Resistance and change: Movies about protests

Here are six films that challenge institutions and speak up against injustice.
Last Updated : 24 May 2024, 23:10 IST
Last Updated : 24 May 2024, 23:10 IST

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With students of Columbia University and people from all over the world taking to the streets in pro-Palestine protests, here are six films that challenge institutions and speak up against injustice.

Do the Right Thing (1989, English)

A comedy drama set in Brooklyn, ‘Do the Right Thing’ is an unapologetic rendition of racial tensions in America. Mookie works at the pizzeria owned by a white man in what is mostly a Black neighbourhood. As a small squabble quickly escalates, the film delves into the issue of police brutality, an injustice still relevant in the US and all over the world today. With vibrancy, humour, and compassion, director Spike Lee explores the complexities of racism and the ensuing violence from that hatred.
Watch on Amazon Prime

Chittagong (2012, Hindi)

Based on the real historical event of the Chittagong armoury raid in 1930 British occupied India, it tells the story of the student rebels fighting for the national cause. It stars Manoj Bajpayee as the heroic young revolutionary Surya Sen. Masterdaa, as he was fondly called, leads a group of young freedom fighters to the armed uprising. Chittagong was Bedabrata Pain’s directorial debut, and he won the National Film Award for the same.
Watch on YouTube

Pride (2014, English)

Two separate minority groups, the queer community and miners on a strike in South Wales, join hands to support each other’s cause. ‘Pride’ dramatises the true events which led to the formation of the inspirational alliance of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LSGM) group. The feel-good film is a heartwarming story of love and humanity that still gets the pertinent social commentary across.

The Strawberry Statement (1970, English)

A fictionalised adaptation of the book ‘The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary’ by James S Kunen, the film is set against the Columbia University protests of 1968. An apolitical student gets involved in campus protests, leading to a series of events which make him question his stance on political issues around him. Directed by Stuart Hagmann, the film won the Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize.
Watch on Apple TV+

La Haine (1995, French)

The title of the film literally translates to ‘hatred’. The plot follows the activities of three friends throughout a single day in a suburb outside Paris. Tensions are running high as a young Arab has been brutally beaten up by the police in connection with student riots. Director Mathieu Kassovitz explores themes of violence and alienation among the youth amidst political conflicts. A visual treat with compelling characters and masterful cinematography, ‘La Haine’ has secured its position among cult classics today.
Watch on YouTube

Jana Gana Mana (2022, Malayalam)

This crime thriller opens with the discovery of the dead body of a professor which spurs student protests and subsequent police brutality. With rising social unrest, ACP Sajjan Kumar is assigned to investigate the barbaric crime and find the perpetrators. ‘Jana Gana Mana’ is an engaging watch, tackling issues like corruption and injustice in the Indian context. The turn of events in the story will end up making you question your own morality and biases. Director Dijo Jose Antony sprinkles obtuse references to real-life incidents like the 2016 Rohit Vemula suicide and the 2019 Hyderabad gang rape case, making it a powerful voice of dissent.

Watch on Netflix

Published 24 May 2024, 23:10 IST

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