by Dan Hudson
Member of CMCEO/Cultural Bridges
Film is often used in liberal arts education as a tool for teaching about different cultures. A good film can keep us engaged and entertained while enriching our understanding of the world, challenging us to understand how others think and live their lives.
To better absorb the concepts in a film, I encourage you to watch with others and discuss your thoughts. What new things did you learn? How are the characters alike and different from each other? Why did the characters do what they did? Film can provide for a greater ease of conversation about sensitive issues because the discussion is centered on plots and film characters rather than existing personal views. Rather than critique characters based on your personal beliefs, talk about them from their points of view.
I recently watched “Bend it Like Beckham” (2002) and was taken for a pleasant surprise. This is not another cliched sports movie. This film goes much deeper, exploring cultural differences across religions and generations. The story is told with humor and a certain sweetness that will keep your attention throughout.
Here are some other films you may enjoy exploring. Not all are appropriate for all ages and sensitivities, so you may want to read reviews before viewing. All these films are available at Great River Regional Library unless otherwise noted.
“Bend it Like Beckham” (2002): Two young women, despite their families’ wishes, pursue careers in professional soccer.
“Glory Road” (2006): True story of coach Don Haskins leading Texas Western College to an NCAA national championship.
“Babies” (2010): A visual documentary look at the first year of life of four babies from different parts of the world.
“Crash” (2004): Several characters’ lives intertwine over an intense 36-hour period in Los Angeles.
“Under the Same Moon” (2007): A young Mexican boy travels to the United States in search of his mother.
“Green Book” (2018): True story of a tough bouncer from New York City who chauffeurs a world-class pianist on a tour in the 1960s American Southeast.
“The Last Wave” (1977): An Australian lawyer defends five Aboriginals in a ritualistic murder.
“Growing Up Smith” (2015): A comical look at a 10-year-old East Indian boy growing up in 1970s small town America.
“One Night in Miami” (2020), on Amazon Prime: Sam Cooke, Malcom X, Jim Brown and recent world-boxing champion Mohammad Ali gather to discuss their roles in the Civil Rights Movement.