Return to the Roots

         Humans always wanted to go back to their roots, find out more about the wild side, the primitive instincts that helped the first humans survive. Of course this did not escape the movie industry. We see movies grasping this idea and making movies that present people with these ideas. People that search for adventure but at the same time try to survive.

         One movie that describes this desire is Into The Wild, by Sean Penn. It was made in 2007.The story is based on the real story of Christopher McCandless or Alexander Supertramp (Emile Hirsch). He graduates form Emory University and gets into a graduate program but instead of studying he prefers to go out of the town leave his car get carried away by a flood and burns every kind of identification that he had. His big dream is to live to Alaska free. He makes it and unfortunately he dies there from starvation. The story is based on real facts.

         This shows that people in modern days seek for freedom, and want to go to simpler ways of living. Modern people are so dependent on having more and more material things, that instead of using them to make their life better they make it their own personal goal to have as many material things as they want. In other words materials have become from a means to a goal. Also our life has become so fast that people do not realize that they waste their life in seeking for more money resources that they entirely forget that we are supposed to live an enjoyable life. By enjoyable I mean to grace and appreciate the simple everyday things that life has to offer.

         In the movie people are so sad and always seek for more ways of making money. That added pressure on the young boy and that is why he snapped and went to live by himself. He got tired of the constant struggle for money and he wanted to prove to people that living life without money or any kind of modern necessities. The death of the character, although he really died, I think has a symbolic meaning too. It shows that nature overcomes everyone at the end. Christopher McCandless tried to go against nature at some point. He did not realize that although he was going closer to the real natural world he was going against the current human nature. Unfortunately humans have become so attached with their cell phones and laptops that lost the ability to live into the wild.

         Another movie that I would like to bring up is the 1990 movie Dances With Wolves, that was directed by Kevin Costner. The theme is a bit different because it focuses on the life that soldiers had during the Civil War in America. If you search more though you can clearly see the theme of materialistic life and a life closer to nature. Lt. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) moves to an outpost during his military service. There he lives by himself and later on meets the Native Americans that were living there. As it is well known Native Americans were closer to nature that the settlers that came here. Lt. John Dunbar gets interested in their way of living. They were so carefree and they did not really care for material things they were cooping with what nature was providing. Their food was from nature, their clothes. Lt. John Dunbar finally followed them and became a member of the clan. At the end more soldiers come to the post and they found him. He gets punished for his choice to live with the Natives and not follow his orders. His own people torture him and at the end he starts a trip to inform people for what was going on.

         So we might have skipped the main subject of the film (Native American extinction). but I believe that this is the deepest meaning of the movie. Again, here we see how a person ends up when trying to go against the current human nature. Lt. John Dunbar joined the Native Americans tribe but he forgot what his real mission was over there. He tried to go against his own natural mission that was to be a soldier. That denial gets punished again. He gets tortured by people that he would call friends before he joined the Native Americans and gets rejected by the army as a foreign object. His friends save him temporarily but you can not go against nature so he takes the decision to leave the village and go inform people for what is going on. Of course we all know what happened.

         So in the two previous movies we saw the constant battle between two sides of human nature. One is go back to the basics and live with simple everyday pleasures. The other one was to follow the stream and just take whatever humanity has to give us. In both occasions nature punished the people that tried to resist to human progress. One was the ultimate punishment of death and the other one was the rejection of the characters society. The decision is up to us now. We either return to our simple life, back to the roots or we continue the human progress. My opinion is a lose-lose situation. If we go back many people will die because we lost our surviving skills. If we keep going forward nature will not stand being abused and it will finally punish us.

Stelios Hadjiloizou

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