Lessons Through Film

Alex - Bowling Green, Kentucky
Entered on April 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Lessons Through Film

I believe in film. Not just film itself but the message that film can send to the masses. I believe that film can be a powerful tool on provoking thought and making people challenge their beliefs. Film can make people angry, laugh, cry, happy, think, and question. Film is an art that, if done right, can make people realize that they have been doing something wrong all their lives, but that it is not too late to change. If a film does not touch a person’s soul then it is not a film, but rather entertainment, or a movie.

I strongly believe that films should not be confused with movies. Although they are shown at the same Cineplex’s and are displayed in the same way there are no other similarities. A film must make someone think, and not just during the film but after as well. Their thoughts should pertain to not only the film itself; messages, symbolism, and relationships, but also make the viewer look at things from another perspective, thus evaluating their own life. Movies are nothing like this, they are purely for entertainment value, and let the person drift off by using a two-dimensional story usually riddled with clichés’. This is often due to the fact that many Hollywood studios feel that everything must be spoon fed to the viewer, thus making for an insult on the intelligence. The viewer still feels like they are only watching a movie when the story is simple, but during a film the viewer should feel fully immersed in the story, even if it is an implausible story. They should be thinking and radically deciding if things are right or wrong, possibly even analyzing why a character would act a specific way. Films have complex stories with plotlines that weave in and out of each other forming layers upon layers of story. This makes the story three dimensional due to its’ distinguished use of storytelling, of course a good story cannot be told without the aid of good actors. Acting can make or break a film, and thus cast a beautiful story into the category of movie, because the actors could not speak as though they were not reading straight from a script. This is what film is about; the immersion experience.

While watching movies it is easy for a person to point out what is moral and amoral, but when it comes to them it can be far more difficult. That’s what diversifies what are a movie and a film. A film will make the person make rational decisions based on their own lives. When people apply their own experience to a film that reveals their own amoral actions they tend to look more closely at their own actions. It challenges us to think about ourselves, analyze what is right and wrong with society. Maybe by improving ourselves we can improve society as a whole. Our understanding of morals could be passed on to others whom want to be more like an idealistic, virtuous person.

Films like American History X and Crash have strong messages against racism and the negative effects it has on people. These films portray racism at its’ worst and even in its smallest forms. After watching these films I reevaluated the way I thought of things. Especially the way I thought about different races in general. There is nothing that makes us different, everyone has emotions. These films also make us aware that racism is still a problem even in the United States. Today we see people in films that do things we believe are horrible, such as judge someone based on their skin color before we even know them. However, when we see this we realize that we are no different; that we have done this as well. Films can easily make us evaluate or lives and change us forever. While watching the film Philadelphia I noticed the way that the main character treated homosexuals. I realized I acted just as irrational as he did around homosexuals. Even though in my mind I knew that homosexuals were people too, I never treated them like it, until I watched this film.

Topics that tap into the soul are those that are relatable to everyday life, which deal with families, friends, the meaning of life, and morals. Some films like the more recent There Will Be Blood tap into the natural human emotion of greed and the lust for more power. It also puts two characters on two opposite sides of religion against each other. These two people are no better than each other, but for similar and somewhat different reasons. However the movie lets’ you cheer on the bad guy, but there is not a single reason to cheer for him. His emotions are bare and his greed makes him long for everyone else to fail. I can quickly recalled several times when I wanted someone else to fail, not because I could not do it but rather I liked feeling better than that other person. It made me look into myself and study why exactly I do this, how come I think others need to perform poorly in tasks? I ask myself why I need to feel more superior to others rather than cheer them on and hope they can accomplish their goals. Films help point out my own flaws and I am able to make myself improve and become a better person.

Films are an amazing creation that can tell stories and pass them down from generation to generation, all the while holding onto the story that has become timeless. The power of films is one that when thought of deeply is impressive. Films can sway anyone in and out of a wide array of emotions. The ability to do this is through wonderful storytelling that encapsulates the viewer so that they think of nothing else but the film and how their lives can relate to it. Films are one of the most powerful ways to get a message to the public, one of the best ways to make people judge themselves. Everyone can learn something from a film that they can carry with them the rest of their lives, most may not even know that they have picked up some of their moral values from films that emphasize that kindness is the answer to the many problems of this world.