Ghostland (2015)

13 Mar 2016

silly humor
physical comedy

secrets of life
thought provoking thinking
emotional resonance
empathy and sympathy

fresh perspective
layered meaning (good for over-thinking/multiple viewing)

immersive atmosphere
beautiful scenes
fitting soundtrack


This was a unique experience. An amazing role reversal between the usual tourists and tourist-ees on a safari, we get to find out a glimpse of what the more “primitive” think about our “radical” life called modernity.

The first interesting point is of course the “root” cause of Ju/’hoansi troubles: they were forced to give up wild hunting. The law tries to achieve what we ultimately would want as a global community (same to why we would like to preserve biodiversity and rainforests from Learning to See), but it failed in being just. The refined traditional Ju/’hoansi way of life that is evidently more sustainable than what we currently own is punished for us taking more than our shares.

Then we got to see their wonderful practical insights in life. The fear of long travels, the fear of the rocks, the interaction with other more domestic tribes, and the fear of and curiosity about strangeness. They couldn’t phathom we not knowing each other living blocks away. I wonder the same yet I still often don’t have the courage to initiate a conversation (thanks to all the brave people who chatted with me at SXSW [Now sadly I can only remeber Jerry’s name since it happened only few hours ago, excluding other volunteers of course]. This was what I was looking for, to spend spring break for once not [feeling] alone.) We live isolated lifes with walled built by ourselves, for the sake of productivity and safety.

Yet another good point is the big messes we love called cities. Metropolitons were never conceived as a concept for living but a venue for labor and wants, glutton and greed. Years and year of “evolution” the people adapted them to more livable conditions, but it cannot compare to what Ju/’hoansi wanted to keep or what they “envied” in the nice and quiet German village.

In fact just being forced (why do night owls sleep on Sunday nights? :?) to run and then bike through the now emptied but once and soon to be full downtown, campus, and hyde park area, I was again reminded of that satisfaction coming from the wind oscilating over the ears, the intimate feeling of muscle movements, and a tune imagined in your mind… it probably was less visually pleasing and have not much dramatically intrigue comparing to that of Les quatre cents coups, but the contentness in my heart is as real as it can ever get.

Nontheless, I have to say that I do at points disagree with Ju/’hoansi’s accessments. The fact that we in modern world all wanting so much and very different things are not necessary a bad thing: I believe they would be the natural form of our lowly humanity. It is in fact unhealthy to try hiding many of our desires. What is needed to to be aware on what is real, what is necessary, what is desired, and what can/should be achieved.

At least I am very happy that they realized that it would be important to let their children be exposed to the outside world in order to preserve their traditions and making a future with us together.

It is also saddening that some of the tragic endings are presumably due to the lack of proper healthcare. If we are to enforce modern regulations on the Ju/’hoansi, the least we could do is to feed them the fruits of technology. And am I glad to be able to enjoy the fruits of the NGO, the longbeard, and other crews etc.