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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Movies for future presidents and politicians

Five great films for AU’s wonk-iest students

Whether you’re an SPA student or you’re just interested in politics, these are five of the best political films to check out. Addressing war, revolution, the media and more, these films will offer you new perspectives on politics around the world.

Citizen Kane” (1941) dir. by Orson Welles

“If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been really a great man.”

A movie that needs no introduction. One of the greatest films of all time and often hailed as the best of them all, “Citizen Kane” has not lost any of its original glory almost 85 years later. 

The directorial debut from Orson Welles explores the intense rise and fall of its protagonist, Charles Foster Kane (Welles). It begins with Kane’s death as he speaks his famous last word: “Rosebud.” Portraying a reporter’s journey to uncover the truth about Kane's life, the film takes audiences on a journey that explores politics, propaganda, power and greed.

The narrative follows Kane’s career as a newspaper tycoon, his campaign to be governor of New York and the highs and the lows of Kane’s romantic life. Analyzing American media and politics, “Citizen Kane” would make a compelling watch for any political science major.

“Citizen Kane” is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964) dir. by Stanley Kubrick

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!”

Showcasing a phenomenal three-character performance from Peter Sellers, Stanley Kubrick’s first truly great film is a must-watch for any future political leader. “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” is a black comedy and satirization of the Cold War. 

The film details the aftermath of a maniacal American general’s nuclear strike launch on the Soviet Union. Through the intricate and near-perfect screenplay, “Dr. Strangelove” manages to poke fun at the American government, military system and international relations as it crafts countless absurdist and shocking laugh-out-loud moments. 

As hilarious as it is profound, “Dr. Strangelove” is one of the finest satires ever made. 

“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” is available on YouTube.

Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Street” (1971) dir. by Shūji Terayama

“The city is an open book. Write on its infinite margins!”

One of the most daring films ever made, Shūji Terayama's “Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Street” is a crowning achievement from the surrealist master. Following the life of a young man who is unhappy with his current life, “Throw Away Your Books” takes the audience on the wild ride of our nameless protagonist’s coming-of-age story.

The masterpiece looks at materialism, conformity and sexuality as it promotes anti-capitalism and critiques 1970s society. A flag-burning, cathartic and anarchist middle finger to American and Japanese society, this is a film perfect for analyzing rebellion, resistance and revolution. 

As the end of the film descends into a chaotic meta state, “Throw Away Your Books” will leave you with a new perspective on film, questioning the divide between the film and the viewer, what is film and what isn’t.

“Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Street” is available on the Internet Archive.

The Gleaners and I” (2000) dir. by Agnès Varda

“We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty. You can always wash your hands.”

“The Gleaners and I” is a documentary by Agnès Varda that focuses on gleaning, the act of collecting and harvesting leftover crops. The film demonstrates the importance gleaning has in people’s lives and looks at how French legislation harshly impedes on people's ability to glean. 

“The Gleaners and I,” balancing analysis and emotional appeal, remains a profound political and social commentary. Free to film to her heart's content with a digital camera, Varda’s true love and passion for cinema is unleashed in this documentary. A rare blend of politics and humanity in film, “The Gleaners and I” is a meditative and peaceful watch that is as enjoyable as it is informative. 

“The Gleaners and I” is available on the Criterion Channel.

Oppenheimer” (2023) dir. by Christopher Nolan

“It’s not a new weapon. It’s a new world.”

Christopher Nolan pushes the boundaries of contemporary film to its limits with his newest film “Oppenheimer.” The film recounts the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) through his involvement in the creation of the atomic bomb and his eventual fall from grace. “Oppenheimer” is a visceral attack on the senses that builds and builds like the bomb itself. It is a thought-provoking and philosophical film that boldly tackles one of the controversial moments in American history. 

A triumph of acting all around, Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt, each put on some of the best performances of 2023. “Oppenheimer” is a complex film, which, coupled with a runtime of just over three hours, can make it seem like a daunting watch. However, for all its grandeur and efficacy, “Oppenheimer” is a must-watch for anybody interested in U.S. politics.

“Oppenheimer” is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime.

This article was edited by Bailey Hobbs, Patricia McGee, Sara Winick and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis and Charlie Mennuti. 

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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