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I bought a dvd for myself called INTO THE WILD released in 2007. Sean Penn wrote the screenplay and directed the feature film based upon a true story written by Jon Krakauer about Christopher McCandless. I liked the film a lot because I identified with it in some ways. The young white guy right after undergraduate graduation decides to travel. One of his main goals is to go and live in the nature of Alaska. The young man does not believe in materialism and money. He gives his savings to charity. He decides to travel west in the United States. He drives to Lake Mead area and parks his car in a river wash. A thunder storm happens overnight and flash floods him and his car away. His car gets wrecked. He survives and hitch hikes out of there. He meets all kinds of people on the road.  Some of the people he likes and meets are a hippish couple in their 30’s-40’s who drive a bus. He meets a young girl at Quartzite in between California and Arizona state border. In the same area he meets an older man he befriends. The man likes him and wants to adopt him. The young man says, we’ll talk about it when he returns from his trip to Alaska. He hops a train and makes it to LA, but ends up in a slum, downtown area of Los Angeles, Los Angeles and 5th Street. What he sees, he does not like, but he only hangs around that sleazy area and never views the rest of Los Angeles which is not like that. The same night he leaves and hops on another train to go somewhere else, but the train stops somewhere. Just as he is about to leave the train door, a man hits him with a club, beats him. That man works for the rail way. That man acted brutal and mean because he really hits him hard. The young man bleeds.

He rafts down the Colorado River in a kayak but the police are after him because he was suppose to have a permit to kayak down the river. The young man does not believe that he has to wait 10 years to obtain a permit to kayak the Colorado river. He expresses this to the ranger but the ranger does not flinch. He does not care on one hand. He rows all the way to the Sea of Cortez. He crosses back into US. He is lucky that US immigration lets him return to US because if he was a man or woman of color with brown skin, US immigration would certainly question him far too much even if he was a US citizen. US immigration would not believe he is a US citizen.

Alaska is true a wilderness where he stays. By accident he sees a lonely empty school bus in the wilderness and decides to live in it. The season turns into Spring. He tries to hunt small animals at first for food, which is not enough to last a few days. Once he views a huge moose. He shoots it. He quickly butchers it but for some reason he does not use his intelligence to butcher the moose and cook the meat on the same day. He could have cooked the meat all night, but he does not think about that. He could have cooked a huge section of it real well and eaten it up, but he does not. Instead he cooks the meat underneath some brushes for a couple of days. The meat does not cook properly. Maggots crawl on the meat. Most of the meat becomes rotten. He is not able to feed himself and goes hungry. He is upset with himself and suspect he feels depressed about it. Sometimes in his diary he writes he feels lonely. Happiness is when he shared with people, he said.

He tries to find plants to eat. He reads books to find plants in the forest. By mistake he thinks the plant he eats is edible, but it is not. He wakes up the next morning okay, but he is not okay. At least he is alive at that point. He rereads the plant book to clarify what he suspects happened. The book said he ate a poisonous plant. He checks back and forth. It is confirmed. He realizes he may die. Slowly he weakens. He does not die quickly. Symptoms are that people get paralysis and starve. Then one day as he lies in his sleeping bag, he breathes a last gasp. He dies.

As he travels this adventure, he does not let his parents know where he is at. He travels on this trip because he is angry at his parents. He is close to his sister.

When I said I identified with him, I knew he looked for truth in life. He was going through this growing up mental, emotional crisis in his young life. He travelled because he wanted to experience travel on the road and meet people. He was also tired of going to the university, the ivory tower. The ivory tower is sheltered too much sometimes. He did not believe in capitalism, the status quo and material things. He even burned his social security card. He burned his money when he started out but at some point he had to make some money to travel to Alaska so he worked at a hamburger joint for a while. I travelled like he did at nineteen or so. From that, mixing and trying to make a life in the world, I viewed that the world prefers men over women to manage the world: a man’s world. The world is based upon color, who gets priority when situations arise, such as my travel entrance into the US from Mexico or Canada or France from Los Angeles. The young man did not have any id, but the U.S. immigration believed in him enough to let him return to the US. That does not happen to people of color, especially First Nations people who cross the borders internationally from Canada to US and the reverse or from LA to France and the reverse. I have always had to talk my way into Canada or the US even before 9/11 because US and Canadian immigration are racist. US Immigration bases everything upon color who gets in, even though I am a US Citizen, the First Americans of the United States. This is a contraction. Canada is not innocent either.

He had some contractions, although he has a descent education and stemmed from an upper middle middle class family. He graduated with A’s. He learned things from books. He wrote and was a writer. He got along well with people. He had good values: meaning based upon the film story, for example he treated women in a non sexist way, which is not typical of heterosexual men. The young girl who played the guitar and sang, came onto him. He did not come onto her. Usually it is the other way around. She wanted sex because she asked him to come to her trailer. She dressed skimpy in underwear and a top to ask for sex. He saw that immediately and asked how old she was. He asked when she was born. At first she lied. She was sixteen. He preferred to be friends with her at first. More heterosexual men should follow his example, BUT THE WORLD DOES NOT TREAT WOMEN as he did. Treatment of women usually is the opposite. It is what I have experienced.

So then he read books to find out about plants to eat. He was not careful. He ate a plant which was poisonous and it killed him. Living in a place like Alaska which is not different than where I live in Vancouver BC in regards to cold weather and the landscape, I think he thought he could pick up this knowledge to kill animals and eat them quickly. Book learning has limitations. A person has to experience to learn to hunt animals. Plus there is this cold cold weather. What happens after a person kills an animal? How does a person butcher it and save the meat for a couple of days, which is an important part of survival on the land. This young man did not place much importance to learn to live in the Alaskan wilderness. He was smart but not very smart. I thought about the Inuits who live in the most Northern part of Canada and Alaska. It is very very cold in the winter where they live; yet they have managed for years to live and survive in the cold. Do the colonialists credit them for being able to survive upon the land like that? For that matter does anyone credit the Indigenous people who lived here first upon North America for survival? Very few I doubt.

He sought truth. He looked for meaning in his life. In the film story in his diary he writes he feels lonely. Happiness is when he shared with people, he said, which evolved direct from his own positive experiences with the young girl singer, the hippy couple and older man. They all really liked him. He liked them as well. They represented a family he never really experienced.

He developed a romantic notion about life. Writers as Jack Kerouac who wrote On the Road and Dharma Bums wrote about life in a romantic existence. Possibly this is where he picked up these notions because he read a lot. I related very well to this film. I like people who live as  a “free spirit” as it is called. His character was so intelligent and balanced on one hand, yet without intelligence and not balanced upon another because he thought he could live in nature in the remote mountains of Alaska without really planning or thinking it was important to know how to hunt, butcher animals to eat and store food to last a few days. To sleep in the river where a flash flood could happen, which happened was the beginning of his naive mistakes. Maybe hunger or lack of food for his body/brain made him punchy which affected his judgement to choose plants during the last month as he read books about plants to eat. As a White man his chances were more open to him. As a white guy he denounced capitalism, money and status: all that his parents wanted, a rare quality. He made mistakes in his assumptions about life. The film made me think and brought back memories about who I am and the adventures of youth because I lived such a spontaneous life style as a young woman. The difference is that people my age tossed off those alternative life styles and bought into the corporate point of view about money. I have not tossed off the idealistic notions I possessed at nineteen. Living nine lives only goes so far. Nature is more powerful than human beings.


A UCLA filmmaker colleague friend informed me about this INTO THE WILD film when it was released but I was not able to view it. He said he liked it. I do not recall that it was released in Vancouver.  I always wanted to view the film so when I saw this dvd video sale that said 2 for $10.00, I decided to buy the dvd.  There were not many INTO THE WILD dvds amongst the stacks of dvds for sale.


I am going to view Avatar this week because of a film review I read last week.  It was sent to me.  The Dine’ woman writer knew I would enjoy it.  She was correct.  I thought the review was right on and agreed with it.  I will include it in this review page.  It is funny how a review of a film can stimulate a person to view a film even though it was not a good review of the film.  I have to find out from own curiosity.   I HAVE THIS NEED TO KNOW FOR MYSELF. I’ll pay the expensive ticket to view this film but that is me, Arlene.  This is my business, the film and video business that I am part of anyhow.  Here is the link for the review: When Will White People Stop Making Movies LikeAvatar“? – Avatar


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