Rebellious Lawrence of Arabia – A Human-made Masterpiece

This movie a biography about the British archaeologist, an army officer, a diplomat Mr. Tomas Eduard Lawrence, sent in the desert for a mission. The film lasts for 4 hours, is captured in a desert, where not many Hollywood actors would participate in a filming. You will not be getting a glimpse of a love story or passion between the characters. You may ask: why the hell should I watch such a movie? But believe me, it will become one of your favorites. 

It is true that it seems kind of crazy to spend four hours on such a movie. On the another hand, when you see how appraised this film is among the sternest of movie critics, you will be intrigued. Just let me tell you more about it. 

How this movie broke all records in the movie history:

The film was released in 1962. The budget for creating this masterpiece included 15 million American dollars, but the income was more than 70 million dollars. Can you believe it? What in the world did the movie director create? What was so unique and valuable? From that point of its release, The Lawrence of Arabia never left the list of Top-Rated Movies standing in 114th place in the whole movie history.

The film has won seven Oscar nominations out of ten. Overall, it also has 23 wins. 

Image Source: Lawrence of Araba- Little White Lies

The tangled plot of the movie: 

The reason I adore this movie is because of the mind-blowing plot and story-telling. No matter how many times you see it, you will never get to fully capture everything it encompasses. Even for the most experienced movie critics, it was confusing to understand what the director had planned. While watching this movie, we should remember the period of its creation. It was the mid-60s, the era idolizing white men, creating unreal heroes everywhere. 

From the first moment, we see a marvelous man blessed with everything: tall, broad-shouldered, with blonde hair and blue eyes, explosive, unpredictable, clever, masculine, and so on. He has got everything the 60s audience would love.

At first, we may think the director himself likes such an expression of a white man, but after watching this movie several times (believe me, I have seen it three times and never got bored), you will feel the mockery attitude for the ways the world at that time worshipped white cist-het men. Even the movie critics come to realize this many years later. 

The director was so clever he managed to subtly depict the primary subject – orientalism, which was in blossom during the 60s, especially in movies. Hollywood was trying to approve the American way of thinking, the American lifestyle, implying that the American culture was the best possible thing in the whole world. Also, although several Feministic waves happened, still the “masculine cult” was strong. So it is not accidental that during the four hours, there is not even one woman in the movie among the thousands of actors.

The symbolism in the movie:

Almost every scene in the movie is pointing at the cultural confrontation. Every moment has its hidden explanation, and you must observe closely to understand what was planned by the director. Even the colors of the clothes have their specific reason. The sounds have their role as well. These minor elements create a vast story and show the splitting between Western and Eastern cultures. The director was brave enough to punch in the face the western orientalists. He was the first one to dare resist the dominating cultural views of his time.  

Image Source: Lawrence of Arabia, Dancing in the Sand

In the picture above, we see how Lawrence is dancing in the sand. At one glance, you may love that scene for being beautiful and showing how free spirited he is. But it has its secret meaning. To be honest, this is my favorite scene, which led me look for the director’s real intentions behind every scene. Lawrence here is wearing a white gown, a gift from Bedouins. In Bedouins’ culture, a white Gown is a symbol of respect, friendship, and trust. But in the scene, we see the mockery on Lawrence’s face as if he is laughing at Bedouins. He is laughing at their traditions and their values. This scene is the symbol of the Western world’s attitude to the Eastern world.

There are many other moments, which will blow your mind. I can write a lot more about this majestic movie, but I think you should watch it yourself, maybe more than one time, until you start to doubt the ever so present traditional world views.

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