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.