Cinematic Glimpses into Other Worlds

         Movies allow viewers a glimpse of worlds they may never see. Many of us have six dollars to watch a film at the Cineplex; most of us do not have the cash to flit off to a foreign country. Movies enable us to be someplace else without leaving our home.

         Obviously, no one has figured out how to time travel quite yet, but movies also allow us to do that. Through films like D. W. Griffith’s 1915 Birth of a Nation, or Arthur Penn’s 1967 Bonnie and Clyde, we go back in time and get a chance to witness our successes and failures. Through Birth of a Nation, we see how ridiculous we were and learn from our mistakes.

         Sadly, many historical events are not well known to the masses because reading is becoming a lost art—but make a film about it, and we become a more educated society.

         One drawback to learning about history, culture, politics and places from film is that the view will always be biased. Any time we view a film we are seeing the situation through someone else’s eyes. We may be getting the perspective of the director, the writers, the producers—or all three. Because of this reasoning, we have to be aware that any movie we watch has some sort of spin on it.

         Look back at Birth of a Nation—this movie shows us a viewpoint we hardly ever (thankfully, in my opinion) see: that the Ku Klux Klan saved the South and that, when the act of slavery was abolished, things were taken over poorly by blacks.

         Even thought they show us biased views, films provide an invaluable amount of knowledge purely through exposure to topics and events we may never have explored had the movie not been made. Books, of course, also provide this same type of educational adventure; but film is so much more accessible; and even people who are poor readers can enjoy it.

Jacqueline Jordan

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