Art & Story
Three films (Loving Vincent, Limelight, The Greatest Showman) and the Super Bowl touched my life this weekend. All three made up of just the kind of stories for which we humans are wired and by which we are inspired to stretch out and follow our dreams. We are moved by their struggle and moved by their accomplishments because we live the art of the human condition and relate to the stories because in many ways, they are our own.
“Who I am in the eyes of most people. A nobody…” --------Vincent van Gogh
That nobody inspired over 100 artists to create the first fully painted film, Loving Vincent, over the course of 6 years based on the art (he created over 2,000 works of art), life, and death of a man who remains one of the world’s most influential artists. The film, a moving picture of his paintings, takes the audience on a journey into the mystery surrounding his death and gives us more insight into the life of van Gogh, the life that breathes and vibrates in his work still today and the life that influences generations of artists and immortalizes his genius. He is a tragic hero who led a tortured life but whose passion forever burns on in his work for all the world to see.
Limelight, starring the genius Charlie Chaplin, is about a has-been comic whose passion for his art, for show business, and for life ignites a young dancer’s spirit helping her to face stage fright and self-doubt, ultimately giving her the courage to find success, making the has-been comic the unlikely hero of the story through his sacrifice and generosity of spirit and kindness.
The Greatest Showman, the biopic about P.T.
Barnum and his fantastic ideas, takes a story set in the 1800’s and brings it to life with modern music and choreography in such a way that it’s hot, splashy, and relevant to anyone chasing a dream. The film depicts Barnum as a dreamer who takes unbelievable risks to do the seemingly impossible, in spite of throngs of critics. He becomes the hero of his own life, and at least in the film gives “freaks” a place in their own lives by giving them the stage. Even if this depiction strays a tad from the truth of his experience, the story, the music, the splendor sends a message that can’t help but inspire the audience, in my opinion.
And then there’s the Super Bowl. Yes, football is equally as inspirational as art, especially when it involves a team of such fortitude as this year’s Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles faced many challenges during their season in the weeks prior to the championship game, and even when they made it that far, were considered by many to be the under dogs of the Super Bowl. The rookie quarterback, Nick Foles, took the place of their injured quarterback, Carmen Wentz (the MVP of the league at the time of his season-ending injury) after having been out himself for weeks with an elbow injury. The Eagles weren’t expected to do well for the rest of their season without their MVP, let alone make it to the Super Bowl. But they did. And Nick Foles prevailed as quarterback, proving himself, not alone but with a team of players who rose up in the face of adversity in such a manner and with such character as to inspire not only their fans, but all those who witnessed their struggle and success.
My weekend of films and a football game resulted in an infusion of art and a rejuvenation of spirit. The message in each story: follow our dreams, live our passions, have faith even in the face of naysayers and critics, and surround ourselves with people who push us to be our best. And in return, be one of those people as well. Be a supporter of dreams, see the potential in people, and give them a chance to shine.
There is art in the story of the tortured soul of a painter, in the performer’s battle with stage fright, in a has-been comic cheering on someone just starting out in the business, in a ring-master creating a world of unusual entertainment, in a quarterback’s pass, in the beauty of a seemingly impossible catch.
There is story in the win, the painting, the performance, the joy of making audiences happy.
A great story hooks us with an emotional connection to characters we like and relate to, it takes us on a journey, with a character who becomes a hero by what he/she leaves to humanity and by how he/she faces adversity. A great story leaves us feeling a little better about ourselves because we feel better about our world, inspired by dreams that came true and obstacles surmounted by a person much like ourselves.
Leave a legacy, break records, create something nobody else has, even if nobody understands it; live a great story.
Seeking great story? Here’s some extra info on the films mentioned in this post.
And for an inspirational speech by Nick Foles:
Gretchen Klinedinst Furst is a teacher, writer, actress, and mom. She’s the co-author of Made from Scratch: Tales of Women Who Take the Cake and the owner of Studio G. Allentown, LLC. Check out the website at www.studiogallentown.com , follow her: Instagram @studiogallentown, Facebook at www.facebook.com/StudioGallentown. There are two ways to comment. Either log in and comment directly below or scroll down and find the comments box where you don’t need to log in. You can also subscribe! Copyright 2018.