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Members of the MHRC
Feature Films With Multicultural Themes
Movies can help us understand people whose cultural background and family
history may be very different than our own. Listed below are 13 popular
films -- all available at the Morris Public Library -- that introduce
their audiences to some of the events, struggles, and stories that create
cultural heritage. Seven of the videos were purchased by the Library with
help from the Human Rights Commission.
Most of the 13 films are award-winning. Because some of them have serious
subject matter, parents are encouraged to watch and discuss the movies
with their children.
"Snow Falling on Cedars"
A dramatic mystery set near Seattle that addresses anti-Japanese American
sentiment lingering in the U.S. after WWII (rated PG13).
"Anne Frank Remembered"
This film is a documentary about a young Jewish girl who, with her family,
was hidden from the Nazis in Amsterdam during WWII (not rated, ages 10 and
Set in New Hampshire in 1964, this is a direct, warm, and positive film
about a young boy with Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome (rated PG).
"To Kill a Mockingbird"
An adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a Southern lawyer
who defends a black man in a small racially divided town (not rated, ages
10 and up).
Billed as the first feature film written, directed, co-produced, and acted
by Native Americans, Smoke Signals provides an insightful and humorous
view of issues facing modern American Indians (rated PG-13).
Set in New York City in 1896, this film depicts an immigrant couple and
the choices they make in the conflict between keeping their cultural
heritage and becoming more "American" (rated PG).
A biography of Mahatma Gandhi that explores the cultural and religious
history of India, colonialism, and the struggle for independence (rated
"The Color Purple"
An uplifting movie about a woman growing up in the rural South in the
early 20th century (rated PG13).
The story of a young Swedish couple that immigrates to Minnesota in the
1850s and faces the physical and emotional hardships of pioneer life
Explores African American contributions to the Civil War through the story
of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a group of
black soldiers made up of escaped slaves and Northern freemen (rated R).
"The Joy Luck Club"
This film samples the lives of four Chinese American women and their
daughters, and explores some of the cultural and generational differences
between them (rated R).
"Jakob the Liar"
The fictional story of a radio broadcaster who hopes to help the war
effort during WWII through the information he broadcasts in a
Nazi-occupied Polish city (rated PG-13).
This film is based on the true story of a group of Africans who were
brought to the U.S. on a slave ship in 1839 and overpowered their
captors. Their case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court by John Quincy
Adams (rated R).