An Atlas to the Clouds

The sun just came out.  Seems appropriate.

So, yesterday, our family was hanging out with some friends of ours.  The guys were watching racing and golf in the garage.  We girls decided to watch Cloud Atlas with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and a million other well-known and less well-known actors.  So, here’s how it went down, and while I’m not trying to spoil anything, this movie was so trippy, I might not even realized that I’ve revealed something important.

First, you should know, after watching the 1st few minutes of the movie (which is 3 hours long), I fell asleep for a few minutes.  I’m honestly not all that sure that it mattered.  Also, you should know that the only reason I’m writing about movie is because of something else I was watching today and a question it raised in my mind.

Cloud Atlas is, as I said, trippy.  In fact, it’s trippy as well.  It’s also a visual feast and a puzzler’s dream.  The underlying theme, I think, is one of reincarnation and eternal connections.  In fact, with an integral plot-line taking place in Neo Seoul, it’s not surprising just how much Cloud Atlas has a Buddhist bent.  Please note, that when I talk about Asian story telling, I’m not referring to the Americanized, Hollywood-style Asian portrayals.  I’m referring to very old cultural values that are very foreign to western civilizations.  Perhaps it is this perspective that makes Cloud Atlas difficult for people not accustomed to eastern cultural themes.

Briefly, Cloud Atlas is about a group of individuals reappearing over the course of 3 or so centuries trying to connect with others as a means of salvation and redemption.  There is lots of blood, lots of violence, and a fair amount of sex.  Even so, I found this to be a beautiful portrait of humanity.

But now, I’m watching Ten 2, the second series of a Korean drama that follows a special investigative team trying to track down a serial killer.  There’s also lots of blood, lots of violence, and a fair amount of sex.  In it, they’ve also used a similar plot device – a partial book (which is what made me connect it with Cloud Atlas).  Although the two works have format, plot, and language differences, they both seem related by a theme – getting past those things that separate us and make us hostile toward one another and struggling to connect as parts of a larger whole.

I wonder if the writers of Ten 2 watched Cloud Atlas before they began writing.


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