Final Thoughts

In class I mentioned that without the English Departments’s diversity requirement I likely would not have taken a class outside my British literature comfort zone. While I dearly love my old dead white dudes I can honestly say I wish I had branched out much earlier. I’ve so much enjoyed getting acquainted with another culture, and I genuinely want to continue learning about it.

In class we also mentioned the hinderances we had when it came to discussion, while I know at times I was held back by awkwardness, it was great to talk about semi-sensitive subjects and get to hear opinions and experiences far different from my own. This happens in many English courses but I think I can go as far as saying that in this class everyone was at least a bit outside their comfort zone, and it was a bit frightening at times, but it was also so much for insightful and educational than several other courses I’ve taken in my time as an English major.

Overall I really enjoyed the class, like everyone else my own complaint is that it was so short. Regardless I learned so much about a culture I knew nothing of, I fell in love with the music, and the richness of society and culture, and honestly the women’s clothes and jewelry was just stunning. But that’s neither here nor there. I’m glad I’ve been exposed to so many new films, Bhumika is a new favorite, and watching The Namesake has lead me to a new favorite book. Thanks for an awesome miniature semester, everyone, I hope we all enjoyed it.

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Humanizing Politics

A major element that reoccurs in many forms of political media, whether it be television, film, or literature, is the attempt to humanize the politics and the events surrounding them. Bombay did this by following the story of a small family, whose odds were set against them from the beginning of the film. From the very start of their relationship, Shekar and Shaila fought to be together. Due to their difference in beliefs, Shekar being Hindu and Shaila being Muslim, the two had to go against their families’, society’s, and religions’ expectations. This difference in religion was the center of the film, using the couple’s differences and struggles as a segue into a larger political discussion.

 

But…let’s take a moment to go beyond the discussion of Bombay and politics in cinema.

There are several other forms of media that are used to humanize “political” discussions – short films, short stories, documentaries, novels, television shows, journalism, etc. While I know this post is meant to be dedicated to politics in cinema, I’m taking a chance and straying from the topic. While I started this post with the intention of focusing on Bombay, recent events and other political discussions have taken over my attention, and I can’t bring myself to ignore them. But first, a quick backstory:

I entered college as a photojournalism major, hoping to make a difference in the world by sharing stories that would otherwise be unheard. While I am no longer majoring in photojournalism, the experiences that I had while reporting and the work that my fellow peers have done have had a major impact on my life and my worldview. This is why in class discussions I often bring up the role of media, how it is portrayed, and the effects it has on the story being told.

That being said, I want to share examples of how various forms of media offer the chance for the unheard to be heard – for the political to become personal. In light of it being Pride, some of these examples will be focusing on the LGBTQ+ community.

Note: I do not claim copyright to any of these videos.

1.Imagine a World where being “Gay” was the Norm and being “Straight”was the Minority [Short Film]

2. In-Between [Documentary]

Video created and edited by Emily Harger

3. Formation [Music Video]

Copyright: (C) 2016 Parkwood Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

4. Cherokee [Documentary]

This video is only a very small portion of a larger multi-media project. This short clip is from a section called “Spirits of the Land.” I encourage you to visit http://2016.soulofathens.com/index.html to view the project as a whole.

Politics in cinema

When we were assigned to come up with a couple “political” films to talk about in class on Thursday, I came to a realization. I Googled “American political films,” and found several links to the “25 best America. political films” and similar titles. The films on these lists are what I would assume to be totally explicitly political, though I had literally seen none of them. I found another link with a list of movies that I had never seen. When I came to class I had planned to share that I had a hard time finding anything I had seen that was political, and that apparently I wasn’t a very cultured film viewer.

Once I got to class and heard everyone else’s examples, I realized I wasn’t as unaware as I thought. What came as the biggest “shock” to me was when someone mentioned the Lion King. I had always thought of it as a kids movie about being strong in hard times and overcoming evil, and never from a political lense. Film makers can hide politics in almost any movie, as someone mentioned in class that even Mean Girls has a political agenda. The political target isn’t the young people watching these movies, it is the older audience, parents and older siblings who might be able to grasp the political undertones. Wall-E wasn’t made because the director wanted to influence children’s ideas, but rather their parent’s ideas. Realizing all of this made me understand how prevalent politics really is in cinema, not just in the movies mentioned here, but in the movies we watched all semester in class along with most movies that are released in the present day. 

Nationalism

I know it is very corny and Ive never been a big fan of using a definition in my writings but I believe it is useful in this situation.  Merriam-Websters definition for nationalism is as stated “a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries”.  After reading this definition i thought of the film “Lagaan” for a couple reasons.  In the film one can see that the British portray this sense of being better than the Indian villagers that they oversee.  The British use this corrupt power that they have over the villagers and they do whatever they want when they want knowing that the villagers have to do what they say.  At the same time the villagers have a strong sense of pride and know that what the British are doing to them is wrong.  So much so that they are willing to fight to get what they deserve.  They are tired of being pushed of by the British and have had enough.  The two words that stuck out to me in the definition was loyal and proud.  During the cricket game you can see the players and all the fans watching have this strong sense of loyalty and pride and they are fighting tooth and nail to provide a better life for the village.

Class overview

Overall I really enjoyed this class and the format that it was presented.  Being a biology major most of my classes are just sitting in class taking notes and this was a nice change of pace.  I believe that having the class discussions that we did helped us better grasp the topics presented and let us form our own opinions.  After taking a couple of these classes i have been able to view movies and shows in a different way than i previously have.  Instead of taking these films at face value I believe it is important to ask questions as to why they are presenting it to us how they are and try and find underlying messages throughout the films.  Everything from camera angles to the background music has a reasoning behind it and being able to pick up on these is truly important to understanding a film.  In the end, one of the most important things to take out of this class is to be able to not take everything at face value.  These topics that we have learned can be evident in everyday life even in Columbus.  To wrap things up I really enjoyed our class as a whole this semester and think we came a long way in six short weeks.

Politics in Cinema

I’m happy that one of our last blog posts is about politics in cinema because I really think it ties together everything that we have been learning in class so far.  This topic really makes us look further into movies than we previously would have.  I believe our class discussion and movie examples really shows that we have learned a lot in this short six week period.  This helps us really analyze films and dig deeper into the subliminal meaning behind films.  I really liked the fact that animated movies were brought up in class.  In these movies its interesting to see how politics are present even though the average viewer might not see it.  In class i brought up the movie “The Lion King” because i believe it shows a form of underlying dictatorship.  While this might seem like a far stretch i truly do believe that politics are represented in this movie.  There are many examples of this in the film but overall one can see how politics is represented.  The movie is centered around the fight for leadership of the animal kingdom and the lengths one would go to to ensure this pursuit of power.  Every day in this country people are pursuing this fight for power and it is not always done in the most ethical of ways.  I am really interested in other peoples input and possible examples of politics in this movie or other animated movies similar to this.

 

Open Topic

This class has been a real eye opening experience for me and I really do mean that. I have kind of been the person that has always been shouting America is the best. I am a patriotic person. I served in the military. I am a proud American. However, I was also an ignorant American as well. I have said many times that the greatest experiences that I’ve had are when I get to leave the United States and see the world. Having been to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Bahrain, and Turkey has shown me parts of the world I’d never see otherwhise. However, I’ve still remained ignorant to the struggles of different groups from around the world.

In souteast Asia there is a huge problem with sex trafficing and under age girls being sold into a life of abuse. There is a problem with sanitary conditions for people all over Asia. Food is hard to get in some places. Yet all I can think about is what I’m having for dinner or why does McDonald’s always screw up my order? It’s embarassing to think that I might not be as opened mineded and willing to help others as I thought I was.

Maybe I need to travel more but instead of going to the tourist attractions, I should take my ass to places where people genuinelly need help. Seeing my father come back from his mission trips in Honduras really opened my eyes to the joy that he receives when he helps people. I honestly believe the problem with America today is that we’re too selfish. We have the ability to help others yet we lack the desire to do so. In conclusion, I’m glad I took this class because I needed to be reminded that America is a great country but it has great problems. I will aways remember to see the other side of the coin before I make any judgements.