The University of Oklahoma Foreign Film Club (FFC) is proof that all you need is Netflix and some good buddies (the pizza is a bonus) to open your eyes to the wonders of ~international films~
Other countries are pretty explicit about their current states, whether it shines a negative or positive light on their home. We Americans like to romanticize the heck outta our issues.
Kite Runner was brutally raw. It was hard to watch; it made me sick. But it showed the reality of some of the major issues in Afghanistan.
The FFC is a group of folks who, after watching a movie like Kite Runner, wants to discuss the film and its influence.
An American film tends to be pretty different. We like to focus on romance, portraying an unrealistic image of what love should be. We mock the important issues, “comedicize” what needs to be taken seriously and expect a happy ending. Not to say that there isn’t something artistic about the common American film, but they typically cannot be taken seriously.
The unoppressed emotion, the raw truth, and the blunt actualities are brought forth in foreign films. Other countries use film as a way to depict what is unspoken within a society, be it negative or positive.
Friday, January 29th I went into a local coffee/tea joint with a friend of mine to see a Wadjda, a foreign film which a classmate had earlier recommended to us. This film follows a spunky Saudi-Arabian girl, Wadjda, as she desired to have a bicycle of her own. This film shed light on many of the oppressive notions implemented on women in this country, for example Wadjda’s mother had to have a driver, because women aren’t allowed to drive. Wadjda, a pre-teen, is constantly being reprimanded for her actions as she is reminded that her rebellious spirit will make her unappealing to future suitors. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the movie, it was easy to follow and the director, Haifaa al-Mansour ( the first Saudi women to direct a feature length film) gives an honest and raw portrayal of the lives of many Saudi women. Husbands can take on additional wives, if their current one is unable to produce a male heir, and girls who listen to tapes are considered sinful. Although, I was already aware of the more traditional lifestyle in many Middle Eastern countries, seeing the differences really makes me appreciate the freedoms that I have here in the States. My father taught me how to ride a bike when I was in elementary school and no one considered my riding socially unacceptable. I was allowed to hang out with my male friends, without being deemed impure, and my mother is able to drive herself to work everyday. I am in no way saying that people cannot be happy in a more traditional environment, and some people indeed prefer it. However, I believe it is important to have the power to make choices in your life and how you want to live it, and many have people in other countries , like Saudi Arabia have their lives mapped out for them without their input. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend others watching it, it’s an easy way to gain perspective and broaden your knowledge of the world around you.