Detachment is a movie about the human with suffering, struggling to split the ego and the real world, as stated at the beginning of the story: “And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world.” Tony Kaye utilizes the combination of the plots and narrative of Henry in front of the lens, demonstrating the desire of humankind to seek a midpoint between the reality and the spirit. This film successfully arrests audience’s attention to contemplate the practical significance and spiritual resonance at the same time.
Regarding the refraction of the social phenomenon, Tony represents and explores the educational problem through setting the background in a public high school full of troubled teens. The intense clash between students and teachers is heart-pounding and causes audiences to re-think the existence questions of the current educational status.
In the form of documentary, interviews towards several teachers and the monolog of Henry are illustrated before the story line, aiming to convey the idea that Henry said: “most of the teachers believed that they could make a difference. And I know how important to have guidance and to have someone help understand the complexities of the world we live in.” But the cruel reality dooms the teachers into a suffocative morass. In details, the business representatives who are corporatizing the educational system threaten the school president, revealing the stress from society imposed on educators. Regarding the fear from parents, a young female teacher Ms. Sarah Madison in the film is scolded vulgarly by a parent whose daughter menaced Sarah that black loafers will rape her. Not to mention the relationship between students and teachers, a middle-aged male teacher with glasses is always ignored by the class no matter how loud he warns. In this sense, through the close-up images of characters’ forlorn look, we can recognize that enthusiastic educators gradually crack under the considerable pressure from the society, parents, and students. Harsh reality erodes the passion and sense of obligation bit by bit.
The teachers’ situation reminds me of a suicide tragedy of some Chinese teachers who cannot get certifications due to years spent teaching and obtains any compensation.in 2000. It is harrowing to find an increasing number of such buskins happening around us. And I realize the significance for our society to pay more attention to the teachers’ group and to rebuild up the faith of educators towards their careers.
Returning to the spiritual resonance, Tony applied dark images, sad music, poetic words, and delicate approaches to describe the gray despair inside characters’ heart, establishing a resonance with audiences that everyone experiences sadness and hopelessness. This sense is stifling as Henry narrates in a room without lights: “have a feeling no time no lingering in my mind, I am honest, I am no longer young, I'm old, tired of his body soul, there are several times, I used up all expression, running from the crowd ran away, just like you had.
When depicting Henry’s experience, Tony skillfully utilizes the dim fragment of Henry’s childhood memories about his suicidal mom who was raped by her father, insane grandfather and helpless himself, as well as furry segments that Henry walks alone at late at night, aimlessly and desperately, to put the story forward. It seems like every time Henry feels relieved; the painful past is like bondage restricting his body and his soul in need for a savior. Worse, he gets utterly hopeless when Meredith, an overweight female student who is insulted by classmates and scolded by her parents due to her art dream, commits suicide in front of him. The flame of hope seems to die out completely at that moment.
After watching this film, I felt like that every individual resembles an ancient castle. We always lose our ways in the gigantic inner maze, cry in the corner where the sun does not shine and lock the heart door wondering and sinking alone. But every time we feel we are corrupted, hollow, and unable to redeem ourselves, the flame of hope is going to rekindle, as the warm and soothing hug between Henry and prostitute Erica at the end of the movie. And I believe this consolation is what Tony desires to deliver
The last interesting thing I want to talk about this film is my comprehension towards the symbolic title “Detachment”. The first understanding is the spiritual state that will not be disturbed by secular emotion, which is the disposition Henry shows when facing external attacks such as students’ ridicule and rudeness. The second interpretation is the social apathy that reveals in the whole movie with the documentary approach: the boy who causes cat’s death by maltreating her, the old male who receives oral sex from a young girl without guilt and the noisy class which drives teachers crazy. The third one is separating ego and the real world, which tend to be demonstrated as pseudo-proposition since although human exist as individual in the world, we would never survive and sustain away from the attachment to the social group.
© 本文版权归作者 CKY