Tuesday, December 28, 2004
A very spiritual movie
I'm not kidding. This movie is fantastic.
I hold the view that spirituality is totally independent of religion. Spirituality is the ability to strengthen one's resolve and generate pleasurable emotions through imagination.
Spiritual fantasy can be sparked by sensation. Image, sound, scent, taste and touch can all be spiritual triggers, though the triggers are different for each of us. Your spiritual sound might be that special song your walkman plays that always makes you run faster, and your spiritual image might be that of an eagle with perfect focus and concentration. Imagination takes your trigger sensations and transforms them into an vision of total beauty and a visualization of perfect action. You still need real skill to achieve flawless action, but spiritual motivation can give you the will to perfect your art.
Watching a Kung-Fu movie is inspirational because the transformation from spiritual to physical is so vividly displayed. Triggered by images of the tiger, the crane or the praying mantis, Kung-Fu practitioners use their skill and imagination to develop optimum human power.
Shaolin Soccer isn't a realistic portrayal of unarmed combat, and it doesn't pretend to be. In several scenes, players kick a soccer ball so hard that it becomes a fireball! But that doesn't matter. I can't be the only guy to have kicked a soccer ball with so much focus and intent that he imagined it bursting into flames. Of course, in reality, the ball never actually catches fire. In my case, the ball rarely hit the target either, but it still felt good!
This movie is an oddball comedy that, depending on your sympathies, either has no message whatsoever or has a deep and clever meaning. A crippled soccer has-been sets out to coach a rag-tag clan of kung-fu fighters, intending to win the soccer trophy from Team Evil. As in all martial arts movies, the players transform themselves into masters of their new sport. There's even a little love story in this picture.
In the end, the entertaining action-comedy sequences were secondary to the movie's message: that every one of us can become more than we are, that perfect action is far more important than good looks, and that spirituality can help us achieve sublimity.
* Kung-Fu salute *