Movies to Save Our World (Paperback)
A critical reflection on the power of moviemaking to shape our collective imagination of better futures
Through a close analysis of more than seventy popular documentaries and feature movies from around the world, produced in the twenty-first century, this book explores the theme of poverty, inequality, ecological degradation and revolutionary change, all associated with a contemporary crisis of neoliberal globalization in a world where it has become so pervasive. Profit rules, while poverty and inequality make the political ground fertile for populist manipulation.
The book urges progressive moviemakers to take advantage of advancements in digital technologies and to collaborate, in post-pandemic times, with educators to develop public deliberation skills and inspire a new generation of informed and compassionate change-makers.
Movies discussed include 28 Days Later, American Psycho, An Inconvenient Truth, Black Panther, Capitalism: A Love Story, City of God, Crazy Rich Asians, Dark Victory, Dawn of the Dead, Downton Abbey, Joker, Parasite, Roger and Me, Shaun of the Dead, The Hunger Games, The Matrix, The Purge, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Train to Busan, Twister, Wall Street, and more
Kenneth Paul TAN is a tenured Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, which hired him under its Talent100 initiative in February 2021. He teaches and conducts interdisciplinary research at the Academy of Film, the Department of Journalism, and the Department of Government and International Studies. He is a member of the university’s Smart Society Lab. His books include Singapore: Identity, Brand, Power (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies and Futures After Lee Kuan Yew (Routledge, 2017) and others.
Can movies build registers for bringing about social change amidst the devastating effects of neoliberal globalization and the global rise of authoritarian populism? Professor Kenneth Paul Tan, one of the most significant public intellectuals of Singapore, grapples with this vital question of our times, exploring the ways in which cinema can build our capacities for collective deliberation to build a just and sustainable world. The striking geographic expanse of the book and the brilliant analysis of the questions of poverty, inequality, massive ecological destruction, authoritarian populism and revolution offer conceptual fodder for exploring the ways in which the craft of moviemaking can connect audiences with their moral feelings and intuitions.
—Mohan Dutta, Dean’s Chair Professor of Communication at Massey University, and Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)
In Movies To Save Our World, Kenneth Paul Tan explores how cinematic texts present poverty, inequality and environmental destruction in today’s global world. Tan engages the films of Michael Moore and other major documentary filmmakers, as well as significant narrative fictional texts, to explore how cinema can help us see the problems, challenges, and inequities of the world, as well as possible solutions. The result is a probing and provocative text that enables us to envision the political possibilities of contemporary cinema.
—Douglas Kellner, Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA