Every semester the language departments collaborate with the Machtley Interfaith Center (IFC) for an event called the Global Film Series. The faculty of the Department of Modern Languages and language clubs are sponsors of the Global Film Series. The purpose of these films are to stimulate our understanding of other spiritual sides while also understanding other cultures. These films are shown in Italian, French, Spanish or Chinese with English subtitles. After the film, there is an open discussion about the different cultural and spiritual aspects present.
On Wednesday, February 17 2016, the Italian American Association (IAA) showed the film, I Nostri Ragazzi directed by Ivano De Matteo. I Nostri Ragazzi is an Italian take on the Dutch best selling novel, The Dinner by Herman Koch. This film is about two brothers Massimo and Paolo and their families who struggle with their children who get involved in the brutal beating of a homeless woman. The two children, Benny (Massimo’s daughter) and Michele (Paolo’s son) are 16 years old and are seen constantly on their phones, texting or on some sort of social media platform. They are so engulfed in social media that they lose their sense of reality and do not realize how serious of a crime they committed by beating the homeless woman to death. The fact that they are so immersed in social media strains communication between the parents. After the incident, communication was strained further to the point where their parents questioned how much they knew about their own children. Throughout the film, we see the tension between the parents and the children grow after the incident. The ending is very ambiguous and it is up to the viewer’s own interpretation, which led to an interesting discussion on Wednesday.
The IAA tried something different, which was to have a small discussion before the start of the film. Questions were asked to get the students to think about communication in their own lives and afterwards they would apply it to the film. This idea of communication, family and social media was something that the students should have been thinking about throughout the film. After the film, the students were able to have an open discussion and answer some of the questions that the IAA had created. Everyone in the group was appalled by the fact that the children were not taking the incident seriously, which led us to ask, “What would you do if your children were in this situation?” The answers were very surprising!