Human beings are drawn to understanding data through stories. We sympathize with the story of an individual or a family much more than a report of numbers. Films often use a single person’s journey through history on screen as a way of revealing greater historical forces or studying the human condition in a broader sense. This week’s films do both of these things. Alexander Nevsky incites the Soviet people to action by instilling a sense of nationalism in an obvious parallel to the impending war with Germany. The Billionaire examines contemporary entrepreneurship through the lens of Thailand’s youngest ever self-made billionaire, who started his empire by selling items in an MMORPG. Man on Wire philosophizes on our desire for longevity and how that entangles itself with risk-taking in a case study of a man who walked a tightrope strung between the Manhattan Twin Towers. The Queen wonders whether a life lived in the public can ever have private moments or decisions through the aftermath of the death of princess Diana. La Vie en Rose studies fame, class, and addiction through the life of Edith Piaf. Finally, Love & Mercy considers the pressures of family, industry, society, drugs, and mental struggles on the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.
This week, as with last week, we will have to conduct our “seminar” entirely through the notes. This means your notes are of utmost importance. You must write a thorough note incorporating both films you watched and your own original insight or connections. Then you must respond to every other note thread – you may respond to the main note or to a response to that note, both are fine.