‘For a new world, a decent world’

Just a thousand? One photograph is often worth hundreds of thousands of words, especially when it does not just stir up memories of personal or private moments but also revives great, unparalleled creations of the past or words identified with man’s later course – words whose power remains untouched by the passage of time and perhaps can find their mark or breathe new life into things that have been considered long past. A recent photograph in Kathimerini referring to the Charlie Chaplin Sale was one such photograph. It was an opportunity to remember this formidable actor and director’s significant contribution to cinema on a global scale. But aren’t his comedies still screened today, comedies in which he appears with his funny moustache, derby hat, oversized shoes that made his walk so odd, and twirling his cane? Yes, once movie theaters echoed with the laughter of children as soon as Charlie Chaplin appeared on the screen, even though at their tender age they may not have been able to grasp the deeper meaning of what they were watching. Great movies that gave their own dimension to the history of cinema are part of the legacy he left us. Elderly couples have never stopped arguing about which of his films they liked best. The years have rolled by and things have changed. We have adapted our habits to the frenetic pace of this day and age and a feeling has begun to grow within us that the intellectual and spiritual virtues of man are no longer important, that the way of thinking and behaving that furthers life and lends importance to the values nurtured by previous generations do not matter. There is no shortage of things such as these to trouble society. So maybe it is time to remember the humanity of Charlie Chaplin’s work, to ponder scattered comments and something he said, in troubled times, in a monologue in one of his films: «We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.» In other quotes he says: «The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness… «Now let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security.»

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