Films as Choices that Change Our Lives

What movie did you watch this weekend?

I bet that although you were dismayed by the violence displayed by one criminal mind during one particular screening of The Dark Knight in Aurora, you still managed to sneak in a showing of the film… Unfortunately, no matter how much we try, it’s a lot harder to be cultural than it is to catch the kind of thoughtless entertainment those Hollywood blockbusters so easily offer. I’m guilty myself, not for the “Batman” series which does not interest me one slight bit, but I do love the whole crassness of The Hangover and found myself discussing the details of the film with a new friend just days ago.

Yet ultimately, we are what we eat, as the old saying goes, but also what we watch, read, discuss and wear. We talk the big talk about recycling and eating green, and then we throw our cans in the garbage because it’s faster, and we eat at McDonalds because it’s, well, there. When we are hungry.

We do the same with our culture. We don’t want to be left out of the pop-discussions, so we watch films we know we’ll be able to joke about and talk over with our friends. We read the newspapers that are considered intellectual in our circle, even if they are that old, tired New York Times which is always at least a day behind the hipper blogs. We do things for convenience, for the easiest results, instead of thinking how every move, every moment, every step of our lives means so much and creates such a momentous ripple effect.

I’m far from having it all down packed. Every day, I learn a bit more on how to be authentic, how to create an organic sense of rightfulness in my life (note to self: use “organic” a whole lot less for that to happen!) and I’ve started with the movies I watch. While I will still watch that odd romcom from time to time, I am substituting it more and more with real life inspirational stories and the kind of cinema that is slowly but surely changing the world.

So, this Sunday night, pick up your best friend, your lover, your Mom and take them to see the Korean documentary Planet of Snail, at Film Forum in NYC. Or put Oscar winner A Separation on your Netflix queue and while you wait for it, watch The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 on Netflix. Those choices, just by the sheer act of watching them, will change your life.

Let our knowledge allow us to never repeat the mistakes of the past. Insh’allah.

Top image courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival

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