Counteracting prejudice with movies

I saw this tweet late this afternoon and read the little article behind it…

… and it has made me feel completely sick! That comment about Jews, I will not repeat it here (don’t want those words on my blog) but I didn’t understand it at first. I’d never heard it before so I stared at it for a few seconds. Then it dawned on me what it was supposed to signify and I felt a punch in the gut, tears springing to my eyes. I literally couldn’t believe that such a cruel term existed! How disrespectful and hateful can someone be? How can anyone refer to survivors of the Holocaust like that? I just cannot wrap my head around such an awful comment. Ever since that antisemitic rant of that actor (he is also not worth mentioning) I have cringed at his name. Being drunk doesn’t excuse racist behaviour, it just exposes what is ingrained in a person. And that comment about gay people… wow… how can such a thing be said, even in jest?!?

Just before I read that I also read today (thank you Guylty for premiering the news for me!) that Richard Armitage will be making an LGBTQ+ movie called “Now and Then”. The article says it’s about: “Laura, in her 60s and Chris, her gay, middle-aged son, are forced to undertake an exploration of their past mistakes and regrets to try and make sense of their present condition and their relationship with each other. To find peace with now, it’s necessary for them to make peace with then.” Richard says it’s a role that resonates strongly with him (I would love to hear him speak more about that) and it sounds like a story with great potential. I’m really excited for this one!

We need movies like that to counteract the prejudice voiced by people like in the article above. We need more movies about antisemitism (that are not solely related to the Holocaust). Gregory Peck once made a good one in 1947 called Gentleman’s Agreement that may be a bit dated, yet still rings true today. It’s about a journalist who has to write a piece about antisemitism and to do so poses as a Jewish man for a few months…

In more recent years, we’ve also been getting some really good LGBTQ movies that have made it big, like the Moonlight movie last year that I loved about a young black man struggling with being gay, told during three key times in his life…

… and The Imitation Game about World War II code breaker Alan Turing who had experienced the necessity and cruelty of hiding that he was gay…

… and the movie Colin Firth made a decade ago called A Single Man about a college professor in 1962 wanting to kill himself after his boyfriend dies.

For Colin, this meant his first Oscar nomination and a turning point in his career when finally much better roles started coming his way again. I hope something like this will happen for Richard too, that this will be the door opening to other and better roles for him as well. Most importantly, though, this movie is a great thing in the fight against prejudice! The arts are so important…

28 thoughts on “Counteracting prejudice with movies

  1. Servetus

    I’m in general sympathy with your argument here, but I think I appreciate more the films (A Single Man is a good example of this) that don’t explicitly or implicitly make the point that a person deserves not to be treated prejudicially because they are exceptional in some way. I finally saw The Imitation Game recently and I found it a frustrating film. I felt like the initial point about Turing’s intellect (the British military couldn’t effectively exploit Turing’s gifts because they were so hostile to his personality and he was so hard to get along with) slid over onto his sexuality as if they were the same thing. The risk is always that someone takes away the idea that we shouldn’t persecute homosexuals because they could win WWII for our side (to be a bit “flapsig” about it). I’m probably sensitive to this point because of the way US society responded to the AIDS crisis in the 80s, but I felt like after people realized that you could get AIDS even if you weren’t gay, there was a sort of division in discourse between “good victims” and “bad victims” of AIDS. And then there was this effort to show that many gay victims of AIDS had not been involved in promiscuous behavior, as if there were good gay men and bad gay men, and so on. While it’s certainly true that discrimination means a huge waste of social resources, it’s also true that discrimination is a poor practice simply on Enlightenment grounds, i.e., it’s just as important not to discriminate against people who will never make a significant social or intellectual contribution, or who engage in risky behaviors, or whatever.

    I did love Moonlight, but perhaps because it looked straight on at, and then shattered, so many stereotypes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I agree with you with this statement on movies “that don’t explicitly or implicitly make the point that a person deserves not to be treated prejudicially because they are exceptional in some way.”

      With The Imitation Game I didn’t feel like the intellectual slid into the sexuality at all, I just saw the sexuality as yet another issue in addition to the ones he already had that made life difficult for him. I really liked that movie, especially because I have never heard of Alan Turing before that. I only about Bletchley Park codebreakers but no names. So, in this case the movie was about an exceptional person, I liked that just as I also like the ones about less exception people like Colin in A Single Man.

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      1. Servetus

        I know I’m like the only person who was underwhelmed by “The Imitation Game” but I did know the backstory beforehand and I am never very impressed by Cumberbatch. To me he’s always competent but never remarkable and here he is playing the weirdo outsider: Sherlock, Dr Strange and Thomas Edison — yet another time. I got plunged into US Civil Rights history this spring due to my teaching schedule, and it definitely increased my suspicion of the apparent human need to glorify this kind of oppressed hero, too. Give me an ordinary person any day. They are easier for me to sympathize with.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, how could I forget to mention that? Yeah, awesome show also addressing antisemitism! Those antisemitic jibes Regina gives are chilling.

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  2. Esther I may be the minority here 😉but I’m looking forward to Father Quart. When I read Seville Communion last year I could picture The Armitage in that role! I think both these two projects will be good for him professionally and
    personally so to me it’s a win win 😘❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to Father Quart! I just feel that it could be just another ‘ordinary’ crime thriller, despite being set within the church (and just had a whole discussion over at Guylty’s how I hope they don’t muck up the religious aspects too much) – I fear a bit of a let down like I had with The Stranger. This ‘Now and Then’ movie, however, I have higher hopes for!
      I agree that both projects, if done well, could be great for him professionally.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Esther I am non religious and I found the novel from Quarts character intriguing. There were references in there that went over my head religious wise but I focused on Quart
        Fingers crossed he really gives both Quart and the Christopher character multi dimensional
        facets like James in My Zoe. Adam was very one dimensional to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you see RA’s latest tweet? It fits really neatly into the discussion here, as he is vowing as a new producer of films to represent people of all orientations fairly and without stereotype. He really is moving leaps and bounds right now. 👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t seen it yet (got up and went straight to work but have a little break now). Thanks for pointing it out! Good for him for taking a stand on something like this and wanting to have that reflect in his work as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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