Recommended Films From Scanning Newsletter
Do the Right Thing (1989)
A comedy-drama directed by Spike Lee, released in 1989. The story is set in the sweltering heat of a predominantly Black neighborhood in Brooklyn. In this neighborhood, there’s a pizzeria owned by Italian-Americans that has been around for over twenty years. The protagonist works as a delivery person for the pizzeria. The walls of the pizzeria are adorned with pictures of Italian-American stars. However, when a customer notices the absence of pictures of Black stars on the wall, it sparks an event that escalates into a larger conflict involving the entire community.
The characters in the film all have their human weaknesses and conflicts, yet they go about their daily lives resiliently. Despite this, events lead to a major uproar towards the end. The title “Do the Right Thing” encapsulates the idea of doing what’s morally right or just. However, as individual notions of justice clash, what will the outcome be? Despite being a movie from 30 years ago, the film continues to raise questions about the challenges around us.
AMERICAN UTOPIA (2020)
Based on David Byrne’s 2018 album of the same name, this concert film captures the performance that took place on Broadway in New York. Directed by Spike Lee, who also directed “Do the Right Thing,” the film showcases a minimalist stage design and cool lighting, enhancing the powerful music and performance. The concert itself is incredibly cool.
The performance also carries a profound message. With a diverse group of members in terms of nationality, gender, and skills, the band incorporates a wide range of genres, including rock, Latin, and African rhythms. The film celebrates the greatness and joy of diversity and the mutual recognition among people from different backgrounds. It’s like an answer to “Do the Right Thing” after 30 years, and I recommend watching it together.
the album on Spotify: 👉AMERICAN UTOPIA on Broadway
This film follows a father’s attempt to find his missing daughter by tracing her online activities through social media. The entire story is presented through the computer screen, which is an innovative approach. The director, Anish Chaganty, who is of Indian descent, cast Asian actors for the major roles. (He was recruited by Google after making a short film called SEEDS when he was 23.)
Various social issues, such as the gap between the online world and reality, are highlighted in the film. The use of the computer screen effectively represents the barrier between these two worlds.
The unexpected ending of the film is truly shocking. I want to share this shock with someone else.
This film is based on the true story of a high school basketball team in Richmond, USA, which was on the brink of collapse. The coach, Coach Carter, played by Samuel L. Jackson, faces the challenge of turning around a team in a difficult environment where many students end up in prison.
Coach Carter believes in the power of education to illuminate the future, especially in such a disadvantaged setting. The film showcases his relentless dedication to teaching values and responsibility through basketball. Comparing this issue to my daughter’s education, I was captivated by this film.
THE GUILTY (2018)
The film revolves around Asger, a police officer reassigned to 911 dispatch. He receives a call from a woman who seems to have been kidnapped by her ex-husband. Asger must rely solely on his phone and wits to help her.
The movie is unique as the entire narrative unfolds through the emergency call center. We, as viewers, are confined to the same information Asger has, and this limitation creates suspense and immersion.
Apart from the captivating storytelling, the movie delves into issues like “unreliable narrators,” our own biases, and real-world societal challenges. It’s a robust film with social depth.
Mermaid in Paris (2020)
Denmark, where I’m currently studying, is famous for being the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, author of “The Little Mermaid.” And this is a film from that region. Despite its slightly derivative visual (resembling “The Shape of Water”), it’s a hidden gem.
The story is set in Paris and revolves around Gaspard, a heartbroken man, and Lula, a mermaid who’s unfamiliar with love. But there’s a catch: humans enchanted by mermaids are fated to have their hearts burst. Watch their romance unfold against this perilous backdrop.
Aside from the story, pay attention to the breathtaking world-building, which blurs the line between reality and fantasy. The movie beautifully combines these elements and Paris’s beauty to create an enchanting experience.
In a near-future plagued by abnormal weather events threatening Earth’s lifespan, former engineer Cooper, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, leads an interstellar mission to find a new habitable planet. The film explores themes of love, time dilation, and human survival in the face of extinction.
The movie is renowned for its emotional depth and visual spectacle. While it’s a classic sci-fi journey to find a new home, it uniquely focuses on the power of love and connection. Director Christopher Nolan’s signature intricate storytelling and meticulous attention to detail make it a movie to revisit multiple times.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The third and final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, this film continues the story of Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale. It explores themes of redemption, justice, and the struggle against adversity.
Following the events of “The Dark Knight,” Wayne has retired from his role as Batman. However, he’s forced to return when a new adversary, Bane, threatens Gotham. The film’s narrative complexity, exceptional action sequences, and character development set it apart from traditional superhero films.
While it’s recommended to watch the entire trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises” can be enjoyed on its own. Pay attention to Nolan’s signature direction and storytelling mastery.