What Movies Would You Give to Aliens to Explain Life on Earth?

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 8:00 am

Many thanks to Criticwire for inviting me to participate in an intriguing survey: what films would you give to aliens to explain life on earth?  Here’s what I wrote:

I’d have to include a silent comedy, something that would be free of any language barriers and show them the importance of humor. I’ll go with “Modern Times,” with “The General” as a back-up. And I’d have to pick a Frank Capra film to show them that while humans may have a tendency to be bullies, we also are able to transcend it and sacrifice our own interests to help each other. That means “It’s a Wonderful Life,” because it so movingly conveys the impact that a single person can have and the best that a community can do when they come together. And I would add “Departures,” because there is no better depiction of the grace and dignity that can be achieved in grappling with the deepest conundrums of human existence.

Check out the responses from other critics — and let me know what you would pick!

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