The films that changed the world

Film can be a catalyst for social change, by raising awareness of important issues

The films that changed the world

There are many films that have had a profound impact on society, culture, and history. Some of them have raised awareness about important issues, such as human rights, environmentalism, and social justice. Others have introduced new technologies, techniques, and styles that revolutionized the art of cinema. Here are some examples of films that changed the world:

  • The Birth of a Nation (1915): This controversial film by D.W. Griffith is widely considered to be the first feature-length film in history. It depicts the American Civil War and Reconstruction from a racist perspective, glorifying the Ku Klux Klan and demonizing African Americans. The film sparked protests, riots, and boycotts across the country, but also influenced many filmmakers with its innovative use of editing, cinematography, and storytelling.
  • The Jazz Singer (1927): This musical drama by Alan Crosland is the first feature film to use synchronized sound, marking the end of the silent era. It tells the story of a young Jewish man who defies his family and tradition to pursue his dream of becoming a singer. The film features Al Jolson performing in blackface, a common practice at the time that is now considered offensive and racist. The film was a huge commercial success and paved the way for the rise of talkies.
  • Citizen Kane (1941): This masterpiece by Orson Welles is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. It follows the life and death of a powerful newspaper tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, who is loosely based on William Randolph Hearst. The film uses innovative techniques such as deep focus, flashbacks, nonlinear narrative, and a complex soundtrack to create a rich and realistic portrait of a flawed and fascinating character. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards but won only one, for Best Original Screenplay.
  • Bicycle Thieves (1948): This neorealist drama by Vittorio De Sica is one of the most influential films of the post-war era. It depicts the struggles of a poor father and his son in Rome, who search for their stolen bicycle, which they need for work. The film uses non-professional actors, location shooting, and natural lighting to create a realistic and poignant depiction of poverty and desperation. The film won an honorary Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and is considered one of the greatest films ever made.
  • Psycho (1960): This horror thriller by Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most iconic and influential films in cinema history. It tells the story of a secretary who steals money from her employer and flees to a secluded motel, where she encounters the mysterious owner Norman Bates and his mother. The film features one of the most famous scenes in film history: the shower scene, where the protagonist is stabbed to death by an unseen assailant. The film shocked audiences with its violence, sexuality, and twist ending. It also pioneered the use of editing, music, sound effects, and camera angles to create suspense and terror.
  • Schindler’s List (1993): which depicted the horrors of the Holocaust and motivated many people to learn more about the history and prevent future genocides.
  • An Inconvenient Truth (2006): which exposed the reality and urgency of climate change and sparked a global movement for environmental action.
  • The Social Dilemma (2020): which revealed the dark side of social media and its impact on mental health, democracy, and human rights.
  • Black Panther (2018): which celebrated African culture and identity and inspired millions of people of color to embrace their heritage and potential.

Film is a powerful medium that can inspire, educate, entertain and challenge people to think differently about the world. Film can also be a catalyst for social change, by raising awareness of important issues, giving voice to marginalized groups, and promoting positive values and actions. Film can influence public opinion, policy making, and cultural norms, as well as create empathy and solidarity among diverse audiences.

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'PELUMI A. Pelumi-Folarin

OLUWANBEPELUMI Adiv Pelumi-Folarin is a filmmaker with experience in project and organizational management. He studied creative production at the highly prestigious EbonyLife Creative Academy. He also did directing and post-production at the Africa Film Academy. PLM, as he's fondly called, has a professional credential in screenwriting from the University of Cambridge. He is the founder of Shining Africans Testimony, a registered NGO that has consistently and effectively lived by its tenet for more than a decade: "Changing Africans' mindset positively." Pelumi is the CEO of Shining AfriTest Studios. PLM is passionate about the emancipation of Africa and its people.

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