Hi again. Its been a while.
Last week I watched The Greatest Showman with my family, for the second time. After the film we got into a discussion about whether films need to have positive messages in them, or messages at all. The Greatest Showman has an amazing message of individuality and acceptance.
But does it need to?
Moonlight. Get Out. Black Panther.
I am yet to watch Moonlight. It won best picture at the Oscars in 2016, beating La La Land.
Get Out, a film devoted to portraying racism within modern day America.
Black Panther, just another Marvel superhero film? Or maybe something more?
3 films which have an obvious, or underlying portrayal of racism. Why?
Get Out is a film which has a obvious message in it.
Black Panther is not. It is a superhero movie, that is based mostly in Africa. The similarities between the films comes from the casting. Black Panther has an almost completely black cast. It also acknowledges African culture, and doesn't try to take away from that. Instead it recognises and advocates culture. It does not Americanise African culture.
These films normalise black lives and culture. They both show that racism still exists but they also make an attempt at allowing black lives to be lived freely. And rather than highlighting the difference between black and white culture, they show that cultures can be difference. People can live their lives differently and thats okay.
After talking to my family about these films I realised something. We expect a film based in the UK to have English accents, in the US to have American accents and so on. So where does Gypsy culture fit? I feel its necessary to use the word Gypsy or traveller culture, so it is inclusive. In Hollywood films we are seeing more of cultures. Even before the films I've spoken about above. We have always seen white, black, asian etc characters and individuals in films and the media. Whether the stereotypes of these characters were right or wrong, or good or bad. They were there.
The only time we see Gypsies and their culture in on the news or social media, which is usually negative. For anyone who watched the X factor this year, Scarlett Lee comes from a traveller community. The show kept that very quiet. For whatever reason, we are scared and worried. Worried that that girl would get branded. Thats why we don't see it. As I said above, there is still racism, sexism, homophobia in all areas of the world. Despite us making films like Get Out and Love, Simon. But what these films do do is they make the presence of these groups recognised, in a normal way. Their lives are normal. They are normal people. We do not do that for the Gypsy community and that is why I believe they are the most attacked group for race right now. They are grouped negatively and we do not see past their culture. All because we do things differently.
So should films have messages? Well, yes and no. Get Out is a fantastic way to get across a view, it makes point and dramatically. But it does highlight it. For me, it would be enough to see cultural groups just in films. In the UK we have traveller communities so show that we do in films. Acknowledge them. We would never make a film based in the UK without any black people, because it wouldn't be realistic or true.
Just be inclusive. You could re-make Jaws, which has no sociological, meaningful message behind it. Just include everyone who should be there.
Let them be known.