The year is 2018, and the focus is on a college junior stressing to read over five books and watch two movies, before her 'History through Film' class on Wednesday night. Who actually reads for class, you might ask. Well, when you are required to co-instruct a class, then you really only read for one week out of the fifteen weeks of the semester.
'History through Film' has hands-down been one of the most interesting, and thought provoking classes I've had to take. Films are one of the vehicles used to recreate the past. Movies take what is written and researched, and turn it into something beautiful: a story you can follow, and believe in.
Cinematic techniques and characters can bring history to life. The main problem is, is it accurate?
One of the films we are required to watch this week is "Reds", an 1981 film centered around a journalist, John Reed, his life with Louise Bryant, and his witness to a Communist revolution in Russia. For class, we must read excerpts from countless books that both criticize and commemorate films throughout time that have portrayed history. In the movie "Reds", Dianne Keaton plays Louise Bryant, a young woman that eventually becomes a feminist icon for her daring, controversial opinions.
There are multiple things happening within this over three hour long movie, but one theme that seems to be reoccurring is the idea of freedom.
This may seem silly, but within the first 45 minutes of this movie, I've realized more about "freedom" than I think I've learned through philosophical writings.
Freedom: a principle that our entire nation is based upon.
Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, your Intro to Humanities professor. Them, and everyone else, has an idea of what freedom is, which is narrowed down to: no one truly knows.
The freedoms of these countries were meant for every man. Every white, rich, and land-owning man. Over time, influential people with impactful ideas have changed that to try and include all people- not just every man.
Freedom can be from your ability to publish whatever you want to say, to having the ability to be your own person. Freedoms range from freedom of who to marry, who to worship, and who you are. Each country outlines which freedoms can be granted to their citizens, and have the power to determine which people receive which freedoms.
Freedom is also a relative term, with some other languages not even having an equivalent. A word so fundamental, but that has also been individually created.
How has one word, determined so much?
Freedom, it itself, is a revolutionary idea. You should be able to do whatever you want, and this is the place to do it. But, what has made freedom so fickle? Only some people receive these freedoms, and they are limited based on circumstance.
Whatever freedom may actually be, I hope you listen in that one class that talks about it. I hope you discuss it among people that think like you, but especially discuss it with people who think opposite of you. I hope you indulge in your "freedom" to learn, and that from this, you can discover what freedom actually is, to you.