Film versus Reality

How much are the movies we see a reflection of the real world? Even children will tell you that a film isn’t like real life, though I suspect they only half believe the statement. I only half believe it myself. If films were completely irrelavent we would never watch them. As it is, we do watch a lot of films; I suspect we identify with something in them. Even as films condense people’s lives into something less than 2 hours, and even as many things in films are physically impossible in this universe, they still say something about the human mind. Aesop’s fables give insights into human psychology, even as they contain talking animals and very one dimensional characters. The same can be said for Animal Farm or Wind in the Willows. Mythology works because its archetypes are part of the human psyche. Film and literature work by metaphor; metaphors portray ideas, and ideas can be accurate, misleading, or just plain erroneous.

If you’re looking to films for realistic depiction of violence you’re fooling yourself. Real violence is ugly and something most people would find repulsive. If you are looking for accurate depictions of martial arts your expectations might be met by some films. But films work on artistry, poetic licence drama and rely on many other factors to be entertaining or informative. It’s the audience’s connection with a character that brings an audience in. It is possible for a fight scene to be impressive on its own merits, but the protagonist overcoming adversary is what makes a film work. A sporting match seems better if our favourite team is playing; an award ceremony is more significant if we know (or at least support) the winner; a news story is more poignant if the individuals involved are known to us; the climax of a film is more significant if we have seen the character develop in the events that led up to the end. The human story is the point, even if the human we watch lives in a world completely removed from our own.

More than a few people take up martial arts because they have been inspired by a film or two. That’s fine. They were possible inspired for the right reasons, even as they don’t realise it. The martial arts they witness may or may not have been realistic; they may have been no more believable than the events of the last marvel superhero film. But like the superhero the film is about achievement, triumph over opposition, personal or otherwise. If you want to get yourself into good form and achieve the occasional sense of triumph, by all means take up some martial arts. Only realize that, unlike some films, you won’t be triumphing at somebody else’s expense.

For martial arts have a look at the Taekwondo World, Sydney.


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