And the Oscar for the best director goes to . . .
The world listens in eager anticipation to these words every year.
Yes, films have entertained the world for so many decades now. With technology at one’s finger tips watching movies happens at one’s leisure through mobiles and tablets as well.
But the nagging question is about the influence of movies on youth. Does society influence films or do films influence society? Especially youngsters.
It is true that many script writers find their plots from what they see, hear and experience in society. It is also true that some books have been made into great movies as well.
At the same time we need to consider the impact of the big screen or the silver screen on youngsters.
The first thought is about role models. Youngsters shape their thoughts and subject their emotions to the way their favourite film stars speak and act. Many forget to remember that what is shown on screen is idealistic and not realistic.
The second concern is about violence and crime. Many movies show violence. In many cases we find that those who do these crimes are not duly punished. So movies influence youth to consider violence as a justifiable means to achieve their goals in life.
Thirdly, we need to consider wrong signals some movies communicate about relationships. For example the divine institution of the family is constantly under threat. Several movies portray wrong relationships in a glamorous and desirable manner. This undermines the cherished values of marriage and family.
Again, we have to ask the reason why people rush to the theatres to watch movies? Isn’t it because there is an irresistible pull when a new film is released? If there is no pleasure or entertainment will people especially the youth throng to the movies?
Sometimes it is the dance and the music, at times it is the cinematography or choreography that makes people crowd at the movies. Often films influence youth not only in fashions but also speech patterns. The youngsters learn to use curse words and four letter words from popular English movies.
Again, movies often show physical abuse and violence against women. In a good number of films, women are shown as objects to be desired than as persons to be valued, cherished and respected. Of course not all films portray women negatively. Some do show women at their best in family life as well as careers. But “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”*
Movies also equate money with success, and glamour and beauty a with social acceptability. The flood of such movies cannot be counteracted by the good movies that show courage, heroism, sacrifice, moral values, and patriotic fervour. It is also to be noted that the glorification of scientific fiction in Sci-Fi movies almost desensitize youth to see the real needs of human beings like poverty and injustice around them.
The larger than life images that appear on screen, the glossy images of film stars that are too unreal and appearing on magazine covers and pullouts, the love stories that pepper films; all do influence youth mostly negatively. Immoral lifestyles seen in movies are often imitated by youth in real life.
Whether youngsters know to choose the good and leave the bad is a question that I leave open ended.
Quote on Leaven, Galatians 5:9, Bible.