Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Better World

Yesterday I went to see the movie A Better World, winner of this year's academy awards for foreign film. The film was made in Denmark, but set partly there (with several Swedish characters) and partly in Africa, reflecting a trend of "foreign" films that do not really belong to any particular country.
The film was one of those issue movies. Sometimes they are overly simplistic, but popular because everyone wants to be politically correct. This one, however, was artistic enough to complicate the moral issues around what it means to be an ethical human being in this world full of moral complexities.
The main characters were two twelve year olds, one of whom was a very disturbed and angry young boy whose mother had just died of Cancer and another the son of Swedish immigrants to Denmark (I hadn't realized Swedes there were an underclass of sorts) who was bullied and unpopular. The angry kid was this kid's only friend, but this new friend got the unpopular kid involved in lots of dangerous business, including planting a pipe bomb to destroy the car belonging to an adult bully who had assaulted the other child's father.
The film cut back and forth between Denmark and these kids' situation and Africa, where the Swedish father of the unpopular child served as a surgeon in refugee camps, dealing with yet other barbarians, who were killing pregnant women.
Ultimately, though this might not have been a magnificent piece of film making, it was worth watching and thought provoking. If you get a chance, I recommend you see it.

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