“We all make our own lives, right?”

“We all make our own lives, right? We have made the choices that have put us where we are today.”

While watching a trailer for The European Film Tour, the above is the comment in the opening sequence. It’s a powerful and provocative statement — not thinking about the full impact, or who it was impacting upon, I possibly would have said something similar several years ago, “We all make our own lives right? We have made the choices that have put us where we are today.”

It’s a skill being interviewed and expressing exactly what you mean and hitting the target for whom it is aimed. It’s a bigger skill saying something that resonates with everyone and it’s a truly massive skill to be able to say something that inspires at all levels and continues, through time, to inspire — think Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr for this last one!  

I watched the European Film Tour trailer and I think I know what the person speaking was attempting to say, I think what was said is supposed to inspire but what I heard in my head was, “We all make our own lives right?”  and in my head the dialogue continued: Well, we do if we grow up with parents who love us, a safe and stable childhood, clean water, food on the table, an education, somewhere to live away from crime and drugs and abuse, good health and then, possibly we have a chance to actually make something of our lives and possibly rise above what is expected and deviate from the path, the path we have paved for us in a world where politicians and people with power want us to toe the line and walk along — that’s what he was trying to say I think and hope. But there are millions of people who don’t ” we all make our own lives right?” Certainly there are people who make it even though life has given them the shitty end of the stick and they should be given massive credit for this, these people are truly inspirational but for those who don’t, for those who end up in prison, addicted, falling ill, dying young, homeless, alcoholic, unemployed, outcast, well, I don’t think they should be made to feel even more shitty and they should be given encouragement and support. They certainly do not need “we all make their own lives, right?” Their lives are made for them, right?

And as for “We have all made the choices that have put us where we are today.” Well, the privileged, educated, lucky, fortunate, children brought up in a safe environment, children given the correct support from young — these people possibly have “made the choices that have put them where they are today” and if they are unhappy with their lives, their choice, I agree, get out and do something about it but I’m sure children growing up on a deprived inner-city housing estate, or kids living in the slums of Lima, Delhi, Rawalpindi, Kathmandu, São Paulo, etc, etc, etc… will not have had any choice at all and if they were fortunate enough to actually see this trailer and hear this commentary, which they never will, I would imagine they may have another point of view from “we have all made the choices that have put us where we are today.”

It’s a very fine line we walk in our privileged lives when making films and writing, it’s a fine line between inspiring and insulting and sounding ignorant and it’s a line that constantly needs addressing ,because then and only then we will raise awareness and good will be done from what we do and lets not fool ourselves, what we do is privileged. .

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8 Responses to “We all make our own lives, right?”

  1. jane horobin says:

    Very well said

  2. jane horobin says:

    I meant i agree with the wider context, not the stand alone statement.

    • Nick Bullock says:

      Thanks Jane, I was pretty sure I knew which stand you were taking and who you were in support of 😉 Cheers, Nick

  3. Harry Winter Ford says:

    Heard that kind of sentiment from quite a few sources and normally always from those from privileged backgrounds.” Just sort it out… they need to just get on with it …” ad nauseam.Completely clueless on how difficult life can be for so many people.It beggars belief that for such an advanced country as the UK there is also such deprivation on such a large scale. It obviously goes without saying that there is no helping some people but for so many people there is no help and little hope.Untill more people realise that we are all entitled to a decent standard of living then there is no hope.

  4. Ander says:

    Thanks Nick. It’s so easy to lose sight of what’s real when you’re surrounded by these messages. Even easier when you don’t have the shitty end of the stick.

  5. Anon says:

    Good article Nick, thanks. Agree that people can be over self-satisfied with their good lives and how clever they’ve been to engineer themselves such great situations. You need to add “lucky genetics” to your list of things that you need to be able to make your own life though. My sister and me: same (or very similar) supportive, loving, never in poverty upbringing. I’m luck enough to have tremendous choice over where my life leads me, whereas she has to work extremely hard to scrape by with very limited choices. Why? Simple genetic change means she will never learn as quickly or be able to do jobs as well as 99% of the rest of the population. Similar must apply generally (but to a less extreme degree), if you accept that some of personality/intelligence etc is genetic.

    Sorry for being anonymous, given that I’m talking about my sister and not just me I didn’t want to put a name. There is an e mail address though.

  6. candide says:

    can’t agree more with you Harry.
    Did all innocent civilian died in wars choose to die ?
    Did all babies born with AIDS in Africa choose to have this disease ?
    Did all people died in concentration camps chose to die there ?
    Did all child prostitutes in Asia choose this profession ?

  7. Nadir khan says:

    Well put, we are priveleged to live in the age that we do , being born in a mostly safe country with the resources to make choices. We are the priveleged few in this world and that trite nonsense about we’re in control of our destiny is an illusion, a mixture of luck and circumstances and , sure choices are in there as well but it could all be so different.

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