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A Review of ‘Above Dark Waters’ (2013)

Review of the film “Above Dark Waters” (2013), Director Peter Franzén.

Exploring Dual Interpretations

The film “Above Dark Waters” (Tumman veden päällä) delves into the complexities of a mind plagued by imbalance and negativity.

The narrative can be interpreted in two distinct ways – the materialistic and the metaphysical.

Materialistic Lens

From a materialistic perspective, the story centers on a typical Western family. The woman, not only chooses her partner but also makes pivotal decisions, such as pursuing a divorce. Yet, divorce doesn’t lead her to an idyllic marriage; in fact, it does the opposite.

Metaphysical Perspective

On the other hand, the metaphysical interpretation urges viewers to reflect deeply on the unfolding events and seek deeper meaning.

Police: A Symbolic Representation

The work of the police is very important to society. In this film, the role of the police becomes symbolic. A policeman, much like a janitor, cleans up societal messes.

But while a janitor can physically cleanse, i.e. wash after dirty work, a policeman living in a Western society cannot clear his mind from the negativity he encounters. Collected negative energy pollutes the mind and creates systematic stress.

The Perils of Alcohol

A typical reaction to such stress, shown in the film through Pete’s stepfather, is drinking alcohol. Alcohol, especially when consumed heavily, can dominate a person with weakened spiritual activity, which leads to irreparable acts such as serious domestic violence.

A Heavenly Teacher also loses the ability to send signals to his earthly student as alcohol is a big constraint for such communication.

The Quest for Mental Balance

Another pivotal aspect the film touches upon is the importance of mental balance.

Everyone faces moments of anxiety, aggression, or irritation. Instinctively, we seek solace – be it through music, sports, nature, or travel to an unknown place. Unconsciously, with our inner feelings, we want to return to harmony, that is, to find peace of mind.

Yet, for a policeman, this balance is disrupted as they often need to artificially invoke aggression to combat crime. Such an imbalanced mind can oscillate between extreme emotions, as seen with Pete’s stepfather.

Missed Opportunities and Potential Solutions

While director Peter Franzén adeptly highlights the problem the film, however, misses an opportunity to offer a solution. A potential resolution could have been Pete’s stepfather discovering the transformative power of meditation.

Imagine a scenario where, after watching the film “Doing Time Doing Vipassana,” the family embarks on a journey to India to attend a Vipassana seminar. This experience could be a turning point, especially for Pete’s stepfather, who no longer sees negativity in suspects but seeks out their inherent goodness.

This transformative journey would culminate, for example, in the creation of Finland’s first Vipassana center to integrate meditation into prisons, as has been done in India. Such an ending would undoubtedly enhance the impact of this film.

Concluding Thoughts

In its current state, while the film “Above Dark Waters” is compelling, the inclusion of a solution would make it unparalleled.




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