‘Captain Fantastic’ and the cursed mountain

The main fault is Rousseau, who one day said “man is born good and society corrupts him.” It is the so-called myth of the good savage, of extraordinary success in the conception of the world in the last two hundred years, as an autoimmune response to progress demographic, technological and material of the thermo-industrial era. The seed came from before, from the contact of the sophisticated continental societies with indigenous peoples discovered during the long colonial process. Above all, by the so-called first contact societies, in remote parts of the jungles peoples who had never seen a white man before and therefore did not distrust his intentions for the most part. At that time, their naivety was confused – fruit of the absence of conflicts in the dispute over territories that they were isolated – with plain and simple kindness.

To illustrate it in a way that is understandable, seeing the smiling inhabitants of Polynesia, their absence of war technologies and the generous abundance and beauty of the environment they inhabited, it was easy to take them for angelic inhabitants of paradise and overlook the detail that of Every now and then a girl was thrown into a volcano to keep the weather nice.

Frame from ‘Captain Fantastic’, by Matt Ross

eOne Pictures

The cultural revolution of the sixties, especially in the United States, a country so large depopulated that one can dream of living in completely isolated communities in the middle of the natural environment, gave life again to this myth that civilization corrupts and nature redeems. .

The United States is such a large and unpopulated country that it is plausible to dream of an isolated life surrounded by nature

Capitán fantastic, by Matt Ross and starring Viggo Mortensen, recently told us almost a cliché of this type: a hippy father decides to flee from capitalism and perverse cities to raise his children in the wild, teaching them, on the one hand, skills basic to survive in the middle, and on the other, progressive ideology in sophisticated readings of anti-capitalist criticism: as a detail, instead of Christmas they celebrate annually the day of Noam Chomsky. A hippy ideal of a good and virtuous life.

Poster de 'Captain Fantastic', de Matt Ross

Poster de ‘Captain Fantastic’, de Matt Ross

eOne Pictures

On the parental responsibility that this decision implies, which is like when some parents decide that their children grow up without a TV, without a video game console or without a mobile phone to protect them from the evils of the world and thus condemn them to be potential victims of bullying in the institute, we will not say more to avoid spoiling. Watch the movie.

But I’m going to do a little spoiler for another movie, The forest, from Shyamalan, because it reactivates the founding myth of the United States, you know, that of European Puritans who cross the ocean fleeing religious persecution and accelerated European progress in the hope of founding pure communities of virtue and observance of the faith, suspended in time. Shyamalan’s film investigates that myth, updating it and unraveling the vicious substrate of its very foundation, based on lies and fear (that’s it, that was the spoiler).

Bryce Dallas Howard and William Hurt in 'The Forest', by M. Night Shyamalan

Bryce Dallas Howard and William Hurt in ‘The Forest’, by M. Night Shyamalan

Touchstone Pictures / Buena Vista Pictures

We can add titles on this matter, but with these two we have enough because the question comes alone: ​​How is it possible that two parables about an aspirational dream of the sixties left and the right? cristofreaky of the Tea Party are so much alike, both in their aspirations and in their consequences? Well, because the two develop around an idealized vision of the rural world, marked by Rousseau’s mistaken idea as well as by the success of the ideas of the classical romanticism of the 19th century and his determination to idealize the past, which makes him one of the ethical and aesthetic movements of pure reactionary roots.

The millennium of darkness that followed the fall of Rome was a rural age, of peasants and castles, of plowshares and swords.

Remember that, since Greece and Rome, the ethical and political progress of societies is linked to the most prodigious human invention: the city. The long millennium of darkness in Europe that followed the fall of Rome was a time of peasants and castles, of plowshares and swords, and the so-called Renaissance resumed the development of cities. Well, a little earlier, already during the Gothic. Keep this in mind before succumbing to the magnetic siren songs of agriculture.

The remote, the isolated, is antithetical to civilization: remember what happens where the Nissan Patrol of the Civil Guard barely arrives; remember the crimes of Phago, or those of Tor, the cursed mountain. Or that beautiful phrase by Jean Giono, in the story the man who Planted Trees when he described remote mountain villages: “You compete for everything, for the sale of coal and for the church pew; for virtues contrary to each other and for vices that are also contrary ”.

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