Sexy" monsters, Mr. Wonderful's "mantra" and the adolescent crisis of meaning

Writer and filmmaker Diego Blanco presented in Bilbao his new documentary, 'Cuando oscurece', which addresses the "epidemic of sadness" among young people.

Guillermo Altarriba-March 20, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

Photo: Unsplash

"Covid-19 has brought to the surface another, much deeper pandemic, an epidemic of sadness." So says the official synopsis of the When it gets darkthe documentary directed by Diego Blanco that was presented last weekend at the XVII edition of the Catholics and Public Life Conference of the Basque Country, organized by the Catholic Association of Propagandists (ACdP).

For Blanco, this sadness is especially worrying in young people, and he criticizes the fact that it is being approached on many occasions in the wrong way. "We are tackling in a therapeutic way, with pills and psychologists, something that is based on a lack of sense", said the documentary filmmaker and writer in Bilbao, who has been tackling the issue of mental health and suicide in adolescents for years.

Three paradigm shifts that "drive people crazy".

He is also the author of the series of novels The Secret Fire Club warned that at the base of adolescent suffering there is a double crisis: "the attack on the family and on the most basic biology, science has been replaced by a certain mythology". From there, he pointed out, there have been three paradigm shifts "that are driving the kids crazy".

The first is a narrative change: "Today the protagonists of movies are the bad guys," he said, referring to postmodern narratives starring traditionally evil characters, such as vampires or witches. "We are in a new dark romanticism, where the monster is sexy and the bad guy - because stories have to have a bad guy - is the prince, who represents machismo and heteropatriarchy," he reflected.

Secondly, a psychological change, by which it is intended "that psychology responds to what is the meaning of your life". "They tell you that happiness is your responsibility, and that if you're not happy it's because you haven't tried hard enough," Blanco lamented, criticizing what he considers "the Mr. Wonderful mantra." The last change would be technological: "we carry in our pockets a device designed as a slot machine," he pointed out.

A narrative proposal

In the face of this, what proposal does Blanco put forward? "A narrative proposal," he says, quoting the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasarwho argued that divine revelation is narrative, has the form of a tragedy, and the pope FranciscoHe said that it is through stories that one can understand oneself. "Books or films are small units of meaning, they show that the suffering the characters go through is not absolute," Blanco stressed.

This is what the speaker is working on in the project he is taking to various schools throughout Spain, Ex Libris, a literary and filmic itinerary where he tries to make students understand that they are the protagonists of their lives, but not authors. "We Christians have an advantage: the Author has become a character, nothing that happens to us has not happened to Him first, including suffering," he said, and recalled that Christ's salvation took place, precisely, through suffering. "God does not send you anything that He has not gone through," he concluded.

The authorGuillermo Altarriba

In collaboration with
Do you want independent, truthful and relevant news?

Dear reader, Omnes reports with rigor and depth on religious news. We do a research work that allows the reader to acquire criteria on the events and stories that happen in the Catholic sphere and the Church. We have star signatures and correspondents in Rome who help us to make the background information stand out from the media noise, with ideological distance and independence.

We need you to face the new challenges of a changing media landscape and a reality that demands reflection, we need your support.

In collaboration with
La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.