The short and the short of it: The Mountain King learns a giant-sized lesson

(image via Vimeo (c) Brandon Wu)
(image via Vimeo (c) Brandon Wu)

 

Humanity takes a while to learn its lessons and learn them well.

If history has taught us anything, and it’s quite true that those who ignore it are doomed to repeat it to their detriment, it’s that we often misunderstand the fundamental of things like power, wealth and leadership.

More often than not, we allow our understanding of these things to skew to a wholly personal, self-aggrandising perspective, instead of realising that for humanity as a whole to benefit we need to think of the greater good, of the needs of our fellow men and women rather than just our own.

It may sound too much like socialism to some but it’s simply realising that, say, good leaders, the ones who are effective and truly make a difference aren’t the ones strutting about, adjusting their “Emperors’ New Clothes” but instead the ones looking for the welfare of those around them and the environment in which they live.

This kind of humility doesn’t come easily as California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) student Brandon Wu‘s delightfully poignant and insightful film, The Mountain King, demonstrates so beautifully.

Set in a land where peaceful, gentle giants selflessly help those around them as well as nurturing the environment in general, this short film by a fourth year student, it is a deftly-wrought lesson in the perils of assuming power and leadership is all about lording it over others rather than serving them.

Using a minimum of narration and dialogue, this richly-rendered modern fairytale conveys its message without being preachy or polemic, opting instead for showing over telling, emerging all the more powerful for it.

Beautiful art and a subtlely-delivered message? This is exactly why we watch cinema in any form.

I predict Brandon Wu has a rich and much-admired future ahead of him.

 

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