Saturday, September 12, 2015

#42Movies, Day 2: In The Not Too Distant Future

Out of all the science fiction movies I've seen, why would I choose these two?

Children of Men (2006)
District 9 (2009)

I'll explain after the trailers.

Yesterday I talked about one of the reasons I love Star Trek more than Star Wars: because genre-wise, I've always been more drawn to science fiction than fantasy. I prefer imagining a somewhat-possible future to a totally-impossible secondary world.

But why feature these two very recent, rather dystopian, and stylistically similar films? How could they possibly have influenced me much in just the last few years? Wasn't I already "fully baked" as a human being by the time I saw these movies?

Well, yes and no. I do believe that much of our personalities are shaped at an early age, which is why I avoid debating adults about anything substantial—I'm pretty sure I'm not going to change anybody's mind about politics simply by talking at them. And though I believe I'm fairly open-minded, there are certain positions that I'm not likely to budge on, either. (For the record: Household pets are people. Corporations are not.)

But I'm still learning new things, all the time, and I want to continue. The day I stop learning is the day I die. And those accumulated bits of learning can change my perspective gradually, like a pile of pennies overflowing a piggy bank.

Children of Men and District 9 both focus on disadvantaged and oppressed populations, with glimpses of the ruling class, but the heart of each story is the powerless struggling against the powerful. I'll be honest: I was pretty sheltered growing up, and I think that was by design; my parents wanted their children to grow up safe in the suburbs, with every possible advantage in life. I love them for wanting the best for my sister and me, but the consequence of growing up in our particular upper-middle-class Southern California society was not really understanding some of the worst things in life.

Obviously watching a couple of movies didn't change my worldview overnight. These two films are simply emblematic of something I've come to understand in recent years: that charity is not necessarily sympathy, and though it may be feel difficult to be an ally, it's more difficult to live with yourself knowing that you didn't do the right thing.


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