Cam movies change us?
September 8, 2009 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Can movies change our minds? The power of film to change us...or not. Please help me find articles exploring this topic.

As a high school English teacher, our final task for the year is a personal reflective piece (genre: column essay for a newspaper) that explores the personal or social impact of film in general, or a specific film.

Finding articles online to match this task, in the matching tone and genre for samples is difficult, particularly ones that 16 year old kids can grasp. Articles like this are what I'm after, but it doesn't have to be about specific films; alternatively, it could be the complete opposite - that films can't, and shoudn't change us.

A quote from the task sheet: "Your task is to explore the relationship between film and the society in which it exists. Many of the most expensive films reinforce the ideologies of the punters who part with their hard earned to see a film. Others are the product of sacrifice and passion that enables a film maker to challenge the ideas of their society and shake the views of those people who live in it. Your role is to explore film as art, and the role it plays in the debate between society and ideas."

Our English teachers thankyou!
posted by Pippi Longstocking to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Casablanca has probably changed my life. I first saw this movie when I was very young and the message of putting the greater good before your personal needs resonated deeply. That, and even in my prepubescent state I think I still had a serious crush on Ingrid and secretly fantasized about being nearly a slim bit as cool as Humphrey. Despite their star power, the goody two shoes message grabbed me hard and I was headed in the wrong direction at that time so it was well timed to help stave off some self centeredness.
posted by caddis at 5:51 PM on September 8, 2009

Twelve Angry Men. The Last Temptation of Christ. And possibly Bambi.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:28 PM on September 8, 2009

Casablanca has probably changed my life....

Twelve Angry Men. The Last Temptation of Christ. And possibly Bambi.

These sorts of responses are not what the OP claims to be looking for.
posted by hermitosis at 6:44 PM on September 8, 2009

The movie Wall Street

"Greed is good" "Money never sleeps"

The Gekko character in the movie was the bad guy, greedy and ruthless.

BUT a generation of kids grew up aspiring to be Gekko on Wall Street.

See today's NYTimes article about the Wall Street sequel

Greed is bad, Gekko. So is a meltdown

posted by jchaw at 6:55 PM on September 8, 2009

Also see blog post post on AMC TV about the movie Wall Street.
posted by jchaw at 6:57 PM on September 8, 2009

Take an excerpt from John Berger's "Ways of Seeing" and talk about a still image in class. Show a Mise en Scene clip from a film, and "Shot by Shot" lays out what a Mise en Scene should do. I like to use "Minority Report", Spielberg, because he deals with a lot of very complex issues. He also gives the viewer the whole narrative in icon and symbol in the first two minutes, so it's great to review with the class.
posted by effluvia at 6:58 PM on September 8, 2009

Another article: Kenneth Turan did a great critique of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" and why the film was not a helpful addition to film genre. Turan writes for the Los Angeles Times, and does a lot of social criticism with each film he reviews. So does Patrick Goldstein, (also for the Times), but he focuses on the dynamics of the business. He just called out Spielberg today for only doing 'feel good" films when he's such a talented director.
posted by effluvia at 7:02 PM on September 8, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all your answers so far. I'm specifically looking for links to articles on this topic, not personal films that changed you, or films to watch in class, as I have that lined up already. And it doesn't have to be about one specific film, it can be about film in general.
posted by Pippi Longstocking at 12:10 AM on September 9, 2009

Renoir's The Rules of the Game caused riots in the theaters when it was first released, and was later banned by the occupying Nazis. Although it is technically a pre-war film it depicts the French bourgeoisie and their self involvement and indifference to the affairs of the world. (Criterion review). It may have had some impact on the way the French looked at the growing German threat, but wheter or not it 'changed' anything is up for debate.
posted by Gungho at 5:40 AM on September 9, 2009

I could be wrong but I think in On Directing Film David Mamet says something along the lines of, "No, they do not change lives and shouldn't. And that's another good thing about movies." Yes, I'm paraphrasing heavily but that's the gist of it. I believe its in the chapter that starts out about architecture.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:10 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

« Older to sling or not to sling   |   What's up with my music files on my PC? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.