The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival Isn't Just For Film Snobs
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The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival Isn't Just For Film Snobs

Go see a foreign film, it might increase your empathy.

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The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival Isn't Just For Film Snobs
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Film lovers around the Twin Cities rejoice! The Film Society is having their 37th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (or MSPIFF for brevity’s sake) until the 29th of April where they will be showing hundreds of different films from countries across the world. Needless to say, it’s an opportunity for us to see films that we aren’t typically exposed to here in the U.S. of A.

For film snobs like myself, the MSPIFF is probably something you look forward to every year as a rare opportunity to see foreign films in theaters. However, for anyone who appreciates film to the most casual of moviegoers, I think everyone should find some time within the next few weeks to see at least one film at the festival.

I do not mean to advertise the festival, although I know by saying people should attend that’s exactly what I’m doing. Rather, I encourage people to go because I think art, and specifically film, can be beneficial not only to individuals but to society. Yes, I am saying that watching films can benefit society, and the primary reason why I believe so is my belief that art can and does increase an individual’s empathy.

This belief is nothing new, but I want to talk about how it applies to foreign films for us Americans who are always surrounded by big-budget Hollywood movies filled with beautiful Hollywood celebrities. These movies are fortunate enough to sometimes just get away with excessive amounts of CGI and/or a famous cast in order to draw in audiences. In my personal opinion, a lot of these movies lack the creativity and emotion you would like from a piece of art.

This does not mean all Hollywood movies are shit, but I merely just want to specify that the money alone that goes into producing them make Hollywood movies drastically different than other films. As far as I know, most films at the MSPIFF are independent films with relatively low budgets and very often don’t have any CGI or famous actors/actresses. Therefore, as far as I can tell from past experiences, these films rely on pathos and ingenious but simple film techniques to create authentic narratives.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but this more authentic sort of film feels more intimate, allowing audiences to get a better understanding of the director’s message/perspective and thus gain some exposure to their culture. Obviously just watching foreign films alone doesn’t make you instantly understand someone else’s culture, but it gives some insight which is always valuable in comprehending how others see the world.

Which is ultimately why art can give us empathy because it shows different perspectives on this thing we call life. For this reason alone I think it’s worth your time to go see a foreign firm, for it’s quite impossible to have too much empathy.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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