Well this blog has grown into a means for me to create my own contemporary-culture based postmodern mythology in plain sight of you, and considering how happy it made me to talk about His Dark Materials in my big gatchaman/ubermensh article, I’ll gladly seize a chance to bring up my favorite movie of all time (Big Fish) and its parallels to what is probably the most poetic movie of 2015, Le Petit Prince.
Both movies are homages to the imagination, and follow a similar classic pattern: a character first in disbelief at the imaginary ramblings of a Munchausen-type character will come to adopt that point of view and also partake into the story. In fact, in both cases, such story is a poetic reinterpretation of the real world, preaching a new childlike way to look at the mundane world to bring back magic into it. (yeaah its kinda like religion)
Indeed, the new Petit Prince movie is not just a retelling of the original story, it’s a whole reworking and extension of St Exupery’s work. It’s the equivalent of Alice’s Through the Looking Glass or Peter Pan’s Hook. It’s the « years after, let’s get back to the world of innocence » kind of setup which offers a reinterpretive point of view (dare I say postmodern ^^) on the original story as well as the real world which corrupted the character and drove them away from the magic. It’s a widely spread trope that is often used to ponder on the magic and innocence of childhood (there’s no shortage of examples like Jumanji or Narnia…).
And what better to embody all the poetry of innocence than St Exupery’s Petit Prince, that the movie transforms with an undeniable Burtonish touch. The theme of growing up is always present here, paired with an unavoidable forgetfulness. The thesis is as follows: As you grow up, you learn more and more things, and you forget the most important: your childhood wonder. You must do your best to keep it in your heart and not lose sight of what really matters. The concept of essential is also echoed during the film to highlight how much the adults are missing the point about what’s important.
« On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur, l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. »
What’s important cannot be seen, it is only with your heart that you can see it. I saw this famous sentence to the new light of my meme-based interpretation of the world: what’s important isn’t the lumps of flesh you see, it’s the emerging phenomena, the concepts that you interact with. Not being overly tied down to materialism allows for a dive into the imagination, a world of raw semantics. The whole story of the Petit Prince is about these semantic links. The Prince’s rose is just a rose among so many other, it’s the semantics given to it by the Prince’s sentiments and interpretation of the world that give her an identity. This is best explained by the fox in a breathtakingly beautiful section of the book.
Qu’est-ce que signifie » Apprivoiser «
C’est une chose trop oubliée. Ca signifie: « Créer des liens «
Taming means creating links (isnt it so meta that I made that into an HTML link?). Transforming that one rose, that one fox into a unique special being. And it seems that the innocence of childhood acts as a catalyst for this.
These connections, once made, are not so easily destroyed. In fact, as they are live in the realm of pure concepts, they are everlasting. This is the alternative to death that the Petit Prince offers: the lump of flesh – vieille écorce abandonnée – may perish, but the meme behind it will not. Le Petit Prince turns out to be a wonderful ode to semantics and offers them as a way to deal with grief. After his departure, the Prince can still be heard laughing in the stars. Nobody can destroy the semantic story created.
I’ve always considered Dr Who as a very healthy model to deal with grief, death and breakups. Things change, goodbyes are unavoidable, time passes. Nothing is forever, as embodied by the classic Matrix saying « everything that has a beginning has an end« . Companions and doctor change. But you can always watch a DVD of an old season, just as you can read the book again or look at the stars and think about the Prince. They exist forever in the realm of memes.
The only thing I could blame that movie with is that it did not include my favorite sentence from the Petit Prince book:
– Mais tu vas pleurer! dit le petit prince.
– Bien sûr, dit le renard.
– Alors, tu n’y gagnes rien !
– J’y gagne, dit le renard, à cause de la couleur du blé.