Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I am thinking of the Celtic soul in "Saving Mr Banks". It is mentioned by Pamela's father, when he tells his little daughter that this world is an illusion, and as long as she didn't forget that, he guaranted her she will be able to bear anything. When I was a philosophy student, I learned something along these lines in Kant, who contended that what we take as reality is nothing more than an appearance. Travers, Pamela's father, was a poet, capable of "enchanting" everything with imagination. Imagination, as that which was somewhat opposed, above or beyond what was "illusionary" reality all around, the circumstances of which, in their particular case, was extremely tough. The point of view of separating reality from imagination (in the case of Travers Goff) or that of considering it just an appearance (Kant) echoes a an intellectual tradition that art is not entertainment: the first being "serious", and the second not. I guess that is why Pamela looks at Disney "whimsy" as silly, weightless, and without "gravitas". In her head, her "serious" work of literature and poetry, could not become "Disney fun". As a poet, she was not yet capable of seeing all the poetry in the Sherman Brother's words, because she wanted no musical to begin with. She wanted no FUN! The reason I mention this is to remark how well the movie dealt with this important aspect of the conflict between she and Walt Disney , who represented the opposite point of view. Walt believed in THIS world, and in the materialization of fantasy in it. He wanted the movie to be a musical, and musicals are poetry and beauty, before anything. In musicals, dialogues can express "real" life problems, but with beautiful sound and words, what makes it always good and also fun to hear (granting they are a good musical). So, the movie wasn't just a conflict of seriousness vs. whimsy and fantasy, or, like is usually said, of old England's habits vs free and new California's, but of the much more philosophical one regarding what is the real status of reality and, in the same token, that of fantasy. In spite all odds, Walt believed in the communion of the two. He despised nothing. That is why, as much as I am a Kantian, and may never stop being one, I love Walt Disney more than Kant.
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