Inspired by: Given
Given is the 1 year long story of a travelling free-spirited surfer family as seen through the eyes of the son in the family, named Given.
As a photographer, the film is worth watching and re-watching for the incredible visual quality alone. But furthermore it touches on that deep deep feeling that I have had in my gut and heart my whole adult life (and that I think many of us in this increasingly capitalist and materialistic society recognise): the desire to simplify and free oneself of every unnessecary external restraint.
Even now as we are renovating one room after another here on the farm and are expanding the lived-in part into the stable, I feel the desire to go in the opposite direction. To have less stuff, to have less house to maintain and thus more time and freedom. But I am keeping in mind that we are not doing this to please ourselves, but to create a place with room enough to share it with others through our B&B, workshops, hosting wedding celebrations etc. And I also feel certain that when this part of my life is over (in maybe 5-10-15 years from now) I will seek out (and pursuade my husband to come along) a much much simpler life. Although I love to travel, and a film like this seriously stirs my wanderlust, my version of a simple free life is most likely more a simple small house in the woods somewhere in Norway or Sweden.
The film literally slows you down as there are profound pauses in the narration mid-sentence and what I would guess to be about 90% of the film is shot in still or beautiful slow motion sequences.
It is both a celebration of a life free of convention and free of posessions, as well as of mother nature and the diversity of peoples who inhabit this earth and the many crafts and traditions that exist in each area or "tribe".
I usually have to spend most of my day turning down requests from the kids who want to watch Lego Friends or Ninjago on their iPads. But given their degree of focus and interest and questions while we watched this visual masterpiece of a film, I have a feeling that this is not the last time we will be watching it.
Although it is many places described as a surfer film, I think it is an incredibly moving experience even if you (like me) have absolutely no interest in surfing.
Even if you have no desire to travel the world for a year with two small kids, but just want to simplify your current life, it is still worth watching.
Is it simplified and idealistic, yes of course, but in a time where every media bombards us with bad news daily and one often get the feeling that we should all just lay down and die right now because there is no hope anyway, films like Given brings back my innate optimism and fighting spirit and makes me go out and approach my daily life with new energy and hope for mankind and the planet we inhabit.
If you haven't already, go watch Given on netflix now! :-)
Other stuff I will be watching in December include: Saving Capitalism, Joan Didion - The Center Will not Hold, Awake - A Dream from Standing Rock. I think I will also re-watch Tony Robbins - I am not Your Guru and the photography series Tales by Light. And finally, I am super excited for the release of Season 2 of The Crown in just two days!
Have you watched Given? What did you think of it?