Friday, March 20, 2009

Lions for Lambs

There are some movies that connect to you at a personal level, even if the movie had been a box office blunder and forgotten in a critic’s trash pile. Still sometimes, one finds these few movies that connect with a select few, spread across the moviegoers fraternity. “Lions for Lambs” was one such flick I saw a year back.

This is an intertwined story about a Senator, a journalist, two soldiers, a college professor and a student. Each playing their roles in the social fabric that results in angst, frustration and the underlying helplessness, as well as indifference. For more detailed synopsis read here

Though the story is mostly about the War in Afghanistan, the politics behind it etc etc. But my interpretation of the movie is quite personal. The political cunning of the senator(Tom Cruise), the journalistic conscience of Meryll Streep's role, the concern of the professor(Robert redford), the indifference of the student, and the sacrifice of two soldiers amidst this is all is but the reality of many societies.

The stark resemblence it bears to many elements of the Tibetan exile social fabric is also obvious and many might have even noticed it. But I decided to write about it.

Personally, the character of the indifferent student, who suddenly stops attending any of his classes, was the closest to my heart. Partly because I had gone through something similar and partly because it was an uncanny semblance to how many youths who could have made a difference slowly drift away into indifference.

The conversation that follows between the professor (played by Robert Redford) and the student very lucidly brings out the moral dilemma every person faces when he desires to be an instrument of change. The frustration, the anger and the disgust at the nature of modern politics and the character of a modern politician is quite common among youths of today. Especially in the Tibetan society it is now not uncommon to find many young people who are frustrated at the way things are going and the way things are at present. Obviously I belong to this same herd.

Further, the character of the two soldiers in the movie moved me the most. These are two young people, filled not only with the angst of the above character (in the earlier paragraph), but also with the desire to do something about it and not just drift towards indifference. They then decide to join the army and become an instrument of change. This later leads to their lives being lost without achieving any purpose.

This in many ways conveys, how thin is the line between becoming an instrument of change or drifting towards just becoming one another tool in the expansion of the current political and social strata.

One can even compare their story with those of many in Tibet, who die almost every year and many every day in the darkness of Chinese prisons. Their efforts, flamed with the conscience of not standing behind when their brothers shout in exile, lead them to actions of immense courage and solidarity. And yet, knowing that such actions lead to the ruin of their complete life, troubles me to my hearts core.

What is most disturbing for me to observe, is the fact that even though there are not many who are losing their lives in exile while trying to become an instrument of change? But there are certainly many, who are misguided and misled towards believing in things that might not eventually be right.

This brings me to the character of the Senator played by Tom Cruise. Cunning, playful with words and extremely ambitious politician who wants to become the president of the U.S. In his efforts in manipulating and using Meryll Streep( the journalist) to accomplish his political ends, I see the perpetual efforts by the political herdsmen in exile, to form public opinion, in some cases manipulate it by using the name of the Dalai Lama to achieve there own political ambitions. Of course I won't be getting into name listing them here. But it grieves me to an extent that the very people in whose hands the fate and the future of the exile Tibetans as well as those who are in Tibet lies, are playing unscrupulous strangling games for their own petty political ends.

While despite Meryll streep's character's resistance in giving her words the meaning which the senator (tom cruise) wants to imply, her work somehow ends doing exactly that. And she loses all control over things otherwise and later vanishes in the story. This is again indicative of many an efforts by someone here and there in our society, that has so far failed to culminate in fruitful practical results, and with time, these efforts lose their shine and fade into obscurity.

The impending feeling that surfaces at the helm of my solitary and in many ways obscure act of writing blogs about all these things, Is in some way very much familiar to the sheer helplessness one feels, seeing the state of thing and being unable to do anything about it.

I might be a cynic, even a pessimist, but surely "Lions for Lambs" is prettty much a phrase very true to the story of the Tibetan struggle in exile.