Strange Parallels

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If there’s one major advantage to travelling it is that it exposes you to different cultures and different experiences. Were it not for the fact I accidentally travelled to the Czech Republic, I would have likely never seen the topic of day’s post. I have discovered an abnormal similarity between two films. The above happy children’s movie about a guy everyone thinks is The Special, who isn’t, and who overturns tyrannical rule with the help of a team, and the following:

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I promise you I’m going somewhere with this

A 1991 Czech film about an engineer who starts working at a factory and finds it full of corruption and nonsense. A “Musical of Totalitarianism”.

How? What scrambled thoughts could lead to this conclusion? Observe.

In this film clip, the main character, an engineer, a career about developing new ideas and putting them together, visits the factory bar. The DJ plays an epic song, a mainstay of Czech music, where the lyrics are “Je to fajn” – it is fine, it’s all good buddy. Relax, do your work and smoke your cigarette. While in this film clip, “Everything is Awesome” – everything is fine, it’s cool man. Relax, listen to your repetitive mind-numbing and very catchy pop music and drink your overpriced coffee.

These songs function as the central points of the films. The Lego Movie is about the lead character realising everything is NOT awesome while Kour (smoke), a lot darker in tone, makes it pretty clear throughout how messed up it all is.

Here I will have to freely confess my inability to properly dive into this topic. I have seen both films only once, Lego on Boxing Day last year and Kour at Zizkovsiska during film night. I must also admit that I have some difficulties finding anything in English about Czech films. Comparing its IMDb page to The Lego Movie’s further shows the difference in material to work with. Also, not speaking Czech, I have some issues understanding all the nuances. But here’s is what I have so far.

Both films are fundamentally about work and society. They are about doing your job while being bossed around by shadowy figures, and they are about the distraction that we all have, music. It’s interesting that in both films neither of the main characters save the day alone. In Kour the main character nearly becomes the victim of the corrupt factory managers until he is saved by the other factory workers shouting “It is worth it!” and storming the big meeting. In The Lego Movie the lead was never “the Special” and can only win with the help of everyone else.

It’s an enlightening process watching both films as they show so much about the types of life people live. They also show a way out through the collective action of saying no. Change is possible and you have to be the one to make it. The message of both the films is revolutionary.

When not watching Czech films or consuming media, the writer of this piece likes to write copiously and is trying to write posts of about 500 words a day every day of this month. Today’s entry is a little short, but since a picture is worth a thousand words and there are two of them this piece is far beyond that, without even accounting for the fact that videos are made of 25 pictures a second and each of the above videos was over a minute long. Today I have written a load of words about a tricky subject and I implore you to watch both those films. 20 days left!

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