Il personaggio del noto film V per Vendetta è terrorista, killer, eppure piace al pubblico, e personalmente, mi è carissimo. Per quale motivo? Un uomo solitario, che vive nelle ombre, che vive di odio e rancore, lottando contro forze molto più potenti di lui, seguendo una storia che spesso manca di coerenza, di logica. Forse sono proprio i suoi difetti, dietro quella maschera perfetta, che ci inteneriscono, che insieme alle sue parole eloquenti ci fanno sognare, sperare, credere nello spirito dell'uomo, e della donna accanto a lui.
Come possiamo definire dunque questo personaggio, che vuole difendere l'arte, e lo fa nascondendolo nei sotterranei del suo covo, sotto una stazione Victoria umida e ammuffita, dove solo lui può godersela? Chi è questo 'uomo del popolo' che si nasconde dietro la maschera, che dà esplicitamente la colpa per l'esistenza di quel regime atroce alla gente apatica, che evita la stessa gente che vorrebbe ispirare e spronare? V brama di ottenere la sua vendetta su chi ha peccato contro di lui e contro gli innocenti, ma questo desidero forse è insensato, visto che per ogni prepotente al potere ce ne sono dieci pronti a prendere il suo posto nel momento in cui muore. V invita a una solidarietà da parte dei telespettatori a lungo avvelenati dai programmi del partito neofascista, V parla dell'unione che fa la forza, quella stessa unione, la stessa parola dello slogan del partito, una parola con così tante sfumature che confonde l'indipendenza di pensiero, la scelta, la diversità d'opinione e gusto che arricchisce qualsiasi società. Il discorso di V sui diritti dell'uomo non è nulla di nuovo, basta ricordare quella sull'umanità nel film d'un altro grande inglese, Charlie Chaplin, Il Grande Dittatore del 1940.
Come tutte le vere opere d'arte, dunque, il personaggio di V offre più domande che risposte, ci fa riflettere sui nostri valori, sul nostro comportamenteo, inl nostro coraggio e la nostra voglia di fare, di conquistare, di tollerare e di vivere una vita civile. Non serve fare un giudizio facile sui politici corrotti e stupidi, molto più utile prendere in considerazione il nostro comportamento, nel nostro piccolo, chiederci se siamo egoisti o altruisti, se siamo coraggiosi o siamo di quelli che accettano, che si danno per vinti davanti alle scelte morali, al nostro destino, alle possibilità che ci offre la vita. "Non hai paura della morte, vero? Sei come me," dice Creedy, il capo della polizia, più pitbull che uomo.
V risponde: "L'unica cosa che abbiamo in comune, e che stiamo per morire." Amante della vita ma non attaccato alla propria esistenza, V lotta per un popolo, una famiglia, teoretica, che non conosce né conoscerà mai.
"C'è qualcosa di terribilimente marcio in questo paese," dice V, citando Amleto. Come il principe danese, un eroe imperfetto, V vede tutto marcio intorno a sé e questo lo sopraffa non può prendersi la ragazza che ama e abbandonare il paese al suo destino. Bloccato dall'odio, dalla propria brama di vendetta, dal suo piano, dalle sue idee, dalla sua maschera che lo protegge e lo imprigiona; solo con la morte cambia il destino del Paese, e forse nemmeno con quello, forse la sua morte è soltanto una liberazione dalle sue sofferenze.
Il giornalista Finch, alla fine del film, chiede a Evie: "Ma V, chi era?"
Evie, guardando i fuochi d'artificio che si confondono con l'esplosione del palazzo di Westminster, risponde: "Era Edmond Dantes, ed era mio padre. ...Mia madre, mio fratello, mio amico, era Lei, era io, era tutti noi."
Se nel cuore desideri anche tu divenire V in SL, se odi l'ingiustuizia, se ti reputi all'altezza di una sfida spirituale e morale, aggiungendo la tua voce ai tanti insoddisfatti dalla politica della prepotenza e dell'intolleranza, e vuoi mostrare questa tua presa di posizione al mondo, nulla di più facile, basta passare a Mutant Lives oppure a The Village su sim Dolphin Island e con $L 200 la trasformazione sarà fatta. Esistono anche varie pose fatte apposta, cercale su SLX. Bombe a parte.
The Wachowski brothers
Terrorism, I think you'll agree, stinks. From Baghdad to Bologna, from New Delhi to New York, blowing up people buildings creates mess, grief, and rancour, Bombs resolve nothing: ask the people of Gaza and the surrounding area. Or Northern Ireland. So why then does the character V for Vendetta appeal so much? He is, after all, a killer, a bomber, a terrorist. A lonely figure living in the remains of Victoria Station in a dystopian London ruled over by the hated far right Norsefire party, V fights against the twin forces of evil and paralysing apathy; a fight he seems destined to lose, as he plays out a story which often lacks logic or coherence. Perhaps it is this that draws us to him, his imperfect existence behind the flawless mask which, along with his eloquent words, make us feel for him, and allow us the luxury of hope, of belief in the human spirit, and the spirit of the woman at his side.
If you don't know the plot of the film, which in turn is an adaptation of the 10 issue graphic novel by David Lloyd with pictures by Alan Moore, follow this link (spoiler alert!!). The story was written in the 80's in the heyday of Margaret Thatcher, who had declared there was 'no such thing as society' and the depressing certainty of the Iron Lady's policies seeps out of the story, although of course Norsefire's violent and evil schemes recall rather darker times than even Thatcher could have planned. Britain in the grip of fear is now ruled and misruled by those who offer a certain level of security in return for obedience: 'strength through unity' is their watchword. Dangerous terms, against which one man fights, refusing to accept his place in the climate of fear and conformity; he calls himself V.
In SL you can find a V for vendetta group, the founder is RL and SL photographer Aisha Yost. here's a photo of her at her studio on sim Zhora Bay - she fitted it out with the V logo for the occasion of my visit. Her company is called Digital Artestry Studio and her new place looks like it's going to be fabulous. Check her out on Flickr too, and the dropshots website. She told me the group is a new one, and there are already more than 40 members - so new that she hasn't yet had time to meet everyone. Aisha is into RP in SL - other roles she favours are Ada Wong from Final Fantasy and Trinity from the Matrix - like the screenplay for V for Vendetta, the product of the Wachowski brothers. I invited her over to my version of V's "Shadow gallery" on sim Arginutti you're welcome to drop by, like most things I do it's 50% finished... where does the time go?... and we took a couple of pictures. I asked her why she had thought of making a V for Vendetta group.
The textures you see in these pictures are taken from stills of the film, with some random furniture added just to make it a little more comfortable. I added piles of paintings and books to give the sense of V's incessant struggle to save artwork from destruction by the politicians and their minions. Art is always one of the first and most tragic victims of dictatorship; the totalitarian mentality cannot allow its existence, since art invites differing points of view, encourages ambiguity and challenges one's intellect and spirituality. As V puts it, a world has been brought into existence where once people "had the freedom to think and speak as they saw fit, such freedoms are now curtailed by censors and cameras. Whose fault is this?" The people's own fault: they have traded freedom for a sense of security. "The myriad problems of modern society conspired to corrupt the reason and rob people of their common sense. " Their sense of taste, whatever that might be. De gustibus non est disputandum.
V puts much emphasis on the 5th of November, easily Britain's most intollerant popular holiday (if you're not familiar with the ins and outs of it, here's a site to fill you in) . It's a festival of fireworks and the burning in effigy of Guy Fawkes (in Horsham it's the Pope who ends up on the bonfire). Back in 1600, life for English Catholics was far from easy. For over half a century, they had been weighed down by fines for not attending the Anglican church services. Catholic priests lived in hiding, those that protected them risked death or imprisonment. Young Catholic men couldn't go to university or pursue a career in government, since for most good jobs one had to be willing to swear the oath of allegiance to the Queen, something forbidden by the Pope. The new king James, had hinted heavily that he would review the plight of the 'pious loyal Catholics"; his mother and wife were both Catholics (Anne converted in private some time between 1600-1603). Since the French King had recently decided that Paris was worth a Mass, it seemed possible that real change was possible, and that life would improve. It did not.
In 1603 young conspirators including Thomas Wintour, Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Jack Wright and Guy Fawkes decided that something should be done. The idea to blow up the King in the first day of the new Parliament was Catesby's, but Guy (he preferred to be called Guido) was chosen to be the - what to call him? suicide bomber? - the one who would actually detonate the explosives smuggled in under the Hall (not the palace with big Ben, that's from the 1800's). So it was that Guy became the figure we all remember, creeping around alone in the cellars, preparing to change the world with a big bang. For V, he is the voice in the wilderness, the lonely figure of avenging good: "More than 400 years ago a great citizen wished to imprint the 5th of November forever in our memory. his hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives..."
What perspective does V have on the world? He wishes to defend ideas and art, but does so by hiding it in his secret lair away from the eyes of all, in the damp confines of the abandoned Victoria Station. Who is this 'man of the people' who hides behind a mask, while unmasking the evil in the world, desperately trying to save the same people he explicitly blames for the predicament of the country. His task is as impossible as it is fragmented. The destruction of one set of bullies does not preclude the rise of another set, and another and another. V's solution, that the country unites against the forces of evil rings much like the slogan of the neofascist party "strength through unity". That word unity offers as many interpretations and shades of meaning that it easily confounds other enriching concepts such as choice, independent thought, personal taste, and diverging opinion. Like all works of art, the figure of V presents more questions than it does answers; it makes us reflect on our own values, our own responses to the types of intollerance and injustice portrayed in the film. Rather than waste time shaking one's head over the stupidity of politicians, we are able to loook inward and question our own courage, our own contribution to the general wellbeing of those around us, and to ask if we are doing, in our own small way, the 'right' thing.
"There is," says V paraphrasing Hamlet,"Something terribly wrong with this country". Like the Danish Prince, V is a hero both flawed and floored by the enormity of his task, so overwhelmed by it that he cannot do anything but pursue his one goal, for revenge. Even his love for Evie cannot really help him, there is no question of the two of them escaping to a better life together elsewhere. Even his final scenes in the film show the impotence of his power: it is Evie who deals the final blow on Norsefire, just as it is Evie in the comic who steps up and, dressed in one of V's spare costumes, brings to an end his plan of revenge. Finche, the journalist, asks Evie a simple yet essential question: "Who really was V?" As she looks out at the fireworks mixed with the explosion of buildings on the horizon, her answer begins in ambiguity, "He was Edmond Dantes, and he was my father. He was my mother, my brother, my friend. He was you, and he was me, he was all of us."
V's invitation to fight against the forces of totalitarianism, to respect and protect rather than dominate and destroy the human spirit, is an echo of another great cinematographic speeh, that of Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator: "We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that." Ahh.
If you'd like to be part of the V experience in Second Life, you can pick up a copy of the costume at Mutant Lives or at The Prisoner-themed The Village on sim Dolphin Island: $L 200 buys you the transformation you seek. Poses can be found to go with the cloak and mask, for example here on SLX. The bombs you'll have to find for yourself.