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Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 4 » Gandhi
LunowDate: Friday, 2011-12-30, 8:54 AM | Message # 1
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This awe-inspiring biopic about Mahatma Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) -- the diminutive lawyer who stood up against British rule in India and became an international symbol of nonviolence and understanding -- brilliantly underscores the difference one person can make. Epic and unforgettable, the film swept the 1983 Oscars, winning eight awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Kingsley), Best Screenplay and Best Director (Richard Attenborough). - from Netflix

This movie won a LOT of academy awards when it came out. By today's standards, the movie is slow-paced and thorough. Not much blows up, but there is enough action to make even the most cynical non-AP students pay attention.

The movie focuses on the Indian politician Gandhi, and his non-violent opposition to the British Empire. Gandhi actually starts his career in South Africa where he spends many years battling the injustices of the segregationist policy of Apartheid (an official government policy that separated people according to their race). We will study Apartheid in the political unit.

After his years in South Africa, Gandhi returns to India where he devotes the rest of his life to fighting against the British Raj (British colonial government of India), sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims, and the caste system of the Hindu society.

Gandhi remains one of the most remarkable men to have ever lived. His idea of non-violence has served as inspiration to people around the world. In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cited Gandhi as his biggest motivation when he organized opposition to the segregation of Southern States in the USA during the civil rights era.

This movie could easily fit into our Political Geography Unit, with sections on colonialism, South Africa's Apartheid, neo-colonialism, non-violence, and sectarian violence. It also deals with some of the topics from the Culture Unit, most notably the Hindu caste system and sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims. The movie also shows what life was (and in many cases still is) like for millions of people living in India.

This would also tie into our unit on Economic Geography, with a study of neo-colonialism and the whole concept of the relationship between the core (wealthy) and periphery (poor) countries of the world today. Before the British arrived in India and started taking over the country after the Battle of Plassey (1783), India was pretty much self-sufficient. the country was divided into competing kingdoms and not one unified country, but it was economically viable. The British destroyed the Indian textile manufacturing industry and forced India to become reliant on the factory made textiles that were being made in the British Industrial Revolution in cities like Manchester. India was effectively turned into a huge plantation, growing opium that was sold to China, and the cotton that fed the British Industrial Revolution (particularly when the US Civil War disrupted the cotton supply). It is for this reason that the movement Gandhi starts focuses so much on home-spun clothing. Gandhi knew that the way to destroy the empire was to hit it in the wallet. I wonder how much of that is true of our empire (?) today.

Overall, this is a great movie that you should definitely spend some time watching. You should know who Gandhi was, and what he did. No ifs and buts. You can not be an educated young lady or gentleman and not know about him...
planefreakDate: Tuesday, 2015-04-07, 9:58 AM | Message # 2
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Michael M. Trương - Period 4

I cannot help but comment that Gandhi is an absolutely phenomenal film. In this film Gandhi teaches us that non-violence is the way to victory because it does not fight back. It reveals strength, endurance, and innocence in the face of aggression. On the other hand, spite and retaliation could very well create an image of barbarism on both sides, rather than invite witnesses to sympathize with the people and their cause.

I've heard that non-violence is often said to be a form of inaction, and that the only reasonable response to lethal action is lethal action. But it does not have to be this way.

Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Not literally blind, but rather blind to what? Blind to what we could achieve by working together under one cause. Blind to winning through non-violent means, which is far more likely to garner support from others than through violent means. Besides, neither Gandhi nor I know anyone who would kill to support a cause.

The bottom line is that this film is a timeless classic that tells a story about how non-violence succeeds despite the apparent omnipresence of aggression; Gandhi is a true epitome of revolution.
Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 4 » Gandhi
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