I like watching movies. I like being able to lose myself in the scenery, the actors and their costumes, the lines and the music. That’s not to say that my regular life is very boring or terrible and that I need an escape (read my blog for any length of time and you will see that is not the case, although a temporary break is never a bad thing for anybody). However, I do not like to simply sit back and watch a performance. I like to watch and learn.
I choose what to watch not just what I like but also what I can maybe learn from. Seeing a film that has a diverse cast or a culturally relevant plotline can teach me things in a way I would miss out on otherwise. And it may be hard for you to believe but there is a lot that I don’t know! Movies are a way to satisfy my curiosity without going up to strangers and asking them about what they are doing when they are celebrating a foreign holiday or wearing an odd article of clothing that I have never seen before. What can I say, some people dress oddly and I always want to know why! I have learned from experience that it is not always best to stop someone on the street and ask!
It is much simpler to pay attention during interesting films. It especially helps before travelling to another country to help you familiarize yourself with the kinds of things you might experience. I had a cousin who watched a lot of American programming to prepare for going there on a student visa. And although once he got there he said that things weren’t quite what he expected, there was a lot less culture shock than he was brought to believe. Although he was brought to believe those things by his mother and she didn’t want him to go in the first place, so take that however you would like. (And if you don’t know what I mean maybe you should watch a movie about Indian mothers! They are some of the best but they certainly have ideas on what their sons should be doing!)
Instead, watching people interact with each other to observe their language and their mannerisms, is really worthwhile. It can explain the belief systems of other cultures. Of course, you have to be willing to watch something that might be uncomfortable for you or different than what you are used to, but sometimes you have to be brave and look for entertainment where it is, you know?
That is why I really think it is worth it to have films that represent everyone, all cultures and religions. It can teach people in totally opposite places in the world all about you and the things that matter to you, the way you dress or speak. By only showing the majority, you make others feel bad and less important and you don’t get to bring what makes them special out into the world for all to see!