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SLUMMING IN SUPERIOR CULTURES
on 13 March 2015
One of the palpable absurdities of White, Western culture is the belief that happiness exists outside of oneself and, by extension, outside of one’s culture.
White culture is dominated by Whites who have little sense of rootedness in the world and so feel the need to become tourists in a life they do not (& do not wish to) fully comprehend. And yet they feel that the cultures in which they slum are somehow inferior; despite their believing they will discover themselves by slumming in them.
The chosen White inability to introspect honestly and rationally is the dramatic basis here and the film lurches dangerously into creating a travelog that endorses such personal irresponsibility. This movie is really an adventure-without-an-adventure since the White characters are still in the process of becoming, thus the adventure is never felt internally - merely as something to talk about rather than something to learn from.
The magnificent and always game Kate WINSLET gets the empty ebullience of her character with ease and successfully manages to convey her pointless wanderlust. Her selflessness lies in not having any stability to offer her children, allied with the strange fact that she thinks this is advantageous to them. Her lack of a sense of permanence leads her to live on quicksand rather than in genuine self-knowledge. Her desire is the usual: To be someone else; to believe the world owes her a living; and, that the world is her oyster.
This is the running away from reality that the film, itself, does not fully explore. A shame because the story of the creation of a meaningful life for oneself and one’s dependents would have made for a much better and more emotionally-engaging movie than this.