No matter what day it is, films have always been a go-to when you’re looking to pass some time. Slapstick comedies and romantic chick flicks can always boost up someone’s spirit. However, movies have long moved on from being pure entertainment to actually having the pure intention of conveying messages about society, the environment, and politics to its audience. According to Adrian Danks, associate dean in the School of Media and Communication at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, “We can learn a huge amount about certain moments in time or certain perceptions of moments in time through movies. It’s their role to be provocative.” So to help you learn a lesson or two, here are some of these films you can stream on Netflix.
The Great Hack (2019)
Certainly one to make you more wary about your social media presence, “The Great Hack” is a 2019 documentary that centers on how data company, Cambridge Analytica, used the supposedly private information of Facebook users during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Journalist Carole Cadwalladr uncovers the truth behind how these private companies took advantage of Facebook users and harvested their data without consent. The documentary teaches online users to be more careful with what they post online, but also exposes big companies for their power-hungry schemes.
This movie is bound to make you double think about your next meal especially if it’s got pork in it. “Okja” is a 2017 sci-fi movie about a society that raises superpigs to be butchered for food in a city led by an authoritarian figure. A young girl who has raised one sets out on a rescue mission when her pig, Okja, is taken by the government. The film not only implies an environmental awareness for animals, but also a message for societies that are led solely by consumeristic qualities.
A Plastic Ocean (2016)
“A Plastic Ocean” is a documentary made in 2016 about decades of water pollution that is relevant up to this day. In the film, we see Australian journalist Craig Leeson investigate the impacts of plastic pollution to our environment, especially to marine life. It starts with beautiful shots of ocean life and places it in contrast with the devastating amount of plastic rubbish that have killed many species in our environment and have disturbed the balance of the ecosystem. With more and more environmental issues rising each day, this documentary should reinvigorate that sense of social and environmental responsibility.
Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (2017)
Journalists have been considered as the watchdog of society, ensuring that the government and the people are being kept on check. “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press” shows that the job of a journalist, no matter how vital to society, is not an easy feat. Some people have used their power to silence journalists especially when they have information that the public has to be aware of. Much relevant to our society today, this film shows that we must be vigilant with the spread of information and continue fighting for press freedom as a mandate of democracy.
Directed by the internationally-acclaimed Bong Joon Ho, director of 92nd Academy Award Best Picture “Parasite”, “Snowpiercer” is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people can only live inside one self-sustaining train. However, at the back of the train are people who have been starving, while those in the front are living first-class lives. The climax builds when the poor begin an armed revolution. It may seem like a classic action movie filled with blood, guns and a lot of chasing. However, it’s a clear nod to the inequalities of society and the dichotomy between the rich and poor.
This sci-fi movie mixes the nature of humanity and the inevitability of nature’s destruction together. The plot somewhat falls closer to the fantasy scale, with scientists entering a quarantined zone of Earth called “The Shimmer” to investigate the deaths and effects it has caused upon the population. One has to dig deeper to understand that the film addresses not only the environmental implications, but also how humans go through a cycle of depression, grief and perseverance.
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