July 28, 2021

‘The forgetfulness that we will be’: Radical goodness | Opinion

Javier Cámara, in a still from ‘The forgetfulness that we will be’.

It’s scary to be good. It’s scary because there is so much literature, so much cinema, on the superiority of evil minds that goodness has remained as that third-rate quality that only those who are not adorned with other virtues can resort to. Ethologists, who by studying the behavior of animals, discover for us what pasta we are made of, speak of the dominant tendency of living beings to be collaborative. But the creators of fiction do not care: in recent times you have to rummage through the cinema offers to find something that does not refer to the misdeeds of a serial killer, with women and children being the favorite victims, reduced in the plot to those photos that are hung on police corks; meanwhile, the focus of the action is projected onto the murderer, who is assumed to be brilliant, playful, possessing a mind worthy of study. The characters have ended up being stereotypes, so predictable that we already know from the introduction what the story is: the life of a bitter policewoman, who eats junk food with her mouth open, who has a shitty life, who becomes obsessed with the case in question until they fail their children and do not attend their sports competitions. As Buñuel said, five minutes later the end can be guessed: “Marlene Dietrich comes out smoking, they shoot her at the end as a spy.”

In 2011 it was published Seeds of grace, the memoirs of the Hispanist Thomas Mermall. This professor who taught Spanish Literature for so many years at the City University of New York was the only Jewish child to survive in a large area of ​​Hungary during the Nazi occupation. He fled with his father from certain death and if he was able to tell his story it is thanks to the fact that a peasant risked his family’s life to save that of two fugitives. Mermall was six years old. The old professor asked the essential question: Where does goodness come from?

The oblivion that we will be, the extraordinary film by Fernando Trueba based on the book by Colombian Abad Faciolince, tells of the hard work of a doctor, Dr. Abad, to establish a just public health system in his country. It is not necessary to guess the end of the story, everyone knows that Abad Gómez was assassinated, but that does not prevent us from holding our breath until the sad end, as if we were still able to save the life of a man who gave it up for the the rest. Good people, contrary to what fiction insists on leading us to believe, are not easy, because in their quest for collective justice they can inadvertently the weaknesses of those close to them and may not have the strength or courage of good men. . The good man advances alone, assumes the danger, he is not usually ideological but activist, defender of education and public health, of those pillars that considerably improve the lives of the vulnerable. The good woman or man sometimes drag their loved ones on a mission that they consider cannot be postponed. The good man that was Dr. Abad Gómez came into conflict with the adolescent son who was not willing to give his life to an ideal. Kindness does not correspond to the soft. The good man does not boast of his achievements, he acts according to his principles.

In these days when renewed violence has erupted in Colombia, this film takes on an exciting meaning. This vaccine hero, this human rights activist, gave his life for a just cause and we must believe that this death was not in vain. The causes that structured his life are still there, vibrant. The oblivion that we will be makes a 1987 murder more urgent today. His arrival in theaters seems providential. And that good man, played by an exceptional Javier Cámara, once again shows us a truth that we do not want to see: true radicalism lies in goodness.