Motion Picture Education

Movies are modern day fairy tales. They still incorporate the same archetypes, the same patterns as used by storytellers centuries ago. That raises the question about whether these elements are still up to date – and what our society is being taught.

On the one hand. recurring elements – like a courageuos knight rescuing the helpless princess – are already well known to the audience. Their use makes the narrative more enjoyable to follow and, after all, that’s what it’s all about: Entertainment. But some would argue that, more often than not, movies are also sending a moral message. They are trying to teach us something.

Colin Stokes is one of those people. His experiences as a parent – which he shares in his TED talk – concludes that the the majority of films targeted towards children are sending out questionable ideals. In his opinion, movie heroes are often based on outdated, patriarchic stereotypes – but young audiences in particular still consider them as role models.

Hidden Meanings & Questionable Values

Nowadays, movies have an immense educational impact on the viewer. Stokes wants society – especially parents – to realise that and keep asking questions: What kind of values are being transported? How does this impact the development of our future society? And who will be held responsible if something “goes wrong”?

Stokes tackles those questions while knowing that there are no easy answers. In most cases, it might just  be a matter of putting the story into perspective. Still, it remains important to keep the discussion going – since this issue is not a novelty of our time.

Life imitates art far more than art imitates life”, wrote Oscar Wilde. George Bernard Shaw went as far as claiming that “the real world does not exist […] men and women are made by their own fancies in the image of the imaginary creatures in my youthful fictions, only much stupider.” With these words in mind, Colin Stokes talk about evolving identities gains another interesting facette.


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