Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Lawrence of Arabia" - Greatest Movie #7

Last weekend, we watched Lawrence of Arabia, the AFI #7 Greatest Movie of All Time. I remember watching parts of it as a child, but I couldn't remember the overall story. It was a little awkward to watch it on YouTube because it was in 26 parts, but we still enjoyed it.
The basic storyline (which is true) is that tribal Arabs were revolting against their Turkish rulers during World War 1, and the British Army decided to support their revolt as a strategy to weaken Turkey (a German ally). Lawrence enters the midst of this as a British officer and expert on Arab culture. His intent is to help the Arabs earn total independence as a unified state. To accomplish this end, he has to do some significant battle strategizing and help the disparate Arab tribes work together as a team. Both of these are huge challenges since the tribes are out-gunned and hostile against each other.
In the process, Lawrence accomplishes his most immediate goals - at least in the short term. But he does so at significant personal cost. He seems to sacrifice his soul to take on the role of a messiah figure.
Lawrence of Arabia is a poignant picture of the struggles of multiculturalism and visionary leadership. I can't give it the full 5J's because it's a little weird at times, and possibly because I read the whole story on Wikipedia's site. All in all, though, it's a good move: jjjj.
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