Saturday, October 6, 2007
Things that make me sad . . .
Last night, Lilya 4-ever was on television. (Bless you, SBS!) If any of you have seen it, you will understand how the movie made me feel - it is unremittingly tragic and heartbreaking, and it is made worse by the fact that you just KNOW that this actually happens to a LOT of women in real life, even in the countries that we live in.
It also made me sad for a couple of other reasons. For this terrible trade to happen, it must make a profit, which means that there must be enough men out there keen to be clients, which means that there are actually a lot of professional, well-paid men into this kind of thing (as opposed to the mental stereotype of the slimy degenerate). I wonder just how many men that we meet in everyday life support this industry. God, I just hate thinking about it.
The other thing that bothers me is that after watching the poverty in which Lilya lives, at one point she walks into a cosmetics store at the airport, and it hit me straight away just how RICH and wealthy the shop and the products looked. I blinked, looked at them again, and realised that it would not be unusual for me to walk into a shop like that in everyday life and take for granted the fact that I could probably buy any product there if I REALLY wanted to. (Just not all of them, at once.)
I look around my house today and see how many wonderful possessions I own. Even though I have been working for years and have paid for them myself, if it weren't for the accident of my birthplace (for Australia really is another rich, western nation), I would not have all of this. We are not wealthy by a long shot, but we are certainly comfortable.
The main theme that floored me was how ready people in the movie were to treat their children like possessions. Perhaps at some point their parents wanted them, but during the movie the two main characters are both abandoned by their self-centred (but poverty-stricken and alcoholic) parents, abused and left to fend for themselves. The adults in the movie don't look after them, but either treat them either as nuisances and pests to be deplored, as punching bags, or as objects to be manipulated and exploited for profit. There was simply nobody there for these kids.
I wanted to see hope for the main characters, but in the end their only hope was to escape from this life. To me, this seems to be an extreme option, and I would like to think that there were alternatives for them, people who could and would help at least a little, or other ways of getting out. To me, suicide is not an acceptable way out. Many people feel at some point in their lives that it is the way to go for them and there are unfathomable numbers who go down that path, but I believe that it is not the only way. The movie made it seem like it was, which probably saddened and angered me more than anything else.
Still, I thought it was an excellent movie. However, I could not recommend seeing it if you are feeling down, vulnerable or have had a bad day.