Identity, Belonging & Integration

Bend It Like Beckham still
Bend It Like Beckham still

A celebration of identity and the importance of belonging and inclusion these films for Primary and Secondary explore themes of race, disability and gender and highlight the challenges to integration faced by individuals at the hands of tradition, discrimination or social barriers. These films offer a platform for young people to discuss the importance of tolerance and understanding and encourage them to learn about each other through ideas of identity and belonging. 

Arrietty

CertU

Age group5–14

Duration90 mins

Arrietty(2011)

Exquisite animation and lively score creates a fantastical backdrop for this classic story about the little people who 'borrow' everyday objects.

Studio Ghibli animation based on the tale of the race of tiny people called The Borrowers who must hide from humans. When teenage Borrower Arrietty befriends human boy Sho she must count on him to protect her family, offering a subtle route into learning about how two people from different cultures learn to understand and like each other.

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The Secret of Kells

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration75 mins

The Secret of Kells(2009)

Oscar-nominated hand-drawn animation about a boy living in mediaeval Ireland who must complete a magic manuscript. Not to be missed.

The animation engagingly explores ideas of faith and religion and Celtic heritage through the story of a young Monk called Brendan who must protect the magical Book of Kells from Vikings.

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Wadjda

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration96 mins

Wadjda(2012)

A sweet and uplifting story about ten-year-old girl Wadjda who refuses to let the fact she's a girl stop her from doing the things she wants to do.

The first female directed Saudi Arabian film it confronts the restrictions placed on young women by religion and culture within certain communities around the world through the simple actions of a little girl determined to buy her own bike.

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Whale Rider

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration101 mins

Whale Rider(2002)

Tradition causes trouble in a family when a young Maori girl wants to take up what she believes is her rightful place at the head of her tribe.

Heartening story of an 11-year-old Maori girl who challenges patriarchal tradition within her culture in order to take her place as head of the tribe, a role traditionally held by a male.

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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.

French animation based on traditional African tales of a headstrong baby called Kirikou who helps his village overcome a series of events. Each chapter focuses on Kirikou’s relationship with his community and the values his village upholds, including one about them welcoming in a Taureg boy despite being of a different culture to them.

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Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration215 mins

Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India(2001)

A Bollywood-style sports film in which Indian villagers are challenged to a cricket match by the British after refusing to pay their land taxes.

Through comedy, sport, romance and song the film promotes the importance of cultural understanding by exploring the values and beliefs upheld by the villagers versus their oppressive British rulers.

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Mad Hot Ballroom

CertU

Age group7–11

Duration101 mins

Mad Hot Ballroom(2005)

An uplifting, thought-provoking documentary about a group of ordinary eleven year olds who set out to compete in a ballroom dance contest in New York.

By following the children as they take part in the 10-week course the film explores how this project uniquely encourages integration, friendship and wellbeing amongst young children from all backgrounds.

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Kiki's Delivery Service

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration103 mins

Kiki's Delivery Service(1989)

Anime about a 13-year-old witch-in-training who, as part of her calling, has to spend a year living away from her mother in a new town.

Another Studio Ghibli on this list that cleverly explores what it means to be the new girl in town, far away from home. To be a fully qualified witch Kiki must prove she can live independently without her family nearby. Excited and self-assured she lands in an unfamiliar town and sets out to find a place to live and a job, making unexpected friends along the way.

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An American Tail

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration77 mins

An American Tail(1986)

Warm animated family adventure sees a Russian mouse flee his homeland and persecution by cats for a new life in America.

An engaging tale that helps explore topical issues of refugees and families seeking asylum with youngest audience members. The depiction of the mice in comparison to the cats supports learning about difference and diversity and the importance of empathy in overcoming prejudice.

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Felix

CertUnclassified

Age group7–14

Duration94 mins

Felix(2013)

An uplifting South African film about a 13-year-old talented musician who must earn a place in his new school’s jazz concert.

Touching on issues around class and race, the film uses music to explore the boy’s journey to understanding who he is and where he belongs both at school and in his community.

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Boya Boya (Shine Shine)

CertUnclassified

Age group11+

Duration18 mins

Boya Boya (Shine Shine)(2014)

Short documentary focusing on 12 year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed as he shines shoes to earn enough to feed his family.

Remarkable film following a young boy embrace his situation. Passionately singing songs of the Syrian Revolution he reveals the fierce loyalty so many refugees must have for a country they have been forced to flee while embracing life in a new city, undaunted by the people he meets.

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Home

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration90 mins

Home(2014)

Colourful comedy adventure about a tribe of aliens in search of a new place to live.

A fun children’s film that gently engages with ideas of home and what that means to different people, new arrivals and the effect of prejudicing against people you don’t know.

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Zootropolis

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration108 mins

Zootropolis(2016)

Hugely inventive animated adventure about a rookie bunny cop teaming up with a wily fox to solve a set of mysterious disappearances.

A clever animation that tells a very human story about acceptance through the tale of a bunny and fox that must learn to trust each other despite being prey and predator. The city of Zootropolis where the film is set is a melting-pot of creature cultures that also promotes ideas of integration and acceptance.

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Jemima + Johnny

CertUnclassified

Age group7+

Duration30 mins

Jemima + Johnny(1966)

A short British film exploring race relations in post-riots Notting Hill in the 1960s through the friendship of a little girl and boy.

A sweet yet astute short film from the BFI archive that reveals the innocence of children amongst troubling times.

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Hairspray

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration88 mins

Hairspray (1988)

Outrageous yet genial comedy, about Tracy, a "pleasantly plump" teen who wont let the prejudices of others stand in the way of her fun.

American cult-comedy classic set in 1960s Baltimore about a teen girl who makes a stand in favour of racial integration on a local TV pop show. The musical interludes and crude humour make this an entertaining way to engage members in discussions about issues around conformity and racial prejudice.

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Wadjda

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration96 mins

Wadjda(2012)

A sweet and uplifting story about ten-year-old girl Wadjda who refuses to let the fact she's a girl stop her from doing the things she wants to do.

The first female directed Saudi Arabian film it confronts the restrictions placed on young women by religion and culture within certain communities around the world through the simple actions of a little girl determined to buy her own bike.

Read more
Boya Boya (Shine Shine)

CertUnclassified

Age group11+

Duration18 mins

Boya Boya (Shine Shine)(2014)

Short documentary focusing on 12 year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed as he shines shoes to earn enough to feed his family.

Remarkable film following a young boy embrace his situation. Passionately singing songs of the Syrian Revolution he reveals the fierce loyalty so many refugees must have for a country they have been forced to flee while embracing life in a new city, undaunted by the people he meets.

Read more
Jemima + Johnny

CertUnclassified

Age group7+

Duration30 mins

Jemima + Johnny(1966)

A short British film exploring race relations in post-riots Notting Hill in the 1960s through the friendship of a little girl and boy.

A sweet yet astute short film from the BFI archive that reveals the innocence of children amongst troubling times.

Read more
Persepolis

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration91 mins

Persepolis(2007)

Adapted from Marjane Satrapi's brilliantly funny autobiographical graphic novel about a rebellious young girl's experience of revolutionary Iran.

A witty and incisive animation that explores what it means to be a young girl growing up in a country whose laws suddenly become stricter. Sent to Europe for safety, without her parents it then delves into how a teenage girl must cope with new environments while holding on to who she is and where she has come from.

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Bend It Like Beckham

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration112 mins

Bend It Like Beckham(2002)

Feel good British comedy following Jessminder and Jules whose shared passion for football brings them together in a local girls' team.

Jessminder’s story of rebelling against her traditional-minded Indian parents who disapprove of her joining a football team is a great platform to discussion issued of identity as shaped by sexuality, religion and family.

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Circo

CertE

Age group14+

Duration75 mins

Circo(2010)

A sensitive portrait of the family behind a century-old travelling circus in rural Mexico. A fascinating insight into a landscape rarely seen.

Tracking the highs and lows of running a circus and a life on the road it reveals the pride the family have in their culture as well as the struggle they face when it comes to leaving the circus behind and integrating into society.

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Leave To Remain

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration89 mins

Leave To Remain(2013)

A unique drama based on the true stories of a group of teenagers seeking asylum in the UK.

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Big City Stories

CertUnclassified

Age group11+

Duration82 mins

Big City Stories(2011)

A fascinating compilation of over 100 years of black Londoners on film, including interviews, newsreels, and clips from TV shows and feature films.

As well as addressing the issue of racial tension, this collection also highlights the cultural and intellectual contribution of black Londoners to the vibrancy of the capital city.

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Hamsa

CertUnclassified

Age group11+

Duration20 mins

Hamsa(2016)

Moving short documentary portrait of a Syrian refugee family who have been relocated to a small German village.

A positive example of integration and acceptance it reveals how the family have adapted to their new surroundings and how the village have worked to welcome them into their community.

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La cour de Babel (School of Babel)

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration84 mins

La cour de Babel (School of Babel)(2014)

Insightful documentary following immigrant children in France as they learn to speak French in a special class in Paris.

From all over the world, with very different stories of why they came to Paris, the film offers an insight into the highs and lows of what it means to be an immigrant child in a new school.

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Pressure

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration120 mins

Pressure(1976)

Widely considered to have kick-started black British cinema, this 1970s film focuses on a black school leaver well-qualified but unable to find a job.

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Viceroy's House

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration106 mins

Viceroy's House(2017)

Historical drama about India’s transition to independence, overseen by Lord Mountbatten, the final British viceroy.

Highlighting the tension the move to Independence created amongst India’s society of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs the film explores what it means to belong to a country that is divided and has been ruled by another for so long.

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A Better Life

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

A Better Life(2011)

Carlos, a Mexican gardener, is struggling to raise his 14 year-old son in a tough Los Angeles neighbourhood, whilst living in fear of deportation.

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My Feral Heart

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration83 mins

My Feral Heart(2016)

Sensitive British film about a young man with Down’s syndrome struggling to adapt to his new surroundings following the death of his mother.

Gentle, perceptive and funny it teaches the value of community and learning to accept help from others from the point of view of someone with a disability.

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A United Kingdom

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration111 mins

A United Kingdom(2016)

The true story of the controversial romance between a Botswanan king and a white British woman in the late 1940s.

With both suffering prejudice from white and black British, South African and Botswanan societies, the film highlights issues of tolerance, cultural diversity and unity with a powerful contemporary relevance.

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Brooklyn

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration107 mins

Brooklyn(2015)

A young Irish immigrant starts an exciting new life in 1950s Brooklyn, but soon finds the past catching up with her.

Period drama set in the 1950s about a young Irish immigrant girl called Eilis who must go to New York to find a job. It sensitively explores the overwhelming tug of home for a young person alone in a new city and how the unique Irish network that existed in New York at the time helped her to overcome her homesickness.

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Pride

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration115 mins

Pride (2014)

Uplifting comedy about an unlikely moment in recent British history, when in 1984, gay rights activists offered to support the striking miners.

Poignant and funny exploration of what it means to be a marginalised group within society and how both can overcome prejudices amongst themselves to support each other.

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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.

Revealing drama about an Indian family newly arrived in London. As well as focussing on the different feelings the husband, wife and their two daughters have towards settling in their new home, the film also highlights the anti-muslim sentiment that increased after the 9/11 attacks and how this affects the family’s lives and the community around them.

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