It is a sad evening and on television there’s a Franco-Belgian film titled CALVAIRE [THE ORDEAL in English]. I do not like French films, and usually I do not watch them; nonetheless some scenes seem to be worth considering: I decide, this way, to see this film to the end.
The story, apparently, seems to be the replica of some other horror films seen previously: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is the classic example of it, but there are some others having the same premises: a traveler stops in an unknown, desolated place and is catapulted from a normal life into a nightmare. In this case there is Marc, a wandering singer, doing shows for the elderly in nursing homes. As always in these cases his van has a fault and the protagonist is forced to stop at an isolated inn, run by an eccentric owner. Soon his forced stay lasts longer than expected, for the evil will of the innkeeper; little by little the young man realizes, with horror, to be in a hell. The owner, in fact, abandoned by his lady, imagines (led by some obscure mental mechanisms) that Marc is his former wife: consequently this insane imagination forces him to submit Marc to unspeakable physical and psychological tortures; as if that is not enough, it turns out that the small town in which the story takes place is devoid of women: therefore all the inhabitants, sick and lonesome, are encouraged to participate the innkeeper’s unhealthy imagination: this series of tragic events reduces, finally, the unfortunate guest to a larva, without humanity.
I must confess that, because of the plot and of the grim story, I suffered a lot all through the duration of the film.
Maybe it was a coincidence that made me watch the film last night. Maybe it was a case that cast a new light on that story. The fact is that in the narrative I could recognise – though expressed in allegorical form – all those who are the main features of bullying and mobbing. That also gave me a different interpretation for all the other movies that were filmed before this (mostly in the US): all had the aim to illustrate how the lives of some people can change if immersed in a reality different from them.
Because bullying and mobbing are nothing more than this: there is a group of people – a clan, a group – governed by codes and unwritten rules; obviously these rules are diverted and deviant, but both the clan and the reality around them accept and tolerate them as if nothing has happened. For the world and the society they are just ordinary people and there is nothing strange in what they do. However, if in this group arrives a new element – an element that does not correspond to the canons of that team, for any reason – that element – which is not accepted – must be humiliated and offended: his/her dignity must be erased, his/her rights of human being must be canceled. This up to extreme levels, sometimes to death: And I do not believe I am exaggerating, as to some results. In all cases of bullying and harassment, as well as in some horror films, there is the basic principle of “I want you to be”: I want you to be stupid, I want you to be bad, I want you to be homosexual, and even more. I want you to be a victim, my victim. No matter if your life is another; no matter if your nature and your character are different: if those who want to overpower you decide that you are what they think, you have to become what they think.
And then I wonder: “How many abuses, how much bullying – similar to those expressed allegorically in horror films – have taken place, up to now? And how many are still occurring, while neighbours, the people who are around these groups, never lift one finger to intervene? Why a human being has to lose all the self-esteem, to the point of being considered only a rag? Why trample, in such a vile manner, so fiercely, the feelings of a creature, regardless of his or her suffering? Why this enjoyment in inflicting cruel punishment, which is the heritage of our animal nature? Why isn’t there any mercy? Why is there so much cowardice in those who know, in those who see things – and even if they not see, they have the suspect – but do not react? Why isn’t there an answer followed by a rejection of these acts, unacceptable and ruthless? ”
But if there is no answer, then it means that the world and the life must go this way? That lives will be destroyed forever by the arrogance and by the ill-treatment and that there is no hope? Perhaps, even for many of those who read my articles, it will be so: it seems to me, at times, I’m floating in a sea of indifference and coldness.
But I will continue to struggle and propose some uncomfortable topics like this, just because this bothers my audience.