Yes, when I originally wrote the title of my last post, Nature, Films, and Devotion, I had intended to separate the three words into their own posting. However, I have mulled the idea of each over in my own head long enough that now the original intent I find to be quite boring. And so I will fulfill my self imposed duty by combing the last of the two–Films and Devotion.
The two films I will write about actually have devotion as an underlying theme, which is how I came upon my introspection in that direction previously. The first film is simply titled, “Emperor.” It is a movie that is currently playing in the theater (more than likely the independent theater, though it does have some big names in its cast). The basis of the storyline centers around the time of Japan’s surrender during World War II, and General (Supreme Leader) MacArthur’s mission to rebuild the war torn country. Though I do not recommend utilizing a film to educate one to facts, this story does present interesting factual occurrences which, upon further research, prove to be quite enlightening.
I was particularly moved by the idea of devotion that was talked about between characters throughout the movie. An American General, under MacArthur, was given the mission to either exonerate or convict the Emperor Hirohito for being party to the strike on Pearl Harbor. During his mission we, the viewers, are given privy information into his love of Japan through flashbacks from his college days and his love affair with a Japanese foreign exchange student. Through these varying vignettes we learn of the idea of devotion which the Japanese people have embedded in their culture. According to the film, the Americans cannot understand this type of commitment to a leader, much less a cause. And we, the viewer, are further solidified in this notion when toward the end of the film Hirohito meets with MacArthur to accept full responsibility for any and all war crimes. Now to keep this post more on the shorter end than the longer, I must leave the details of all that occurred to you to look up on your own. For it is not a ‘black and white’ case and there is much to learn concerning the Emperor, his position, the people, and the significance of his meeting with MacArthur. What I was left with, from the film, was the idea of devotion–and the question, “To what am I devoted?”
The other film which struck a chord with me is a documentary titled, Half the Sky. This film chronicles the various horrors females face around the world, for being born with two X chromosomes, and the people determined to redirect their fate. I confess, this was a difficult movie for me to watch…but then again so was Emperor. Both films have very heavy, and disturbing, realities. Yet both films are threaded with the redeeming qualities brought forth through devotion. In Half the Sky, we learn of women (and men) who are devoting their lives to protect and redirect the human experience for girls who are sold into sex slavery as young as 3 years old, and females who are utilized to keep their family afloat, while being subjected to incestuous circumstances. We learn of people who are dedicated to educating those double XX’s (girls) who long for an education. And in this process we learn of the dangers, not only the girls are living with as result of their birthright, but the danger the ‘helpers’ endure to ensure the possibility of a change in destiny. These ‘saviors’ are devoted. One woman in particular, escaped the life as a sexual slave and has established two homes (plantation type estates), where she rehabilitates these beautiful girls and empowers them to rise above their former affliction. This middle aged woman organizes raids upon brothels, rescuing girls while risking her own life in the process. Hers is a devotion that stirs my soul.
Ok, there is truly no way to tackle this subject without being slightly verbose…and because of that reality, I will anticipate that you, the reader, will gather enough of the information I am hoping to impart without needing me to carry on further. I do hope to glean a greater sense of purpose from the concept of devotion. I ask myself certain questions, “To what length will my devotion endure?” “If I become disenchanted by someone, will I allow my devotion (to them) to cease?” “To what length am I willing to risk my comfort in the effort to assist others?”
These questions are not abstract in nature, they actually translate directly to my children, my husband, my extended family, and my friends. Yes, I would love to be an ambassador for change on a global level. But I must first evaluate if I have what it takes to stay the course with my loved ones. I must transfer my global desires down to a finite and practical level. And for several reasons the two films, Emperor and Half the Sky, help me to keep my focus and strengthen my devotion to those present before me.
And now I ask you, “To what are you devoted?”