Monday, December 13, 2010

The Giving Tree

Spike Jonze just made a short film called "I'm Here". A great friend told me about it and I have watched it several times and absolutely love it. Spike Jonze has a way of making situations and gestures communicate more than words could. In his films a facial expression, movement of the hand, silent glance, etc. can mean more than an long and complicated conversation. Very few directors or artists are able to this so well.

I don't know how proficient I am at non-verbal communication. The more I think about it the more I think that I am terrible at it. It's a skill that I wish I had but that I don't know how to go about developing.

I recommend "I'm Here" to anyone and everyone. It is a love story about two robots and it is all about how love is the giving of one's self to another person. In the film this happens quite literally. It is both heartbreaking and hearthealing.

It reminds me of the Shel Silverstein classic "The Giving Tree". This has always been one of my favorite picture books. The Giving Tree gives of herself until she is reduced to nothing but a stump. Her love for the boy that she watched grow into a man is much stronger than any sense of loss or feeling of self-pity that she could have had.

In my mind, her great sacrifice seems to be undervalued by the boy. He loved her as a boy but as he grows he starts to love other things more than her. Her love was put to the test by his constant absence. He only came to see her when he needed something. Time and time again he showed up and took something from her that she gladly gave. True love is giving without expecting or even wanting anything in return. The happiness of the boy she loved was the Giving Tree's only concern and it meant more to her than her fruit,branches, or trunk. It meant more to her than her self.

In "I'm Here" Sheldon valued the one he loved more than his physical person. There is one scene in particular that is extremely powerful to me. Sheldon is offering to make a large sacrifice to help his girlfriend and she does not want to accept his help. He gives the simple details of a dream that he had and shows her that his happiness depends on her acceptance of his offering. I can't really express why it is so potent and incredible. It just is.

Watch "I'm Here". You won't regret it.

This is the official website but it is soooo slow that I can't watch it there. You can also find it on youtube.

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