Thoughts on the Film: "The Music Box"
“It's never going to be OK again” - Michael Laszlo
“The Holocaust is the world's sacred cow. Holocaust survivors are secular saints. You'd be better off pissing on the tomb of the unknown soldier than cross examining them” – Harry (her father-in-law)
This quote was pretty revealing to me and it suggested two things to me. It suggested that individuals who have survived the Holocaust are singled out and get special help and that this character doesn't agree with that. I looked at my own feelings and feel like I see and understand part of this statement in my own life and perspective. I think that I do treat known Holocaust victims differently. I think that I would be more likely to give them special treatment and if I could find a politically correct way to do it, I would want to hear and document their stories. I also recognize that I feel like their experiences were so horrible that if I can make their current life a little easier, I want to do it. I can't make up for what happened and I wasn't even alive, but I still feel a debt. I feel like my country didn't do enough soon enough and they were human beings that were significantly persecuted. Heck, I am a Mormon and my religion has a history of persecution against its members as well... not nearly as much as those of the Jewish faith I must stress. However, I see that as a debt I owe and I feel no anger towards the victims themselves nor do I feel that if people feel the same way I do it is inappropriate. I listened to that statement and realized that character feels annoyance that these victims may get special treatment. He even described them as 'sacred cows' – animals who are treated better than some people... Funnily enough, I agree in one way as I feel like we should be treating all people better and only see a problem with treating the cows well and people poorly.... can't we treat people and animals well? Is that possible for us as a race? I do wonder and doubt sometimes....
“I'm not a beast, I'm a father. It's not me... It's not me” - Michael Laszlo
“None of the men I knew were monsters. They were salt of the earth men like your old man.” - Harry (father in law)
“He's not a monster. I'm his daughter. I know him better than anyone.”
When I heard this line, I thought about the character standing in front of a mirror that then cracked and became several views that she was trying to put together but the pieces didn't seem to fit. They didn't fit because she was trying to keep the image and perspective that she had of her father intact... It was a challenge to recognize that was the problem with the image. (It's a challenge for any of us.) This was a powerful moment because I thought back on my life and my parents and realized that I do not know much about their pasts as well. I have some ideas and have been told things, but that's it. Except for a quirk of fate, my parents can't surprise me in the same way that Ann Talbot was. These people that we call monsters can be the man next door who is someone we like, we respect. And we just didn't know.
“I care about remembering. It's too late to change what happened but its never too late to remember what happened.... Our country has always tried to be a haven for those who have been persecuted and after the war we let in thousands of its victims, but unfortunately we also let in some of the executioners.” - Prosecutor Burke
I feel the same way. I cannot change anything and watching this film was so immensely painful. It is not too late to remember, to recognize and to try and understand. I believe that when in doubt, our country needs to let someone in. I would rather save a few executioners to save victims just like I would rather a few guilty men to not go to jail if it makes it sure that no innocent person will go. I had never heard of the OSI before this class and one thing I feel sure of is that this department is not a waste of governmental resources. I feel its importance more strongly as I watched this prosecutor having to explain that he isn't being vindictive, that this isn't a personal vendetta, that his job is needful and has meaning. Dr Steve Rogers seemed to have some of the same experiences and I wonder how much of a struggle that has been for him. When I listened to him I found myself wondering how much of his experience was more of a view of his perspective and not entirely the way 'it might be'. I watched Ann Talbot tear that prosecutor apart and I saw his frustration that years of research was simply being disregarded and I thought of Dr. Rogers and felt I understood his history a little better. I hope we do continue to fund the Office of Special Investigations.
“How could you do those things papa? How could you do those things to us... to Mikey?... Why can't you try to say the truth.?” - Ann Talbot
Thank you for the opportunity to discover this film. I appreciate a better perspective on the Office of Special Investigations and on Dr Roger's life experiences. I appreciated seeing a fictionalized, but realistic understanding of the trauma and difficulty that these cases bring to families and communities. I questioned some of my own history and thoughts on defending war criminals and whether good behavior really changes anything. We all act 'good' in most circumstances but that doesn't mean our thoughts or ideas have changed... especially if they are not challenged. I appreciate the opportunity to think more and to recognize the challenges on all sides. I feel like I understand people who deny genocides more and while I do not like it, I understand. I wonder how many deniers do so to rehabilitate loved ones instead of just racism and prejudice. I wonder if the OSI has problems recruiting....? I also found myself wondering if laws restricting speech when it comes to genocide denial are a good idea... yet I really believe in free speech. I leave this film with many more thoughts than I walked in with and more questions. That is the sign of a good piece of art.
pictures from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Box_%28film%29, http://www.snipview.com/q/Music%20Box%20%28film%29, http://www.filmmisery.com/women-in-film-jessica-lange/, http://nuovocinemalocatelli.com/2013/06/28/film-stasera-sulle-tv-gratuite-music-box-di-costa-gavras-con-jessica-lange-venerdi-28-giugno-2013/, http://forum.tntvillage.scambioetico.org/?showtopic=232866,