Friday, December 02, 2005

What does it do to a man?

Originally uploaded by herman71.
Wow. I had yesterday my heaviest IDFA experience. And it was quite unexpected so it hit hard.

Me and a friend of mine went to see Canaan Brumley's documentary on U.S. marines´ training called Ears, Open, Eyeballs, Click. It is like a real-life version of Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket showing the sadism and out-of-proportion shouting and humiliation. It is made in a cinema verité style with no voice overs or preaching.

My friend who has not been to the army whispered to me at some point:"Oh my God." I answered:"Yes, I know. I've spent a year of my life in an institution like that."

When the documentary continued, I started feeling really odd and uncomfortable. I was glad that I was with someone I knew. If I would have been there alone I would not have stayed until the end. The documentary showed how effective the human mind is in pushing uncomfortable or even hurtful memories aside. I realised how much of that I had forgotten.

There is a saying in Finland that military service turns boys into men. As if. It is still an organisation where to a large extent using your brains only makes things worse. It humiliates and turns perfectly normal men into sadist leaders. When I now look back, I see some of those features in myself as well. For no other reason but because you can and there is nothing to stop you.

I found myself wondering questions such as:
- What kind of a welfare state rips a year from a life of all 18-19-year-old men for this?
- What is the necessity for humiliation in military service?
- What is the link between making your bed without wrinkles and succeeding in the battle field?

The film entered my dreams last night.

Ears, Open, Eyeballs, Click was a perfect example of how differently people react to films. After the screening I met a Finnish girl who was also in the cinema. Her first comment was:"Whoa. How boring was that?"

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