Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close helps to further clarify the Peace Genre Film. It shows that Peace Genre Films contain all the elements of tragedy, violence, self hate, and despair without surrendering to them. In 2010, I began this blog with the identification of the Peace Genre Film.   La Mission (Bratt, 2010) was the prototype. Among core components of this genre are corralling passionate spirit and channeling it toward Peace.  Peace Genre Films are not about one section of humanity but about all of humanity. Humanity is reflected by the cross racial, ethnic and cultural people in the film.

Author Jonathan Safran Foer's book is adapted for screen by writer Eric Roth and Director Stephen Dawdry.  Instead of beckoning viewers to embrace decades, as in Roth's earlier Forest Gump and Benjamin Button, this story deals only with a paltry two years.  These are the two years after a child’s father and hundreds of others die simultaneous violent deaths. It is a story of a child's perception, complicated grief, guilt and redemption. Without the epic time span, but adorned with exquisite cinematography, Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close delivers the force of a magnum opus with simplicity.  A man (Tom Hanks), and his son Oskar ( Thomas Horn), believe in the lost mythical sixth borough of New York City. They are engaged in a scientific process they pretend will locate the borough when all hell breaks loose.

Mass deaths shake the collective consciousness to the core. How is it that the individual consciousness frequently does not measure the quake?  Peace in the world of bioethics is a universal “good,” and as such can only be held by the humanity as a whole -- not the individual. The arch rival of peace is Hate. Hate is manifest in war, terrorism and torture among other venues.   As a corollary, hate also is held by humanity as a whole. The magic of this film is the believable portrayal of Oskar  suspends disbelief, turning hate into peace; water into wine.

Oskar is shown to have characteristics of extreme sensitivity, untamable intellect, obsessive physical stamina and unique adaptive mechanism to stress. These characteristics are reminiscent of the wonders of Autism Spectrum children or is it the human spectrum? There are a number of reasons to think that autism, in an alternate universe, is a superpower.  Post 911 period seems as much an alternate universe as any. Converting abnormal to supra-normal expands the humanity of the film beyond, race, class, ethnicity and disability.  In the past year, television has introduced Autism Spectrum youths in the Science Fiction series Alpha's and the prime time melodrama Parenthood. This inclusivity appears seamless in this film.
Oskar's unique skills allow him to fly under the radar of many who would otherwise be guarded with a strange inquisitor.  The adults around Oskar display a fragility. They include his widowed mother (Sandra Bullock), his mute grandfather ( Max Von Sydow) and a divorcing wife (Viola Davis). The device enabling Oskar’s final dialog with his dead father is in the hands of the estranged wife.   These adults both protect and allow Oskar  to process his grief and theirs.  The guardians' relationships to each other are eloquently foreshadowed by subtle consistency in lighting and delivery tone.  This happens in much the way a good clinical team provide the a consistent  message of support to those suffering from grief. 

This is a  film narrative of enormous depth, exquisite construction and profoundly linked ensemble.  While showing the origin of post traumatic stress syndrome in hate, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a Peace Genre Film because it underscores not only what mass tragedy takes but what cannot be stolen from the human spirit.

Extremely Loud and Incredible Close. 35 mm. Directed by Stephen Dawdry. USA. Warner Bros. 2011. (129 min)

LA MISSION. 35 mm. Directed by Peter Bratt. USA. Screen Media Ventures. 2010 (117 min)

Read on this blog site read:
LA Mission:Prototype for the  Peace  Genre ( 2010 blog)
Bioethics/Film Literacy: Lighten Up slides on lighting,  slides .055 to .060 on  shots size and actor postion to convey tone.

Also Read:
Foer, J S.  ( 2005) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Houghton Mifflin.  Boston. pp 368