These movies are not on anyone’s Oscar list. But they all deserve to be watched. You’ll be glad you did.
The Netflix summary of this movie is “In 1890s India, an arrogant British commander challenges the harshly taxed residents of Champaner to a high-stakes cricket match. If the villagers win, they’ll avoid taxation for three years; if they lose, they’ll pay the tax thrice over.” If you’ve never watched a Bollywood movie, you are in for a treat. Two things – one, an understanding of cricket will be necessary, and two, it’s a musical – a four hour musical. I’ve seen it twice!
Paper Clips (2004)
This is a documentary about a middle school teacher who tries to get his students to understand the enormity of 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust. So he asks them to collect 6 million paper clips. And that is just the beginning. This project turns into a permanent museum on the school grounds complete with an actual boxcar used to transport prisoners and items taken from Jews before they were killed. A powerful movie.
Where to Invade Next (2015)
Even if you are not a fax of Michael Moore, this film is a must watch. He visits different countries to see how they handle everything from single payer health care to school lunch. You will be amazed and wonder why we aren’t doing some of these things.
Kings of Pastry (2009)
This is a documentary about the competition for the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, a top award for patissiers. You will not believe what they can do with sugar syrup!
5 Broken Cameras (2012)
A documentary about a Palestinian family that lives on the West Bank of Israel. The father decides to document this youngest son’s days. He goes through 5 cameras – many broken by Israeli soldiers. A thoughtful movie.
Taare Zameen Par (2007)
Another Bollywood movie starring Aamir Khan (also in Lagaan). Aamir plays the art teacher at a private school in India, where a dyslexic student has been sent because he is failing everything. It just shows what a good teacher can do for a troubled student.
Rabbit Proof Fence (2002)
This movie is based on the true story of three aborigine girls who run away from a state orphanage and walk 1,500 miles across Australia to go home; all the while avoiding a tracker who has been sent to take them back to the orphanage. You never know what you can do until you have to.
Not One Less (1999)
This movie is a look at peasant life in China. When the teacher in a small village is called away, a recent graduate of the grammar school is called on to substitute – and she’s 13. She’ll get a bonus if no students leave the school while she is teaching. Of course, one boy goes into the city and she goes after him. A story of perseverance. Practice your Mandarin or read the subtitles.