The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xenophobia in Film ( #atozchallenge )

Cover of "Enemy Mine"
Cover of Enemy Mine

The films that I'll be listing in my April postings may not necessarily be films that I'd call my favorite films, but they will be favorites in the genres I'll be naming.   The A to Z genres are very specific micro genres as opposed to the broader genres like action, romance, or comedy.

       This has been my toughest micro-genre of all.  I know many other films related to xenophobia have been made, but I've either not seen them or I'm just not remembering what I have seen.  Let's get some help from you readers because I'm drawing a blank other than these few:

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)--I'm going to cheat on this one because I've never seen this film from beginning to end.  I've seen most of it in pieces here and there and I know what the film is about.  Since it fits into the category of distrusting foreigners I am including it in my list.  What I have seen is good enough to make me want to watch it like it should be watched.

Enemy Mine (1985)--In this sci-fi film human and alien who are intense enemies must learn to get over prejudice and work together in order to survive after they both crash their spacecraft on a hostile uncivilized planet.  

Far and Away (1992)--Irish immigrants arriving in 19th century America are not very well-liked by those long established in the U.S.  Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star in the immigrant roles.  An entertaining film of epic proportions.

Gangs of New York (2002)--More Irish hating during the mid-nineteenth century in one of the toughest neighborhoods in America's history--Five Points.  This is a big film with some powerhouse acting talent.  Good stuff, but rough.  

Gran Torino (2008)--Clint Eastwood plays a grumpy widowed war vet who is not happy about the Asians moving into the neighborhood.  Important lessons are learned by all.

District 9 (2009)--  Extraterrestrials stranded in South Africa are subjected to segregation and xenophobia by distrustful humans.  Fantastic science fiction with social relevance.

         Okay, help me with this one--can you name any films with xenophobia as a prominent theme?   Have you seen the ones I've named?   Are there any topics concerning xenophobia that you think should be covered in film?

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  1. There was a south african movie called Man on Ground that was about xenophobia issues.

  2. I am just glad that I don't have any of that Phobia.
    Sometimes I get disgusted by my husband's need for watching shows about a certain group of people for some reason or the other.
    As far as I think people are people and just because a certain number of people from a group were/are bad it does not mean the whole race or nationality becomes bad.

  3. As always a good selection though I have not seen any except the first one you mentioned though I was not very old.

  4. You're the second person to do this for X. First being me *flutters eyelashes*, but it is a serious issue. District 9 definitely brings the issue of Xenophobia to light big time in sci-fi. Great choice today and enjoy your weekend.

  5. How about the 80's movie Alien Nation?

  6. How about something like "The Elephant Man."

  7. What about West Side Story, that is a great example of hating foreigners.


  8. Daft -- I've not heard of that film, but I haven't seen many South African films either.

    Munir -- There is a lot of disagreement in the world, but much of the time I think "phobia" is a misnomer.

    Lewis -- You've missed some good ones.

    Sheena -- I'll have to check out your post.

    Alex -- I thought about that one, but I couldn't remember exactly what it was about.

    Rocky -- Not sure I'd include Elephant Man as a film about "fear of foreigners" unless maybe there were a whole lot of Elephant Men and there was a fear of them. Now that would be an interesting concept.

    Jo -- Gang culture often stems from fear or hatred of other races and peoples. Yes, that's a good one. Thank you, I was trying to think of a musical with the xenophobic theme.


    I think 'BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK' was an excellent selection. I've seen that movie at least twice and like it a lot.

    I'll also mention 'A BRONX TALE', which is also one of the very best gangster movies ever made and which DiscConnected introduced me to.

    I think 'BILLY JACK' would be another good entry. There was distrust of the local American Indians as well as distrust of people with more... uh... "progressive" beliefs. It's a dippy hippie movie and I have to kick myself for still liking it. We'll call that one "a guilty pleasure" for me.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  10. Good one, Lee. I wondered what your 'X' word would be for movies. Billy Jack became a cult classic of sorts on this theme. I too would add West Side Story.
    I chose the other side of the coin of your word--xenophelia.

  11. Brave New World or The Man Who Fell to Earth?

  12. StMc-- I think Billy Jack is a good one. I like that movie--saw it first at the drive-in shortly after it came out. Watched it again a few years back and still enjoyed it.

    Jagoda -- I like both those picks.

    L.Diane -- Don't remember either. Have they released a Brave New World film yet?

    Desert -- You can usually count on Clint for quality.


  13. Good list for what honestly is a very important subject, interesting stuff Lee.

  14. I thought Xenaphobia meant a fear of Lucy Lawless...

    Have seen, and liked most of these films, although District 9 was on the slow side for me.

    I always thought Enemy Mine ripped off that old Star Trek episode with Kirk and the Gorn trapped on a desolate planet ("Arena").

    Clint was excellent in and behind the camera on "Gran Torino."

    And both of the films Stephen T. mentions in his comment are excellent as well.

    Billy Jack does not hold up so well for me-the script is very dated-but the fight scenes are still good, the message still relevant.

    Everyone who has not seen it should see A Bronx Tale today. Excellent film, directed and starring Robert DeNiro-a lot of important life lessons in this one (the bikers in the bar scene, the twenty bucks Louie owes "C", the car door test).


  15. Some good movies. I've seen them all but one. I loved Gran Torina.

  16. Enemy Mine--great movie. In fact, I enjoyed all those films listed.

    By the way, just saw "42" and highly recommend it. Racism is so ugly.

  17. Wow,this one must have been hard. Good Job on your selections.
    "Come See the Paradise" it is about Japanese Internment camps,just another sad part of our American history.

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

  18. Not particularly fun to watch on the screen, and lately it's getting harder and harder to live it.

  19. Yeamie --Thanks!

    Larry-- I really need to see A Bronx Tale, though it seems I have seen it but don't recall it. Billy Jack is indeed dated. One has to watch it with the context in mind, but it's still fun to see.

    Susan GK -- Gran Torino was a good one.

    Susan Kane -- I've heard good things about 42.

    Lucy -- This was a difficult one for me to think of films for. I know there are films about the Japanese interment. Snow Falling on Cedars was one, but I don't remember seeing it. I haven't seen the one you mentioned, but it sounds familiar.

    Faraway -- Your comment seemed cryptic. Are you saying that you are facing xenophobic treatment?


  20. Sorry dude, can't help you out with this one.

    However, I thought "Xenophobia" was fear of a warrior princess. Oops, that's 'Xenaphobia'. You might recall my "X" posting from last year and Lucy Lawless is duly noted in an above comment.

    Seriously, enjoy the rest of your alphabet challenge, Lee.

    Gary :)

  21. Gary -- Yes, this was a tough category. So was 'Z'.


  22. I immediately thought of D.W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms (1919) and the 1922 Lon Chaney, Sr., film Shadows, both of which prominently feature Chinese characters and a rather xenophobic reaction to them. Given the era, they were obviously both played by white men in makeup, but their portrayals are quite sensitive considering what society was like then.

  23. I've seen Enemy Mine, Far and Away, and Gran Torino. Some on your list I've never heard of. :-)

  24. Enemy Mine has got to be one of my favorite 80s sci-fi movies of all time because it was focused on overcoming stereotypes and prejudice.

  25. I'm not a great movie watcher, but most English films of a certain era are as xenophobic as they come - even my favourite - Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. It's caricature, of course - but only just!
    Thank you so much for another wonderful AtoZ Challenge, Arlee - just using Sunday to go round some people that aren't in line of fire from the lofty reaches of my list :)
    Jemima at Jemima's blog

  26. I like this word and some good movies. Gran Torino was great.

  27. Gangs of New York and Gran Torino were both good movies. I've never thought about xenophobia in film before and you've tackled it well!


  28. Carrie-Anne -- I've not seen those, but I have seen some other films of that era that depicted those feelings toward Asians.

    Sia-- I think all of these in my list got some Oscar nods.

    HeatherL -- Enemy Mine was a very cool film.

    Jemima -- Glad you joined us for another Challenge.

    Sydney - It's an interesting word, but like most "phobia" words these days I think it's often misused.

    Julie -- It's hard to come up with a 'X' micro-genre.


  29. Enemy Mine is one of my favorite movies! "Mickey Mouse". I haven't seen it in over a decade, maybe two. It was Mickey Mouse, right? lol
    love, LinnAnn

  30. I LOVED Enemy Mine growing up. It's a classic thats for sure. I think I'll sit and watch it with my son this week. Nice reminder of some pretty cool movies!

  31. LinnAnn -- Not sure about the "Mickey Mouse" reference.

    Michala -- It's nice to see all of the Enemy Mine fans.


  32. I've seen four of these and liked them all. I think many films dealing with WWII and how people treated each other could be Xenophobic films.

  33. Lisa -- Many war films deal with issues of xenophobia. Of course I guess in many ways war often can be related to xenophobia.


  34. There are actually tons of movies that could go on this list, especially if they involve war or aliens. Like, all the Star Treks portraying the original characters dealt with this because of the fact that humans were uncomfortable with Spock.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog:


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