Movies With Meaning

I have been going through a bit of a ‘deep’ patch when it comes to movies. I watched too much TV for a while and the reading went down hill, so to ease myself back in I decided to start watching some ‘movies with meaning’. My local product of media globalization – Blockbuster has a couple of sections in it that I have rarely browsed. “Special Interest” and “World Movies”. So I have been bringing home some different sorts of movies.
Maybe James can crank up his Movie blog again and input some of these into it!

Last night I couldn’t sleep and got up at 3.30am and watched Live and Become, a great new release which is set in a Sudanese refugee camp sheltering Ethiopians displaced by civil war and famine in 1984. The Israeli secret service has begun Operation Moses, airlifting thousands of Falashas, or Ethiopian Jews, to Israel. A non-Jewish Ethiopian woman persuades a Falasha woman whose own son has just died, to allow her son to assume his identity. Renamed Schlomo, the boy is adopted by a loving, liberal Israeli family, however Israel, rather than being the promised land, turns out to be rife with racism. The movie follows Schlomo through the trials and tribulations of assimilation. (Subtitles)

At our group last night we watched Letters To Ali a disturbing Aussie movie which is a personal, a humanistic and a political film that echoes Australia’s growing concern over the treatment of refugees, especially children, in detention centres. The documentary chronicles an exceptional ‘average’ family who decide to help on a small level by writing to Ali – a 15 year-old Afghan boy without any family detained at Port Hedland. Clara Law and her husband Eddie Fong travel across Australia with the family to visit Ali and chronicle their ongoing three-year struggle to grant him some freedom.
The movie was ‘arty’ and thus a bit slow in parts you need to be in a kind of contemplative mood and willing to kind of move with the movie, it will touch you and make you think before thinking we really do live in a ‘lucky country’!!

I have here (yet to watch) a movie called The Party’s Over which is produced/distributed by Madman Cinema (check out some of the brilliant movies with meaning on their site, like the new release Tsotsi) .
The Party’s Over is a feature-length documentary that explores the state of democracy in America while chronicling the extraordinary 2000 United States Presidential Election. Hosted by one of America’s most talented actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. This movie takes us on a journey deep into the belly of the phenomenon we call “American politics”. Much more than a play-by-play of the major party campaigns and their candidates, The Party’s Over confronts the important issues and gives a voice to the people that didn’t make the headlines.
With a fresh, irreverent style, the director, Donovan Leitch and Rebecca Chaikin provide a smart and entertaining alternative to the overly sanitized press coverage. By juxtaposing what happened in the streets with what happened on the political stage, The party’s Over reveals a gulf between campaign rhetoric and reality. Phil Hoffman is an articulate, intelligent and passionate artist who, in committing his considerable energy and faculty as the “host” of The Party’s Over, brings a dynamic and attractive presence to the film.

Another movie I have ordered from the ABC shop and have yet to watch is The Girl In The Cafe, a tenderly funny and poignant love story set against the backdrop of a G8 Summit Meeting, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Bill Nighy, Kelly Macdonald, Ken Stott, and Corin Redgrave star in this story which was written by Richard Curtis whose cinema hits include “Love Actually” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” along with TV classics “The Vicar of Dibley” and “Blackadder”.

Lawrence (Bill Nighy) works for the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Ken Stott) and is so devoted to his work that he barely has time to lace his own shoes let alone conduct a relationship. Then he meets Gina (Kelly Macdonald), a pretty, instinctively reserved but highly enigmatic girl, in a London cafe. A friendship develops between the two, but both, consumed by years of loneliness are guarded.

Gina accompanies Lawrence to the G8 summit in Reykjavik where she surprises herself and shocks everyone else by challenging the conference’s established agenda on global poverty. Lawrence’s superiors are furious and the dedicated public servant is forced to make an impossible decision – choose between the girl who has given him a new reason to live and the job to which he has devoted his life. What will he decide and will the world leaders at the summit take notice of the girl from the cafe? The Girl in the cafe is a romantic comedy about having the courage to seize the moment and make a difference.

These are the ones that have my attention at the moment, but a list of others follows, some of which I have seen (*) and others are simply ones that have recommended. But all of them have some kind of significant meaning and message that I believe get under your skin and make you think a bit.

Leadership and Spirituality Theme –
Remember the Titans*
Saving Private Ryan*
Wizard of Oz*
Lord of the Rings*
In Good Company*
Pay it Forward*
Coach Carter*
Scared Sacred
John Safron Versus God
Bonhoefer
Luther*
Mother Theresa*
Chocolat*
The Mission*
The Kingdom of Heaven*

Questions About War and It’s Effect (Humanity etc) –
Syriana*
Jarhead
Band of Brothers
The Constant Gardener*
Live and Become*

Movies About Environment –
Who Stole The Electric Cars
An Inconvenient Truth

Movies About Social Justice Issue/globalizationion plus other issues) –
Rabbit Proof Fence*
Letters To Ali*
The Take*
The Corporation
Supersize Me*
Farenight 9/11*
Bowling For Columbine*
The Girl In The Cafe
Yesterday – This movie look brilliant, recommended for people interested in the Micah Challenge and the MDG’s. – Mandella liked this one!

Post Script – I have been reminded of a few more good ones I have seen through comments and chats today, I thought I would pull them out and stick them in here as well –

Lord of War*
Red Dust* (Brilliant!)
The Weeping Camel
Turtles Can Fly
Triple spy
Loose Change*
Millions

Also from Neale M’s church who run a kind of club called Movies with A Message – Maria Full of Grace, the story of one young woman’s journey from a small town in Columbia to New York City, will help us better understand the situation our brothers and sisters face in Columbia.
In the film, the offer to leave her job ripping thorns off roses in a factory to “travel” – become a “drug mule”– leads 17-year-old Maria into the dangerous world of drug trafficking. This HBO Movie (rated R), directed by Joshua Marsten, presents determination and grace in the face of both hope and tragedy. Catalina Sandino Moreno was nominated in 2005 for the Best Actress Oscar award. The movie won the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.

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11 thoughts on “Movies With Meaning

  1. Hi Scott, I saw a movie not long ago called “Turtles Can Fly”. It is set in Kurdistan between the border of Iran and Turkey during the lead-up to the US invasion. I found it beautiful (nearly all the actors are children) and utterly disturbing at the same time (it portrays the day-to-day lives of orphans)…not one to watch if you want a ‘feel-good flick’, but still completely stunning. If you want a movie to make you think, this is a great one. I think it is in turkish from memory, I could be wrong, with english subtitles.

  2. After recommending probably the most harrowing movie I have ever seen, i thought I should also recommend a beautiful, beautiful movie to restore your faith in humanity! The Weeping Camel is set in outer Mongolia and is a gorgeous narrative documentary about the daily life of these nomadic shepherds in the Gobi desert. Doesn’t make any huge political statements but just gives you a glimpse into this family’s beautiful life. Again, subtitles, but maybe that can be your way of getting back into reading!!

  3. A good film about gun trafficking is “Lord of War” with Nicholas Cage.
    “Red Dust” is about the attempts to reconcile black and white South African’s through the Truth and Liberation Council.

  4. watching Letters to ALI with you last night certainly planted a ‘seed’ in me….and that hasnt happened in a few years so look out world.

    now its up to you ‘cult leader’ to cultivate.

    P.S. dont watch letters to Ali with scott unless you dont mind being punched and talked to throughout the whole thing.

  5. Thank Ro…I’m sure it was you who started the punching! Cult!! Just because we have secret handshakes, hiden treasures with the clues hidden in old paintings in Paris and … the other stuff…does not mean we are anything like a cult!

    Glad to hear God doing some stirring in you mate, happy to be on the road with you in that one for sure, I am feeling very much the same way.

  6. Allie, I do remember hearing about The Weeping Camel, I think Matt may have seen it, not sure. Thanks for your input there.
    I was also wondering about the Emperor Penguin (The March of..)movie. Someone said the original (subtitles and no Morgan Freeman voiceover) was better and not so Hollywood. It too is in the world movie section at Blockbuster.

  7. I found Lord Of War quite disturbing.

    The fact I got it out on a ‘brain dead’ pizza and movie night sort of shook me up and made me think hard.

    The simplistic ease, and nonchalantness this guy sold guns to people, knowing they are used for genocide, war and thuggery was shocking. The part where he crash landed the plan, and then just gave away all the guns to the locals, kids, teens, women. Just made me feel ill.

    I finished the movie, and just sat thinking about how people are being taken advantage of in the world. This guy was out to make money, the fact that he was allowing people to kill thousands of innocents didn’t bother him.

  8. Dead right on that one Jarrol. It was one of the darkest movies I had seen for a long time. It gave insights I sort of didn’t want to know but think I should know. This movie is based on fact, as in these things really happen. Most of the weapons being used to kill US soldiers were paid for by US soldiers…in their tax. These weapons manufacturing companies have international investors as well as US investors. The Bin Laden family is a major investor in US weapons companies…so every time Afganistan is bombed…BinLaden might lose a friend but he make another million!!
    …so I am told!

  9. What about ‘King Kong’…

    Only joking Scott…But there was an island.

    ‘Lord of War’ blew me away particularly with the african refugee population now attending at dianella…Very confronting.
    Another interesting movie that worths a watch is ‘Millions’ confronting consumerism and the balance of wealth.

    Big Dave

  10. yeah the note on the end of the movie said “that while there are single man arms dealers out there these days, the US and UK are the worlds biggest arms dealers, selling more wweaponry than anyone else.”

    physically felt sick when i read that.

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