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First blog entry and i realised I’m not starting with a favourite film, or a particularly strong film – but I wanted to stick with the theme of Story for at least my first post.

M.Night Shyamalan‘s “The Village” isn’t even in my Collection (though I’m thinking I shall use my birthday voucher to rectify that….Going to Amazon Now!)

So bear with me, I saw it once, and that was some time ago at the time of its cinematic release.

But you know what, it stayed with me. Its message of story, fear, love and primary colours has stuck. I imagine a lot has been written about the “twist” and what some might perceive as the betrayal of the director as storyteller.

But that really didn’t bother me – mainly because I go to the theatre, the cinema, the library to in fact be lied to. To suspend, just for a moment, my disbelief. To imagine myself in whatever world I am immersing myself in. To engage in that Catharsis. And without utterly immersing yourself in the story and experiencing real empathy, you can’t achieve that catharsis. I believe that Catharsis, that release of emotion that might otherwise be trapped inside because not all are able or willing to release it toward the real source of our grief/joy/obsession/love/loss, I believe it is essential for all of us. I know some will disagree – good for you!

And back to The Village – what struck me most about it, and what made it stick with me and continue to rattle around in my head, is this – that the story of the monsters, told to the people was one of the essential ingredients to binding the “clean slate” community together. It was the fact that Story in and of itself was almost the foundation of the community. Yes it was in some respects a negative story in the use of fear as one of the driving factors, and I’m not entirely sure I liked that – but that’s a reflection of reality, fear drives so many of us – whether we’re aware of it or not. Fear of the “other”, fear of ourselves, fear of loss – and the biggest fear of all, the fear of disappointing the ones you love – that kind of fear is both powerful, and often difficult to identify you are experiencing it.

The other aspect which has stuck with me through the years (oh yes apart from the amazing performances all around – too many stand outs to mention) is the sense of community that the “elders” created. In seeking to essentially run away from a world of violence they created one that still suffered from a violent threat from without, yet somehow on the whole was not destroying itself from within. And there’s a small part of me that almost wants to join them in their mad little village, where everyone knows each other, where everyone contributes, where they live dependent on one another – it just feels like the kind of community I wouldn’t mind living in. And not just because Sigourney Weaver is there (although that would be a pretty big motivation for me – she is definitely one of my acting heroes). The villagers genuinely care for one another, well that’s the feeling I remember anyway.  And essentially, if you’re not coming away from a story (Movie, play, TV show, Book, verbal re-telling) with a sense of feeling and a sense of having become closer to the teller, characters and fellow experiencers (think I just made up a word…) well, there’s definitely been a failure in communication somewhere.

Get out there and discover a story, discover a community, just….discover.

Hope this first post has made you think (or re-think) and maybe even feel something. Thanks for listening.

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