Masculinity Movies LIVE #4 took place on Friday, November 26. The featured movie of the evening was the award-winning documentary "Beyond the Call," a dramatic documentary about the three crazy gringos Ed Artis, Jim Laws and Walt Ratterman who travel the world to deliver relief aid to war-torn regions so dangerous that no-one else would venture there.
"These are our rules, we are not into God business, we don't want to change your politics or your religion. It must be high adventure, it must be humanitarian. And it has to be in an area where few want to go. If it doesn't hit those criteria, we're not interested." – Ed Artis
The discussion revolved for a short while on whether their aid work was motivated by selfish desires for adventure and satisfaction or if there were actual benevolent motives involved. This was somewhat of a meta-perspective on what was an intensely personal story, which is why I directed the conversation into a more intimate and subjective territory after a while. I did that because I find that it is always easy to step out of our personal experience to take the analytical approach, weighing pros and cons. It is perhaps more useful to check in with ourselves about how our own background elicits our responses and judgments in the observance of another's.
This is always a balance I have to strike when I write about movies – zooming out into the collective, analytical meta-world or staying in an intensely personal space. This evening turned out to be about that and also the importance of speaking truthfully about our own personal experience, no matter if it elicits favourable feedback or not. Our personal truth is too valuable to be held back for fear of negative responses.
I'm grateful to find again and again that the MM LIVE container is strong enough to hold disagreement and provocation in the larger embrace of brotherhood and mutual respect and care. This, it seems to me, is what we need to generate in our relationships with other men in the time ahead.
To the eight of you who came, thank you for making it such an enriching evening. My sense is that next time will be even richer – and with a bigger group too. Interest is growing.