Adults in the Room

Today’s post is related to Adults in the Room, a recent French and Greek film that I watched a few days ago, directed by Costas Gavras and based on Yiannis Varoufakis’ book with the same title about his battle with Europe’s deep establishment, In January 2015 Varoufakis became the finance minister of Greece, a deeply indebted country, in the midst of a clash with its creditors, who happened to be Europe’s most powerful institutions.

The film proved an interesting and rich experience for me, firstly, because it was a captivating political thriller. Secondly, having watched the unrolling of these events through the media, and also, their far reaching consequences on the economy and political developments in the country, as a Greek citizen, the film grasped my attention. But what also got my attention were the secondary themes and representation of dynamics through images. One such theme was  character assassination through miring a person’s reputation, harassment and distortion of truths or lies that takes place when the person stands up or against a certain status quo of interests or beliefs and practices. I found that Donna Hicks’ ten elements of dignity, presented in the previous post, were relevant themes in this story, especially, those of: Safety that involves not only protection from physical harm, but also, allows freedom of expression without retribution, and Accountability and taking responsibility for our actions and the repercussions of decisions on others whether at an individual, national or global level.

Another theme thread is how we all often find ourselves at the mercy of inhumane circumstances, fear based dynamics  and power over paradigms, where we try to survive the best we can or act within the confines of the structures and contexts we find ourselves in, but also, the unresolved issues and complexes in our psyche. Varoufakis writes ‘beneath the specific events that I experienced, I recognised a universal story – the story of what happens when human beings find themselves at the mercy of cruel circumstances that have been generated by an inhuman, mostly unseen network of power relations. This is why there are no ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies’ in this book. Instead, it is populated by people doing their best, as they understand it, under conditions not of their choosing. Each of the persons I encountered and write about in these pages believed they were acting appropriately, but, taken together, their acts produced misfortune on a continental scale. Is this not the stuff of authentic tragedy? Is this not what makes the tragedies of Sophocles and Shakespeare resonate with us today……….?

The film also made visible the fragility of democracy and how breaches in the rights of freedom of expression, disrespect of others’ dignity, prejudice, arrogance and power over paradigms can slowly but steadily erode it. Finally, the title Adults in the Room in itself is another interesting metaphor maybe of how often during our daily lives and during moments of negotiation or conflict we function from younger, exiled in subterranean rooms, parts of ourselves, and this holds truth for everyone on this planet whether they are simple civilians or people who run the world.

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