Archive for February, 2005

Once Upon a Time … in Revolution 0

The axiom of Huxley, “the great end of life is not knowledge, but action,” is exactly conformable with what Miranda says below. In human history, anywhere and anytime, (ordinary) people have been exploited under the name of the greatest achievement of the hero. Unfortunately, however, the glory of the success has been occupied by the dictators or powerholders all the time. Think of Alexander. Everybody remembers him as “the greatest emperor in the world.” But he also was the self-righteous dictator who willingly sacrifice their people in order to complete his conquest toward the East. Or this can be adapted to anyone next to you, who has the absolute power!

A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows the other.

- Mao Tse Tung

The people who read books go to the people who can’t read books and say “We have to have a change.” So the poor people make the change. Then the people that read the books sit around big tables and talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat. But what has happened to the poor people? They’re dead! That’s your revolution. Shh… So, please, don’t tell me about revolutions. And what happens afterwards? The same fucking thing starts all over again.

- Juan Miranda

Then what about the revolution? Is it indispensable? Just like that the true democracy might not exist, I do not believe that there might be the real revolution. As clearly described from Mao’s exerption in the first scene of the movie, the revolution is the feud or the conflict between two classes; the upper and the lower. Also clearly shown in his definition, its purpose is to defeat one class in order for the other class to usurp the reigns of government. Therefore, the revolution is the process of begetting new power group. There can never be any changes except for the advent of new leader. Just as Freire worried about in “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, in this circumstance, the oppressed reproduce the oppressor or the oppressed. In other words, history circulate itself on and on just like a wheel does.

In Leone’s film, therefore, it is difficult to expect the success of revolution. Why is that? As inferred from Juan’s lines above, I believe that Leone purposely did not show the success or the failure of the revolution, because it could instigate or discourage the audience before they give it a try. This makes this film more powerful, meaningful, and convincing. I mean that the assertion of Leone is very far from the political propaganda, which would shout at people to wake up and prepare for the fight. Therefore, the liberty of the illiterate, the oppressed, or the poor was not what he intended to mention in this film. Instead, I believe that Leone tried to provide people with an opportunity to reflect themselves, revolutionists who struggle to change themselves, the society, or the world.