Friday, May 11, 2012

Duke and the Movies' Representing Humanity Blog-a-thon

My good friend, Sam Fragoso, who runs the site Duke and the Movies has recently proposed a blog-a-thon he has titled the Extraterrestrial Blog-a-thon. Contributions were asked to be published on Friday May 11. Before I delve into my choices, I'll relay Sam's thesis and give you an idea of what it is all about.

Films emulate reality through the creation of imagination. And within that imagination we perpetually are shown a new world, time, or place.

During great films we sometimes view parts of ourselves in the characters , or perhaps we see a society we live in or know of, being portrayed and observed in a light we've never seen before. Nevertheless, the purpose of going to the movies, as most perceive, is to be transported from reality.

However, every once in a while we receive more than what we expect, and it stirs our emotion in ways that often can't be articulated.

Extraterrestrial forces land on Earth. Unknowing of our planet and society, you can pick five films from the history of cinema that represent humanity. What titles would you choose and why?

So, what are my choices? Well, this was tough, but I tried to place these in a specific order to establish a thematic development through the different levels of humanity - acts of atrocity reciprocated by acts of kindness for example. Most of these are fairly bleak, but a couple present supremely uplifting finales. I also did not take into account whether these Extraterrestrial forces knew the language - which would mean that the visuals would be the most important feature of the films in question. But, here goes:

The Shawshank Redemption - Is there a more beautiful and moving tale of friendship and never-surrendered hope?

There Will Be Blood - Capitalism vs. Religion are at tense odds in this unsettling film, and what two ideologies are both simultaneously rewarding for the individual and destructive for humanity as a whole?

Schindler's List - Extreme despicableness, reciprocated by an extraordinary act of kindness.

Children of Men - How would humanity react if they knew they were soon to become extinct? Deplorably. But there are some who emerge as unlikely heroes.

 Trois Couleurs: Rouge - This is a film that makes you feel alive as you are watching it. How much do we value the influence of chance and coincidence in our lives? The ending will bring those Extraterrestrials to tears.



  1. I love your choices, especially There will be blood! I still need to see the Three Colours trilogy, I must get on it!

  2. Fantastic picks. Some of my films are quite a bit more obscure, but you've gone for some mainstream selections. I love that you've put RED on here, I agree that it is an important, great movie that will bring extraterrestrials and humans alike to tears.

  3. Awesome picks Andy. I was really close to choosing TWBB and Schindler's List for my list too. RED is a very inspired choice. And Children of Men... what an excellent film for our new visitors.

  4. Trois Couleurs-Rouge is a great choice. That and Children of Men. Inspiring...

  5. I was *this* close to adding The Shawshank Redemption to my list. Few films represent friendship and hope in such a beautiful way.

    Great group of films Andy. I'm so glad you were able to participate.

    And for those who're reading this, you can still contribute - to time limit - I'll take submission any time.

  6. Fantastic first three! As much as I love Children of Men, I'm not sure I'd go with that one. And I haven't seen your last choice. Surely Kevin MacDonald's recent doc Life in a Day would have to be screened for these lucky aliens. And I'd show them District 9 too as a warning to not break down while they are here!

  7. The first three films here that almost went on my list. I love the choices, but I went with a more hopeful idea.

  8. Really great choices, especially Schindler's List and Rouge.

  9. Interesting choices there, particularly There Will Be Blood. The Shawshank Redemption never even crossed my mind but it seems obvious now. The finale is a great example of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.

  10. Thanks for taking a look at my choices, everyone. I deliberated over these for quite some time - and still not sure if these are they are the best ones I could have picked.

    But I like each of the films and I think they tell something different about humanity, which would be of interest to a foreign invader.

    There were some inventive choices from everyone who participated, and I'd like to thanks Sam (and James, the man with the idea I believe) for running this blog-a-thon.

  11. The aliens probably think we're all so somber don't they? Just kidding Andy, these are great choices, man. I kept thinking Shawshank Redemption when I heard of this blogathon, I mean the message of hope and triumph in impossible circumstances is so timeless. LOVE your inclusion of Schindler's List, and what you wrote about it. Well done!

    1. Thanks for reading, Ruth. Yeah, my choices were a bit somber weren't they? I hoped that the warming finales of Shawshank and Red would prove to be uplifting. Maybe not enough to help them cope with There Will Be Blood, though haha.