Welcome to Das Pferd Auf Dem Balkon

This website is dedicated to the movie The Horse on the Balcony. Let’s face it. In today’s media, there are no happy stories. I hate to say it because if you think about all the feel good movies that have been released recently, a lot of them actually have many different sides. If you look at the totality, there’s really nothing to celebrate. There’s really nothing to feel hopeful about and there is nothing to feel optimistic especially when it comes to the future.

You only need to look at the Disney movie, Frozen, to get what I’m talking about. The great thing about fantasy is that we get to choose our values and celebrate them. While we know that life has other things planned for us, it’s great to have some sort of alternate reality that we can always point to and take comfort from.

Frozen pretty much slaps this down. Instead, it tells us to our face that a lot of the common Western European cultural preference for a happy ending and certain definitions of personal happiness and completion and purpose are completely irrelevant if not downright ridiculous. That’s really the thesis behind Frozen because the whole idea that somehow, there’s something suspicious, broken, inadequate, defective or even downright abnormal with traditionalism is actually quite the vogue in the typical American college.

Things like traditional roles, traditional society, traditional identities, all of that are under attack. I’m not necessarily saying that conservative definitions of these are the one true bench mark that everybody should salute or rally around. But there’s something to be said when all the things that we thought were settled and we thought we could all agree on are under attack.

A lot of people would say that we are just redefining who we are. That this is a normal and healthy part of any culture coming to grips with the disconnect between what it sees itself and what reality is. I’ve got some news for you. When it comes to cinematic expressions, choices cast a long shadow. They have an impact far into the future and unfortunately, as much as we would like to say that a lot of our intentions are good and noble, we may end up putting into play forces that may undermine our present society, economy and a lot of the things that we hold dear.

It’s one thing to embrace change because there is some sort of consensus, it’s another to embrace change because there is some sort of ideal social architecture arrived at by a tiny minority who couldn’t care less about the majority. This has always been the tension in any kind of organized society whether we’re talking about Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere.

There’s always this push and pull between the elite, the self anointed, and the ones who “know better” and everybody else. I don’t mean this to be some sort of democratic thesis, mind you. As you probably already know, often times, democracy can lead to bad outcomes. If you want to be reminded of this, just think back to the French revolution.

There are many other instances where mob rule and the power of numbers gave rise to all sorts of tyranny, oppression, deprivation, pain, humiliation and suffering. We don’t have to go through that, but there is still, however, such a thing as collective wisdom. The whole idea that some sort of elite would have this way in terms of mass entertainment really runs counter to the whole idea of a modern democracy and consent by the governed.

Now you may be thinking to yourself why this political diatribe regarding a movie about a Horse on a balcony. Well, the great thing about daspferdaufdembalkon is that it really is a trip back in time. When you watch this movie, a lot of the elements that you would normally recognize from a movie created in the 1950’s, 1960’s and even early 70’s are present. It’s very refreshing. You don’t have to worry about double standards. You don’t have to worry about word play. Maybe somebody’s saying or pointing to or referring to some sort of concept and you don’t have to second guess yourself.

This really is a breath of fresh air because its innocence seems misplaced. Its optimism seems foreign and alien in our modern American cultural landscape. I’m not saying that we should wholeheartedly subscribe to this idea, but there is a place for naivety.

Please understand that there’s a big difference between clueless naivety and assumed naivety. In other words, we collectively, as a society, often suspend our impressions of reality in the service of the greater good. We always make these value calls. If you can’t see it or if you deny it, then you’re doing yourself a big disservice because this is part of the process of consuming any kind of cultural good, product or commodity.

Movies are cultural commodities and they always have a context. They always put into play things that we choose to believe about ourselves, our culture, our destiny and our collective wisdom. I raise this with you because this movie of a horse on a balcony really speaks to our highest ambitions as well as our conception of who we are as a culture bounded by space and time.

I don’t mean to read too much into this movie, but if you watch it, you can’t help but be transported. It really is quite liberating and refreshing to not have to look over your shoulder and look for some sort of reference. You don’t have to read between the lines to get at the real meaning. You don’t have to hassle with the mix of narratives at play because there’s no sort of intellectual trickery going on.

Instead, we are transported to a time where we can consume intellectual commodities on a fairly cosmetic level. Do yourself a big favor and check it out because it definitely goes a long way in helping you realize the framing of our modern society as far as the movies are concerned.

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