Don't believe me?
Then answer me this: when did World War I begin?
If your answer was 1914, the usual answer to this question in 'Western' educated societies, you are DEFINITIVELY biased. 1914 was when Britain, and the other European powers, entered the war. It is the Anglo-Western-centric view of the world.
The alternative view in circulation is that the true beginning of the war was the First Balkan Crisis in 1908. The difference between these two possible start dates is that The First Balkan Crisis didn't involve any 'Western' powers, at that stage. But make no mistake, it was this conflict, and the regional tension along with military build up that ensued, which led to the first global war.
If you're in China or Japan, you may even say that the enmity started in 1894.
You probably don't care.
If something isn't directly a part of your antiquity, it doesn't get printed in your history books.
I know, I know, you don't get swayed by the weight of history anyway. You're different. An independent thinker.
Like it or not, your experience of the world is coloured by curation outside of your control. From a very young age, your world view has been molded by education, relationships, and all the seemingly mundane occurrences in your life.
The child that was delighted to be taken to the "pictures" every weekend by her parents has a very different view on the value of cinema to someone who could never afford to go. Due to to the slightest difference in circumstances, the emotional resonance of the cinema experience is totally different for these two individuals.
Some people allow themselves to be dominated by the unconscious biases they've inherited. That's why, despite a universal enlightenment in information accessibility, we are still plagued by climate change deniers, bigots, anti-vaxxers, and so on.
Only when the benefit of experience illuminates reality to these people, do they finally let go of well-established prejudices. In some cases, like the reformed anti-vaxxer who's seven children all came down with whooping cough, it can be a lesson hard-learned.
In other situations, the realisation of your biases can be more gentle. Like a challenging conversation, where you find yourself arguing a point that you can't defend with more than emotional support. It's important to you, therefore it's important.
If only the world worked that way.
But it doesn't.
What you realise, if you are willing to take on the insight, is that the biases you cling to, to categorise and cope with this whirling mess called life, are actually enormous barriers you put in your own way.
In the world of film, these inherent prejudices, bred into film culture by its history, lead to misunderstanding and resistance to experimentation.
And, most importantly, these biases create confusion in the most important two issues facing filmmakers and screen storytellers of this era:
The 'war for content' vs 'the war for attention'.
I'm not immune to these same innate biases, by the way. Case in point, I believe in cinema as an experience that is special and worthy as a storytelling medium.
But, as I found out in a conversation recently, not everyone shares my myopia for the greatness of cinema...
...TO BE CONCLUDED IN 'PART 2' NEXT WEEK.
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