I usually try not to plan which movie I'm gonna watch in the day, with a few exceptions. And was without planning that I put 12 Angry Men, the 1957 movie, on the DVD player. Some time into the movie, I realized how fit to the present moment this film is.
Brazilian Congress is deciding about the age for criminal liability - currently it is 18 years old, but there's a project defending its reduction to 16. It is a sad chapter in our history, and I think that this movie could add to the subject with a strong voice.
How prejudices lead our views about things is the theme here. Also, there is a debate about how, by being centered mostly in our own surroundings, we don't focus in what really matters, such as human life. We usually lack perspective while debating important subjects, especially when it concerns others lives.
Interesting here is that it is in fact a trial, someone is being judged. But others judgements not related to the trial per se seem to be more relevant than what is argued in court.
For both different point of views in the jury's room, the human subjectivity is the protagonist. Despite not being named, the jurors are men with uncertain, prejudiced, messed up opinion, as we usually are about the most important subjects. They identify themselves to others in the claustrophobic room by their jobs - another way to judge someone -, besides their own opinions on the subject. They are tired, anxious to leave, impatient to contrary views, but bit by bit they stop to think about what really matters there, provoked by the first opposed opinion. And so the question presented here is: it would be valid to condemn someone to death according to others flawed views? And would exist another kind of view that not partial?
It is the first theatrical feature directed by Sidney Lumet, and as stated by Henry Fonda in the projection room, it is magnificent. The claustrophobic feeling of having to decide about something that are not a sure thing but that has a final consequence is there. It is also there how we can act vainly while in front of such life or death matters. It doesn't get old, as I said before. I've seen it before, as the 1997 remake with Jake Lemmon, and it never ceases to amaze me. Its relevance for why and how we judge others is remarkable, and ever actual.
|12 Angry Men. Directed by Sidney Lumet. With: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb,|
Martin Balsam. Story by Reginald Rose. USA,1957, 96 min., Mono,
Black and White (DVD)
PS: Fragment: Rain (Lluvia, 2008), a melancholy movie about the connection between two people lost in their own lives.