Thursday, November 15, 2012

Le Roi de Coeur


Images above from one of my favorite films, Philippe de Broca's King of Hearts (originally titled Le Roi de Coeur) about a group of mentally ill patients who seem to possess more sanity than the society that has decided their illness.

Set in France during WW1, the German army has reportedly planted a bomb in a small town, forcing everyone to flee, leaving the patients of an insane asylum to be the only civilians left. The French army send in a Scottish ornithologist mistaken for an explosives expert to disarm the bomb (Alan Bates), and he is greeted by this band of insanity, who, without the 'normal' folks of the asylum telling them what to do, have chosen to do just what they please, dress just how they like, and create their own systems of society. 

This film brings up the interesting question - who are we to decide what is normal? While the outside society is at war with itself, the insane take on the rolls of members of the society that has fled and peacefully goes about its business with great joy. In the eyes of the Scottish stranger, and without anyone there to tell them otherwise, the insane seem completely at ease and almost normal (though their playful antics, wild stagings and costumes still hint otherwise). 

While mental illness is not something to be taken lightly, this film sheds light on our tendency to decide for others what is 'right' or 'normal' for them. We live in a society where the weird and strange are often dismissed for their inability to fit in instead of commended for their individuality. I've always been drawn to the unusual, but sometimes even I find myself judging others for their choices because it is not the choice I would have made instead of respecting creative differences. For me, Le Roi de Coeur is a reminder that we should celebrate our freedom of choice in our thoughts, dress, or actions, and have respect for others who choose to express this freedom. 

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous!
    I wanna watch it now!
    I had never heard of this film before, thanks for the scoop, it really looks like an awesome one


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