Cloud Atlas (2012)
Directed and Written by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Original Novel: “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell
Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw
A tiny solar system, even smaller than a dot in the endless infinite universe… The tiny planet Earth within that system is almost invisible. Human beings on this tinny tiny planet have been living in a precarious chain of illusions, that is, living for instant benefits and with futile ambitions to attain these illusions. Those who once lived are now gone and no longer exist but their selfish conceptions and habits remain. It is an endless continuation of pain. They do harm to each other; the strong trample and maltreat the weak. They just live for their own splendor. However, what meaning would lie on the repetition of such a life if we were born to just die meaninglessly in the end?
The reason for our existence in the world must be in order to live. We are not supposed to have a lifeless life trapped in our own delusion. We are living and breathing at this moment in order to live together with the world that is the everlasting world: the world without “me”. It is the world where everyone works hard like ants for the true world.
Cloud Atlas jumps back and forth between different periods of time and space within 500 years, cultures, races, values and social ideologies including: South Pacific coast in 1849, Scotland in 1936, San Francisco in 1973, London in 2012, South Korea in 2144, and a Hawaiian island 106 years after the annihilation of civilization. It ultimately depicts the conviction for the true world where everyone lives for the betterment of others and truly loves each other, and furthers their moving devotion to actualize that.
The film sets in 6 different times and places. Countless people come and go through the ages, and although cultures change and ideologies evolve, the life mankind leads remains unchanged even after 500 years have passed. It is the life of settling within the never-broken desires and conceptions rooted deeply in human life; the life of abusing that mind to entrap and dominate others; and the life of being manipulated by domination and powerlessly suffering in pain.
Dominators believe that it is a ‘Natural Order’ to have authority and control over the weak. They put it into a conclusion that the world cannot be changed. However, confronting the natural order of the world, if all life exists as one without “the self” and ant-like devotion of never giving up, working diligently and devoting everything for happiness and equality for all, regardless of which generation it is and how severe they get abandoned, the man-made illusionary world wouldn’t last long.
Those ants do not know to give up but fully devote themselves and work for the world to the end. They work as one without “self” laying everything down and only thinking of the true world that is originally complete and everlasting. From time to time, they will lose their most precious ones or even give up their life. But with the conviction for the real world, they never let go of their belief.
Someone in the film says, “No matter what you do, it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.” That limitless ocean is also just “a multitude of drops”.
Wouldn’t this world become real heaven if each of the ants, without any delusions, works diligently for the world (that is, works when working, eats when eating and sleeps when sleeping)? This very place would be the ideal world everyone dreams for: a utopia. When we all work together, we will achieve the world with never-ending laughter, the world where everyone is equal and lives for others.
Did you believe that the life you lived was yours? Actually, the reason you could exist from birth until now, even at this moment, is because the eternally-living origin exists. If you have only lived for your own sake and forgotten about the truth of the world, why don’t you give it a second thought? From this point, wouldn’t you work diligently like an ant for the true world that has given the life to you and everything in the world? Let’s escape from our thoughts of hunger to satisfy our greed. It would be endless joy and fun to do the work of the world for the world.
Photo Copyright: ⓒ 2012 Warner Bros.