Sam Fragoso at Duke & The Movies has come up with an excellent blogathon, whose premise is-
"Extraterrestrial forces land on Earth. Unknowing of our planet and society, you can pick five films from the history of cinema that represent humanity. What titles would you choose and why?"
I thought a lot about this. Listed and crossed out many a celebrated title. I was originally going for a much more rounded approach, but then I decided to go the Doctor Who way, because I do hope the aliens are as awesome as David Tennant and Matt Smith make them out to be. When I meet them, I would like to show them what for me represents the best of humanity. Here's hoping that they don't turn out to be Daleks and facehuggers.
Honourable Mentions: Citizen Kane, Juno, The Great Escape, My Dinner with Andre and all the Lord of the Rings movies (how I wish it was just one big film).
My five films:
Pan's Labyrinth (Dir: Guillermo Del Toro)
A bit of the light and dark in humans. In most certainly the bleakest times that our species have ever faced, the pure imagination of a young girl and the courage of a few independent people flourish. It shows our ability to create fantastical places in our mind, the beauty of childhood, and the ultimate good that comes to all those who are brave and kind.
Ratatouille (Dir: Brad Bird)
Because hellooo, human food is amazing! I have always thought this Pixar masterpiece is the simplest and most ambitious of the lot. A rat who wants to cook. We as a species can come up with a concept like that- weird but just to show our undying ability to believe in dreams. Yes some of us can be haughty and egotistical, but simple things can tap into us and make us happy and forget all that.
Moulin Rouge! (Dir: Baz Luhrmann)
To show how art defines us. We as a species love stories and music and theatre... "All the world's a stage" and all that. Also since the aliens are landing now, what better way to introduce them to the many things that are part of our culture- from pop tunes to musicals (even Bollywood!) to our eternal fixation with the story of doomed love. Romanticising things, including tragedy, is part of our psyche, and it's never been more eccentric and ecstatic than this.
2001: A Space Odyssey (Dir: Stanley Kubrick)
For our ambition and curiosity and daring. I have only seen this once properly, but I don't think any film will ever aspire to broaden our ideas of well, everything, like this one has. I still don't know what it is about exactly and I'm pretty sure I never will, but I can understand, and so will the aliens, that this shows the zeal of humans to question things- of our origin and our future, of our true nature and what it may become, and a whole mixed bag of other stupendous stuff. It's just epic.
The Breakfast Club (Dir: John Hughes)
The undauntable spirit of youth. This was the first film I thought of for this blogathon, and to explain, I'll use a rather long quote from one of my most favourite books (educating the aliens even more) 'When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.'
Just that, and how the future really is the future. Also this film is about however different our personalities and backgrounds are, we're all made of the same stuff inside.
When I told my friend about this whole concept and my choice of films, she sort of reprimanded me on being so positive. I really am not; in fact I'm quite the pessimist in most cases. But when it comes to films, they are the one truly great and wonderful medium, at least for me, that bring out the best in things. I mean even the worst of scenarios and settings and characters are shown beautifully, so the lighter side of things look so much more brighter. It makes me endlessly joyous. Therefore I would obviously like to show the aliens just that- the best, of the best. Then we just have to hope and pray that we don't get exterminated.