Tom Hulce as Mozart in the 1984 movie Amadeus by Milos Forman
I’m spending this morning in bed, watching one of my favorite movies – Amadeus (1984), trying to escape the heat wave as much as I can. Lately I’ve noticed that most of my favorite movies are about creative people or about the creative process. Amadeus is so much about the flow of Mozart’s creativity and mojo. The Commitments (1991) is a tale of the commitment to a creative project and its various phases of passion, hard work, focus, ambition and the battle between the primitive and natural drive of the soul to have a voice and the pride of the ego to be even louder. Little Women (1994) is about a young woman’s love for writing and her insecurities about how to use her creativity since she’s a woman in a society and time which aren’t really interested in what a young woman has to say.
My favorite actress Winona Ryder as the talented writer Jo March in Little Women (1994)
One of my favorite TV series, Canadian produced Anne of Green Gables (1986) is dealing with a similar theme; a young and creative female writer with too much imagination and passion for her own good in a time where there’s no room for such a female personality type (only as the “crazy, hot tempered spinster” lady type). Even Inception (2010) is mostly about the creative process of planning, thinking and mentally constructing the “realistic” dream worlds like layers upon layers of dreams within dreams. There’s so much focus on the richness of the imagination and the power of creation.
Leonardo DiCaprio and the complexities of the super advanced worlds of Inception (2010), created by human minds using intelligence, logic, creativity, imagination and philosophy in a powerful way
The Game (1997) – killing the ego to let the id breathe using creativity to manipulate the process
One of my all time favorite movies – The Game (1997) directed by David Fincher, might look like an ordinary psychological thriller at a first glance, but if we take a closer look, we can see that the theme goes deeper. It’s a journey through the stagnation and awakening of a mind. It’s about acknowledging the creativity of life itself – a reminder that we are the creator of our own lives, we are not the result (or victims) of what life is creating for us. We have to use our creativity, imagination and consciousness in every little decision, or we’ll be suffocated by life’s endless ruts, cycles and culs-de-sac.
If we surrender to a stagnated life we end up just as stagnated in our hearts and minds – and it’s only through our creativity and the primitive and natural instincts that we can break free and feel reborn (by killing the ego to let the id breathe), in order for us to appriciate who we really are and what we have. I love how Fincher is using the texture of sound design to illustrate the process – in the echoes of the metallic noises in the kitchen scene where the main character is spending his birthday alone in a cold and heartless house, decorated appropriate to his wealth and status but is without personality or warmth, to the loud and intrusive music of Jefferson Airplane in the scene where his home has been invaded and vandalized, as something threatening but I imagine that he used to listen to that kind of music as a young man before he became all ‘cold and dead’ inside, so it’s also liberating and nostalgic – a reminder of a time where he was enjoying his life instead of feeling like he owns it and being owned by it at the same time. When we have become ‘comfortably numb’ and lost touch with our true nature and the only creativity we use in our lives comes in a pretty box or with a price tag, then we feel threatened by that natural and powerful creativity – because it destroys the illusion of the comfort and makes us FEEL and become un-numbed. It is easier to look away than to embrace it. Because our natural creativity requires raising uncomfortable questions, making hard decisions, letting go of things we are used to, being the leader of our own lives instead of being part of the massive herd of ‘sheeple’.
Nazi ‘sheeple’ without their own creative juices flowing, following the creative visions of a leader with really bad ideas about most things – an extreme example of the danger of being ‘comfortably numb’ and uncreative
Creativity is so much more than the act of creating a piece of art, music, a dance or writing a story. It is the very foundation of life itself. It is in everything. As long as we are brave enough to withstand the comfort of going with the mainstream flow of ready made lifestyles and pre-made ideas and visions which are for sale and can be consumed through our TV screens, at the mall or in the magazines on our coffee tables.
They Live (1988)