Day 36: The Shared Wonder of Film

So you love films? Watch this talk; it will remind you why!
From the earliest cave paintings to the internet, mankind has documented stories. In this talk Beeban Kidron discusses the importance of the narrative of film and its power to shape world views.
Cinema is the art form of the 20th century. At this stage, it’s hard to find a story that hasn’t been told in film; a high concept idea. Theatres now, more than ever before, are dominated by the Hollywood blockbuster. According to Kidron, this puts the focus more on sensationalism and less on story. We live in an era where there’s more technology than ever before and less access to culture.
In an attempt to deliver some meaning to young people through film, Kidron cofounded FILMCLUB. This began with 25 clubs across the U.K., with kids aged between 5 and 18, and grew to almost quarter of a million participants. The website contains these reviews, as well as testimonials from the likes of Stephen Spielberg and Renee Zellweger. It also shows the breadth and variety of films young people choose when given a selection of thought provoking titles related to the month’s ‘theme.’
Kidron shows powerful footage from some of the films they chose. There’s ‘Hotel Rwanda’, which provoked questions about unarmed peace keepers and the actions of Western countries in such wars. The movie which Kidron describes as changing her own life when she first saw it, ‘Miracle in Milan’, was quickly associated with ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, by its young viewers. Movies prompted kids to question their history, their place in the world and the roles of others.
What Kidron did not envisage happening was the measurable improvements in confidence, behaviour and achievement. Young people involved are learning a different story; following a route of ambition, mindfulness and learning as a result of the stories they see on the screen.
The results of the FILMCLUB defy many peoples’ impressions of the young. Instead of being self-absorbed or consumerist, they may have needed the tools to wonder. Like in ‘Rear Window’, film can inspire them also to look at the house or apartment block next door and wonder who else is out there and what is their story.

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