Film Review: A Dream of Flying – Guest Post by An Observer

Or: What happens when a company goes beta

[Editors Note: Today’s guest post comes courtesy of An Observer, who felt that it was more appropriate here than his usual digs. I leave it here for my readers to enjoy while I work on my next post, which concerns how women poison the well for other women when it comes to courtship.]

In the proud tradition of tech companies like Nokia and Blackberry, film industry stalwart Canon is doing everything it can to self-promote, with the exception of developing new products.

Canon is a key player in electronics and consumer products, such as the digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera market, which recently suffered a decline in sales for the first time in years. Criticized for resting on its laurels instead of developing better cameras, Canon has a huge legacy customer base from years of selling 35mm digital cameras and lenses. But its cameras are arguably years behind its competitors. It has one mediocre product in new markets like micro four thirds, and does not compete at all in the booming smartphone industry, which has largely made standalone, entry-level cameras redundant and irrelevant.

Most companies that wish to endure would probably identify a need to change strategies at this point. Instead, Canon USA and Ron Howard recently launched a film festival, showcasing 10 films inspired by user-submitted photographs. Celebrity directors included noted cougar Eva Longoria, and other lesser known industry people minor league celebrities like designer Georgina Chapman, who produced today’s film of interest.

Media is an important conduit for transmitting values, making closer examination of the underlying values worthwhile. All the films appear well made and professionally done, meaning their chosen messages are all the more easily absorbed by a ready audience.

The short film introduces us to Clarissa, a young girl who can fly, sent to an institution to make her “normal.” Punished whenever she transgresses, she runs across a young boy who persuades her to escape with him. During the attempt, she is captured and returned to the institution to live out her childhood.

Years pass and Clarissa has become an adult. She has a job, an apartment and is single. A young man approaches her, the same boy now too grown to adulthood. He asks her to come see the world with him. Stricken with guilt and memories of the institution of her youth, she runs from him to the same institution, now an abandoned building and spends the next fifty years hiding there, as a recluse.

Finally, an old man knocks at the door. It is the same man she knew as a boy, who has now seen the world and asks her to come away with him again. They travel to an amusement park, where they ride a ferris wheel. Despite her protestations, she finds herself flying away with him, finally. The teddy bear is left behind, and here the film ends. There are a number of sub-themes running through the film, but a few key points are worth noting.

1.      Clarissa is a special snowflake, misunderstood by all but one man she chooses to spurn when young.
2.      Her special ability must be kept secret, and means she does not get the associated recognition and attention for it.
3.      She is pursued for years by the same man, and only relents to his attentions in old age, when there are no other options left,
save solitude and death as a lonely spinster.
4.      The man’s responsibility is to pursue, which he does periodically, but with persistence.
5.      Eventually she is unable to resist her dream man’s charms, and is quite literally swept off her feet.

Romance films tend to be solidly blue pill in their relationship portrayal, with this film adhering to the script. Our heroine is consistently shown as a passive victim of circumstances. Presumably abandoned by her parents and institutionalised, her escape attempt is thwarted by hesitance, when she drops her teddy bear.

In adulthood, she is shown as a soft careerist, holding a job and living in an apartment, all markers of independent feminist life. There is no husband, no family life to speak of. Though attractive, she is portrayed as bereft of male interest and attention, totally contradicting contemporary reality.

By the time old age arrives (which she achieves with hair intact, interestingly), the man that pursues her has seen the world, yet only wants to see it with her. As “the world is not enough”, he must have her with him or his experience is incomplete.

As a romance piece, it ticks the usual boxes. Pretty, though misunderstood female lead is pursued by handsome, confident young man whom she chooses to spurn. Never mind, he will be back one day, and he is.

Directed by English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman, she married well known film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2007, at age 31.

At just a few minutes in length, it encapsulates many of the key themes of contemporary blue pill interactions:

1.      The girl is always special
2.      The girl is free to reject the boy at any time
3.      Girls are to get jobs and live in apartments

Side note: there was also the theme of provision, inferred from when Clarissa retreated to live in the abandoned institution building. There is no explanation of how she attained food, clothing, hair care products, or even how she kept a huge building remotely serviceable with no visible income or means of support. Presumably this is by some mystical, magical means that ‘just happens,’ perhaps echoing the role of beta men whose job is to keep civilization going, but are so invisible and low in status they are unseen.

The role of men is also spelled out:

1.      The man must always accept her decisions
2.      The man must be prepared for rejection
3.      The man must be exceptional
4.      The man should retain an idealised notion of who she is, or ‘oneitis’

Whilst very different to such films as Fireproof or Courageous, some of the underlying messages are the same. As such, it represents the toxic underbelly of supplication that beta men, and beta companies, are encouraged to embrace. Boldness and determination is for alphas; normal men that behave as betas will have to wait their turn, as our hero does. In other words, wait your entire life because it will work out in the end; incredibly bad advice when this life is so limited, a conclusion that applies to all, regardless of belief.



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6 responses to “Film Review: A Dream of Flying – Guest Post by An Observer

  1. Edmund McRofling

    “Thwarted by resistance when she drops her teddy bear”? Did you leave something out? You only introduced the teddy bear at the very end, when she abandoned it while leaving with the man. Was it part of the original escape scene in some way you didn’t mention?

    Anthology, sounds like the film was the usual girl crap. Glad you watched it so I don’t have to.

  2. Edmund McRofling

    Oh my suffering Christ, “anthology” was “anyhoo”, before autocorrect.

  3. Something struck me reading the Observer’s description of the role of men according to the film:

    1. The man must always accept her decisions
    2. The man must be prepared for rejection
    3. The man must be exceptional
    4. The man should retain an idealised notion of who she is, or ‘oneitis’

    As a single dude, I obviously worry that it is me that is screwed up, rather than the state of women in our culture.* So I try to turn these around and see if I’m guilty of them.

    #3 struck me in particular, because I am absolutely guilty of it. The girl I marry will be exceptional, or at least she will be by the time I think she’s worth marrying.

    I think it was Donal that wrote In an earlier post that limiting sex to marriage can end up inspiring a sort of male “hypergamy” in that men, having but one long-term card to play, start to value quality over quantity.

    I think that’s totally warranted; I think it is also warranted on the woman’s side. The problem is that our age of plenty has raised the bar for “exceptional” for men.

  4. @ Seriously

    The girl I marry will be exceptional, or at least she will be by the time I think she’s worth marrying.

    Will she? She will be exceptional compared to her peers, yes. But compared to Woman as a concept, as an idea? What most of us seek now in a wife is not what would have been considered exceptional a century ago, but normal.

    I think it was Donal that wrote In an earlier post that limiting sex to marriage can end up inspiring a sort of male “hypergamy” in that men, having but one long-term card to play, start to value quality over quantity.

    Yup, that was me. Men, when forced into monogamy, adopt a pseudo-hypergamous mating behavior.

  5. mdavid444444

    What a great piece. Thanks for posting it Donal. Some of the best writing I’ve seen in 2013.

  6. My bad. As a young girl, she drops the bear during the escape attempt. Kind of like old films where the woman sprains her ankle at a crucial moment. She hesitates and is caught.

    The film struck me as so blue pill. Most people would just think it sweet. But I’m starting to think of media as programming, aka Goebbels statement on lies. ie Repeat them often enough, in a format people accept, and they start to believe them.

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