The power of film to influence human thinking has been used by many people. From politicians, sociologists and even economists. Film has been used as a tool to educate, to entertain and even to aid the spread of propaganda. Like anything else, the user of a tool to a large extent determines how that tool is used. They could choose to use it for productive purposes. They could also choose to use it in a destructive manner. It is easy to see why film is a powerful tool that can be used to change the world.
Films can bring communities together. They hold the power to help us understand how other people feel when we might have been wary or scared of them before. The power of film to show us those parts of the world which we are yet to see and tell us more about the community we live in is unparalleled.
Fundamental Attribution Error
We humans tend to trust our own contemplation to a greater extent than that of anyone else. This is because we have no direct means of observing the latter. Because of this, we form an unconscious bias towards others. We evaluate our own actions based on our underlying internal motives, and everybody else’s based on the consequences of their actions. To ensure this bias does not hinder good decision-making, the power of film can be harnessed. When we watch a film, the empathy we feel for characters and situations in a film can be used to explore and discuss our feelings about situations that affect us directly.
Through film we are able to explore our own history and culture as well as those of other societies. Film has the power to make us feel with passion about situations we may normally ignore or take for granted. Besides film, there are few other tools that can spur large groups of people into action.
Aided by Technology
Thanks to new technological innovations, language barriers while watching film are easily overcome with audiovisual translation. This allows more people to consume and engage with films from faraway cultures. The job of finding films to watch is not difficult either. With a stable internet connection and a relatively affordable subscription to a streaming service like Netflix or Showmax, anyone can watch any film on demand.
Film and Children
But even as we push for more people to watch film, we have to remember that the world is still dangerous. There will always be those who desire to use tools like film to corrupt and destroy. As such, care should always be taken to curate the films we watch. And for children, especially. Not only are kids easily impressionable, but also inexperienced at discerning good and harmful content.
Film can be a great tool in the right hands. It can also be used for nefarious reasons. What will you use film for?