Multiculturalism Shines At The 2017 Toronto Film Festival

Films have the power to change attitudes and opinion’s. Teachers know this. Wise teachers understand and consequently take particular time and care in incorporating films into their lesson plans.  Community leaders search for films that can present issues in new refreshing ways in their advocacy work. New approaches are needed and films offer one tool for achieving this.

Underrepresented groups such as Arab, Cree and far middle Eastern continue to make limited progress while Black Americans appear in more films. Canada continues to take a lead through the efforts of the National Film Board.

The following films are presented in no particular order save currency. They were all showcased at TIFF and were selected at the Festival for their value and merit.

  1.  KINGS .  The Watts riots of 1992 rocked the U. S. in search for answers to the prejudicial act by police against Rodney King. Set in a multicultural neighbourhood,  the film captures the background of the times. (I vividly recall wandering through that same neighbourhood as a student in that period.) The incident changed approaches by the   police in treatment of the black community.  A single mother draws lost children into her home and a community -lost person find each other. They bravely decide to solve the problem.  Belgium.  Halle Berry, Daniel Craig Color 92 mins. 2017
  2. OUR PEOPLE WILL BE HEALED.  The voices of the Norway House natives speak directly to us making the film true innovative filming.  Norway House is one of the largest reservations in Manitoba lying north of Winnipeg. The film is a model for structuring reservations.  Canada. 97 mins. National Film Board.   Color 2017
  3. WOMAN WALKS AHEAD.   A passionate female painter in 1980’s New York teams with Sitting Bull in promoting the case of native Americans. They exchange views and thus gain a better understanding of each other’s cultures.   U.S. 101 mins. Color 2017.
  4. FIRST REFORMED.  Paul Schrader returns to his masterpiece “Diary of a Country Priest”.   A priest mourns the death of his son and keeps a diary of his perceptions. He comes into a relationship with some expectant parents.  Harboring doubts about bringing their child into a world unsympathetic to environmental issues, they both question their Calvanist faith.  Ethan Hawke. U.S. 112 mins. Color 2017
  5.  UNE SEASON EN FRANCE.  A father loses his wife in the Central African revolution. He attempts to adjust with his family in Paris but his new partner’s white color presents problems. He and his brother bring new skills to France which are underrepresented     French 100mins. Color .2017.
  6. VICTORIA & ABDUL.  Queen Victoria, while in her 60’s, developed a deep relationship with an Indian who is asked to present a coin in celebration of India’s Golden Jubillee.   They exchange views and he stays on as her advisor.  England.  Judi Dench. 111 mins. Color .2017
  7. MUDBOUND.  In the Mississippi Delta   following World War II, a young woman is joined by two soldiers from the war.  Her brother and brother-in-law try to cope with  the war’s  stress. while she valiantly tries to adjust to her husband’s cotton farm. , Carey Mulligan. 134 mins. Color. 2017
  8. STRONGER.  An act of violence changes the lives of a young couple during the Boston terrorist attack.   Together they assist the police in capturing the terrorists. An inspirational tale focusing on the paraplegic boyfriend whose dreams are shattered.  Carey Mulligan. U.S. 112 mins. Color. 2017.

Please note:  Stars are noted and other interesting facts when they deserve mention.

Teachers could draw some of these films to the attention of their students when they appear in local theatres and also check censor’s classifications.

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