April 10, 2011 18 Comments
Hanna is an awesome film. As a story and entertainment, it is top notch. However, as the message goes I have some stuff to bitch about (as usual), and this time it’s not really gnosticism. Well, it is a little bit, but not primarily. Hanna is the story of a young girl who is mysteriously unaware of her origins (played by Saoirse Ronan), raised by her father in an utterly secluded cabin in Finland. Her father gives her intelligence agent training, while simultaneously keeping her from all modern luxuries. Hanna is thus a trained hunter and assassin. From the trailer, we see that it will be a take on a fairy tale, and that is what will develop. One of the few things she reads in her cabin, along with the Encyclopedia, is Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which comes up as a subtle sub-theme throughout the narrative.
Initially, she fixates on the Cinderella story, which is a story of mythical transformation—precisely what the film is about. Something like A.I. meets Run Lola Run, Hanna is about the future generation. Since we have descended into a post-post-modern nihilism, all that is left is the return to myth. The Enlightenment scientism has been discovered to be another form of mythology that, while producing interesting artifacts, is unable to quantify and calculate the sum totality of man’s existence into a materialist, pragmatist framework. Thus, what happens in this stage of cultural devolution is that man’s nihilism returns to myth as a larger narrative structure for life. Hanna, as the film makes clear, is the genetically altered future, which the scientific establishment will attempt to control, but which, in fact, cannot be controlled.
Once upon a time….
After a long journey of self-discovery and rugged survivalism, Hanna has interfaced with modernity and found it absurd and empty. Ironically, being raised in a completely sheltered environment, she is simultaneously “from the forest” (as girls often are in fairy tales) and the next level in human development as a result of science. Hanna represents the establishment’s attempt at a totally controlled and engineered human godchild—the stuff of myth and legend. The great voyage of discovery is that she herself is abnormal because she is superior. She is a genius who has had “empathy” bred out of her, though she displays empathy in certain cases. Read more of this post