Because we make video for learning, and because we specialise in drama for learning, we thought it would be fun to ask ourselves what we have learned from movies?
Movies of course aren’t primarily made to teach you stuff and after an evening in front of the box we rarely find ourselves analysing and discussing what we’ve learned. But movies are incredibly powerful and influential. They help us see the world through the eyes of others and to understand things that were previously alien. We empathise with the characters, see their struggles up close and will them to success. Sure, you’re unlikely to leave the cinema with a miraculous ability to play the piano, but your world view and approach to life could be forever changed. A movie can also deliver some fact-based learning, maybe about history or sport, and inspire you to learn more about the subject. And come to think of it, that’s exactly what our videos do as well.
So, with my caveats out of the way, we can now boldly proclaim what we have learned from the movies:
From Amélie I learned to love a beautiful piano score – when I took up piano lessons soon after I made sure La Valse d’Amelie the first song I mastered.
The film Alien taught me that you can do a lot with a little. Suspense is driven throughout by what you don’t see and what’s left to your imagination.
I’ve enjoyed watching Kung Fu Panda – the wonderful kids martial art animation. It is packed with seriously good life lessons, a personal favourite of mine is to ‘live in the present’. Master Oogway the wise old turtle said : “You are too concerned with what was and what will be. There is a saying: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”
From Steve McQueen’s ‘Hunger’, I learned a lot about Bobby Sands and the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike, as well as the effective technique of sometimes keeping your filmmaking as simple and minimal as possible.
The story of George McFly in Back to the Future taught me the importance of standing up for yourself. I also learned a lot about the music, fashion and culture of 1950s America. I immediately started listening to Chuck Berry and I still do.
From The best exotic marigold hotel I learned how to take a calm and open approach new and diverse environments – As Dame Judi Dench says “Initially you’re overwhelmed. But gradually you realise it’s like a wave. Resist, and you’ll be knocked over. Dive into it, and you’ll swim out the other side.”
From The Big Lebowski I learned not to just accept what people say at face value. Because “well, y’know that’s just like, your opinion, man”.
The Spirit of the Beehive taught me that a film can be a haunting and symbolic reminder of a country’s social, political and cultural history, and truly understanding a national cinema requires an awareness of that historical context.
From Inside Out I learned that it’s important to acknowledge your sadness. The movie and it’s characters are also a great tool for supporting children to understand and communicate their emotions (similar to what we do at Nice Media with the use of real drama for learning). Well done Pixar!
From Total Recall I learned about the political construction of reality.
What did you learn from the movies?