Movies That Inspire

As a (formally) international relations student, I have always been interested in discussing ‘power’ as a concept. I believe that Indonesian females are (mostly) Renaissance women by nature, who see ‘power’ and ‘influence’ as two different things. According to Forbes’ 11 Most Powerful Women, power is something that you earn over time, (like) getting a better seat in restaurants, the ability to set agenda, and most important of all, the opportunity to be able to help others. I myself define power as being hierarchically higher but horizontally equal and contributive–with the relationship of students and teacher in a class as the best example in particular. As you might have understood, I’m an aspiring professor, mainly inspired by these two scenes from my all-time favorite movies:

1. Mona Lisa Smile (2003)


Betty: What is that?
Miss Watson: You tell me.
Class: [silence]
Miss Watson: Carcass by Soutine. 1925.
Betty: It’s not on the syllabus.
Miss Watson: No, it’s not. Is it any good?
Class: [silence]
Miss Watson: Come on, ladies. There’s no wrong answer. There’s also no textbook telling you what to think.
Class: [silence]
Miss Watson: It’s not that easy, is it?
Betty: All right. No. It’s not good. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it art. It’s grotesque.
Connie: Is there a rule against grotesque art?
A girl: Aren’t there standards?
Betty: Of course there are. Otherwise a tacky velvet painting could be equated to a Rembrandt.
Connie: Hey my Uncle Ferdie has two tacky velvet paintings. He loves those clowns.
Betty: There are standards, technique, composition, color, even subject. So if you’re suggesting that rotted side of meat is art…much less good art, then what are we going to learn?
Miss Watson: Just that. You have outlined our new syllabus, Betty. Thank you.
Class: [silence]
Miss Watson: What is art? What makes it good or bad, and who decides? Next slide, please.

2. Dead Poet Society (1989)


Keating: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. The Latin term for that sentiment is ‘carpe diem’. Does anyone know what that means?”
Meeks: “Carpe diem. Seize the day.”
Keating: “Very good, Mr…?”
Meeks: “Meeks.”
Keating: “Seize the day. Why does the poet write these lines?”
A student: “Because he’s in a hurry?”
Keating: “No, No, No! It’s because we’re food for worms, lads!”
Keating: “Because we’re only going to experience a limited number of springs, summers, and falls.”

Being a professor gives you the fullest authority to drive people’s minds, to startle them (and be startled) with (their) new ideas, as well as the scary risk of turning them as world’s most vicious haters. Most of us wouldn’t prefer the last point, but it’s just one of those calamities that might happen. Still, having watched the abovementioned movies, having known Mr Nurhadi/Mbak Evi, and having tried the blackboard-thrill myself, I’m convinced that I was born to join their league. One day. Amen.

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