Posts Tagged With: robert sean leonard

O Captain, My Captain!

It was 1998  (13 years ago) when my senior in college introduced me to this movie. There, my personal journey started on, and still.

The film is set in a 1950s boarding school for boys. It’s the start of the new school year and Mr Keating has been hired to be the new English Literature teacher. His teaching methods are unorthodox and strange, but his passion and love for life and poetry and living inspires a small group of lads to Seize the Day and form a club called the Dead Poets Society where they meet in a cave off the school grounds at night time and read verses from dead poets to each other, smoke, mess around, have a laugh, live their life.

Charlie Dalton AKA Nuwanda and The Dead Poets Society

“Then I had religion, then I had a vision. I could not turn from their revel in derision. Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black, cutting through the forest with a golden track. Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black-cutting through the forest with a golden track.Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black, cutting through the forest with a golden track.”

Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian, Welton Academy (they said it’s Hell-ton Academy). Ethan Hawke finally makes a stand for himself as a silent-shy student, but one who ever noticed and moved by the words ‘Seize The Day’.

Todd Anderson, the silent and shy student, but encouraged Poet.

Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), one of the members of this group hard working, straight As student whose strict and controlling father wants him to attend medical school, but Neil’s real passion is in acting, and through Mr. Keating’s teaching Neil learns that he should seize every opportunity and do what he wants to, not just that his father wants.

Neil Perry, the passionate leader in the group.

As for my Favourite Character is Charlie Dalton AKA Nuwanda, one rich kid that has to rebel all kinds of forms brought to him. I heart his style, his attitude and the way he’s saying:

Damn it, Neil. The name is Nuwanda.

The film Dead Poets Society is based on the novel by Nancy H. Kleinbaum and brilliantly produced and directed by Peter Weir. Weir quickly introduces us to the main characters, oh just how efficient movie it is for me 😉 Just a couple more minutes, we will realise that these teenage boys are not all that different from us. They have the same tendencies, the same overbearing parents, and the same problems with members of the opposite sex. They are real people. It’s that emotional bond that Weir establishes so early and establishes so well that makes you really feel like one of the guys. You laugh when they do, you cry when they do, and you feel the zest, the zeal, the exhilarance that comes so naturally with being young.

The scenes with Robin Williams are superb, I seriously can’t complain. Some of the best dialogue you will ever hear are spoken in this film. And as for that, the movie screenplay won an Oscar.

Each characters delivers the lines like they living on the tunnel themselves and it was remarkable for me when one scene appears comical-with-a-sense-of-real-happenings, like this one, A call from God scene:

Mr. Nolan, it's for you. It's God. He says we should have girls at Welton.

Also these undescribable great scenes, I will never forget:

The picture of Uncle Walt up there. What does he remind you of? Don't think. Answer. Go on.

“Truth. Truth is like, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold. Y-Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.”

I'm playing Puck, Todd! I'm Puck!

"I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world." W. W. Uncle Walt again. YAWP! 😀

Neil silently surrender.

Nuwanda and his solo clarinet session.

O Captain, My Captain!

Its easy to recognize the cinematic brilliance of Dead Poets Society. The script is dripping with insightful dialog and dramatic nuance (which I haven’t find in any other movie even until now), and director Peter Weir drew out distinctly emotional performances from his entire cast, particularly Robin Williams, who has never given a finer performance. That’s easy.

But what didn’t seem so clear but definitely there, is the importance of this film with respect to our daily lives, every single of it. This picture does not exist solely for the purpose to entertain (which it does manage to do fantastically), but also to stress the influence of both conformity and individuality on ones life.

This shouldn’t take you to one-soul-searching kind of movie, because when the boys become engulfed by their new-found sense of non conformity, you become engulfed by the story and its characters. And when it’s finished, you will appreciate how precious your individuality is, and just how much some have to sacrifice to attain theirs. Whether you’re a conscious individual, someone struggling to find their own voice, or just have a real passion for great poetry, it is doubtless that the message of Dead Poets Society is one that can speak to you.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. That you are here. That life exists, and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Back in 1998, I remember my seniors held the same forum, we call it ‘The Friday Night Forum’, every Friday 7 pm. There will be friends, people who have open minds and the rule goes for one condition: you have to be your self. One can read a poetry, another can sing, dance, scream, whatever you want to do. We had candles lighten the place, so even from that semi-darkness you can see each person glows their own light.

“To dance, clap hands, exalt, shout, skip, roll on, float on.”

Since then, life happens, taken me to places I never been before, meet people I never knew before, overseeing conflicts and working together to resolve them. The ups and down seems like the only circle would last forever I’d have to walk on.

Weeks ago my mother talk me on abut the choice I made for my life, working and living in the world of Cinema. Mostly she worries about my future and I remember Keating said, ‘We are all worm food, people’. But I got my mother’s point, and I took it as a reminder. But yeah, this rollercoaster kind of life has turn me on and off for a while, but this is what I’m doing. And I just can’t stop doing what I’m doing.

Despite many hopes and fears I packed up along with my backpack everyday, there’s always one slight-little-tiny relieve covers my head, that somehow, through everything (you don’t want to know ‘everything’), I managed to seize the day. Somehow through all of those hell, I’m here, Carpe Diem-ing my life.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today. Tomorrow will be dying.”

AKA Carpe Diem.

Thank you my seniors in Broadcasting UGM, I will be forever in debt for this.

Categories: film, people, poem, thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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