Sunday, March 1, 2009

Poverty Alleviation through Cinema

How proud I was to watch the critically-acclaimed Slumdogg Millionaire claim the Oscar for Best Picture among a myriad of other Oscars in several different categories. Even more glad to hear that the child actors in the film have had their lives completely transformed and on a different path because of this movie. As is the case in many developing countries all over the world. There exists a very small percentage of the elite class who can afford the luxury and comfort of a wealthy middle to upper-class life and right at the pit of the social pile is the majority of the population...struggling through dire circumstances of poverty. The divide between rich and poor only intensifies as time passes. India is no different of course.
If political corruption, mismanagement of government spending, megalomaniacs with dictatorial leanings ruling nations continues to bring lack of progress in the social and political frameworks of the poorest countries in the world. Then art should surely provide a means to transcend the devastation of lack. I don't want to see African-American actors flying to African and poor Asian countries to play African characters. I want to see local men and women used to characterise stories filmed by American and British productions companies. If more of Africa's resources are utilized surely changes no matter how slight can be made to the livlihoods of many. Filming itself provides a boost to a nation's GDP. It's important for filmakers to realise how much development and change can be brought about within poor nations through the movie industry which spoils millions a year. Money which only circulates within the business itself making rich men even richer. Yes, this may be another quixotic appeal from a young African but taking from the example of perhaps one of the most successful motion pictures of 2008, it is evident that the business of film can easily be assigned to take on philantrhopic quests in places of the world that need this kind of charity the most.

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