In the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller (here also director and producer) plays the rule of Walter Mitty, a negative assets manager at Life magazine who spends his days halfway between his dreams and their reality. Mitty works with photojournalist Sean O’Connell (played by Sean Penn), who has sent Mitty his latest negative to be used for the cover of the magazine’s final print issue as it converts to online status. With no reasons, the negative is missing and Walter is forced to stall for time with corporate transition manager Ted Hendricks, who is handling the downsizing. After a while, he decides to look for Sean O’Connell (and his valuable negative). After chasing him through seas (those freezing of Greenland) and mountains (those snowy of the Himalayas), Walter Witty finds him photographing a rare snow leopard. As soon as they see the animal, Sean stares at it, but he doesn’t take the picture. Asked why, he replies: «If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it» and then follows the most relevant quote of the whole movie:
«Beautiful things don’t ask for attention»
I find it a very contemporary concept. In the era of social media, the need for attention shot skyward. Nowadays, everyone, with any social media, is able to create his own version of his personal life (that better matches with his standard of beauty) and try to push it for the real thing, hoping to draw the attention of many people as possible. A desperate need for attention that (like all the needs) is founded on a deep lack of attention. The exasperation (ironic and cynical) of this particular state of mind is the last short-film by Shaun Higton: What’s in your mind? where the main character (Scott Thomson)’s real life is inversely proportional to his virtual life on Facebook. The worst his real life, the better his Facebook life.