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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Roger Ebert Scores! 
23rd-Aug-2005 07:48 pm
Hat tip to Joanna Ravenclaw, who discovered this gem from Roger Ebert (yes, the film critic, and yes, I still disagree with him on many issues BUT NOT HERE):

What I miss in your film is any sense of hope. Sometimes it is all that keeps us going. The message of futility and despair in "Chaos" is unrelieved, and while I do not require a "happy ending," I do appreciate some kind of catharsis. As the Greeks understood tragedy, it exists not to bury us in death and dismay, but to help us to deal with it, to accept it as a part of life, to learn about our own humanity from it. That is why the Greek tragedies were poems: The language ennobled the material.

Animals do not know they are going to die, and require no way to deal with that implacable fact. Humans, who know we will die, have been given the consolations of art, myth, hope, science, religion, philosophy, and even denial, even movies, to help us reconcile with that final fact. What I object to most of all in "Chaos" is not the sadism, the brutality, the torture, the nihilism, but the absence of any alternative to them. If the world has indeed become as evil as you think, then we need the redemptive power of artists, poets, philosophers and theologians more than ever.

Your answer, that the world is evil and therefore it is your responsibility to reflect it, is no answer at all, but a surrender.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is insight. Apply it in your own critiques of film and art.
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