Gran Torino is a film released in 2008, staring Clint Eastwood – a war veteran trying to comes to terms with the multicultural society his neighborhood is turning into.
(Gran Torino movie poster, picture taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gran_Torino)
It is an excellent film, with a 8,2 rating on IMDB, portraying multiculturalism, its challenges and its benefits.
Before watching the film you will be given the movie poster and some questions about the symbolism and importance of cars, and the city of Detroit, about American war veterans and Asian Americans in the USA.
Write a short blog post where you analyze the movie poster – what kind of impression does it give of the movie?
Also, try to answer the questions you have been given in this blog post. It should be posted on your blog today, as you will have about 45 minutes to work with it in class.
Nigerian men auctioned off as slaves for 400 dollars… What is a human life worth?!?
Read more/watch video here:
Today Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, which is the most important US holiday celebrated by Americans all over the world. However, in the US multicultural society not everyone feels comfortable celebrating Thanksgiving. Perhaps this article can give you an immigrant’s perspective on Thanksgiving as well as give you assications to the short story “Free for All”? If you would like to know more about this, read Viet Thanh Ngyen`s opinion “Feeling Conflicted on Thanksgiving”.
“My Son the Fanatic” is a short story written in 1997 by Hanif Kureishi about a father and a son living in London, and struggling to adapt. The father left Pakistan and loves England, he wants to become as English as possible, because “you can do almost anything here.” The son has never been outside England, but still struggles to find his place in the English society, and is looking for something else, going back to the culture and faith of his ancestors, and becoming more and more angry with the society he sees around himself – the society his father is so in love with.
“Free for All” is a short story written by Moin Ashraf in 1999. This story too depicts a father and a son, this time in the US, the father doing everything “right” to become an upright and successful man in his new country, and being frustrated at seeing his son leaving the ideals of his own country and tradition. It is a culture clash, between a son who has grown up American, and a father who still looks back to and values of his Pakistani homeland.
Write a blog post where you EITHER compare these two stories in terms of father-son relationships and the question of identity and belonging, OR discuss what these two stories say about being an immigrant, and raising a family in a different culture. What are these two stories saying about multiculturalism?
Many countries today are multicultural societies, consisting of several groups of people identified by ethnicity, language, values and ways of life. Many English-speaking countries are multicultural, and the ones we often identify as multicultural countries are the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India.
India is a complex, diverse country that may not be recognized as a multicultural one. Still, it consists of various cultural and ethnic groups that make up the pluralism that forms Indian identity with its many challenges.
The movie Lion brings us to both Australia and India. After having watched the movie, we will work with questions you can access here.
Another film that deals with multicultural societies is Gran Torrino. This film takes place in the USA. You can find more information about and questions to the film here.
The film Even the Rain, or También la lluvia, is a Spanish film from 2010.
The film is about a film crew travelling to Cochabamba, Bolivia to shoot a movie about Columbus and his conquest.
While there, the government decides to privatize the water in the Cochabamba area, and water prizes rise with about 300% only a few months. People are even forbidden to collect and use rain water. This leads to the Bolivian water war, with huge protests and demonstrations, and clashes between the people and its army. The film depicts both these stories brilliantly.
As we watch this, we are going to make use of FN-sambandets teaching material for this film. (http://www.fn.no/Undervisning/VGS/FN-film-fra-Soer-Even-the-rain?for=elever)
Start by watching this short film in pairs, and discuss why some countries are rich and some are poor.
After the film:
1. Find out more about the Bolivian water war – why was the water privatized? Why are the inhabitants protesting? What was the result after the protests?
2. See this film about sustainable development. The water war in Cochabamba is a multilayered challenged for society. How does the water war affect the people, the environment and the economy in the communtiy? What does that mean for a sustainable development in Bolivia? Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are relevant for the challenges Bolivia faces in this film?
3. Why are some countries poor? How is the world community, or economy, keeping these countries in poverty? What can we do to diminish the differences in the world?
Sources: Translated and adapted from FN-Sambandet. “Film fra Sør.” 27.10.2017. http://www.fn.no/Undervisning/VGS/FN-film-fra-Soer-Even-the-rain?for=elever. Accessed 10.11.2017.