Category Archives: Cinema

The wizard of Uz

When Dorothy and the gang of metal, straw and fur reach the great Wizard of Oz – he has the simplest solutions to their problems.

Scarecrow wants a brain – boom, you have it, but here’s a diploma.

Cowardly Lion wishes for courage – boom! Here’s a medal for bravery.

Tinman pleads for a heart – boom! A medallion with a ticking heart.

For every ‘I wish I were’ – expression we just need a tap on the shoulder: ‘You can!’

My grandmother suffered from multicellular sclerosis. One day she stopped spelling rightly. Several months later she couldn’t recognise the letters. There were two choices – to let go or not to let go.

Oblivious of what exactly was going on, what her abilities were at the moment and what the doctors said, I suggested we played games with her. We started with small quizzes, through hangman, to trying to write more complicated words. I didn’t know the limit, so I was dispersing courage generously onto her. It didn’t all turn out brilliantly and it wasn’t a story with a happy ending.

Later, I understood it is not the wizard of Oz – the fellow who would occasionally praise us, encourage us and inject us with inspirational ‘can do’ stories. It is the Wizard of Uz – the starting point.

The inner-dialogue which connects Uz to ourselves. A connection which I believe ‘digital world’ weakens considerably. We are now seemingly connected to all the rest of the world; we have thousands of real friends and always somebody willing to listen, comment, like, share and re-tweet.

In the past months, I’ve been researching whether there is a way to better connect to myself, shout down the unnecessary, intrusive voices and opinions and turn to myself with trust. Getting ready to listen to myself turned out to be really hard, as I have lost my own voice. With my eyes closed, I could only hear expectations and opinions of others. But one of those voices actually managed to be of help and present to my attention the option of non-religious self-discovery practice, called Vipassana.

Due to reasons outside my scope, I wouldn’t be attending Vipassana in 2013. But I successfully provide myself with what I’d like to call ‘A digital Vipassana’. This encompasses the deletion of tools like Whatsapp, Viber and Facebook as primary sources of confusion at this very moment. Conversations about consumers’ overload of choices are endless – have you noticed there’s no such thing as ‘pause’ or ‘offline’ in Whatsapp? How about the heart-breaking goodbye message of Facebook “Leo, Kate and Joseph would miss you”…?

Yes, I should feel very guilty for ‘leaving’ all my friends from The Public Laundry.

Now I am living the old kind of life – sending postcards and letters, talking to people on the bus, actually opening my mouth to ask for directions and sometimes I even find myself playing with the sand or sitting on a bench, doing nothing.

My brave prediction is that 20 years from now (if not less), there’d be workshops for ‘Face-to-face communication’ where you would become certified if you’ve managed to talk to 10 other people for a month. Of course, some would question the face-to-face bit.

“Nah, they probably mean Facebook-to-Facebook here.”

Face-to-face is already starting to become vintage. Let alone you-to-you communication. It’s ominous.

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”…

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There are people who live by helping others. Not for money, not because of their religious instructions, not for society’s vanity, but for pure self satisfaction.

What does it take?

*Vast goodness capacity/resource

*The inspiring skills

*The mental powers

*The unconventional thinking

So I have been looking for the right term to name this occurrence for quite some time.

And I recalled Amelie who comes across a box of a little boy hidden at her place. Her immediate thought is to take that step and to make the difference. To research, to act, to find this supposedly middle-aged man and give him back his childhood. When she finds him, she rings the phone booth he is next to. He finds the box in the booth and tears up. He: the young, fragile, dreamy boy in a body of a mature man then goes to the nearby bar and tries to reach out to Amelie. She stays shy. She needs nothing but his smile.

We tend to construe goodness as a favour to the world, while the only people it favours is us.

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Ameliesm.

I want to ‘profess’ Ameliesm with both vigour and patience. But then every person has their own Ameliesm to follow. Some would become therapists; others would turn a blind eye to social problems but would be devoted parents…

My Ameliesm bubble is social advertising. Not plaintive advertising. Not drowning in a sea of schmaltz today and tomorrow have obliterated everything from our memory. Memorable campaigns that make us turn the page.

Social advertising to me is not only art, but art that helps. Strategic art. Not making Person A buy product F because they would become more appealing. (Only for 5.99 of course)

What made me tick? Attending Cannes Lions 2012.

I truly enjoyed the virtuosity of the BBH’s Three Pigs advert , the simplicity of Coca Cola’s print advert (Ogilvy, China) and the crafty blast of JWT’s China Maxam ad.

But there was an extra something for the Publicis  Netherlands ALS campaign , the Down’s syndrome advert (S&S Italy) , the Israel/Palestine blood relations (S&S) ….

And that step, that extra something is the dream and the comfort that I eventually found my little Ameliesm spot.

Leaving you with the first social advert I fell in love with.

Death to death penalty

Amelism