Watch a film at 4x speed to understand our own humanity

Recommended music — Amar : Childhood by Armand Amar

The Great Gatsby

What happens if you speed up the video playback of a movie full of symbology and over the top human etiquette like The Great Gatsby? Not ordinary playing it at average speed, but at 4 times the speed. This was possible using VLC.

The English words murmured by the actors turned into a gibberish language at such speed. It makes the vocal and dialogue redundant. It is no longer an element that you need to focus on.

At such speed, all movement portrayed by the actors becomes more mechanical looking. Their movement seemed dictated by a predefined script. It is no longer an element that you need to focus on.

How do your sims in The Sims game looked like to you when you speed their reality up? They seemed so mechanical. And that’s how they looked like in the film.

Look at all the details that we would have missed if we didn’t pay attention.

You begin to notice all the peripherals around the scene at such speed. Props and side characters became visible in your peripherals, and you will appreciate how these peripherals details set the stage. Typically, they are lost details as we focus our attention on the dialogue and the main object of focus by the camera.

In a nutshell.

I was able to see the bigger picture of the story without being distracted by the movie elements, elements designed to captivate your attention.

For example, you enter the cinema wanting to watch a movie to understand cinematography, understand how the cameraman moves the camera, the technique, how the script was followed, and all the technical aspect of making a movie. This could extend to also trying to have consistent grasps of the big picture.

In the first 15–30minutes, you were likely to maintain your focus on studying those elements. However, depending on the movie’s capacity to captivate your attention, you will soon lose yourself in the film, unconsciously diverting your attention away from what you intended. A movie is designed to delight, to expand our consciousness. However, to study a film is to maintain me, the subject, and the movie, the object. But, a good film will make me into the movie.

By playing at such speed, you are shielded from such elements that draw you in, and you can continuously examine the big picture. And that’s what happened.

How inauthentic this is?

I wondered what it is like to have a movie without artificial lighting. What is it like to make a film without all artificially introduced components? To film it as it is.

I wondered what is it like to have a movie where the actors are not actors. Their dialogues are as authentic as everyday conversations and not dictated by the script. To speak and react as it is.

A Gatsby party

Notice that the party that Gatsby organised. It was opulent, luxurious and very exclusive. Does such reality exist? What is it like to be part of such a party, where everyone is expected to dress elegantly and behave with the proper etiquette standards of high society?

You will have the males actively trying to impress other males to impress other females. You will have females who are actively trying to impress the other females to impress other males. It is a dynamic only humans are capable of. To come together in a setting to give everyone an equal opportunity to do so. The prerequisite is that you must play with the code of conduct, the rule of the game. It is an artistic portrayal of sophisticated animal relationships on the human level.

Human celebration

Now, shift gears and observe this photo from The Humans film. What is it like to be part of such a party, where everyone is expected to dress the same and work together towards a common goal? When such a goal is attained, a celebration ensues. There is no such thing as the need to impress others. Everyone is acting in solidarity with another.

Did you ever learn to appreciate the beauty of the moment when humans celebrate together? Look at the man who let himself slide in jubilation and be supported by his friend behind him. We cannot use words to describe his state of emotions. But we can be confident that he is experiencing something close to true happiness. Our core human values are sharing and collaboration. The more we get ourselves out of touch with these values, the more dehumanise we will become.

Flower pickers

A thought-provoking question to all of us city dwellers. What is it like to work as a flower picker on a farm? What is it like to work with plants? What is it like to work with nature directly? Your understanding of nature would be vastly different from what we know. For most city dwellers, this connection with nature is dwindling and replaced by human-created content and messages.

Nature does not impose on you that you communicate with it. Nature is forever giving whether you like it or not.

Human created content does impose on you that you communicate with it. Facebook content does have a draw that you communicate with it; otherwise, you will lose something. Instagram content does have an appeal that you communicate with it; otherwise, you will lose something.

Living life on the edge

What is it like to live life on the edge like the man in this photo? He realised that he does not have many choices in life. Either he takes it, or he will starve to death. One of my key takeaway from the film is that poverty is a serious human issue.

Poverty is a concept that arises because we know what is it like to live in the opposite, wealth. Without wealth, there is no poverty. Poverty became an issue only recently, perhaps 5000 years ago, when civilisation emerges. When we say we want to address poverty, we want to address the inequality in living standards among them and us. Period. If these people lived the way they do, but 5,000 years ago, they are considered wealthy.

The more wealthy we become in developed countries, the more severe that we see these people in poverty. My take is that education is the key to addressing poverty, and it starts with children. However, to have an environment ripe for education, there must be stability. Resources must be available to sustain the basic needs. That’s how developed countries develop. Basic needs are met, and education will flourish.

It is a hard problem that requires the spirit of solidarity as depicted in the human celebration photo above. Please reflect and think about this.

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