If anyone has been kind enough to endure my blog posts in the past, you will have learned by now that I’m quite the klutz… Today, I type to you with one hand as I have somehow managed to damage my left shoulder and my arm is now in a sling. I’m telling you this, not as a request for sympathy, but to relay just how much I’ve enjoyed the PBS Online Film Festival this week. In a bedridden state, this type of event is perfection and has, gratefully, held my attention. So, today and tomorrow I will be posting a blog about my top choices for the festival.
Initially, I began choosing at random on the PBSOFF website. The first batch of films I watched had one film that caused me to ponder and brought tears to my eyes. Since I am a cold-hearted human being, this certainly means they were moving and worthwhile. If you haven’t had a chance to watch, I recommend My Dear Americans various reasons.
My Dear Americans
In my final year of university, I befriended a beautiful, young woman named Ruby. Our lifestyles were polar opposites, yet somehow we got along swimmingly. When I left Canada just last week, Ruby was one of the hardest people to say goodbye to because our friendship is something I cherish so deeply. In the short time we knew one another, Ruby taught me a lot about a culture completely foreign to my own. Her mother is Sikh and, as a girl from the Texas Panhandle, I knew little about their religious practices. On an adventure to find a lengah for her brother’s wedding, Ruby and her mother brought me to their temple and explained the significance of each ritual. I truly hate to admit this, but I think I had many unwarranted fears of religions outside of my own, but I soon learned those practicing Sikhism have the interests of others at heart — her mother is constantly worried about whether or not I’ve eaten. From this experience, I gained a new perspective on different cultures and the respect required for unfamiliar traditions.
When I watched My Dear Americans, I recognized the Sikh symbol dangling from the rear view mirror in the main character’s car from my visit to the gurdwara. To see the treatment the characters received really gripped at my heart because of my friendship with Ruby and the lessons I’ve learned from knowing her. I believe any American should watch this short film as it touches on the hypocrisy of American freedom and the treatment of those not practicing Christianity. Surely, the best way to display true freedom is through the kindness and respect shown to others, regardless of personal belief. Maybe then we can call America “home,” as Arpita Kumar, the director of the film, so poignantly explicated.
My Dear Americans is one of many films I would recommend, thus far in the PBSOFF. Other honourable mentions include Border Bedazzlers (another film touching on cultural difference and hypocrisy in American society); and Will, which is the most patriotic film I’ve seen and approved — the animation is stunning and the intercutting between sequences of events and the motion of the yo-yo is the mark of a creative masterpiece. Continue watching these short films and don’t forget to share and vote on your favourites! Check back tomorrow for more recommendations…