Escapist

I’ve been binging on Deadwind, described by Forbes as “Nordic noir,” for the last few evenings. Like so many other Scandinavian films and television series I’ve watched during the past few years, it is—to me—absolutely gripping. I cannot quite put my finger on why I find these Scandinavian crime dramas so much more appealing than the domestic versions; probably has something to do with the fact that they seem more realistic, as if I’m actually engaged in the action, rather than simply following it. So, although the plot is nothing new (murder, duh), it is executed quite well.  The first season of Deadwind has twelve episodes; the second, only 8. At the rate I’m going, I suspect I’ll wrap it up within the next few days. Then, I’ll move on to something else; more than likely, another ScandiDrama.

But maybe not. I’m interested in another noir series, this one (Hinterland) a Welsh noir series originally titled Y Gwyll (Welsh for “The Dusk”).  It, too, is a police drama. I love the IMDB description: A noir crime drama set in Aberystwyth, Wales, where troubled DCI Tom Mathias solves murders while searching for redemption. Something about that simple description appeals to me. The series’ languages are Welsh and English; I suspect I’ll rely on subtitles for both, given my ears’ not-infrequent difficulty with accents.

Though most of the films and series I’ve watched lately have been at least modestly stimulating, intellectually, if I am honest about them I have to admit they all are simply escapist. I watch them and allow myself to get absorbed by them so my mind is freed from worry for a while. The reason I know they are purely escapist is this: after watching an entire series, I cannot recall much about it. It’s as if my mind was on autopilot during my viewing. I enjoy the hell out of them, but I have to coax details about them from my memory (if I want to remember them). I suppose this could be a symptom of an underlying physical or mental problem, but I don’t think so. I think it’s evidence that I’m escaping into the television screen. I used to escape by getting into my car and taking long, aimless daytrips. Not these days. These days I read subtitles and vicariously experience foreign countries and their all-too-familiar problems with crime triggered by greed, jealousy, fear, and other caustic emotions.

While trying to attach a title to this short post, I learned I had already entitled two posts, “Escape,” and had included the word “escape” in two more titles. The psychoanalyst in me believes there is meaning in the repetitive return to the term. The psychoanalyst in me sees evidence that I have a history of psychological imprisonment; a sense of being caged or chained to situations from which I feel a need to flee. Fortunately, I am ill-equipped to be a psychoanalyst; my license to practice would be revoked before I started. So I’ll have to be satisfied that my proclivity toward using “escape” is simply coincidental. And this post shall be entitled, “Escapist.”

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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