As social creatures people are moved by emotions of other people which they witness throughout their lives. To make this phenomenon work on a big scale one is able to penetrate a large audience by using some media such as printed materials or video products. Films are great media used to show a certain event and all people involved, and to help the audience see the world through the eyes of the protagonists. Even before taking the class I knew that the power of visuals is able to influence people’s viewpoints. Now, after 16-week semester study, I realize it even more. A film is a great tool to make people think about a particular issue. At their core, people are often too assured of their opinions. They come to believe that what they know is the only right thing to be and other people are mistaken.
Films can be directed to the crushing of prejudices. People can often be affected by stereotypes concerning minorities believing that they are more stupid, lazy, or arrogant than the dominant audience. However, seeing the life of such people, observing the troubles they have, and witnessing their strong sides can be a powerful experience that will inform all of our lives. For example, due to a thick accent and poor grammar, immigrants are often viewed with a derogatory attitude, while such films as Slumdog Millionaire remind the audience that they are as much human as any other people and they can be smart, lucky, and worthy.
I am not sure how much people can change their political and personal sensibilities concerning gender and sexual orientation. It seems to me that when opinions are shaped by religious beliefs it is often very difficult to make a person accept what he or she considers terribly wrong. However, such movies as Boys Don’t Cry are able to make the audience have more compassionate view of the Other. One should not necessarily agree that the Other is right to be able to understand their motives and fell sorry for them. Eventually, that kind of attitude could help prevent tragedies and come up with new laws or at least promote tolerance. Besides, the films that portray a clash between religious beliefs and someone’s different way of living often reflect how much religious people are engulfed with their opinions and viewpoints to the point where it turns into bigotry and blindness short of love and compassion. Even if films are not always able to change some people’s attitudes radically, they are definitely powerful enough to influence them and make people want learn more and mull the problem over.
In politically and socially conscious civil society citizens should be active and bustling with activities. It would be na?ve to expect that politicials will do all the job by themselves, especially when it concerns financial gain. People need to come and get what belongs to them. In this regard, I find Erin Brockovich a great movie to give an example of a person who fights for people’s right to drink clean water and live in a non-polluted area. In the biopic, a single mother of three, Erin Brockovich, is hired into a laywer’s office where she comes across some cases that shed light onto the activity of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in Hinkley, California. Erin finds out that PG&E pays for medical bills of many residents of Hinkley because the usage of chromium contaminates waters and people develop diseases and tumors. Despite PG&E pushback Erin manages to find evidence and force the company to pay out a large settlement (Erin Brockovich). Erin Brockovich seems to be a good example of a person pursueing justice and truth and coming triumphant. Business corporations are too greedy to be expected to lose their hold on profits. Therefore, people need to act for themselves.
Precious is concerned with a dysfunctional life of an abused teenage girl who is about to give birth to her second child fathered by her own father who later dies from AIDs and lives her HIV-positive. Precious is such an neglected child that at her age of 16 she still cannot read and write. She finds support from her teacher and classmates from her class. After living her uncaring mother Precious takes her new-born baby and leaves home. Her compassionate teacher helps her find shelter and after Precious takes her first child from her mother she intends to graduate from high school. The film gives a first-hand account of what life for poor and miserable can be. It reminds that often a person can be a hostage of circumstances, especially when it refers to children. When a child grows up she or he is expected to mend the way of their parents but without proper education and help from society and social organizations it is impossible. Therefore, such movies help people see a tragedy of the situation for themselves and thus be less judgemental. The awareness of such people and such underprivileged groups will bring changes into people’s attitudes and eventually laws and social support for them.