Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good: This Time With Feeling

Good and Bad

Last night, I saw a screening of a film called Good, the journey of a professor in pre-war Germany from ordinary citizen to SS officer.

I note it here only to reinforce the notion much discussed in this blog that emotional reactions are the basis for intellectual convictions -- and if one doesn't take notice (and responsibility) for the first, one can not answer for the second.

All sound obvious? Take it out of context and apply it to business. Still a commonly held notion?

Yes, But Did It Work?

The film succeeded because it persuasively demonstrated that value and intolerance rose and fell according to the rise and fall of the pride in identity of ordinary citizens.

Strangely, this seemed clear for all the characters except the lead, Halder. The film failed because one had no idea what he felt, and though he behaved in ways that implied conviction, it was impossible to be clear about what he thought.

Jason Isaacs, who spoke after the premier, explained that the cinematic format precluded clear articulation of Halder's feelings. I suggested that it's really more a question of what the director chose -- cinema is a pretty plastic medium.

In any case, any popular political rallying point -- that creates a strong sense of identity and belonging -- persuades just from these causes. Not a surprise? Again, what happens if you apply this principal to other contexts?

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