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Trouble the Water

The Hero’s Journey

Thousands of movies have been made on the theme of overcoming adversity. In fact, “the hero’s journey,” in which a reluctant protagonist is thrown out of his routine existence and into a heroic undertaking that threatens his life, reveals his strengths, and transforms him for the better, is a classic movie-making formula. The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Avatar, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Beverly Hills Cop are all […]

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Movies that celebrate commUNITY

Community plays a pivotal, though sometimes incidental, role in many films about social change. The movies Happy, The Economics of Happiness, and The Bonsai People,  for example, each profiles—even if obliquely–ways that community, in traditional cultures, compensates for consumption in modern cultures, with far greater returns on investment. Happy filmmaker Roko Belic, co-founder of Wadi Rum Films, conceived his movie on what makes people happy when his friend, director Tom […]

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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist and one of its most outspoken critics. The son of a revolutionary poet who was sentenced to thirteen years of hard labor when Ai Wei-Wei was a child, the artist has every reason to fear the Chinese government. But he refuses to be cowed. On the contrary, he carries the fight to Chinese officials at every opportunity, in a style vaguely reminiscent […]

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The Blue Jewel

The Blue Jewel is a beautifully photographed film about our precious planet, “the blue jewel,” which carries a somewhat startling message: The Earth loves humanity. German film maker Oliver Hauck asks, “What would our Earth be like if man would understand that he and the Earth are one? That we humans are made of the same material as a volcano or a rainbow and that the Earth’s pulse beats to […]

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