Friday, May 11, 2012

Representing Humanity

Extraterrestrial forces land on Earth. Unknowing of our planet and society, it is up to you to educate them by picking five films from the history of cinema that represent humanity. What titles would you choose and why? This is the challenge that my pal Sam Fragoso, the creator of Duke & the Movies, sent out to the blogging world in his extraterrestrial inspired blogathon. After giving it some thought, here are five films that I think would give extraterrestrials a good representation of what humanity is comprised of:

This film has been on my mind a lot recently, which is probably a good indication that it is time for me to watch it again. Regardless, I think Baraka is a great example of humanity on a global level. While the film does show how corporations are changing the nature of life on earth, the film also highlights many of the other aspects of life that makes humans so interesting, especially in regards to our unique customs and cultures.

Stand By Me
The bonds of family and friendship are what have kept humanity going for all these years. Stand By Me is not only a great example of friendship from a childhood stage, but it is also a great coming-of-age tale. The loss of innocence is a thing that every human must encounter at some point in their life. An outsider could use this film to get a better understanding of how complex this particular stage of human development can be.

It is responsible for mankind’s existence, evoked numerous religious and academic debates, started wars, changed friendships, shaped gender dynamics, brought marriages together, caused divorces, and continues to sell us every product under the sun. That is right, I am talking about sex. It is one of the things that has been an important part of humanity for years, but we still are uncomfortable talking about it. This is why Kinsey would be the perfect film for this list. It provides a look into the life of a man who shaped many of the ways we interpret sex today.

While I enjoyed Blindness more than others I know, it is not a film that I would go to bat for if a debate arose. Having said that, I think the film is a perfect example of both the best and worst of mankind. On the positive side it shows the selflessness that humans have when it comes to trying to help the ones they love. However, the film also shows how quickly humans would revert back to their most primal desires if the rules of society where to go away. Though we take pride in the fact that rules and morals are what separate humans from animals, we are really just one big disaster away from total chaos.

District 9
Probably the most obvious choice on the list, District 9 is a perfect example of mankind’s inherent fear of “the other”. It would be nice to think that we would show our extraterrestrial visitors respect. However, the truth is we would most likely force the aliens to live in shanty towns while we study their weapons and do genetic testing on them. The one good thing about District 9 is that mankind can learn from walking in someone else’s shoes. So hopefully that will be enough to keep the aliens from invading.

What five films would you show visitors from another planet?


  1. This is a great idea for a blogathon, bummer I can't participate this time.

    Nice choices CS, especially District 9, one of my fave sci-fi films that has an intriguing message as well as cool action set pieces.

    1. District 9 is one film that I find has endless re-watch value. Such a good film.

  2. Another list full of diverse, unique, odd selections.

    District i9 is certainly an inspired choice, and you have me very intrigued about Blindness.

    Thanks again for participating Courtney.

    And Ruth, you can still contribute - I'm taking submissions at any time.

    1. Thanks again for putting the blogathon together, Sam. Blindness is not an easy film to watch, but I think it is at least worth a look.


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