linear data | the shape of water | make america great again | the rise of the minority and the rainbow coalition
The Shape of Water won numerous awards at the 2018 Academy Awards. Most notably for Best Picture and Best Director. As with his earlier film Pan’s Labyrinth, Director Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water continues the exploration of individual disenfranchisement and national conflict.
The Shape of Water was set in Baltimore, MD in the 1950’s. A period of time that our current President, Donald J. Trump presumably feels we need to return to—in order to “Make America Great Again”. I believe undoubtedly that the thought of his idea and many others like him in making America great again refers to the dominance of white nationalism, white privilege, and white supremacy in our national identity.
The Shape of Water intelligently turns the concept of the “monster” as “villain” into the embodiment of beauty found in the “other”. In a sharp contrast, there was the pundits—the alt-right propagandists/commentators on FOX News. Their description and analysis of the film was one of simply referencing “a woman having sex with a fish”. Debasing the motives of the film by decimating it and declaring it as a freak show. They also tried to politicize it by focusing their attacks on so-called “Hollywood Elites” and Liberals alike. Promoting the idea that the low viewership of the awards were due to the “American people” (I never feel they are talking about me or the vast majority of the America population when this phase is uttered on the political right)—being tired of politics in their entertainment. In reality, the film spoke truth to the oppressed, and marginalized: That they had a voice, even when unable to literally speak; that they weren’t second class citizens, a minority; and were free to be who they were in sexual orientation. In this regard the film was about freedom, the love that encapsulates freedom and the struggle we must undertake to possess that freedom.
In conclusion, I thought the film was masterly done and beautifully crafted. The lovely shades of green that permeated throughout the film. And the various ways in which water was manipulated was imaginative and powerful. True art.
In my interpretation of the film’s central visual construct (that being the ending sequence with the Amphibian Man and Eliza Esposito floating together in all-consuming rapture beneath the surface of the water), I wanted to create a rainbow coalition of linear and cubistic form to mirror this moment.
Searching for the freedom beyond the new colonialism….
There is the old colonialism and the new. In years past Empires were made by invading “primitive” third world or developing countries. In a brutal process of conquest, nations achieved their goals of domination via enslavement, government control and wars.
Today colonialism still exist, however it can be argued that it takes on another form—insidious in nature but with the same result i.e. the raping and pillaging of a countries wealth and resources while eliminating its ability to be self-sufficient.
Today’s colonialism is financial in nature and is developed as a means to rule the wealth of others. In the past 30 years here in America we have seen the shift from a manufacturing based economy to a financial one. The deregulation, the explosion of the commodities markets, and the Wall Street mentality of greed have all played a part in a global construct to create a new society of those who have and those who have not. The 1% and 99ers are what we are left with.
In the old form of colonialism it was understood that control came by the means of dominating the wealth, trade, language and freedom of the people. This principal in general has not changed, but today the emphasis is on domination through the control of wealth—through a corrupt identity we have come to know as Capitalism. This type of capitalism is based on a false economy; a paper economy.
True capitalism is when the people of different nations, societies, communities understand the importance of fair trade; where respect, common interest and gain are the goals. We see it everywhere, for example in America and developing countries with our community gardens and farmer markets; where the language and freedom of trade is a positive end shared by all.
The protests we see here in America and around the globe is a testimony to the people’s vision of a true form of capitalism. It is a struggle against economic tyranny of the most devastating kind.
What do you think? Is the path to solidarity in recognizing our common need? Can we, who are the true majority, find our common goal and live on this planet with harmony and love; and for that matter unselfishly?