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Twelve Films That Highlight the Best in Humanity

The Farewell

The Farewell

The Farewell is about a first-generation Chinese immigrant, Billi. She wants to visit her dying grandmother, Nai-Nai, in China, to say goodbye.

Nai-Nai is unaware of the seriousness of her illness while the family believes it is kinder to keep her illness a secret and make her happy. Conflict ensues as Billi wants to tell Nai-Nai the truth. This is a tale of how people express love differently and the quiet wisdom and positive outlook of Nai-Nai.

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Twelve Films That Highlight the Best in Humanity

Twelve Films That Highlight the Best in Humanity

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/twelve_films_that_highlight_the_best_in_humanity

greatergood.berkeley.edu

12

Key Ideas

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

In the movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the children's TV host Mister Rogers was on a mission to teach children that they mattered, that they could manage their difficult emotions and that they should treat others and themselves with kindness and compassion.

The authentic kindness of Rogers transformed people around him, ultimately leading to forgiveness in those he interacted with.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Social connection makes hope possible. This is the message in the film based on the life of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba. The story plays off in Malawi during a famine caused by a series of natural disasters.

William's family cannot afford for him to continue with school, and William is forbidden to return. But William sneaks back into school and gets permission to continue using the school's library. He develops strong ties with his science teacher, librarian, family, friends, and fellow villagers.

He ultimately discovers how wind energy can bring water to his village and save them from perishing.

The Farewell

The Farewell is about a first-generation Chinese immigrant, Billi. She wants to visit her dying grandmother, Nai-Nai, in China, to say goodbye.

Nai-Nai is unaware of the seriousness of her illness while the family believes it is kinder to keep her illness a secret and make her happy. Conflict ensues as Billi wants to tell Nai-Nai the truth. This is a tale of how people express love differently and the quiet wisdom and positive outlook of Nai-Nai.

For Sama

For Sama is a documentary of the daily life in Aleppo, Syria, in 2016 during a war.

Sama is the baby daughter of Waad al-Kateab, a citizen journalist. The documentary is Waad's love letter to her daughter and describes how love prevails even during the suffering of an ongoing war.

Harriet

Harriet Tubman brought slaves to freedom before and during the Civil War.

The movie Harriet shows how a willing woman with simple courage and fierceness could free her family and herself, and later hundreds of other slaves.

Just Mercy

McMillian is wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
The film - based on the memoir of attorney Bryan Stevenson - shows human lives stripped of dignity, and the reality of unfair convictions.

The real-life Stevenson and his team have saved over 135 other men from the death penalty.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

This story is about Jimmie Fails (played by Jimmie Fails). The story is actually about who Jimmie initially thinks he is and how he discovers that the life he'd been living isn't good enough because it isn't true.

Though the movie depicts one young man's journey into self-knowledge, it reveals the forces that have made Jimmie who he is, while he tries to make a place for himself.

Little Women

In this version, director Greta Gerwig combines the original text of Little Women with author Alcott's letters, to produce a story of fierce purpose and determination.
Jo's mother, Marmee, directs her anger into a sense of purpose that spills over into Jo, one of her children. Jo inherits a mansion from her Aunt March, who believes a woman's worth lies in the man she can marry. Jo determines to turn the house into a school to serve the next generation.

Marriage Story

In Marriage Story, a stage director and an actress go through a divorce.

The characters are purposefully de-glamorized.

They're very ordinary, and say and do foolish things. The point is that regardless of who we are, we're all doing our best, while often failing.

Pain and Glory

Salvador Mallo is a once-famous film director who now suffers unbearable back pain, constant heartbreak, anger over failures and emotional separation from his mother.

When Salvador learns to forgive himself and others for their failures and shortcomings, he finds his drive and creativity again.

Parasite

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho portrays two South Korean families, one very rich, the other very poor, to demonstrate how the two sides are pitted against each other in capitalist societies.

Parasite is a social commentary that helps the viewers to empathize with both sides of the story.

The Rise of Skywalker

In Rise of Skywalker, the main character Rey ultimately offers compassionate action as an alternative to violence.

While superheroes normally kill all the bad guys, it puts being a hero out of our reach. However, we can all be compassionate and lend support to nurture others' pain and suffering. Compassion is a more realistic strategy for real-life heroism.

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Movie Festivals Before Today

Until the end of 2019, when everything was relatively fine globally, film festivals were a sought after event.

New blockbusters like Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, the multiple Oscar winn...

The New Reality

Now with the global pandemic being a new reality, film festivals are increasingly going online. SXSW, for instance, went virtual within weeks and even partnered with Amazon Prime for an online Film Festival.

Digital solutions are the way forward for many other film festivals, as otherwise, they lose millions in and revenue while scrambling for viewers and distributors for their projects.

Expansive Reach

Digital platforms and technological solutions make the content more accessible, sustainable and democratic. The streamed screenings and online question and answer sessions bring in unexpected benefits coupled with a vaster reach, due to the elimination of physical constraints and logistical issues associated with big events. 

Case in Point: Disabled audiences were earlier unable to access or be part of the event, and were now optimistic about the technological elements deployed, which helped them tremendously.

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Fan Fiction Writing
Fan Fiction Writing

... is found in the old and popular communities of the internet, working mostly on science-fiction and fantasy literature, with new story arcs of old worlds and characters.

The premise and ...

Familiar Worlds

As the content is based on an existing book, TV show, movie, video game, or something they already love, the participants have a genuine interest and personal identification with the topic.

Distributed Mentorship

Websites specializing in fan-fiction are using the existing bodies of work, playing and tinkering with it, while providing feedback to each other. In this process, the participants are learning and teaching each other to write well. The continuous, constructive feedback helps make fanfiction writing a collective effort, which is sometimes better than the original, in which only one mind was involved.

This kind of vast, community-based learning is called distributed mentorship.

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Self-esteem to measure success
During the 1960s, psychologists started studying what made some people more successful than others. They believed the answer to be self-esteem.

Self-esteem was a measurement of ...

Promoting self-esteem

The theory is that if everyone has high self-esteem, then everyone will be successful and live a happy life. If a society was inoculated with high self-esteem, it would end poverty, crime, and violence.

But, one should take into account that high self-esteem could be the result of success, not necessarily the cause. Also, thinking that only one thing can explain how to be successful, is probably naive.

Self-esteem and success

There’s actually very little correlation between self-esteem and success.  Research on self-esteem strongly correlates with how good people feel, in general

Self-esteem is complex and can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what is measured. 

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Appreciation Rather Than Judgment

Instead of focusing on what you don't like and trying to change your partner with judgment, appreciate what is wonderful about him/her. This doesn't mean avoiding problems, as it is vit...

Don't Shy Away From Conflict

Much can be learned from how you each deal with conflict, and avoiding it keeps you from that knowledge. 

An inability to resolve conflict is a major reason why in-love feelings fade away.

Ask In-Depth Questions

Ask the important questions -- about values, money, children, religion/spirituality, past relationships.

If you are afraid to be forthright in your questions, then the fear itself is letting you know that your fear of rejection may be in charge -- which means you have more inner work to do.

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Today's film industry
Today's film industry

The film industry is at a tipping point. Traditional studios are under threat of being shouldered out by their competitors. Sequels take precedence over original content, projects struggle without ...

A growing movement
  • The Time’s Up movement is making strides to eliminate gender-based discrimination at every stage of the film-making process.
  • It has established a mentorship programme for aspiring producers from socio-economically disadvantaged households.
  • The 4 Percent Challenge, encourages industry figures to work with a female director every 18 months.
  • Grants have been made available to journalists covering film festivals.
  • Standards of behaviour on set are changing. There is a push for more female directors and equal pay to ensure sustainable cultural change.
Disruption of the industry

Streaming services following in the footsteps of Netflix, have revolutionized the way we consume visual media.

  • Despite the boycotts by major cinema chains, they also succeeded in democratizing the movie business, because they can take more risks. They release more films and are free from box-office pressures.
  • Mid-budget movies is another welcome side-effect.

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Napoleon Hill...
... is the most famous con man you’ve probably never heard of. 

Born into poverty in rural Virginia at the end of the 19th century, Hill went on to write one of the most successful self-...

Hill was a charlatan

Napoleon Hill was said to be an advisor to two presidents: Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In fact, there’s no evidence whatsoever outside of Hill’s own writings that Hill met President Wilson or President Roosevelt, let alone acted as a trusted advisor to both.

Hill and Carnegie

Napoleon Hill’s most infamous claim was that he met and interviewed at length the industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1908.

Andrew Carnegie's biographer David Nasaw found no evidence of any sort that Carnegie and Hill ever met.

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The Greatest Showman

 ... is a tribute to the resilience and power of the entrepreneurial spirit.

It is a story of society’s outcasts finding success through unconventional means.

You're More Than You Can Ever Be

Barnum is a lowly servant with big dreams working in a wealthy household. He gets a glimpse of the life he could live if he were to rise above his circumstances.

Barnum did not obsess over his daydreams but through hard work made his dream a reality.

The Market Is the Great Equalizer

Barnum’s original museum highlighted the spectacular and unbelievable marvels of the world. Unfortunately, none of these rarities was real. 

His original museum relied on poor quality replicas of mermaids and other mythical phenomena, which were not appealing to consumers. But the lack of customers drives Barnum to go in search of real, and rare, human acts.

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Ideologies ≠ Ideologues
Ideologies ≠ Ideologues

Ideologies: ideas that, disguised as science or philosophy, claim to explain the complexity of the world and offer remedies that will perfect it.

Ideologues: people who pretend ...

Virtue ≠ Virtue Signaling

Jordan Peterson observed that virtues aim for balance and to avoid the extremes of the vices. Cultivating judgment about the difference between virtue and vice is the beginning of wisdom.

Modern relativism asserts judging how to live is impossible, because good and virtue are relative. Thus relativism’s version of “virtue” is “tolerance.” This leads to people broadcasting their tolerance as a form of self-promotion, and secret vice, which is also known as virtue signaling.

Order and Chaos

Order is where the people around you act according to the established social norms, remaining predictable and cooperative. Society is simultaneously structure and oppression.

Chaos is where the unexpected happens. 

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Statistics Inaccuracies

Most studies that involve statistical research remain largely inaccurate, and a large number of hypotheses use data samples which are inadequate.

Beliefs and Statistics
  • Researchers extract a lot of false certainty from data which is used to study a particular hypothesis, due to their myopic thinking, confirmation bias, and other cognitive assumptions that they aren't even aware of.
  • Many researchers believe in small samples of data as if they stand for the whole of the population, and this can lead to unpredictable consequences.
The Eye Poster Experiment

It points out our irrational bias and behavior towards our surroundings. How people succumb to irrational beliefs was demonstrated in an experiment at a University Kitchen.

It found out that if there was a poster with eyes put up near the kitchen counter, then people were more likely to pay for the food, subconsciously taking those eyes in the poster as someone looking at them.

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Online Dating Saves People Money

People who meet online take half as much time to get married. That implies that online daters that end up marrying spend half as much on dates on the process.

Assuming an average of 18. 5 mon...

Less Likely To Divorce

One controversial study from an online dating platform claims that couples who met online have a 6 percent separation and divorce rate whereas couples who met offline have an 8 percent rate.

More Likely To Break Up

A study of 4000 people claims couples who meet on dating sites are less likely to get married and more likely to break up than couples who met offline. The phenomenon holds true for both married and unmarried couples.

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