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La La Land: Values and choices

‘That’s L.A. They worship everything and value nothing.’ So says Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as he walks through the Warner Brothers’ back lot with Mia (Emma Stone) in the award-winning new film La La Land. These two star-crossed lovers, drawn together by their shared failures, develop a beautiful and beautifying relationship as they share their distinctive dreams for the future. He seeks to restore the popularity of jazz in a world of soulless commercial music. She seeks to restore the creative role of the actress in a world of formulaic soap operas.

But what values will drive them as they make choices in pursuit of their dreams? And what impact will this have on their lives?

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Arrival: Can time change our problem with pain?

Non-spoiler alert: This article has been carefully written to explore themes in the film without giving away the plot twists. Pre-publication testing has shown that it enhances rather than spoils the enjoyment of viewers. Nevertheless, you may decide to read it after, rather than before, seeing the film.

What would it be like to sit outside the restrictions of a linear time-line? What if we could make decisions with a full knowledge of the consequences? If you knew your child would experience suffering, would you still bring him/her into the world? Arrival explores these big themes of time, transcendence and suffering through the eyes of the linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) as she makes first contact with an alien race.

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Disney’s Queen of Katwe: Poverty, Faith and Hope

Disney’s Queen of Katwe is the vibrant true story of Phiona, a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. As a result of the support she receives from her family and community, Phiona is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream.

Free official education and community resources available at EthosMedia.org/QueenOfKatwe

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Free State of Jones: Equality, Justice and Governance

The powerful and thought-provoking film Free State of Jones is based on the true story of an insurrection within an insurrection. It raises important questions about equality, justice and governance, which are particularly relevant to contemporary political issues. Matthew McConaughey plays Newton Knight, a poor southern farmer who, at the beginning of the film, is serving the Confederate Army by taking injured soldiers from an American Civil War battlefield to the rudimentary field hospital. Continue reading


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Star Trek Beyond: and Multicultural Community

Star Trek: Beyond, produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Justin Lin, is the third film in the re-booted sci-fi series. It delivers awesome audio-visual spectacle and gripping action whilst retaining a welcome focus on character interaction, a dash of humour, and a thematic seriousness reminiscent of the original TV series at its best. In this fiftieth anniversary production we are finally set free from re-treading and twisting previous plots, as it recreates the essence of the original, whilst also providing audiences something new to consider. Continue reading


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Independence Day Resurgence: Community

It is ironically coincidental that, just a few days before the release of Independence Day: Resurgence, Boris Johnson closed the EU Referendum debate on BBC TV with the words ‘I believe this Thursday can be our country’s Independence Day.’ It was probably coincidental, because I doubt that this film was on his mind at the time (though I hope he will watch it later). But it was certainly ironic, because the underlying concept of independence that was advocated by many in the discussions around the EU referendum contrasts with the underlying concept of ‘interdependence’ we see in the film Independence Day: Resurgence. As we all work through the implications of the outcome of the EU referendum I hope that many will see this piece of cinematic art and reflect upon what it means to be part of a global community. Continue reading