Perspective

Thoughts of a Catholic convert

My Photo
Name:
Location: United States

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pastoral

it's Earth Day and I offer something from Soylent Green, a science fiction film from the past that describes a future in which overpopulation has destroyed the environment. You may laugh, but the first time I saw this scene in the video clip posted below I was so touched I cried, not because one of the characters was dying, but because of the lost beauty of the planet's creatures, plants, oceans, that had in the film already died long since. Here's how Wikipedia describes the scene .....

In the film, after the aged Roth learns the truth about Soylent Green, he decides he "has lived too long", and states that he is "going home". By this, he means that he is going to sign up for government-assisted suicide. When Roth arrives at the clinic, he is asked to select a lighting scheme and a type of music for the death chamber. Roth selects orange-hued lights and "light Classical" music. When he goes to the death chamber, a selection of Classical music (Beethoven - 6th Symphony - Pastoral) plays through speakers and films are projected on large screens.

The "going home" score in this part of the film was conducted by Gerald Fried and consists of the main themes from Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique") by Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral") by Beethoven, and the Peer Gynt Suite ("Morning Mood" and "Åse's Death") by Edvard Grieg. As the music plays, scenes of majestic natural beauty are projected on film screens: "deer in woods, trees and leaves, sunsets beside the sea, birds flying overhead, rolling streams, mountains, fish and coral, sheep and horses, and lots and lots of flowers — from daffodils to dogwoods". Amidst the music and the scenes of nature, Roth remembers the world as it once was. Yet, he cannot peacefully take his last breath as he is pained by the beauty lost and cannot stand the awfulness of the real world. Roth struggles to tell Thorn about the secret of "Soylent Green", urging him to "prove it" before taking his dying breath.





5 Comments:

Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal,

I remember seeing the movie in the theater with my brother - have you seen the movie?

Pax,

Henry

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Oops, I am typing too fast!

I mean did you see it in the theater? Are you a Heston Fan?

BTW, I am going to send you and e-mail about your short story.

10:43 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

I only saw it on TV. I do like Heston, though, because he's been in so many classic era science fiction films like Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, etc.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

Saw it on TV last summer and thought it was quite good. I was moved by Roth's scene too. I found it more than just a commentary on ecology and over population though. To me the film seemed to be pointing out how utilitarian all life had become once true care for the life of the world had been pushed to the way-side. Roth's death to me seemed not much more than a glorified version of the way in which we 'try' to 'comfort' animals on the way to the feed house. dressed up a bit more with lights and sounds but not all that different from conventions being suggested in the processing industry these days....still utilitarian at the core, a means to and end.

Is there a danger of all lives and all deaths being merely a means to an end if we do not seriously consider the quality of our relationship with Mother Earth (the womb from which we spring) and the source of all life and love, our Creator, Mother God?

You always make me ask myself interesting and exciting questions!

3:22 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Cura,

It's been a long time since I saw the movie - I can't remember what all was going on besides people being recycled into soylent grren, but I think there was political corruption too? Yeah, I think the movie was in a way also a voice against assisted suicide. Roth had given up out of despair, but Heston's character, Thorn, would never have done that.

Is there a danger of all lives and all deaths being merely a means to an end if we do not seriously consider the quality of our relationship with Mother Earth (the womb from which we spring) and the source of all life and love, our Creator, Mother God?

You ask intersting questions :) It seems to me that we're all in this together, all related, people, plants, animals, the environment. It's our human self-centeredness (and Christians have been really guilty of this) that is domming everything including us. What will we be without the environment that formed us and without out fellow litter mates? :)

5:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home