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July 04, 2013

The East :: The Prayer. The Love

Thought I'd check in during our family vacation to say hello and let you know about an amazing film that we saw last night. It's called The East, directed by Zal Batmanglij and starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, and Ellen Page.

The EastIt's one of the smartest, most inspiring films I've ever seen. A few things that struck me most ...

The protagonist (Sarah) takes on her most challenging work assignment as an FBI agent and prays to God that she find a way to take the challenge without being arrogant or weak. It's an interesting and telling prayer, as the film masterfully illustrates how strength can, in the blink of an eye, transform into arrogance or cowardice. We toss around words like "bold," "brave," and "courage," as though they are colorful gumballs dispensed when we insert a coin into a machine. But do we really know what it means to be strong? Do we really know how to be independent thinkers? Do we really know what is right and wrong in bringing justice and fairness for humans in the world? And once we know, or think we know, is it possible that what is just and fair changes based on ever-changing world circumstances? Are we keeping up with changes? This film did a great job in reminding me that there are fine lines that separate strength, arrogance, pragmatism, and cowardice. These fine lines are what cause conflicts, war, and if we are lucky, eventual love and peace.

As inspired as I was at the end with how the protagonist paved a truly enlightened path to change the world, I was also sad that this path is one she would travel alone, without the one she fell in love with from the extreme "other" world. Her path was not his destiny. Nor was his hers.

And it is in the face of passionate love ... where one chooses to travel one's destiny, even if it means saying goodbye to love, is I think one of the most courageous things to do ... and one of the most painful.


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