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Twelve Films That Highlight the Best in Humanity

Pain and Glory

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.

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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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The overabundance of content makes people feel overwhelmed and confused. Add to it the fact that today’s pop culture options often reflect the current dystopian world, when most of us are wanting to escape from it, and have limited time. 

Volitional Reconsumption

.. is a deliberate act of revisiting old cultural favorites, as a form of self-discovery and self-identity. When people rewatch something, they watch it more intensely and can find out creative details and hidden meanings that were lost in the first viewing, appreciating the fine work of art even more.

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Appreciation Rather Than Judgment

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Ask In-Depth Questions

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

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Ignoring authenticity

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A growing movement
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  • 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.

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  • Mid-budget movies is another welcome side-effect.

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Dealing with problems

Studio Ghibli films never hide the difficulties of life. Instead, the character battles with the hardships and the inner character struggles.

It is the characters' relationships to adversity that reveal their identity and spirit. It shows their ability to overcome or rise above and their determination and resilience.

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“Always believe in yourself. Do this and no matter where you are, you will have nothing to fear.”

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