Conversation 4: Cults


The cult I will be talking about is the cult in the movie "Perfection." The cult in this movie doesn't have a specific name in the movie but it would be considered a "sex cult." To give a synopsis of the movie, the movie starts off with one of the main characters, Charlotte who was a cello prodigy at Bachoff Academy before having to leave to take care of her sick dying mother. Later in the movie, Charlotte appears to have grown into an adult and has a desire to go back to reunite with Anton (the head of the academy) and Paloma his wife in Shanghai where they were hosting auditions for future young cellists to join their academy. While in her stay, she meets a girl, Lizzie who became a cellist prodigy at the academy after Charlotte left. After Lizzie offers Charlotte to go tour the outsides of the city, we see what Charlottes true intentions were when coming to the city of Shanghai.

The movie revolves around the trauma after leaving the said cult at Bachoff Academy. Anton, his wife, and the teachers Theis and Geoffrey invite young girls to their academy in look for the next big cellist. By doing this, they make the girls called "The Perfection" music piece. The ones who complete it without any mistakes are the chosen ones, tattooing them with a musical note to remind them of their accomplishment. The ones who don't complete the piece without any mistakes, get raped by the instructors. Both Charlotte and Lizzie got their tattoos at a very young age which is why they are Anton and Palomas favorite former students. The movie has a somewhat happy ending by Charlotte being able to get Lizzie out of the cult at the academy.

Charlotte seeing Lizzie's music note tattoo on her back made her realize that Anton and his partners were still raping and molesting their students into becoming perfection therefore launching her plan into action to save her now lover, Lizzie. She knew Lizzie wouldn't leave the cult willingly on her own since she had expressed how the academy shaped Lizzie into the person she is now. Most cults trap the victim by giving them everything they could possibly want. A home, a loving family, acceptance, is a way cult leaders make the victim feel like they own them their loyalty. That is what happens to Lizzie, they practically raised her and gave her all she could possibly want, especially because they turned her into a more than great cellist. The rape and assault was suppressed by the feelings of gratitude towards them. The way Charlotte helped Lizzie leave the cult is by helping her realize that without the ability to preform, she is dead to them. She did this by making Lizzie cut off her own hand. Now making someone mutilate themselves isn't the way to get someone to realize the situation they're in, but to me it also felt like a metaphor. Being in a cult is not only painful to the victim, but to the person's family or loved ones. Lizzie being Charlottes romantic partner, she wanted her to be free of all the pain they have caused and she felt like there was no other choice than to make Lizzie unwanted by Anton and his wife. This is the same for the families that have their loved one in cults, they feel so helpless not being able to help them realize they are being manipulated by the leader or higher up. In the movie, it all ended well but realistically, thats often not possible.

Realistically if I were in Lizzie and Charlottes position, I don't think there's away to avoid being enlisted, in this situation recruited in this cult. The parents of the children that fell victim to this cult sent their children trusting the academy to take care of their beloved. The academy lied to them and told the parents and young girls that they would be in great hands and seeing how they've made girls into wonderful cellists made it believable. Brainwashing is very powerful so even though the girls knew that Anton and the cello teachers were raping them after they were unable to play the piece to perfection, it felt like it was benefit them in the long run because eventually, they would be perfection.

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