Mid-20th century America was an expansive time. With the promise of adventure just over the horizon, the lure of the open road seemed to capture a restless spirit. That need for speed was personified by the motorcycle… inspiring some iconic images.
Here’s one of those icons that launched it all… an impossibly cool Marlon Brando and his bad-boy dream-machine.
“The Wild One” hit the movie screens in the early fifties and has been firing imaginations for decades, as the motorcycle’s mystique – saying the hell to convention and blazing off into the sunset – became the stuff of dreams, glory and unfettered youth.
But as the years go by, dreams often get postponed by the little routines of life. They become hard to revive and can dissipate in the fog of memory. Maybe it’s just part of the human condition… or maybe not.
Because without our dreams, what do we have? They offer the hope of one day reaching that destination or finally finding what we’ve been searching for.
They inspire us, conjure the impossible and propel us into action. I’d like to show you a little video that’s all about dreams. It was made in Taiwan for a Taiwanese audience, yet there’s something about it that reaches beyond culture, age and expectation. Millions of people have seen it… see what you think.
The cultural differences make it hard to catch all the visual nuances, so you might want to watch it again. While you may find it a little overly dramatic, in Asia – according to creative director Jennifer Hu – a sad story carries a lot of power. You can read more about the commercial’s impact here.
What works so well about this piece is that everything that’s important is conveyed through the visuals, making it a great example of visual storytelling. The words are almost superfluous, other than the questions at the beginning that propel the action and the answer at the end. Here’s the open and closing text:
Based on a true story.
What do people live for? To miss someone?
To keep living? To live longer? Or, to leave?
What do people live for?
For ordinary people with extraordinary dreams.
TC Bank | 大眾銀行
It all pays off in the end, with that John Cusack moment when one of the bikers holds up the picture of his departed comrade, as if to will him back to life… and defy the setting sun that symbolizes their waning days. In that proud gesture we see the triumph of the human spirit. And that is the stuff that powers our dreams.
What’s the shortest video ever made to cause a person to cry? This one?
As for running out and buying a motorcycle.. remember that tall and lanky dude at F & M who was all decked out like Marlon Brando on a brand new bike? He stopped for a red light and he and the machine fell over?
I think I’ll stay with my bicycle.