Saturday, April 17, 2010

Documentaries you should watch. And then make a change.

Right before watching Fantastic Mr. Fox:
Sarah: We never watch MY kind of movie.
Shea: They don't make your kind of movie that often.
Sarah: Hmm, true.

He's right, they don't. I like smart movies, which eliminates pretty much all comedy made in the last decade. I like movies that include some element of reality and truth, especially those that involve politics, social justice, journalism or history. Also I do not like movies that include Tobey Maguire, Nicholas Cage or most singers
turned actresses. And, no cartoons unless they are old-school Disney or Up.

Lately, though, the only movies I stay awake for are documentaries. They challenge our thinking, actually provide some education and make us want to change our behavior for a week. Sometimes longer.

Documentaries we've seen that everyone should see:

1. The Color of Fear.
  •   I watched this in class, and it changed my perspective forever. It's just a bunch of men sitting in a room. Some of them are Asian, some Latino, some Black and some White. And they have the conversation all of us are too scared to have but know needs to happen. Racism is real, painful and as White people, we are sheltered from it too often. Unfortunately this movie is not on Netflix, and is pretty hard to find. Check your libraries. But please, watch it and then do something about it.
2. Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible
  • Lucky for you, you can watch the whole documentary by following the link above. Consider it Whiteness 101. It's good, not quite as intense as The Color of Fear, but will make you think twice about how you got to where you are in life. If you want more about how we even constructed an idea of race, watch this at PBS: Race: The Power of an Illusion
3. Food, Inc. 
  • Great documentary about where your food comes from. We try to buy more organic meat, and get as much from the farmer's market as possible. And when we have the freezer space, we'll buy our meat  from a local farm. And I find I read almost every food label and think, "there is corn in this, too??"
4. God Grew Tired of Us
  • Follow the journey of Sudanese Lost Boys who come to the US seeking a new life. They came to the US not knowing how to eat cereal or how to use common appliances. Despite that, they not only thrive in the US, but are able to turn their attention back to their friends and families still living in refugee camps in Africa. 
5. Darfur Now
  • Follows the story of six people trying to make a difference in the Darfur region of Sudan. We've all walked past the people handing out flyers on the street trying to "Save Darfur. " This is your chance to really understand the genocide that continues.
6. Who Killed the Electric Car?
  • One of those eye-opening documentaries where you can't believe you didn't know about all this. It has the familiar tone of look how much these companies are influencing the government and killing a good thing. But it also blames consumers for not being willing to invest in what's right.
7.  Outfoxed: Murdoch's War on Journalism
  • I like this because I dislike Rupert Murdoch. And you should never ever watch Fox News and think you're getting accurate information. CNN and MSNBC are not perfect or unbiased. But Fox News is dirty, and you should turn it off. Period.

You can't care about every issue, and you certainly can't change everything bad about the world. But have an issue, or even a few of them. Make your world bigger.

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