In the years to come, as we look back at this time in history we may ask one another; “Where were you when the Coronavirus hit?” For me the answer will be that it came during my Golden Jubilee Birthday. The name connotes significant celebration and yet it’s strange to think about celebrating during a time of crisis.
The current health scare aside, there are plenty of crises to go around; a tumbling economy, climate change, the disappearance of affordable housing, take your pick. While deplorable detention centers, the lack of resources and separation among mixed-status families may be at a record high under the current administration, things have been bad for a long long time. People are being deported in the hundreds, 365 days a year. The crisis is here and we can’t wash our hands of it.
Yet as we get our bearings, and muster up the strength to face all that is around us, movies become important. Movies help us to escape our oppressive realities and help us to explore them simultaneously. Movies offer us narratives to discuss and can drive us to take social action. They also reflect our celebrations and growth stages and provide a yardstick for the culture. The constant posting of the voracious virus aside does not drown out the steady requests for suggestions of movies to watch and shows to binge on. While folks may be looking for distraction, they may also be looking for an alternative story. Movies can help us make sense of what is happening.
America’s Family is a story of a family that survives crisis. It’s a story of people who fight to protect their family, who each rise to become bigger than they ever intended, sharing their whole selves as they survive together.
Such a story is critical right now when so many mixed-status families are terrified of the ongoing ICE raids, inhumane detention, and the steady rise of hate crimes even as the Coronavirus and economic crisis makes its wildfire spread.
Another thing we need movies for is to remind us that no matter how difficult the storm, no matter how deep the crisis goes, it will eventually come to an end. There will be change and resolution and growth and change again. And we will survive it.
Tomorrow, amid the rain downpours and long grocery lines, in my shelter-in-place, I will eat some of the cake I made and lay down the tomato plants in my garden. Blowing out candles and planting seeds to remember that in spite of the swirling chaos there is always the possibility of growth, renewal and rebirth. And beginning again.