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We need more foreign language films on campus

Ophelia Meagher




For my final project in my Journalism in the Digital Age class, I made a survey that asked Plymouth State students and faculty for their thoughts on foreign language films. I wanted to know how many people on campus have seen a foreign language film, if they liked one that they have seen, and what they liked about it or why they haven’t been able to see one. Despite not being able to ask the majority of campus, the majority of responses I got were appreciative of the different cultures that can be seen in a foreign language film, and some said that they wish they were shown on campus more often. If more foreign language films were shown on campus, it would be a good way to show perspectives that many of us wouldn’t be able to relate to otherwise.

When creating my survey, I had thoughts that many people on campus wouldn’t watch a film if it was in a foreign language, and I wanted to see if I was correct. I thought there would be a similar sentiment to that of someone not watching a film because it is a silent film, or because it is in black and white. I am glad that my hypothesis was wrong, and the variety of responses made me realize the importance of viewing films from foreign cultures in foreign languages. From classics like “La Grande Illusion” to anime like “The End of Evangelion” and surreal and experimental films like “Tetsuo: The Iron Man,” those who responded showed a wide interest in what the world has to offer. I feel that the films that we view on campus, whether they be through campus events or on the streaming platform provided by PSU (Panther Premier), lack the diversity of differing perspectives from around the world.

The majority of films on Panther Premiere are in English, and when a film is viewed as an event it is typically a film that is meant to draw in the most students. This means that students aren’t being challenged in any way, and are simply viewing what they already enjoy or don’t have to comprehend. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but it isn’t beneficial, especially when diversity is never truly considered. The options that I had to pick from for a Halloween movie night in Langdon Woods were merely crowd-pleasers that most people already enjoy, all of them being in English. More options need to be offered for true cultural diversity in film to be achieved. Anything would be better than the stagnate offering we have right now that only benefits those who only take in American mainstream cinema.

My survey made me realize people appreciate the perspectives films from other cultures can provide, and it’s sad that PSU isn’t promoting a wider range of perspectives that would benefit every student at PSU. Students on campus have shown an interest in world cinema, and those who haven’t seen a foreign language film said that they are interested in seeing films from different parts of the world. It’s time for PSU to catch up to what students and faculty want.