Main Things That Bind Us Together: Films

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Main Things That Bind Us Together is an ongoing series on Youth Time that explores ideas and practices that are shared and celebrated all over the world. This time we are taking about films.

Tyrion Lannister (one of the main characters of the hit TV show Game of Thrones) goes on to berate his father and the crowd in the most articulate way in English, while I am watching the Russian dubbed version. 

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I have been studying the Russian language for two years now, and something that has helped me along the way is watching Russian films with subtitles in English, or American films dubbed in Russian. I cannot say for certain whether or not this has been the best way to learn, but I have read that immersion is one of the better ways to do so. It’s too soon to tell, but I can say I have discovered something else about language and cultures from watching Foreign Films that I find to be beautiful. 

The art of cinematography is a skill learned and studied virtually everywhere. Since its inception it has been used for the good and the bad. Some films have been created to promote government propaganda, while others were created with the sole purpose of exposing government corruption. Some promote multiculturalism while others demean it and invoke negative stereotypes.

Hollywood has produced and distributed successful movies all over the world. Movies like Avatar and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, have made billions of dollars worldwide. Hollywood is the most successful at this, but thousands of films are created in dozens of cultures that are best because they are products of those cultures. As someone who enjoys learning about underground films, I’ve discovered that Japanese and French horror films are the most unique when it comes to the macabre. I also think of my Syrian friend who enjoys watching French Romance films from the 1960s on her free time. It doesn’t seem to matter where films have originated from, but how they make us feel. 

So why do we enjoy it? Is it the combinations of sites and sounds? Or is there something deeper to it?

I believe that it has to do with the feeling of falling in love with characters and witnessing their trials and tribulations. We want the protagonist to win and the antagonist to lose, but we also like to be shocked or surprised. We like to get scared and hold our breath during the film’s climax. Not only do we enjoy observing these actions in motion, but most of us also enjoy it as a shared experience. Every Monday I go into work and discuss the newest episode of Game of Thrones with my co-workers. Even if we didn’t physically watch it together, we all watched it at one point during the night before and are able to discuss it the next day.

Film, like music, brings us together. We like to be entertained, and many of us are willing to be entertained by other styles, cultures, and points of view.   If many people in Russia are watching Game of Thrones enough to where it needs to be dubbed in their native language, then they must get the same sensations I feel when I watch the show. This realization has made me believe that appreciating film is something found in every modern culture. It’s another aspect that shows we are more similar to each other than some of us would like to admit.      

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