not words, is what is truly needed to bring the bloodshed in Gaza to an end.