When compared to the likes of music, speech, the visual arts, and writing, film is a comparatively new method of expression.
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Art that addresses important concerns, whether they are personal, social, political, or ideological, is often seen as the most deserving of acclaim.
Despite our disagreement with this restrictive definition of “art,” we can appreciate movies that address social issues, and these are the films we’ll be discussing today.
Even though some of these movies are set in previous eras, we’ve tried to select films that address present social issues, even if they are set in the past.
That being said, it should be noted that this is by no means an all-inclusive list. In truth, even if unintentionally, most films do address societal themes, you might make the case that they do.
These are only some of the more popular and current movies that suit the bill, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen any of these in a while.
1. 13th (2016)
With a focus on racial injustice in the United States, director Ava DuVernay’s film examines why there is such an enormous disparity between the number of Black Americans incarcerated and the total number of Black Americans living in the country.
As a documentary, this film does not bury societal themes beneath a story. It’s direct and doesn’t sugarcoat any of the more challenging details.
Also, it’s a well-made picture that deserves a lot of attention, especially in the midst of the ongoing agitation in favor of race equality.
2. The Exterminating Angel (1962)
This early-1960s Spanish film is essentially a fantasy picture. That’s because the movie’s central concept is purposefully ridiculous.
Even though there is a large gathering of well-heeled socialites at a luxurious estate, one particular region of the home has become inaccessible.
Despite the absence of a physical barrier, no one is able to cross an unseen line that is around them.
Although it’s a well-known critique of the bourgeoisie, this film doesn’t go into great detail about why these people are deserving of criticism.
Back when it was first aired, it didn’t require so much cultural understanding from the viewer.
As soon as their immediate problem isn’t solved, these otherwise well-dressed people begin to panic.
3. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Those of you who have been to the site in the past know that we’ve talked about this film previously, and we will do so for a long time to come.
A major theme in Portrait of a Lady on Fire is how society treats women, regardless of their status.
But it does so in a novel and creative manner. To begin, the film exclusively features guys at the beginning and end of the story. For the most part, the film focuses on three female characters: a serving girl, a painter, and a model for the painter’s work (a young woman about to be married off against her will).
These figures make us aware of persecution and repression. We witness how it affects them and what they do to get away from it.
It’s rare for films depicting oppressive regimes to feel so intimate and heartfelt.
4. Parasite (2019)
With his films, Bong Joon-Ho does not hold back. There are numerous examples of income imbalance in all of them, but Parasite is the most obvious.
Things go downhill from there when a destitute family gets into the home of a wealthy one.
While discussing economic inequality in this film, one of the most impressive aspects is how the rich family is portrayed. This is something that we also observed in our assessment of the movie.
The members of the wealthy family do not have a negative self-image. They don’t appear to be evil on the outside. They don’t appear to have any malice toward anyone.
A more accurate approach to describe income inequality is that it highlights the apathy or even ignorance of individuals toward a much broader social issue, which is one of the most prevalent ways in which terrible things and bad systems are sustained.
5. I, Daniel Blake (2016)
One of this year’s most talked-about films at the Sundance Film Festival was a British film about a man who can’t find work and thus can’t afford to live.
It is easy to see how other countries could benefit from the concerns made in the film, and how they support residents who otherwise would not be able to pay for their basic necessities.
It’s a depressing film, but that’s exactly what it needs to be given the subject matter.
6. Shoplifters (2018)
Shoplifters, like Parasite, attempts to bring attention to the plight of the underprivileged in Japan.
This film, on the other hand, is primarily a humanist drama about a family in which no one is linked to each other by blood.
This is yet another scenario in which the realities of the outside world only appear on sporadic occasions.
In many instances, we see our protagonists attempting to overlook or circumvent larger, more obvious external issues.
Several of our protagonists aren’t exactly role models, even if they’re immensely likable. This should be noted.
7. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
When you realize the magnitude of the opioid epidemic in the United States, this now-famous drama about drug usage in America becomes even more tough to watch.
While potentially exaggerating the depths to which an addicted person might sink when they merely need to get their dose, Requiem for a Dream’s plot is divided amongst a few key characters and illustrates the decline into addiction and dependency masterfully.
Reefer Madness and Scum of the Earth-style warning videos aren’t the only inspirations for this film; it also has a distinctly current flavor.
8. Network (1976)
In contrast to the topics we’ve discussed thus far, the show Network tackles a completely new set of social issues.
Examining the link between American citizens and the media they consume is the focus of this film. Pseudo-newscasts that are more about entertainment than information are the focus of this investigation.
After believing that God had spoken directly to him, a humble news anchor becomes a modern-day television prophet.
In spite of its age, this is one of filmmaker Lumet’s most action-packed films, and it still holds up remarkably well.
The book’s study of how we interact with the news media is very timely in today’s world.