I love framing matters in terms of central questions. Whether the topic at hand is a political issue, a musical group’s catalogue, or a friend’s career ambitions, my educator tendency to create and debate central questions takes over.
To form and grapple with central questions is an intellectual exercise through which one can examine a specific situation, piece of art, or seemingly eccentric narrative, pare it down to its essential being, and connect it to a larger set of observations about human nature & life on earth. I find the zoom in-zoom out, synthesis-extraction, and part-to-whole relational aspects of central question analysis facilitate fun and revealing conversations.
Without further adieu, here are what I see as worthwhile central questions for some of my favorite films released in the cinematic year 2014-15:
-What is the most effective method for encouraging artistic greatness?
-Can genius be taught?
– Is it possible for an individual to be a “great” at his/her craft and also lead a “balanced” life?
-As a society, what level of civil liberty infringements should we tolerate in the name of national security?
-What are the consequences of eliminating or significantly decreasing privacy?
-Who is protected by (or benefits most from) national security programs?
-What is (or should be) the relationship between activism and politics?
-How does “dissent within the ranks” of a social movement affect its overall effectiveness?
-How much value should we place on others’ opinions of ourselves in determining self-worth?
-In what ways is an individual in control of her/his reputation?
-How much agency/control does a young person have over his/her life during youth?
-What are the most prominent variables in identity formation? Specifically, how does the passage of time figure into the process of becoming?
-Where is line distinguishing free speech and hate speech?
-Is it ethical to kill one in the name of saving many others from violence and oppression?
Note: I’ll update this page in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards as Erica and I see more of the critically acclaimed films.