Mude Tod, Der (Destiny) 1921

There is something very powerful about a silent film. Destiny was no exception. The story follows a woman who loses her husband to Death. After stopping at an inn, she wakes up to find that he has vanished. On the outskirts of the city is a large stone wall encroaching an area that seems unreachable. It is this moment when the woman sees her husband’s spirit, accompanied with many other spirits, pass through the wall.

The woman meets Death, a meloncholy, gray haired man who resembles a tired, gentle grandpa. He reveals he can’t reunite the lovers since he be violating God’s laws. He shows her a room of candles, the candles of each person’s life, and says that each person only has so much time before their candle blows out. This is the point of the movie I started noticing contemporary symbolism, motifs, and even camera shots and angles that we see everyday in film. It made me think that really, these ideas were first originated at some point, and have been used ever since. How interesting it is to find out many of the modern styles and modes of film were created almost a century ago, and are still utilized today.

Death says that if the woman can save any of three lives about to blow out, then she can have her love back. Then the film presents three separate vignettes each containing a love story that ends in a lover’s death. One is set in the Middle East with the Turks, another in Italy, and the final in China. Each story presents a powerful dictator who eventually kills one of the lovers.

The woman cannot save any of the people, and Death makes her one final offer: in exchange for her lover’s life, she must find another to take his place. She asks the old man who took her in for his life, as he is old. The beggar, for he is useless. The old hags, for they yearn for death. They all recoil from the woman. Finally, in a hospital fire, she has the opportunity to give a small infant to Death, but chooses not to. Death takes her to her love, since her time is up now anyway.

More than the film, I enjoyed a discussion with a couple classmates about how the film relates to Modernism afterward. Form was a critical element of Modernism. The use of special effects was a way of reinterpreting film and photography during the Modern period. The use of lithiography or writing on top of the film, magical element of fading in and out characters as spirits, the flying carpet of the Chinese Magician, these were all types of special effects which were utilized because of Modernism, which tried to oppose old ways of thinking and art.

The actual material also demonstrated Modernist Motifs. The portrayal of Death was seen not as an evil skeleton wanting to steal lives, but as an objective man abiding by a law. Science had emerged in Medicine during the late 19th century with Germ theory, anesthesia, and morbid anatomy. There was a transition from viewing life and death as polar opposites, where death stole life, to both acting as corollary or together. It was more viewed as death just being a part of life. Therefore, death was reinterpreted not as a bad thing, but as objective and universal.

In addition, there was much talk of God, but not necessarily a Christian God. In fact, several different cultures had different takes on God during the film, such as the Muslims and Allah. At the end of the film, one fountain even had a statue that looked like and Indian God to me. This was a way of reinterpreting a single, true religion as being a universal truth that existed with different views (chinese, Turkish, Italian, etc).

The film also reinterpreted the belief that love can conquer all. In the end, love didn’t conquer death. I think Romantics viewed love, and emotional love as a powerful solution, or a way to overcome difficulty, even death. Modernism reconsiders this view, which follows logical suit since the horrors of World War I influenced people so heavily. Even though the film ends with a somewhat happy ending where both lovers are reunited in spirit, we still see that Death won. Maybe it’s not just about love being subverted, but also the idea that good triumphs over evil. Death isn’t even considered evil here, so maybe the movie is saying that there is no good and evil.

Another comment would be that there was no central setting to the film. It took place all over the world in separate and distinct countries. Modernism could be described as an ideology that has no center, or that has no central structure that supports everything else. This is embodied in the setting choices.

Modernism can be quite hard, at least for me, to articulate or conceptualize. One classmate commented that Modernist thinkers usually picked out a single element, and subverted it alone, keeping every other aspect about an ideology the same. For instance, in Art with the emergence of photography, we would see a man painted descending a staircase as a frozen microstate: in other words, he would be portrayed taking a step frozen in time. Photography could be used to show the same man walking down the entire staircase as a blur, since the light exposure could be allowed a greater capture time causing a blurred subject passing down all the stairs. Modernists would say this is the reality of the subject, not the freeze-frame. Thus, art began to be portrayed not as still life, but as cuboidal, or began merging 2D and 3D (Picasso does this).

Thus, the film entitled Destiny shows us what we usually don’t consider Destiny: death. Death is the destiny for us all.

This is the conclusion of the movie, not my conclusion. I am just trying to illustrate this new interpretation on life because of Modernism. It was bleak, probably because it was post World War I.

Tagged , , , , ,

3 thoughts on “Mude Tod, Der (Destiny) 1921

  1. Nila says:

    I guess I have only “ONE” comment left for every blog from this point on that could be written, only “ONE” because it answers them all. In these bloggings there have been so many ology’s and isms, so many angles of view taken, so many words exchanged that at times I feel as though we swim in an endless sea of words, grasping at one here and another there seeking to make sense of things when really man has complicated something that is simple. Thus, the “One” comment that I would post at the end of every blog written. Thank you for the opportunity. It has surely been an adventure, and you take good care of yourself, OK?The WayElder Lawrence E. Corbridge Of the Seventy Lawrence E. Corbridge, “The Way,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 34–36 There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way. Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”1 He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.”2 He said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”3 He said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”4 He said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”5 He said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”6 He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”7 Jesus Christ is the Way. He is Light and Life, Bread and Water, the Beginning and the End, the Resurrection and the Life, the Savior of the world, the Truth, and the Way. There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. He is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way, is foolishness. He offers a well of living water. Either we drink and never thirst more, or we don’t and foolishly remain thirsty still. He is the Bread of Life. Either we eat and hunger no more, or we don’t and foolishly remain weak and hungry still. He is the Light of the World. Either we follow Him and see clearly, or we don’t and foolishly remain blind and in darkness still. He is the Resurrection and the Life. He said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”8 Either we learn of Him and have life more abundantly,9 or we don’t and foolishly remain dead still. He is the Savior of the world. Either we accept the blessings of His Atonement and are made clean and pure, worthy to have His Spirit, or we don’t and foolishly remain alone and filthy still. He is the Way. No Other God“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”10 The plan of the Father was implemented by the Son that we may have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. The way of the Father is the way of the Son. He said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”11 Only God can bless us. Only He can sustain us. Only He can cause our hearts to beat and give us breath. Only He can preserve and protect us. Only He can give us strength to bear up the burdens of life. Only He can give us power, knowledge, peace, and joy. Only He can forgive our sins. Only He can heal us. Only He can change us and forge a godly soul. Only He can bring us back into His presence. And He will do all of that and much more if we but remember Him to keep His commandments. What then shall we do? We will remember Him to keep His commandments. It is the only intelligent thing to do. Jesus Baptizes with the Holy GhostJohn the Baptist said that while he baptized with water, Jesus baptized “with the Holy Ghost.”12 Nothing in this life is of greater worth than the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the source of joy, peace, knowledge, strength, love, and every other good thing. With the Atonement, it is the power by which we may be changed and made strong where we are weak. With the priesthood, it is the power by which marriages and families are sealed together eternally.13 It is the power by which the Lord makes Himself manifest unto those who believe in Him.14 Every good thing depends on getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Everything depends on that. To that end, Jesus Christ entered a garden called Gethsemane, where He overcame sin for us. He took upon Himself our sins. He suffered the penalty of our wrongs. He paid the price of our education. I don’t know how He did what He did. I only know that He did and that because He did, you and I may be forgiven of our sins that we may be endowed with His power. Everything depends on that. What then shall we do? We will “take upon [us] the name of [the] Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given [us]; that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us].”15 Everything depends on that. “My Yoke Is Easy, and My Burden Is Light”One of the most popular and attractive philosophies of men is to live life your own way, do your own thing, be yourself, don’t let others tell you what to do. But the Lord said, “I am the way.”16 He said, “Follow me.”17 He said, “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”18 Don’t think you can’t. We might think we can’t really follow Him because the standard of His life is so astonishingly high as to seem unreachable. We might think it is too hard, too high, too much, beyond our capacity, at least for now. Don’t ever believe that. While the standard of the Lord is the highest, don’t ever think it is only reachable by a select few who are most able. In this singular instance life’s experience misleads us. In life we learn that the highest achievements in any human endeavor are always the most difficult and, therefore, achievable only by a select few who are most able. The higher the standard, the fewer can reach it. But that is not the case here because, unlike every other experience in this life, this is not a human endeavor. It is, rather, the work of God. It is God’s work and it is His “glory … to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”19 There is nothing else like it. Not anywhere. Not ever. No institution, plan, program, or system ever conceived by men has access to the redeeming and transforming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, while the Lord’s invitation to follow Him is the highest of all, it is also achievable by everyone, not because we are able, but because He is, and because He can make us able too. “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind [everyone, living and dead] may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”20 The Lord’s way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel. “There is an opposition in all things,”21 everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices.22 We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone—without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier? He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
    . “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; … and ye shall find rest unto your souls. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”23 Life is hard, but life is simple. Get on the path and never, ever give up. You never give up. You just keep on going. You don’t quit, and you will make it. There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way is foolishness. I bear record of Him, even Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of the living God, He is the Bread of Life, He is the Truth, He is the Resurrection and the Life, He is the Savior and the Light of the World. He is the Way, the only Way. May we have the good sense to follow Him. In His holy name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

  2. Magicman says:

    Hey Nila,I read your last comment. I am really sorry if the blog or any blog offended you. That was actually only a conclusion that the movie came to: I was trying to analyze Modernism, not what I actually believe. I know it’s hard for people to distinguish between my comments on religion and what I look at in class, and I reread it after your comment and I can see how you’d think I was being really negative or bleak on my views. In truth, I have been studying transcendentalism a bit and it puts forth an excellent truth about how we can know God. Anyway, I’ve always appreciated your comments, and I’m sorry if it was offensive to you or insinuating there was no god. That death is Destiny is only a conclusion reached in the movie, in essence a reinterpretation of religious views because of Modernist ideas.

  3. Nila says:

    My dear friend, you are charming! There is no way that you could offend me. I find your searching interesting, to see what you are searching in, and try to feel what you are searching for. It seems that you are searching for God in almost everything you have posted, God in one form or another. The only reason I stated that I have only “One” comment left is because it is the most perfect comment I have ever heard. It is what I have been attempting to say in all of the other responses that I have posted here, and in the comments that have not been posted on your blog. There is only one answer to it all, only one, and it is simple.Quote: Only God can bless us. Only He can sustain us. Only He can cause our hearts to beat and give us breath. Only He can preserve and protect us. Only He can give us strength to bear up the burdens of life. Only He can give us power, knowledge, peace, and joy. Only He can forgive our sins. Only He can heal us. Only He can change us and forge a godly soul. Only He can bring us back into His presence. And He will do all of that and much more IF WE BUT REMEMBER HIM TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. What then shall we do? We will remember Him to keep His commandments. It is the only intelligent thing to do.There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way is foolishness. End quote.This is all that I have ever been trying to say to you Ben. And it is true. I will never forget the day that I watched Elder Corbridge deliver these words. To understand fully what I am trying to convey I suggest that you too watch him as he speaks. It was the last conference, Saturday afternoon session. I too am the passion that he speaks in these words. I know what I know only through experience.You again speak of isms… Modernism, transcendentalism… as I shared before, these many isms and ology’s seem to be men’s way of making something presented so simply quite complicated.So again, the only reason for “one” last comment is because it would be silly to post it over and over and over. Then I am sure that you and every other participant here would surely think me aged and crazy. I don’t think that I have quite reached that stage yet, but I am surely looking forward to that much freedom!!!!!Don’t think that I won’t be watching. I probably just won’t have anything else to say because for me . . . this says it all. If you desire to pry more from me, you always to know where to find me. I will be waiting for the post, as I believe we are all waiting for the post, that says from you “Hey, I found it!! I finally found it!!!” And we will all be there cheering you together . . . keep smiling, and posting . . . and who knows, maybe having coffee once in a while could be a good thing, or maybe having ICE CREAM would be better (considering what I just wrote!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: