Saturday, September 26, 2015


Forgiveness is gold but granting it is unfathomable


This film can be entered in two different ways. Through the obvious door at first bu also through the chimney then, and the chimney is always more interesting because it is the way Father Christmas favors.

The first one is the main character and his true story. There is little to say about that true story. Louis Zamperini is what we call a hero. He managed to go through and survive some absolutely unique and insane situations in which he was made to suffer for the pleasure the torturer was getting out of it, that pleasure which compensates for all the frustrations you can imagine. All torturers are simple people in everyday life but they are deeply frustrated or alienated because they could not do what they wanted to do and some others than themselves have been able to do it. They have to take some vengeance and get even with those who dared do better than they did. A sadist is always a failure who is turning his failure into success by getting even with those who were not failures, with those who had the guts to succeed while he, himself, did not have the brain to even imagine how to succeed.

But this approach of the film is not very interesting. No one admire Jesus because he accepted to suffer for us. We admire him because he managed to forgive his torturers.

The second approach is the distance this film creates with WW2. That was an event that was a long time ago and Louis himself is demonstrating that living in the spirit of the war, in the desire to come even with those whom we fought, in some vengeful way or even in some due payment for the suffering they imposed onto us, is absurd and insane.

The film shows that strength is inside and that strength dictates we forgive them afterwards and we try to stand up to them or in fact very often down to them, even if that costs us our own life because dying would be a victory since we would have forced them to sell their soul and their sanity to the devil and to absolute oblivion, human annihilation. It is this strength that enables someone who is unjustly convicted of a crime he did not commit, or of a crime that was never committed, to be strong enough to survive as long as possible and to submit to the final ordeal in dignity. Look at your executioner in the eyes and dare him to be proud of what he is doing in front of God, a committee of one thousand people from all over the world, or simply his mother and father, sister and brother, and let him have the power to tell his own brother he would do the same to him in a similar situation. Why not his father or his mother?

That’s where the film is strong. The final image of the room of the sergeant who ran away leaving behind a picture he should have cherished of himself as an infant with his father. He was not in such a hurry that he forgot it. He just let it behind because he couldn’t let his father know he would have done the same thing to him if the situation had required it. He knew he was an unworthy son of his own father, that he had betrayed his faith and his hope in him. And that’s the worst part of a defeat.

Apart from that level of empathy, the film is beautifully acted and poignantly set up and directed. You cannot resist some scenes because they are stronger than what you way imagine as the maximum you can decently bear. Louis Zamp’ carried his beam just as well as Jesus carried his cross. We all have a cross to carry and it is by carrying it we can hope to reach some remarkable level. There is no future to those who want to have it easy all along the way. I can only tell the younger people I know and who seem not to realize that their dream is after a long path of hard efforts and stiff suffering that they are confused: their future is in their hands and that will require them to soil them and to harden them and even to scar them a little. Louis Zamp’ shows us that simple truth with the power of an unfailing faith in what strength can bring.


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