Friday, May 18, 2012
“That said perhaps the movie reflects in its rawest form what it means to be human: we carry the disjointed memories of our life (often carried in pictorial form) with the slim thread of narrative (or understanding) that barely makes sense of it all. I find the movie more compelling when viewed through this lens but no more satisfying.” Mary Loebig Giles
This thought helps me understand better my difficulty connecting emotionally with the movie Tree of Life. Map-making into our own personal history is disjointed enough and difficult to connect, let alone transfer comprehension to another.
Even when we connect with a similar experience the process of experiencing it and moving past it will be unique. Why does one child survive a harsh upbringing with compassion and generosity and another with rage and even more brutality? Perhaps even from within the same family.
Empathy helps us to share and yet there is still a distinct difference. We draw the maps, we name the local territory, and we highlight the routes taken. Yet we color code with different symbols, danger points, or rest stops.
And the surface pristine map we draw for the world to see may bear no reality to the chasms and ravines underneath silently waiting for the tremor that will split it wide open. Emotional map making needs a light touch and winds of mercy in order to communicate. It requires courage.
The movie focused on one character trying to map one particular stage of his journey with specific micro memories—often out of sequence—and without explanation.
Take one stage of either your life or your character’s, say as a young teenager or new parent or first time driver, and make a visual word map as if you were placing photographs on a sheet of paper. Then connect them with colored pens to reflect routes and the corresponding emotions.
Share: Did one particular color or situation rise to the surface? Did it surprise you?