Invisibility, Some Existentialism, and the Universe
The Question: What is the last movie you saw and how do you feel about representation as an invisible in movies?
Because I'm recovering from a pretty severe concussion, I've been tending to avoid movies both at home and in theaters. However, in a bit of serendipity to the timing of this question, I actually did make my way into a short film this past Saturday. The film was "Dark Matter", the special that just ended at the planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
I live, work, and breathe politics, so every issue in my community, across the country, and around the world feels massive to me, especially living with chronic pain and my own trials with post-concussion syndrome and migraines. But looking up at a giant screen talking about how large the universe is, galaxy by galaxy, I felt infinitesimally small. Not just me, but everyone and everything; I started wondering what the purpose of any of this is if it's all so tiny and going to eventually explode in a supernova (don't start me on climate change right now).
There really wasn't any representation of people in this film, since it was purely about space. But I think that's a perfect metaphor for living with chronic illness- people can't see it, and many folks can walk around either not seen or unable to see others for what they're dealing with. Everyone is in their own bubble of preferences, biases, and experiences, but we're all amalgamated in this particular space at this specific time. And to every single person, different facets of life are either overwhelmingly massive or small to the point of invisibility, with lots of space in between. My brief and blatant opinion on the representation of folks with chronic illness in media is that it "needs improvement", as some sections of my first grade report card claimed to my parents (they were correct, and fortunately have improved).
Film has a variety of purposes- to entertain, to inform, to inspire, but almost always invokes some sort of emotion. Most of what film is able to do is visual, and it's difficult to create a storyline about something you can't see. However, that's no excuse for not trying. With a universe as big as this one, why not try?