What is cinema for?
It is recognized that you have the funniest sense of fun.
Cinema is the most prestigious cultural activity in the modern world.
It is for us what theater was in the age of Shakespeare,
or painting was in the days of Leonardo DaVinci.
电影这一艺术形式 影响空前 资金投入极大
The art form with the biggest impact, the largest budgets,
and the most widespread audiences.
我们都会同意 电影有一种惊人的魔力 能影响我们的情绪
Collectively, we recognize that film has an astonishing power to induce emotion.
But it would sound weird to stop and ask what film was really for,
what purpose it serves in our societies,
and why we spent so much time in its presence.
We don’t generally think of films are serving any very strenuous or serious cause.
We ask for a lot of nice but not terribly lasting things of films,
to while away the hours of a long flight,
to keep the family together on the sofa,
to give us a bit of a thrill.
This is a great loss for us and for cinema itself.
We should try to pin down more accurately what films actually do for us,
then make sure we’re reliably making and finding our way to see the best,
that is, the most useful kinds of things.
We would ideally accept that film, like all the other art forms,
best reveals its power, when we conceive of it as a kind of therapy.
Let’s consider five key problems and how films can help us with them.
1. We take our troubles too seriously
We’re understandably prone to self-pity.
We get ground down and frustrated by the problems life throws at us,
and we tend to react by getting ever more stern and serious.
Certain films can beautifully address this natural tendency,
when they show us people not too different from ourselves, in difficult situations,
except very much unlike us.
These films play our pains for laughs.
They seek the absurd side,
the exact things that we normally greet with excessive seriousness.
At their best, there’s nothing trivial about these comedies at all.
They take on the momentous task
of sweetly etching us towards being slightly nicer people to live around.
You have 3 seconds to get back to your seat
Oh… you can’t get anywhere in 3 seconds
Well, you’ve gotta try.
You’re setting me up through a wall already
Whatever you say, Stove
Stove, what a kind of name is that!
2. We’re not careful enough
Sometimes in life, an action that seems quite small,
goes on to have enormous consequences.
比如 你撒了一个小小的谎 你偷了一点东西
You tell a little lie. You steal a tiny bit.
You’re a bit dishonest with someone.
有那么一回 你忘了分寸 做得有点过火
You get a bit lustful and carried away just once,
and then from this, catastrophe ensues.
Films can help us by speeding up time, and showing us in a matter of hours,
fearsome result of what we might originally thought of as small failings.
Film can push the consequences to the maximum.
By witnessing horror and disaster
it can make us want to be the kind of person,
who is a touch more forthright, and little more honest and moral,
readier to face an unpleasant moment now and (thereby) head off a distant disaster.
We leave the cinema, less inclined to be self-righteous about the failings of others
scared for ourselves and more respectful towards things we hold dear.
3. Ordinary life seems too boring
It might sound odd,
but it’s usually very healthy and helpful,
值得被欣赏 被敬重 有迷人之处的话 是十分健康有益的
to feel that one’s life is a bit special, deserving of admiration and respect, a little glamorous.
But very often the opposite is the case.
Glamour lies elsewhere, in the lives of the famous in swankier parts of town,
in activities and jobs far removed from our own.
Film has an enormous power to glamorize.
It can put in front of our eyes delightful images, many meters in size,
shot an extraordinary colors, vivid and immediate.
Because so many films glamorize the wrong things,
we used to thinking that an element of alienation and corruption is a generic,
rather than incidental danger of cinema.
But in fact, film is well able to show us the less obvious,
but real charms of everyday life.
Whereas the worst sort of films eject us back into our lives,
full of longing and disenchantment,
the best ones leave us ready to re-engage with circumstances,
with which we had unfairly grown bored.
Cinema can help us love and appreciate what we already have.
4. We find it difficult to relate
It’s not entirely our own fault.
The media is to blame for much of it.
Because it tells us about categories of people we want nothing to do with,
哪些地方是可怕的 野蛮的 从古至今压抑至极的
places that seem frightening, bizarre, unremittingly depressing.
We going to think we’re not at all interested in people in Iran or Venezuela.
我们所谓的清醒 不过种族歧视 自以为是和彻头彻尾的冷漠罢了
Our disenchantment make it expressed as racism, arrogance, or just plain coldness.
Ultimately, what we suffer from is a denial of our common humanity.
Cinema can perfectly compensated for this withdrawal of emotional energy,
by showing us the appeal of people far away,
we’d otherwise be completely uninterested in.
With the highest artistry,
we’re reminded of an obvious but so easily forgotten fact.
Our membership of the family of humanity.
5. Excessive timidity
We’ve gone so far down the track of teaching ourselves
about the importance of gentleness and compromise.
不知不觉中 许多人变得缺乏勇气 逐渐失去主见
Many of us have unwittingly develop problems around courage and self-assertion.
Decent people have learned so well to suppress their own appetite for a fight,
their own desire for victory.
But in a world where conflict is unavoidable,
good people sometimes need to strengthen their willingness to face down opposition,
not always to compromise and play it safe,
而应敢于冒险 迎难而上 享受胜利
but to take risks, to get out and fight, to relish victory,
and to be a bit more ruthless in the service of noble and deeply important ends.
– 但我们必须游行示威 – 是的！
– But we must march. – Yes!
– 我们必须站起来 – 是的！
– We must stand up. – Yes!
– 为了信念 我们必须进行大规模示威 – 是的！
– We must make a massive demonstration of our moral certainty. – Yes!
Sometimes, it’s not enough just to be right.
You also need to win so some of us might well benefit from seeing films,
that tell tales of heroism to follow someone who has to navigate the world,
kill a dragon, outwit some baddies.
The film shouldn’t ideally leave us just in awe at the daring of another person.
It should do that for most valuable thing.
Educate us by example,
so that we too become just a little more heroic and brave where we need to be.
Cinema, as we currently know it,
is not a million miles away from doing wonderful things.
But in order to help with the real business of living,
we need this hugely compelling and powerful art form
to set out in a more determined and systematic way
to offer us the help we really need.
The way we categorize films should ideally get a little bit more subtle.
Rather than say something was merely a thriller or comedy,
we’d put the accent on what these genres might achieve for their audiences.
Instead of suggesting that one needs to be above a particular age to watch a film,
the government classification board would see its primary task is
that of helping a film to reach the audience it could best help.
Thus a film might be rated A,
meaning that it was regarded as being particularly good at getting us to
address and cope with anxiety.
Or it could have an MC rating,
meaning that it was of benefit to those experiencing marital conflict.
Films can do so much for us.
They better direct our feelings of sympathy.
They offer comfort for our unmanageable fears.
They correct an unworkable sense of what is normal.
They edge us towards good conduct.
They caution, and arm us against our folly and vices.
作为社会整体 我们应该做好准备 不再仅仅视它们为消遣
We should, as society, be ready to see them as more than just entertainment.
最理想的情况下 它们是生活的导向 是应用哲学的片段
They are, at their best, guides to life and pieces of spectacular applied philosophy.