Thursday, December 15, 2005

Michael Collins and learning

I watched Michael Collins again last night for the first time since its release in 1996. A really enjoyable tale, but tinged with a kind of sadness when you remember this is based on a true story. I'm glad my Irish ancestors left their homeland before the 20th century.

What struck me most this second time around is that here is a leader who is willing to learn and change his mind.

Some people see changing one's mind as a sign of weakness, "flip-flopping" etc. But I see it differently ...

When you change your mind for a good reason, you're in a stronger position than ever. Why? Because you can understand what you used to believe - in Michael Collins' case, that killing was justified in the struggle for Irish independence - and you can also understand what you've come to believe - that violence is self-perpetuating and not worth it.

Michael Collins provides a wonderfully complex setting - a crucible - for our character to develop in. Even though director Neil Jordan took some liberties with history, for the most part the setting here is real.

Michael Collins is a good one to watch along with Braveheart, Ghandi and Malcolm X. All very similar stories about how leaders took on a very similar task in radically different ways.


At 4:05 AM, Blogger Lone Primate said...

I thought Michael Collins was brilliant. Liam Neeson was magnificent. I also loved the work Alan Rickman did... imagine the chutzpah of choosing an Englishman to portray Eamon de Valera. :) I understand Rickman showed up in Dublin the morning they were filming the big scene were De Valera ignites the Irish Civil War with his speech against the treaty and had to deliver the thing cold... and they didn't tell him beforehand that he'd be delivering it to unpaid extras. I think he pulled off the performance of his career so far in that scene. :)


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