Academic resurrections

“The Visitor”
written and directed by Thomas McCarthy

The Easter-Passover spirit has moved me to ponder rejuvenation. Recently I’ve watched two flicks about lifeless academicians overcoming their deadness: “The Visitor” and “Disgrace”. Both are “on the nose” metaphors executed with hugely different skill level. (Why one works much better than the other should be a separate entry). Together with one of my favorites ever - “The Wonder Boys” they belong to this peculiar campus film (is it a genre already?) about a weak eggheads’ struggle to become a mentch.

The Economist in “The Visitor” does not live. He is all shallow and empty pretenses, has no joy, just displays meanness, or carelessness. By the end he has found his own voice and takes a stand.

The Professor in “Disgrace” is a cold blooded manipulative fuck, full of himself with no clue about the other. The unfolding of the film allows him to find humanity embracing the feelings of others in a compassionate way.

The Literature Teacher in “The Wonder Boys” just can’t wake up from the self imposed and degrading wasteful life spin. The finale finds him powerful again.

Each of heros overcomes his spiritual death reaching deep within himself. It is possible when confronting the Outside; either because of a chance meeting (“The Visitor”), personal tragedy (“Disgrace”) or life pressure combined with inspiration from others (“The Wonder Boys”). Each “resurrection” happens as a combination of the inter and the outer.

While religious myths (for their believers - realities) at the core of resurrection place the metaphysical, the will of God, something that acts from Above, the "normal life" stories in the discussed films are driven by a tightly connected dance between the external and the internal. This human level of their metaphorical spin I find truly inspirational in its reality.

Come to think about it, perhaps most film stories with wide and profound audience reach are in fact more or less disguised resurrection metaphors.

If so,

Happy Resurrection Everyone!

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