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Spoiler alert.

Movies are well known to be moving pictures along with sounds, to create a story and entertain the audience. Even though it was invented to record daily moments in people’s lives, the movie industry has developed their workpieces to be more diverse; that can become the mirrors that reflect and criticizes the society we live in today. In case you’re wondering, here are 6 of the movies that potentially show how our society is.

Bad Genius (2017)
Money and grade, fade your ethics 

Bad Genius is a story of a scholarship high school student named Lyn who just moved to a new school and met Grace, her classmate who was passionate about joining school drama but facing an academic crisis. Lyn helped Grace cheat the exam after she found out that the teacher had leaked the exam questions to his own private sessions of students. Lyn continued cheating on the exam because of Pat, Grace’s rich boyfriend, who offered Lyn a big amount of money and provided her new customers. The cheating kept expanding from the high school level to the national level. This time, Lyn was again asked by Pat to cheat on the exam called STIC, which she has to fly over to Sydney, Australia, in order to earn millions of baht. However, it was not easy to do this by herself, Lyn had to invite Bank, another scholarship student who holds fast to justice, to help her complete this mission.

The film portrayed many Thai educational problems that still happen in Thai society such as Tea money, school corruption and inequality in the education system. Beginning with Tea money, Lyn found out that her dad has to pay 200,000 baht to get her into the school, although she was a scholarship student. She later knew that other students like Pat and Grace also had to pay more for Tea money due to their lower grades. The most viewed problem in the film would be the school corruption, that is, the exam cheating. It started from the teacher leaking the exam to private tutorial session students, which ultimately leads to Lyn’s revolution. Last but not least, the film has also shown the inequality in the Thai education system through the character Lyn and Bank who have to maintain their grade to maintain their status. Meanwhile, other rich students seem to have more educational opportunities for their future, even if their performances are not that good.

Shoplifters (2018)
Pain, family and farewell 

“How nice it would be to choose our own family”

Shoplifters is a family-drama movie directed by award-winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda. This movie calls into question “what makes up a family?”, telling us a story of a poor family in Tokyo, consisting of 6 members, but none of them are biologically connected. The story begins when Osamu (Lily Franky) was shoplifting with his adopted 12-year-old son, Shota (Kairi Jyo) to supply their family’s daily utilities. However, on their way home, they came across a 4-year-old girl, who was later called Juri (Miyu Sasaki), left alone on the balcony, shivering in the cold. Feeling pitiful, the father decided to take her into their cramped-space home. At first, his factory worker wife Nobuyo (Sakura Ando) disapproved by saying it is a kidnapping, however, something makes her resist bringing Juri back. The family also constitutes Aki (Mayu Matsuoka) a teenage sister who gains income by being a stripper and grandmother Hatsue, (Kirin Kiki) the owner of the house who lives on a pension from her deceased ex-husband. These six people have since lived together as if they were a real family until one day, their secrets are being revealed.

The movie tells a story of a family where each member is somehow abandoned and outcasted by society. For example, a little girl Juri who is neglected and abused by her mom, Aki who ran away from her house and make a living by being a sex worker, or even the father and mother, Osamu and Nobuyo who is stuck in doing unskilled labor jobs and no matter how hard they work, they will never be able to escape from their social status. Despite all that, these people, who are seen as useless by society, have met each other and lived as a real family. 

This film delivers a unique angle of a family that is not bonded by blood, but by heart. And their relationship is even more genuine than some real families. At the same time, it reflects the existing problems of Japanese society, from the social inequalities to lack of education, unjust law, and domestic violence. Although the family in Shoplifters is neither perfect nor always happy, just like how a typical family is, it still fills with the heart-warming side which reflects the beauty of life as wonderfully as one distorted family can be.

Promising young woman (2020)
Blood, sweat, and tear, women still live in fear

“Promising young man”, this phrase is quite an excuse for a man who has done something wrong, but fortunately has a bright future. Women, however, who had a bright future, but were wiped out by some men that abuse them. This became the fundamental concept of the movie “Promising young woman”; a film that exposes the world of patriarchy through the eyes of a woman. It starts with Cassandra, a female protagonist who has a hobby to have a night out and seduce so-called-good men for revenge. For what reason? The movie later revealed it was the incident that caused her best friend to die. 

Further content may reveal the important part of the film.

As Cassie continued her revenge, she later met Ryan; a friend that has a crush on Cass since college. And as their relationship starts to develop, the secret hidden within starts to reveal. That actually her revenge is nothing harmful, but a verbal warning and making the situation, so her target could feel how it is to be the victim in the situation. On the other hand, Cass has found out  that her to-be boyfriend Ryan and his friends were involved with her best friend’s death. So she set up a big plan to make them remember. How does it end? I’ll let you figure it out yourself.

But what we really get from the movie is that the patriarchal world is scary and unfair, even though Cass, as a woman, needs to sacrifice everything just to have the people (who indirectly killed her best friend) arrested. Which is still a problem in the society that some sexual abuser still stands in the society without a proper punishment just because they have a bright future while the victim’s is crumbling in front of their eyes.

When love is more than love.

Sexual Diversity – Dive down into the world of sexual fetishes and kinks.

“Would you be my… Master”

Love and Leashes, the story of Jung Ji Woo, a young company employee who accidentally picks up the wrong parcel which makes her learn about the secret of the perfect young employee, Jung Ji Hoo’s  sexual orientation. They became each other’s partners in the form of a mistress-slave to seek pleasure from pain until it turned them into a love relationship.

Love is not just loving each other , but it can be more when plunging into passion and fetish. When the dog’s leash is on the person’s neck, it indicates the desire to be treated in the same way as pets. Pets in the form of lovers who want to be loved and suffer from their masters. The purpose of the film is to convey that nobody’s body and mind are the same, with each person having different response to stimuli. Therefore, each person’s sex and arousal is not going to be the same, too. Usually, what people understand is only homosexual and heterosexual. But if we dig deeper, we will discover that people can be sexually aroused from many things. For example, outdoor ice cream, looking at someone having sexual intercourse (even if it is their partner), object touching, cosplay, sucking, being tied, and even being hurt.

This movie does not just present a point of sexual orientation, which is BDSM or mistress and slave, but also bring up the issue of patriarchy. The masculinity that suppresses women in society through the female protagonist who doesn’t think that women and men are different, and that men don’t always have to lead. The male protagonist also shows up to be a man who doesn’t need to be fierce and strong. Men can cry, and can be both weak and sensitive and in the end, still a man.

“Fetish and kinks aren’t new or weird, it’s something that you need to discover by yourself ”

Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 (2019)
Is it a sin to be born as a woman?

“Most people would only use their father’s last name, wouldn’t they? If using mother’s last name, the others may question whether the child has family problems or not.”

Kim ji-young, Born 1982, a story of a middle class full of competition and struggles in the male-dominated society. The movie discusses not only about the relationship of a couple but also the bitter relationship, whether it’s in a family, a husband’s family, or in the Korean society.

The story references the year 1982 when Ji Young was born, at that time, Asian values focus on having a boy in a family that is more honored and appreciated than a female child. Sadly, Kim Ji Young was born as the middle child, also born as a girl. The hardships and pressures in the family that she has suffered from childhood to adulthood have caused her trauma in the heart. While watching this movie, we can see that the patriarchal status has not changed, seen from the painful memories of Ji Young. Not just her, but her grandmother and mother have all faced it too, including other women in the society.

Women have to do all the housework, and sacrifice a chance to follow their dreams because they have to take care of their children as a duty. In the workplace, women are pressured by men in higher positions. If something bad happens to a woman and the offender is a man, at the end, a woman must be undeniably responsible. We can see men’s thoughts about women, humiliation, insulting and oppression of women in the film.

However, not all women agree to fall within this norm. Some of them struggle for equality and opportunity as well, hoping that in the future there will be better changes.

The Florida Project (2017)
An adventurous life on the margin, poverty through the eyes of children

On the edge of Magic Kingdom, lives week-to-week a mischievous six-years-old girl “Moonee” and her delinquent, but affectionate mother “Halley” in the Magic Castle, a budget motel managed by Bobby near the most happiest place on Earth. Every new day is a new grand-adventure for Moonee, but for Halley, every new day is a day she has to make ends meet to scrape by. The film displays a slice of life of an unsupervised Moonee, and her friends Scooty and Jansey, playing and engaging in troubles with what they only have, the motel and the surroundings. They go pick up free meals from a kind stranger (the church), they go on a safari tour (a field of cows), they go on a haunted house trip (abandoned condominium), all innocently, and unconcerned of their impoverished position, and what is to become next of them. Moone’s adventures is supported by her mom selling wholesale perfumes to tourists, scamming Magic Kingdom entry wristband, and her last resort, prostitution in her room, which ultimately leads to the involvement of Florida Department of Children and Families.

The Florida Project presents us the lives of the hidden homeless population, those who are not underprivileged enough to be fully assisted, but also not wealthy enough to live without having to  worry about their next week residence. While the film depicts “motel culture”, and poverty, it does not romanticize it in any ways. It realistically shows us what these people need to do in order to survive, and how exhausting their experiences could be. It also contradicts the stereotype of viewing these individuals as dangerous. The film reveals another perspective that, even in poverty, mutual trust can be bonded, and not only the survival of the fittest. There are no drug trafficking, shoot-outs, or harassment of any kind. It is simply a group of people making minimum wage trying to live another week. However, Halley, and the other motel residents’ financial difficulty cannot be entirely blamed on bad decision-making, but also  the social system. The system preserves poverty, which in turns, repeats poverty from generation to generation. It solves problems by hacking at the leaves, and not digging at its root: Child Protective Service only comes when it is almost too late. Halley loses Temporary Assistance For Needy Family benefits as she was fired from her exotic dancer career, being she refused the client’s demand for additional backroom service. To break the endless loop of poverty, a great amount of resources and support is needed in which the system has neglected, or else a story of Halley and Moonee will repeat itself.

After having introduced six films, presenting with different problems in the society, what do you think about it? Does their storyline sound interesting enough to watch, or is it just a cliché plot? But before you come to your judgment, why don’t you watch some of these films and tell us your thoughts in the comment section down below!

Pitchaya Jenjirawong 6307640018
Prawravee Suwantawit 6307640042
Nakamol Khiaojan 6307640059
Nicha Onpattanasin 6307640422
Nattida Kongchai 6307640075
Kunanan Serksiri 6307640554

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