What constraints do filmmakers portray on Social Problem films
Watch a film or documentary about a Social Problem, either based on a true story or just dramatizing a problem. Documentaries are acceptable also.
1. What constraints did the filmmaker have to follow that may have necessitated changing the format or the facts of the story? How was it changed? You may need to research the original story to answer this question.
2. What individual flaws did you detect in the characters?
3. How was the “villain” portrayed?
4. How was the social problem constructed (frame)?
Social causes are at the forefront of the American consciousness; just look at the #MeToo, #TimesUp, and March For Our Lives movements that have sprung up over the past year and a half. There have always been social issues that need our urgent attention, but only recently have many societal ills have become seemingly omnipresent. While it may seem bleak to constantly hear about problems within society, it’s also a chance to become more aware of your world and how you can help make it better.
As social causes have become more prominent, the entertainment industry has taken notice and has taken actions to become more progressive. It’s amazing to see companies like Warner Bros. give away free rentals of Just Mercy, the 2019 feature film starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, based on the true story of Walter McMillian, who sat wrongfully-convicted on death row, for the month of June in the effort to help those in need of “learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society.”
One way to do that, especially at the top of 2021 with the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, is to take in films like 2014’s Selma. In that film, Ava DuVernay recreated an America that was broken enough that MLK and a number of Black leaders and activists took to the streets to speak out about voting rights in Alabama. It’s wild to think how relevant a film like that is today, where we’re coming out of horrific riots at the Capitol due to those who believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.