Diversity - People and Places

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beasts of the Southern Wild

One of the great gifts of film is its capacity to elicit empathy in its audience, allowing for a greater understanding of the world as a whole, as well as our everyday surroundings. The ability to view life through somebody else's eyes is incredibly powerful and a crucial tool in promoting tolerance and celebrating diversity. The selection of films here highlight a variety of perspectives on life in the modern United Kingdom, but also introduce young people to cultures around the world seemingly very different from our own. The arts have a tremendous responsibility to both accurately reflect the world around us (whoever we are) as well as bring seemingly very different cultures before us, allowing us to learn about, embrace and celebrate our differences as well as what unites us. Ranging from gentle childhood fables to more stringently political works, all are strong examples of using film as a tool to discuss the theme of diversity.

Above all, the films chosen demonstrate the power of storytelling as a unifying force. We hope they will encourage young audiences to seek out and demand a stronger representation of diversity in what filmgoers choose to watch and the rich array of characters that populate them.  

The Wizard of Oz

CertU

Age group7+

Duration98 mins

The Wizard of Oz(1939)

This timeless family musical, one of cinema's much loved productions, sees young Dorothy escape Kansas for the Technicolor land of Oz.

Film is one of the great tools for teaching us about people different to ourselves and learning respect. The Wizard of Oz remains one of the defining examples of this, as Dorothy comes into contact with all sorts of strange and eccentric people whilst following the yellow brick road, learning lessons about home – and the world outside – along the way.

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Babe

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration89 mins

Babe(1995)

A heartwarming and very funny family tale of a pig with a penchant for sheep-herding, much to the chagrin of the local sheepdog.

The story of a young piglet adopted by a kindly sheepdog has firmly established itself as one of the classics of children’s cinema. Much of its appeal and ongoing relevance relates to the way the film gently introduces young people to issues around social isolation and victimisation, bravery and vulnerability.

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Pocahontas

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration78 mins

Pocahontas(1995)

Animated Disney version of the classic Pocahontas tale, which sees a British explorer fall in love with a Native American chief's daughter.

The legendary story of an English explorer falling in love with a Native American princess is adapted by Disney in this romantic animation that’s full of adventure. The film is highly effective at conveying messages around respect of other cultures and traditions, as well as capturing a sense of wonder at discovering the wider world.

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Paddington

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration91 mins

Paddington(2014)

Charming family film about an accident prone young bear from Peru arriving in London and searching for a new home.

The story of another explorer, this time a young bear travelling from Peru to London is a wonderful celebration of multiculturalism, tolerance and inclusion, as Paddington encounters all manner of weird and wonderful characters on the capital’s streets, and residents don’t bat an eyelid at the sight of a skateboarding, marmalade eating bear!

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Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes (Kirikou and the Men and the Women)

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration88 mins

Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes (Kirikou and the Men and the Women)(2012)

Gorgeous, striking animated feature that follows the resourceful and heroic Kirikou; a small child living in a village in Africa.

Much like Darkest Peru, life for young people in an African village can seem very distant to many of us. Based on a series of folk-tales, this enchanting animation opens up a new culture to us in accessible fashion. The myths and legends seen in the film are both culturally specific and also ripe for fascinating comparison with our own.

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Ernest and Celestine

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration77 mins

Ernest and Celestine(2012)

A beautiful animation about an unlikely friendship between a big clown bear and a clever orphan mouse, from the makers of A Town Called Panic!

Depending on the situation we have all at times felt as small as a mouse or as tall as a bear. This lovely film explores themes of friendship, belonging and tolerance through the unlikely friendship of two such creatures living in Paris who realise how much they can learn from and help one another.

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When Marnie Was There

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

When Marnie Was There(2014)

A shy girl sent to the country to recover from asthma discovers an abandoned mansion and begins to explore its mysteries with her new friend Marnie.

Studio Ghibli have delighted audiences around the world with their animations, opening up Japanese culture to young audiences in remarkable ways. Based on the classic English children’s novel, this film (seemingly their last) is a beautiful, heartbreaking demonstration of how two seemingly disparate cultures can merge to produce something magical.

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The Cup

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration90 mins

The Cup(1999)

A unique and entertaining film from Tibet about two young monks desperate to find a way of watching the 1998 World Cup Final in their monastery.

This gentle, but very funny film demonstrates the extraordinary ability of football to reach all corners of the world. In this case, a group of junior monks are desperately trying to find a television in order to watch the World Cup Final, exploring universal themes of tradition vs modernity in a tender, accessible manner.

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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration91 mins

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry(2012)

Art and politics collide in this eye-opening portrait of outspoken Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

In recent years Ai Weiwei has become one of the highest profile artists in the world, not least for his persistent criticism of human rights practices in his native China. This film reveals the high price he has paid for this dissent, but also illuminates the man’s perspective of the world, desire for change and unique perspective on a global superpower.

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No One Knows About Persian Cats

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration103 mins

No One Knows About Persian Cats(2009)

Documentary about a group of Iranian musicians which gives insight into everyday life in a Islamic fundamentalist state.

This fascinating film also explores art and cultural protest, giving a great insight into what it is like to live in a country where rock, rap and pop are crimes against the religious state. Blending documentary and fiction, the film is bursting with humour, offering fresh insights into serious subject matter.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration91 mins

Beasts of the Southern Wild(2012)

A beautiful blend of fantasy and drama sees an isolated community threatened by a storm, told through the eyes of a remarkable young girl.

Beautifully shot and painting an unforgettable portrait of a vivid, isolated community in the southern United States, this film won huge acclaim for its beguiling mix of fantasy and drama, and for its celebration of how a child’s sprit and imagination can transcend everyday hardship, providing a fresh, unique perspective on the world.

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Real Women Have Curves

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration82 mins

Real Women Have Curves(2002)

America Ferrera (who went on to play Ugly Betty) stars in her first film playing a young Mexican-American woman trying to find her own path.

This coming-of-age story, about a first generation Mexican-American teenager growing up in a predominantly Latino community in Los Angeles, is a touching examination of the conflict between conforming to traditional cultural values and pursuing your own dreams. This intelligent film is also great for discussion notions of body image.

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Brick Lane

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration97 mins

Brick Lane(2007)

Vivid, tragi-comic tale about a young Bangladeshi woman who settles in London, trapped in a loveless arranged marriage and isolated in a new country.

Turning a bestselling, multi-faceted novel into a film is never a straightforward task. This film focuses on a young Bangladeshi woman settling in London’s East End, adjusting to life in a strange new community where racial and religious tensions are on the rise, before gradually beginning to flourish. The film lifts the lid on lives that are invisible to many.

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Life of Pi

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration121 mins

Life of Pi(2012)

The extraordinary story of Pi who, cast adrift on a lifeboat with only a tiger for company, must find his inner strength and courage to survive.

Based on another prize-winning novel, this is an extraordinary, life-affirming tale about survival, spirituality and storytelling. A remarkable visual experience, the film is a wonderful ode to the imagination, a spirit of adventure and seeing the world through fresh eyes.

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Slumdog Millionaire

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration117 mins

Slumdog Millionaire(2008)

This multi Oscar-winning, dazzling adventure set in Mumbai is the story of a slum-dwelling teen accused of cheating on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

This exuberant, intoxicating fable set on the streets of Mumbai pulsates with energy, warmth and spirit. An inspiring film with the power to change the way its audiences view the world, instilling a yearning for fresh experience and a reaffirmation in the power of the human spirit.

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Sixty Six

Cert12

Age group11–16

Duration89 mins

Sixty Six(2006)

Frantic comedy in which a young Jewish boy is in a panic to find that his bar mitzvah is set for the same day as the World Cup Final.

In this warm-hearted British comedy, a young boy’s Jewish faith is put to the test when he discovers his bar mitzvah is due to take place on the same day as England’s appearance in the 1966 World Cup Final. Throughout this comedy there is an affectionate portrait of family life and striving towards social mobility.

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Lilting

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration86 mins

Lilting(2014)

After a young man’s untimely death, his lover and mother attempt to grieve together despite having no common language between them.

Richard, a twenty-something gay man, and Junn, a Cambodian-Chinese woman, gradually break down barriers of culture and communication, as they come to terms with the death of Kai, Richard’s lover and Junn’s child in contemporary London. This is a tender and perceptive drama about the notions of love and loss.

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My Brother The Devil

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration107 mins

My Brother The Devil(2012)

A tough, urban drama about two brothers whose reaction to the death of a mutual friend sends them down very different paths.

Set in a gang-dominated London neighbourhood, this urban drama tells the compelling story of two brothers who react in very different ways after a friend is killed. They are forced to tackle their prejudices head on as their traditional Egyptian upbringing clashes with life on Hackney’s streets.

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Dirty Pretty Things

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration97 mins

Dirty Pretty Things(2002)

Two illegal immigrants form a close bond as they help each other navigate the hostile and dangerous underbelly of a London most of us never see.

The urban streets of Britain can also be challenging spaces for new immigrants. This suspense-filled drama shows a seedy, dangerous side to the city rarely seen on screen or by tourists. Two illegal immigrants, one Nigerian, the other Turkish illuminate a side of our culture many would prefer remained hidden.

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Gone Too Far!

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration88 mins

Gone Too Far!(2013)

London set comedy about estranged teenage brothers - one from London, the other Nigeria. A funny reminder of the importance of heritage and identity.

This hilarious comedy also takes place in London’s inner boroughs, in this case Peckham, famous for its thriving Afro-Caribbean community. Whilst touching upon issues of gang violence and the tensions of different cultures living together, the film manages to raise important questions about heritage and identity.

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Bride & Prejudice

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration107 mins

Bride & Prejudice(2004)

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice set in today's Bollywood.

Pride & Prejudice has proved to be a surprisingly versatile text, lending itself to all sorts of different adaptations, periods and settings. This version takes place in modern Bollywood, full of costume, glamour and vitality, but also the universal themes which have made Jane Austen’s story to beloved.

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Children of Heaven

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration84 mins

Children of Heaven(1997)

Iranian film that highlights some of the difficulties faced by families living in poverty, and illustrating the determination of children.

This remarkable Iranian film explores its fascinating Tehran backdrop while highlighting some of the difficulties faced by families living in poverty, and illustrating the resourcefulness and determination of children. A universal, accessible foreign language film for children that’s devoid of any cynicism.

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Timbuktu

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration94 mins

Timbuktu(2014)

Thought-provoking drama exploring the effect of Islamist occupation in a remote city in West Africa.

The film is a stark warning of the threat of religious extremism as much as it is an important portrait of a place and culture that audiences may know little of. Honouring a community reluctant to lose their everyday freedoms, the film opens up an alternative culture in sensitive, compassionate, rational fashion.

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Dear White People

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration104 mins

Dear White People(2014)

Campus-based satire dissecting contemporary racial politics by following four African-American students studying at a privileged university.

Loosely based on a notorious true story, this energetic satire is packed with references to contemporary racial politics, gender, economic privilege and homophobia, as a black, socially awkward gay nerd struggles to navigate life at his privileged, predominantly white college. 

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When Marnie Was There

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

When Marnie Was There(2014)

A shy girl sent to the country to recover from asthma discovers an abandoned mansion and begins to explore its mysteries with her new friend Marnie.

Studio Ghibli have delighted audiences around the world with their animations, opening up Japanese culture to young audiences in remarkable ways. Based on the classic English children’s novel, this film (seemingly their last) is a beautiful, heartbreaking demonstration of how two seemingly disparate cultures can merge to produce something magical.

Read more
The Cup

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration90 mins

The Cup(1999)

A unique and entertaining film from Tibet about two young monks desperate to find a way of watching the 1998 World Cup Final in their monastery.

This gentle, but very funny film demonstrates the extraordinary ability of football to reach all corners of the world. In this case, a group of junior monks are desperately trying to find a television in order to watch the World Cup Final, exploring universal themes of tradition vs modernity in a tender, accessible manner.

Read more
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