In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, my I present a short essay I wrote about the Nazi-fighting message contained in the movie NeverEnding Story – which, lest you forget, was directed by Wolfgang Petersen right after he finished Das Boot. They look like big, good, strong hands, don’t they?
(Although I’ve added pictures and made a small edit to the lead in, I wrote the majority of the text in October because after all I am a futurist.)
Sylvia says: I totally agree with everything you wrote and you gave me new ways to look at the never-ending story. I would say that, yes Bastian is a hero, because he took strength within himself. He used the glimpse of a creator (as the human kind can be classified) to create an alternative solution, alternative to misery of life. When such tragedies the holocaust occur, any poet, philosopher or idealist rebel is salvation of the society, right then and there or in years to come. They can because looking at reality with creativity (wherefore out of the box) they are the only ones who can find a solution where the other well known solutions didn’t work, and the only ones who want to shout them out or at least the only ones who know how to shout them, just like Bastian who is the only one who eventually shouted to Atreyu because of his nature of thinking out of what society would feed him. If this makes sense
Romie: Yes, exactly. Even when there are smaller tragedies in my life, I find myself seeking out stories and music and art I haven’t seen before, because it is no comfort to return to what already existed for me until I can see it with new eyes.
Sylvia: I do the same, just browse and instinctively find a different perspective or morality/motivation.
Nic says: I feel bad that when I watched it recently my main thought was ‘Why doesn’t Atreyu just squeeze round the back of those laser statues instead of going down the middle? there’s loads of room…”
Romie: They could have lasered him anyway. Totes powerful.
Nic: My second thought in that sequence was that he actually seems to get through just by running, not really via self belief (they fire anyway, he just gets through in time first). Not that I don’t think running can often be a great substitute for self belief but I guess it would less inspirational so everyone in Fantasia has to pretend that’s what really happened.
Romie: I am a huge fan of running as a substitute for self-belief; another way of putting that is that I almost never ask myself “am I happy” because that doesn’t matter so long as the thing I’m doing needs to get done. But I figure in the movie it’s more of a demonstration of how hard it is not to let doubt creep in. (I’m betting plenty of those corpses tried the run technique and failed.) Even managing to be brave for one extra second is the difference between heroism and obliteration. Particularly as a kid, that makes it seem more achievable. It doesn’t matter whether I’m confident all the time; it matters whether I can be confident at the exact moment it’s my cue to step on stage.
Nic: I am genuinely happy at this interpretation.