Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy: Review

I’m becoming a documentary junkie off late. So i saw a couple of them and they seem to be more entertaining than movies. The point is I feel i’ve taken away more if the documentary makes me think & question some of my preconceived notions. This documentary did precisely that. Is the man who is tall happy is one of the top documentaries that came out last year. Its made by Michel Gondry the french film director who also made the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The documentary is very illustrative with a series of animations to almost everything that is being described in the scene. It’s just a conversation between Gondry and Noam Chomsky the american linguist & philosopher. Their conversation drifts to anything from the origins of science and philosophy to how our most distant memories impact us. Gondry does it best by trying to interject Chomsky’s intricate teaching of language, his thoughts on beliefs to how he handles personal relationships. I think its a good way to show the emotional side of a scientist or a thinker. Most documentaries focus on an aspect or issue, but this one seamlessly dwells on a multitude of topics.

I must warn that this one doesn’t make for an easy viewing. Most of the times, i kept thinking and sifting through my own thought process. At times we have such misguided notion & assimilate very little of our surroundings. Chomsky keeps driving the point that we need to question everything. He draws references to Descartes, Plato, Aristotle, Galileo to Newton when explaining. The point is that he doesn’t get to the later scientists like Einstein because he wants us to be drawn to the first human experiences of questioning our environment. The part where he talks about how in ancient times everything was though to have a simple explanation is intriguing. Made me think back to my school days, during the exams if i got an answer too easy, i would mostly think something is wrong with the math.

On the whole if you’re looking to watch something to stimulate your brain cells, this is a definite watch. Plus Gondry’s animation will never leave you with a dull moment even as Chomsky drift away. The anime is pretty trippy to keep you glued anyways.

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Existentialist Contemplation.

Stick to your guns or sell out? A common dilemma that transcribes and disfigures all.

A few years back I was in the anti-sellout category. Yes, shoot me for being a cross over, maybe? But time and again the prevailing trend catches up and no longer you’re a part of the elitist club any more. Funny it is, how you wont even realize that now you’re on the ‘Other’ side. I wonder about the thought that drives us to stick to what we think is right. How a maligned notion is what we carry across and how reality could easily bend it all.

Figuratively speaking DIY is cool, fringes are in, taking your dog to a saloon, getting yourself a tattoo or heck, just blowing your hair while cruising along Marine Drive. Urge Overkill? That’s what i would say. Its nothingness that really moves the empty space within. Get that thrill, and then what?

As the existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Satre puts it, its this very state of nothingness that gives us a state of free will. Will to choose, to empower, to dethrone, to Do. But this free will gets distorted, stretched and maligned by the decisions we make in the real world. So say your little round-the-world-trip fantasy gets murdered by the budget that binds you to home-ground. There, Snap!

So choices are nothing but reconciliations. The little lies we tell ourselves. Cause really, we never know what it would turn out to be in the long run. For now, we need to rationalize. To explain. But for the moment, you rest as you know this is the most logical thing to do. And what you cant? “Oh that was irrational, we certainly can’t be doing this, you know.” Or as Satre puts it conscious decisions suffer from a lack of individual freedom of thought.

Here lies the question. Be the trailblazer, stick to your guns and surprise them all? Or rather, just paint a physical portrait beautiful for others to see, but basically a Sellout? In Contemplation.