On Forgiveness – February 2023
A monthly review curated by the Mass Media and Culture team
“Forgiveness is a winding road”
What does forgiveness mean to you? Is there even an absolute meaning associated with it? Forgiveness can have different connotations for everyone. Regardless, it’s safe to say we’ve all been through the winding road that is trying to let go. And while for some this process may be a walk in the part, for others it is anything but. For many, it’s neither, and sometimes we might just be hit by that surprising wave of resentment long after we thought all was forgiven.
One may argue that forgiveness is ultimately an egoistical act, are we even doing it for the other person to feel better about themselves? What we truly crave is the sense of peace that comes with letting go. It’s about understanding that holding on to rancor is just going to hurt us more.
But as we said, “forgiveness is a winding road”, and it may take you time to reach its end, or you may never be able to, and that’s also valid, just learn to let go of what burdens you. We love you either way.
So, whether you need to forgive a lover, a friend, a relative, a stranger, or, more importantly, yourself, let our team guide you and see what forgiveness means to all of us here at MMC.
What To Read:
My year of rest and relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Life is gross. Life is good. Life is bad. It is challenging, sickening, annoying, exhausting, joyful, and heartening. Life is about in-betweens. In My Year of Rest and Relaxation, our protagonist lives her ups and downs in an unimaginable way, showing us life is truly about in-betweens. The reality of life sometimes pushes her to take sleeping pills to run away from it. For her, life might sometimes be 48-hour-long blackout periods between the sofa, the market around the corner, and the bathtub; but other times it is appreciating the company of her best friend whom she dislikes most of the time. Life is amazing and terrible and everything in between, it’s the constant struggle of forgiving the past, today, and the future.
Recommended by Egemen Aray
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
In his book A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah tells his devastating experience of being a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone, with heartbreaking honesty. This book finds its power in the revelation that under the right circumstances, people of any age can find themselves doing the most unthinkable things.
Recommended by Constance Bochard
What To Watch:
Since we’ve been introduced to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, nothing has been the same. Fleabag is not just about love; It’s not only about a deeply flawed personality falling for a hot priest. Fleabag is about redemption; it’s about forgiveness. It’s not a story revolving around two main characters, but one’s process of forgiving herself. Throughout two deeply moving seasons, Fleabag tries to forgive her father for not sticking around, her sister for disappearing when she needs her the most, and herself for failing her best friend in the worst way possible. In her story of searching for a place to put the love she had for her best friend, Fleabag tries to reconnect with her life: whether through chasing a priest to be her boyfriend or befriending her sister. She knows that she is deeply flawed and vulnerable, but aren’t we all? The hot priest says that it’ll pass, but does it ever pass?
Recommended by Egemen Aray
Set in England in 1935, with excellent cinematography and a heartbreaking storyline, Atonement is a must-watch.
Briony, a 13-year-old aspiring writer, moved by a series of misunderstandings and a childish pique, irrevocably changes the course of many lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.
By the time she turns 18, she is aware of the damage her younger self-caused and wants to atone for what she did to Cecilia and Robbie. But she will never find the courage to face her sister and will never be able to properly apologize to the two lovers. Atonement, the last book of Briony’s career, will be her last attempt to atone for her errors and let Robbie and Cecilia have the happy ending they deserved.
Recommended by Anna Re
20th Century Girl (2022)
Set in South Korea in 1999, this movie follows a high school girl, Bo-ra, who is asked to follow her best friend’s crush while she is away in America to undergo a medical procedure. However, as she spies on the guy, she ends up falling for his best friend. When her best friend returns to school, she realizes the protagonist had been following the wrong guy, and her crush was, in fact, the best friend Bo-ra fell for. The story is ultimately one of forgiveness, in the sense that certain things are unexplainable and unavoidable; that the only way to continue to move forward is to forgive and let go. This beautiful movie is sure to bring tears to your eyes.
Recommended by Sodbilig Ganbat
What To Listen:
Curated by Ludovica Amatuzzo and Anna Re
What To See:
In the religious sense of the word, forgiveness, for Catholics conjures images of the Virgin Mary. “Hang a Crocodile Outside for the Unbelievers” draws reference to a cult devoted to Mary and the practices they partook in. This exhibit includes an architectural intervention meant to mimic a dark chapel.
We are not recommending joining a religion in your search for forgiveness, but maybe the metro ride outside of the city will give you enough time to reflect and forgive.
If not, head to the Pirelli Hangar Bicocca even further out of Milan to see Gian Maria Tosatti’s NOw/here.
Recommended by Mercedes Lovato
Louise Bourgeois’ MAMAN, 1999
Arguably, French sculptor Louise Bourgeois’ entire production revels around the topic of forgiveness, and so did her personal life too. Her family dealt with tapestry restoration (a surprisingly vivid image of the act of restoring a shattered relationship!). In particular, young Louise doted on her mother, whose patient and methodical streak made her excellent at repairing things (from tapestries to her marriage). The artist’s mother died in 1932, and the grief was such that Louise even attempted suicide.
Far from stirring a sense of revulsion, this staggering steel spider is a touching ode to the artist’s “mommy”. The insect’s slender legs and baffling proportions convey a sense of both fragility and fear, which might pertain to Louise’s bewilderment and loath for her untimely death (why leave her child so early?). Conversely, no image could better describe the artist’s love for her; as Louise wrote, “Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother”.
Ultimately, the spider’s abdominal sac enshrines some glass eggs wrapped in nylon. The act of forgiving life’s gritty facets and snapping out of the mourn fosters an unexpected generative power; a lesson we should all learn from spiders (“The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it”).
Recommended by Giorgio Santinelli
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSING by Banksy, 2011
Banksy’s monumental work Forgive Us Our Trespassing created in 2011 is the largest known piece by the anonymous street artist. The imagery is a powerful revelation of Banksy’s conflicted feelings about being a graffiti artist, indicating deep preoccupations that underscore his artistic production. By asking for forgiveness, Banksy acknowledges the concerns of those who see his work as vandalism but underlines that he only means well, asking for understanding. Trespassing is here referring to graffiti and street art, as street artists must trespass on private property in order to tag or paint a wall.
The artwork sets aside Banksy’s usual biting satire and derision, revealing instead subtler, more nuanced sentiments.
“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better-looking place.”
Recommended by Blanca Lopez