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Columns : Films, Finance and Fine Arts - Kareem Mortimer Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

Kareem Mortimer: Who are we anyway?
By Kareem Mortimer
May 31, 2015 - 1:11:28 PM

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I am currently listening to an audio book by Wayne Dyer and in the recording he asks the listener to ask him or herself a simple question. The question we had to ask ourselves was “Who am I?” Immediately ideas flooded into my brain about nationality, gender, and race; but before I could have answered, I was stopped and then asked to answer the question from the perspective that no one had ever told me who I was. “Who are you?” he asked “And do not give me a textbook definition, give me a definition from your soul“

“Who am I?” I thought about it for a while and then knew the answer was that I am a Being that is having an experience of life on this planet with the power of choosing how to define myself. I could not be labeled and I could not be boxed in, although people will choose to put me in a box in their minds, I will not put myself in a box. This was a very liberating experience because now I have the capability of making choices and not being powerless by having people define what my experience of life should be. Although labels are apart of our social reality, in the quiet and the stillness of my mind I could be free of these limiting restraints. Films also tell this universal truth, for 90 minutes we are able to watch and identify with characters that for the most part do not share our labels however we connect with them and see our commonality. That commonality is our humanness.

The two films that are playing this week at the Island House Cinema, the lead characters are faced with complications of their human experience.

In Still Alice, we witness the life of Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) who is a renowned linguistics professor at Columbia University. When words begin to escape her and she starts becoming lost on her daily jogs, Alice must come face-to-face with a devastating diagnosis: early-onset Alzheimer's disease. As the once-vibrant woman struggles to hang on to her sense of self for as long as possible, Alice's three grown children must watch helplessly as their mother disappears more and more with each passing day. (synopsis courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics). This was a beautiful film to have watched and it definitely made me cry. I have had the experience of having a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s. It is a challenging and difficult illness to witness and I cannot begin to imagine how it feels for the individual that is experiencing it. I always believed that when we got older we would not be able to be as active as we would like but we would have our memories to comfort us. This is why I find Alzheimer’s such a difficult disease, without the memories of the people we love, who are we and what is the point of it all? One of my great-grandmothers on my maternal side suffered from Alzheimer’s before she passed away ten years ago, growing up she was a strong hardworking woman and it was heartbreaking to see her not recognize me. One visit to her house in Chippingham, I sat and spoke to her. She did not remember who I was but she wanted to repeat a poem for me, she repeated the poem Persevere that she learned as a young person. She knew the entire poem line by line and smiled with pride and happiness when she was done. I looked at my grandmother and smiled, through this disease she had not gone anywhere, she was still here and would remain here. Throughout the ravages of this disease there will be brief periods where she would remind us that the essence of her being was still with us and I would have to find my peace in that. This disease, as awful as it is, was just an experience in being human.

In Locke, shot in real time we see a man's (Tom Hardy) life unravels after he leaves a construction site at a critical time and drives to London to be present for the birth of a child conceived during a one-night stand. (synopsis courtesy of A24) This film is tour-de force by Hardy in which he demonstrates that he is one of the finest actors of our generation. This is also a story about being honest with who we are and coming to grips with our human shortcomings.

The question of who am I is not one that is meant to serve an ego but I believe one that enables us to make sense of the world that we live in and knowledge of it gives makes us powerful in a world that could easily make us powerless due to illness or a momentary lapse in judgment. Recognizing who we truly are in my opinion makes us realize that all of us are strangely and wonderfully connected.

Still Alice plays everyday at The Island House Cinema May 29th- June 4th at 6:30 pm

Locke plays everyday at The Island House Cinema May 29th- June 4th at 8:45 pm

Reservations must be made at The Island House at 242.698.6300

Email: cinema@the-island-house.com

About the author: Kareem Mortimer is an award winning filmmaker and artist who has completed several films including Children of God, Wind Jammers, Passage, Float and The Eleutheran Adventure. He is the President of the production company Best Ever Film and is the curator of the film program at The Island House Cinema, a boutique 48 seat theater in Western New Providence dedicated to showcasing the best in independent, foreign, art, Caribbean and Bahamian film. He is also in development of the feature film Cargo.

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Films, Finance and Fine Arts - Kareem Mortimer
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