Last modified on Tue 28 Apr 2020 13.58 BST
Trudie Styler: ‘Art is meant to guide us through challenging times.’
Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Observer
My family is used to being on the road, so being in one place for this long is a truly rare situation. We have turned to television for our travels.
Our journey began with Messiah, a Netflix drama about a Christ-like figure appearing on earth in our modern time. It spans the globe from the American south to the Middle East. Although Messiah was unceremoniously cancelled after one season, don’t let that deter you from watching. What it lacks in episode count, it makes up for in inspiration. Having finished watching the show a week ago, it creeps into our daily conversations still. This is the art we need right now: art that steps out of its packaging and infiltrates our thoughts.
Messiah is, I think, resonating with me now because it asks of its characters, and therefore its audience: what does it mean to be good? It challenges us to question our beliefs and aspire to higher thinking – not specifically religious higher thinking, but more careful consideration of how we’ve built our lives and assigned value to others. In a time of upheaval like the one we are currently experiencing, this is an aerobic and necessary practice. What are the assumptions I have let become truths? What expectations do I have that are actually self-manifesting?
There has been some controversy surrounding the show and its sensitive topic, which may have been the cause of its early cancellation. Now is not the time to be inhospitable to incommodity. We have to get used to feeling uncomfortable and challenged. Art is meant to guide us through these experiences.
When Messiah ended, we turned to Fauda (Netflix), an electric and fantastically acted drama (this time with three seasons!) about the Israel Defence Forces. The pacing is gripping and the plot twists get your heart pumping. The moral context is complex and provides more fodder for dinner-table discussions. We’ve also watched an intelligent crime thriller out of Japan, Giri/Haji (Netflix). This show, about a Tokyo detective working in London, is a mesh of style and culture I’ve not seen on screen before. All three of these shows make heavy use of subtitles, and the actors speak in their mother tongues. I love this. This is the future of entertainment: sharing our differences, our humanity with each other, not fitting them into a package for English-speaking audiences.
But before you think we haven’t had any more indulgent pleasures during this time – don’t worry, we also got a kick out of Tiger King.
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