Saving What We Love

Holly Case in East-Central Europe Past and Present:

In the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the character Finn plans to sacrifice himself for the rebel cause by flying into the glowing-hot core of a giant weapon trained on the rebel hideout. As his rickety vessel speeds toward the target, he is sideswiped off his path by another rebel, Rose. When Finn asks Rose why she prevented his self- sacrifice, she replies: “That’s not how we’re going to win. Not fighting what we hate, [but] saving what we love.” It is difficult to imagine such a scene appearing in earlier Star Wars episodes.

Something in the zeitgeist has shifted decidedly in the direction of saving. From Saving Private Ryan (1998) to Children of Men (2006), Son of Saul (2015), and 1917 (2019), in landscapes of devastation and collapse of the social order, the heroic gesture is now to save something or someone very particular from generalized destruction. The current preservationist impulse is characterized by the desire to keep history, nature, nations, cities, rights, memories, and relationships in place. But what are its origins, and where will it lead?

More here.