Which movies have changed your life?

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Which movies have changed your life?

Postby Clare Kennedy » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:35 pm

I'd love to know what movies changed your life and why.

Here are some of mine...(all documentaries which have taught me much and changed my life in varying degrees, all in a few short hours!)

Sharkwater

This is one of the most beautiful movies that I have ever seen. I will never look at sharks the same way again after seeing this movie. Since watching it I've signed several petitions and worked to try to protect our sharks and other sealife.
"Through it all, Stewart discovers these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and how despite surviving the earth's history of mass extinctions, they could easily be wiped out within a few years due to human greed..."

Ninety percent of the shark population has disappeared from the 1970's to 2003. That's horrible and I had no idea this was the case before I saw this movie.

In one scene a poacher grabs a live shark, cuts off its fin and tosses it into the water. The shark sinks to the bottom of the sea and lies on the floor looking at the camera, unable to swim without its fin, dying. A hidden camera captures a scene in a facility that contains hundreds of thousands of shark fins piled on top of each other and you realize that that one scene that was played for you happens a million times. The shark hunters just one the fin, but the shark can't live without it. Sharks need our protection from these hunters or else they will be lost forever within a few years! What a powerful film. On top of all of this the filmmaker spends some time swimming in the water with dozens of sharks and leads them around with a touch of his hands to their noses. You almost can't believe what you're watching when you see it! It is one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen and for several minutes the man and these sharks swim together and dance as if they are the only ones in the world. Incredible!

Young At Heart

Wow! This movie is so sad and so funny! These people are a group of singers who range in age from early seventies to mid nineties. Watching them as the struggle with and eventually bring down the house with such classic songs as "Yes We Can Can" by The Pointer Sisters, "Golden Years" by David Bowie and "I Feel Good" by James Brown was a delight and made me promise myself that I too, would never be too old to rock. Or flirt, as one little old lady did when she commented how nice it was to have two handsome men in her bedroom when the director and cameraman were interviewing her. She said that it had been a while since she'd entertained two gentleman callers and that her friends would be jealous of her luck. Haha! What a great way to be. I want to be like that! Why give up who you are and having fun when you are an octogenarian? ;) Some of the chorus members get sick and a few even pass away, but the overall message is to live life with gusto and have fun. There is so much in life to appreciate and so many different ways to have fun. Find yours!

Food Inc. and The Botany of Desire

Things I learned from this movie...

"There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when it was green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Although it looks like a tomato, it's kind of a notional tomato. I mean, it's the idea of a tomato." -Michael Pollan

Prior to renaming itself an agribusiness company, Monsanto was a chemical company that produced, among other things, DDT and Agent Orange.

A handful of companies run 90% of the slaughterhouses in the USA and their practices are horrifying. Animals are pumped full of antibiotics, trapped in cages that are so small that the animal can never turn around in its entire life and overfed to the point that their legs break. This is something that most consumers contribute their money to, but are unaware of.

The takeaway for me: I buy more local, seasonal, organic foods. I avoid fast food. I try to eat less meat, and if I do eat meat I like to try to buy meat that hasn't been factory farmed. I buy eggs from free range chickens,mostly from my neighbors and coworkers. Again, I am very involved in letter writing campaigns to the companies that sell us food as well as the government who regulates and helps keep e-coli out of our foods. I don't want my daughter to grow up on genetically modified, diabetes causing, processed food.

The Way We Get By

Man, I loved this movie. Talk about inspiring! These old folks go to the airport for every single time troops leave the country and every single time they return from service. These three senior citizens have shaken hands with, hugged and otherwise welcomed and thanked 800,000+ troops. Through volunteerism, the greeters are able to perhaps help ease in a way their struggles with loneliness, depression and failing health. When these three people started greeting the troops I wonder if they knew then how much it would come to mean to them. It was all just wonderful to see. Sharing their love with strangers is such a beautiful and brave thing to do. After seeing this movie I decided to go to our local SLO airport to welcome home the troops and I credit this movie with being one of the reasons I set aside my fear and insecurity and went to do it.

The website describes the style of filming that they chose: "Throughout The Way We Get By, each character tells their own story, without the aid of narration, through on-camera interviews and moments of verite. Unlimited access to our characters provides an in-depth look into their lives. Keeping the camera static whenever possible allows each of them to quickly forget they are being filmed, removing any barriers between them and the viewer. The result of this shooting style is a well-crafted, layered story with a polished, cinematic look that enables the viewer to feel they are experiencing these personal moments alongside the characters." I liked the film and highly recommend it!
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Re: Which movies have changed your life?

Postby Ben Chiu » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:02 pm

Movies changed the course of my life in different ways than most--they changed my career, which of course changed everything from where I lived to, well, everything.

I have had shark fin soup on a few occasions (I'm Asian... what can I say, they put it on the table so you eat it! They only tell you what it is if you ask--and usually after you've eaten some!) I don't understand why people think it's so great. It's probably more of one of those "like the idea of it more" than it tastes great kind of a thing. Killing a shark just for its fin is akin to killing rhinos for its horn (and as it turns out another Asian weird idea)--terrible waste!

That said, I really can't say any documentary changed my opinions much. As a movie watcher you have to be really careful because there's a very fine line between a true documentary and a propaganda. Movies are such a powerful medium that most movie goers don't understand the distinction. Actually there are film makers who don't understand it either.

I gave a talk to the CalPoly film club many moons ago and one of their members was talking about making a documentary about the education system. I asked him about his project and he told me that he wanted to highlight how students do X, Y, and Z because of A, B, and C, and the trouble he was having was filming things to show these things. I told him he was making a propaganda film because he already had an opinion and was just looking to shoot things that would fit his vision/opinion of the subject. (He didn't like that I guess--I was never asked to come back!)

A documentary in my eyes is an objective look at something, and while it's impossible to be completely objective as a film maker, the idea is to "document" what is out there and let the story (and opinions, etc.) reveal themselves. A documentary film maker is suppose to reveal the story, not dictate and/or guide the story.

As a film maker, and not to brag, you have the ability to manipulate reality to pretty much "say" anything--real or un-real, and if you're skilled, you can make it believable.

I suppose the same can be said of the news, but there is, at least there's supposed to be, some code of ethics or at least an expectation of truth/trust--but then again, how many times have we been burned that way too?

I must sound like conspiracy theorist or a paranoid, but I'm not--at least I don't consider myself to be one. I just believe that a little bit of skepticism isn't a bad thing and people should look at the facts and decide for themselves.
Ben
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~Imagining a world without hypothetical situations...
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