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Movies Change Lives

Pedagogy of Constructive Humanistic Transformation Through Cinema


Tony Kashani

Movies Change Lives is a rigorous interdisciplinary examination of cinema as a vehicle for personal and social transformation. Interdisciplinary scholar Tony Kashani builds a theory of humanistic transformation by discussing many movies while engaging the works of philosopher/psychologist Erich Fromm, cultural studies theorist Stuart Hall, critical pedagogy theorist Henry Giroux, political philosopher Hannah Arendt, the great French thinker Edgar Morin, the pioneering psychologist Carl Jung, the co-founder of string theory, physicist Michio Kaku, and Frankfurt School philosopher Jürgen Habermas, among others. The book argues that in the globalized world of the twenty-first century, humanity is in dire need of personal and social transformation. Movies have universal appeal and can deeply affect their audiences in a short time. Coupled with critical pedagogy, they can become tools of personal and social transformation. Movies Change Lives is an ideal text for graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses on film (cinema) and society, visual culture, consciousness studies, transformative studies, media and social change, advanced personal and social psychology, and political philosophy.


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Preface ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction. The Need for Humanistic Change 1 The New Global Condition and Role of Cinema 4 The Challenges 5 Chapter 1. Pertinent Theories 9 Is Cinema Art? 11 Reality and Cinema 12 In Search of a Transformative Cinema 16 The Transformative Potential of The 400 Blows 20 Film Noir 21 The Search Continues 34 Documentary Cinema 36 Dissident Cinema 39 Romantic Comedy 41 When We Encounter Movies 48 The Question of Culture 52 Cinema and Reason 54 viii movies change lives Chapter 2. Cinema as Pedagogy for Constructive Humanistic Transformation 57 Pragmatism, Reality, and Education 59 Multiple Intelligences 61 Cinema of Good Faith versus Cinema of Bad Faith 62 Non-interpretative versus Interpretative Readings 63 Content-Only Cinema of 1970s America 64 Transformation for Social Justice 69 Chapter 3. Ten Movies 73 Mississippi Masala 73 Syriana 80 The Runner (Davandeh) 84 The Truman Show 91 The Matrix 98 Match Point 102 Paradise Now 105 Doubt 111 Her 114 A Separation 119 Appendix 300: Proto-fascism and Manufacturing of Complicity 125 References 139

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