Globalization is defined as a process of an international integration and interaction based on sharing ideas and products between different cultures. A few decades ago, it was a hypothesis and an economic strategy. In the 21st century, it is our everyday reality. Even though there are several great advantages to it, globalization also has a negative impact on people all over the world.
I would like to present a compilation of 10 movies that explore the topic either directly in the form of a documentary, or through a subtle hidden meaning. This list tries to cover all the different aspects of globalization: food, clothing, economy, travel, environment, communication, trade. Most importantly, it attempts to define a position of a human being facing all of the above.
10. Cyberbully (2015)
This Ben Chanan drama is a brilliant illustration of a potential danger connected to highly evolved technology and communication services. Casey Jacobs (played by “Game of Thrones” star Maisie Williams) give a stunning performance in this one-actor movie. Although there were other attempts to make a movie placed entirely on a computer screen (e.g. “Unfriended” in 2014), “Cyberbully” creates the atmosphere of a thriller in a very sophisticated way.
People truly reveal too much on the Internet and share the most intimate material in a naive conviction that their secrets stay safe. Casey, as an innocent young girl, is totally unprepared for the situation and succumbs to an anonymous cyberbully ‘s requirements and blackmail. It takes her a really long time to realize that she is at liberty to just switch the computer off.
9. Paris, I Love You (2006)
Several great directors participated in this anthology movie, followed by an American ‘version’, “New York, I Love You” in 2008. Let’s mention Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Tom Tykwer or the Coen brothers, and for actors we saw Steve Buscemi, Fanny Ardant, Willem Dafoe, Juliette Binoche, Natalie Portman and many others.
Each of the 18 well-crafted stories takes place in a different ‘arrondissement’, which is a title for an administrative district in Paris. The central idea is love and its different forms and expressions, which are tragic, hilarious, magical, crazy or even horror-like as it is shown in Quartier de la Madeleine.
Paris is often called ‘City of Love’, one of the ‘fashion capitals’, or the ‘City of Lights’. But in this movie, Paris is depicted as a multicultural giant that became a guardian of Africans, Asians, Mexicans and other people from all around the world.
Multiculturalism as one of the side effects of globalization; however, it wipes out the uniqueness and the difference between the various cultures. It makes great cities like Paris, New York or London look and feel exactly the same.
8. The True Cost (2015)
Directed by Andrew Morgan, this documentary film captures another aspect of globalization: clothing. Along with the invention of the ‘fast fashion’ movement, fashion retailers started to look for the quickest and the cheapest way to deliver hot fashion trends to eager customers. And it comes at a very high price; a collapsed Bangladesh fashion factory with more than 1,000 victims is only the beginning.
The fashion industry influences the environment and suppresses basic human rights. Moreover, the authors of the documentary claim that the whole “fast fashion” idea was created so that the people of the lower and the middle class forget that they can’t afford a new house or a quality education. Fashion industry tries to compensate for frustration and bring a little joy in our lives via new collections of a popular fashion brand every week. Too little, don’t you think?
7. Cloud Atlas (2012)
There was a lot of discussion about this German-American sci-fi movie back in 2012. A collaboration of Tom Tykwer and his great visual style, the Wachowskis as the founders of ‘The Matrix’ films, and great acting performances (Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent) couldn’t possibly go wrong. “Cloud Atlas” is a mosaic of lives, portrayed in multiple plots crossing six different eras. It is a representative example of how science fiction as a genre criticizes globalization and its consequences.
Development in science and technology, the monopolization of production and trade, radical policy making, and greed for money could lead to dystopian future, as many books and movies tell us. An Orwell-like control of an individual is present in the story of Sonmi-451 (Doona Bae), a human being cloned for slaving in a fast food restaurant and fed by other clones, after they are killed and recycled.
6. Fast Food Nation (2006)
A Richard Linklater film depicting the fast food industry stands unfairly in the shadow of a more famous one – “Super Size Me” (2004). An adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s book “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” goes deeper in the system of the meat processing, the health risks, the safety regulations, and the work organization.
Three basic storylines mix up several extraordinary actors (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kristofersson, Paul Dano) and unmask the political, social, and environmental ambush of fast food companies.
The most touching is the story of illegal Mexican workers who come to Colorado in search of a better life. They end up injured with a lifelong consequences or addicted to amphetamines in order to stand the horrible work conditions. Either way, there is a new movie, “What the Health” (2017), pursuing the topic.