Sundance Film Festival: Sex Et Al

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThe Sutherland Institute is not the only one upset by all the extreme sex that seems to be pervasive in many of the films being shown at the Sundance Film Festival this year. We have films like Two Mothers, where two women have sex with each others’ adult sons, and Lovelace, a sort of biography about a porn star. Fine, I do not argue for one moment that the U.S. Constitution allows for just about all kinds of freedoms of expression in all media. I have to question however the quality and wisdom of some of the stuff being put on the silver screen. Again I have to question why more appropriate topics are not being addressed by the film industry.

And I hope that the film industry is pondering this question more seriously than it seems to show. One very serious blind spot is American history. That’s right, American history. So many Americans just plain do not know anything about the history of this great country, and its rich past. Last year, Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln made a big splash. Focusing on the last four months of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, the film tells about Lincoln’s efforts to pass the important 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that would forever abolish not only slavery but coerced labor. The film was beautifully done, and is well worth seeing to know something about this period in U.S. history. Another American film includes Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, about the struggle of the Sioux against injustice that culminates in the infamous massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.

Strangely enough, movies about America were not all made in the United States. A fairly old film (produced in 1971), The Emigrants, was produced in Sweden. Starring two famous Swedish actors, Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann, the film is about a group of Swedish immigrants who go from their native country to the state of Minnesota in the 19th Century. Their trials and tribulations helped to build America. These are the kinds of films we as a people should be seeing more of. It is too bad that such films like these are not being produced in far greater numbers. If many Americans cannot name the three branches of government, cannot name who we fought against in World War I or World War II, and cannot answer what the Bill of Rights is on a U.S. citizenship test, then this country and people desperately needs education via the movie industry to something about who we are and what this great country represents. Sadly, you will not find it at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

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