Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Can Movies Change the World?

It seems obvious to me that movies don't change the world. You might say this thoughtful review from the Harvard Crimson accepts that descriptively but not normatively, asking: if a movie was ever to change the world, it would have been Schindler's List, right?


Will Hotel Rwanda redirect America’s attention to the humanitarian crises of our day? [Real-life "Hotel Rwanda" hero Paul] Rusesabagina thinks so. “Whenever people are informed, that has an impact,” he says. [Director Terry] George adds that he “felt good about the notion that we would at least stimulate people to get involved and mobilize.”

Unfortunately, history tells a different tale. Schindler’s List hit theaters in March 1994—just as State Department officials were honing their foot-dragging techniques so that America could shirk its duty to intervene in Rwanda.