From India to Indiana

As I embarked on the journey to the United States for my Master’s Degree which promises to be a truly life changing experience, I was excited but a little scared at the same time. Culturally, America differs vastly from India and experiencing a new environment and culture seemed a little intimidating at first. I was worried about making new friends and butchering the language. But in reality, it turned out to be really easy as people are very nice, sociable and kind and they appreciate you for your efforts in accepting their culture.

Even learning the American culture wasn’t that hard as I always used to watch Hollywood movies, TV shows and listen to Rock music and this helped ease my assimilation into American culture. The movies I saw gave me some early insight into this new culture that I was going to explore, learn about, and live in. Binge watching sitcoms like Friends, Seinfeld, Married with Children helped me learn a lot about the American traditions, festivals and their day to day life. When it came to socializing with people, movies were the best common experience to talk about while connecting with people.

Since their inception, movies have been the basis for a shared social experience. There is something about experiencing movies that fosters a desire to talk about what you’ve experienced. Whether it’s a hilarious comedy, an emotional drama, or a thrilling action movie, you’ve had the experience. Maybe it elicited the same response from all of you, maybe you hated it and your friends loved it. No matter what the outcome, the experience of seeing the movie gave me something in common that I could discuss, debate, marvel about, and bond over. Seeing a movie or even discussing the favorite movies was one way to connect with the new people I met at college.

Connection, in a word is what movies are all about. You connect with the story, the characters, and the themes. A difference of opinion when discussing movies isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Debating these points can help you understand the movie from a different perspective, giving you insight into another’s interpretation, or allowing you to understand something that you may have missed during the first viewing.

Connection is also what college is all about, especially at the beginning. Over the next few years, you will be developing lifelong friends, meeting new colleagues, and forming future professional contacts. They will help you to learn more about American culture and, in turn, maybe you’ll get a chance to familiarize them about your culture (and perhaps introduce them to some films from your country). We welcome you all to come into Media Services to explore American and foreign language films and share your experiences with your friends.

Movies are keys that can be used to open new doors by starting conversations and discovering common interests. Just remember, when the lights dim, the screen flickers on, and the show starts, we’re all one and the same. We’re all part of the same cultural audience of awe and wonder, experiencing the story together.


Native American Heritage Films

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

What do you think of when you first hear “Native American”? Pocahontas? Thanksgiving? Or do you imagine the Chiefs or the Redskins? No matter what it may be, this month, I challenge you to dive into the rich history and culture of the indigenous people of the Americas and learn something new because often times, what we imagine when we think of Native Americans is directed by what we see in the media: the extreme whitewashing of Hollywood and the stereotypes they popularize. I’m here to make it easier for you by compiling some resources that may be helpful in your endeavor… Continue reading “Native American Heritage Films”

What to Watch: Alias Grace

Alias Grace is an original Netflix series based off of Margaret Atwood’s award winning novel. It is the depiction of a historical figure from the 1840s, Grace Marks. She is a poor Irish immigrant who works as a domestic servant in Canada and was imprisoned for twenty-eight years for her part in the double murder of her employers… Continue reading “What to Watch: Alias Grace”

Hollywood Rape Allegations: what does our reaction say about us?

If you haven’t heard about the recent rape allegations that have been hitting some of Hollywood’s most notables, a quick web search will catch you up to speed. As of this post, there are thirteen actors and directors currently accused of sexual harassment and/or assault. Some allegations are as far back as the 90s and as recent as last month.

Before we break into this, it’s important to note that there is a statute of limitations. That is, a period of time in which someone can be tried for their crimes. Sexual violence is rated from small misconducts such as harassment to rape. The statute of limitations differs depending on the state. Some states have no deadline.

It’s because of this that some of the allegations date back so many years ago. You might then ask yourself: “Why now?” There are those who might see the current news and think the current events are almost comical in their quantity, a witch hunt if you will. It’s important then to consider the fact that people’s careers have been ruined because they chose to come forward to the police.

Weinstein was the start of this flooding of rape and harassment victims coming forward. A man who’s known for destroying the careers of those who spoke against him is finally getting attention for his actions. If police are moving to gain evidence against him, a juggernaut in his field, then why not others who did the same thing?

However, with so many people coming forward, it’s unsurprising that these events are making enough noise to become the butt of some tasteless jokes. There are those who think this flood of allegations is about several dozen women crying ‘rape’ when in fact we are finally at a point in our society that women feel that they can finally report what happened to them without fear of being retaliated against in slanderous fashion like in Gutierrez’s case with Weinstein.

We’re at a point where social media has power. Power to harm people’s reputations or erase their crimes. Why not use this power to bring crimes like this into the public eye so that they can be dealt with instead of focusing on the sheer number of allegations as a reason to ignore them. The only problem I personally have with the number is that it could not have been reported sooner.


Ambra Gutierrez, one of Harvey Weinstein’s many accusers.

Selected titles, available for checkout at Media Services, related to sexual assault, rape culture, and sexual harrassment:

“The Hunting Ground” (Call no. LB2345.3.R37 H86 2015), 2015 Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival, addressing sexual assault on US campuses.

“It Was Rape” (Call no. HV6561.I82 2013), a Women Make Movies release, in which women share personal stories of their experiences of rape and its aftermath in a culture steeped in denial and cover-up.

“The Invisible War” (Call no. UB418.W65 I58 2012b), addressing the prevalence of rape and other forms of sexual misconduct in the US military.

Insecure: A Cultural Milestone

Since its debut last October, the HBO series Insecure has been a hit. Following the dating adventures, work fiascos, and overall personal struggles (and successes!) of LA-native Issa Dee, played by co-creater of the show Issa Rae, it is hilarious and dynamic, with a talented cast and a seamless music selection to support its complex plotline. However, what makes the show so hard-hitting is how authentic it is in its depiction and support of black American culture and black womanhood, in particular. Continue reading “Insecure: A Cultural Milestone”

How “It” Reinvigorates The Horror Genre

The horror genre is one that catches a lot of negativity for it’s inherently evil subject matter and it’s necessity to adhere to traditions that are often written off as clichés, but I’m here to discuss why horror movies are on the rise and how It (2017) may just reinvent the entire genre… Continue reading “How “It” Reinvigorates The Horror Genre”

Only with the Heart

The Little Prince, otherwise known as Le Petite Prince is a novella published in 1943 by the late author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The French novella is known as one of the most successful books in history, and is the origin of one of the most popular French quotes: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” The book introduces heart tugging themes such as loss, love, and growing up… Continue reading “Only with the Heart”

Indiana University Cinema … A Place For Film™: Film Streaming at IU

I recently sat down with Barbara Ann O'Leary, #DirectedbyWomen founder, to provide an overview of free online streaming resources courtesy of IUB Libraries.  A special shout out to all Media Services' students who contribute immensely to Media Beat. -- Monique Threatt

Cinephiles in IU Cinema’s community on the lookout for intriguing film viewing opportunities have a treasure trove of online streaming resources available for free through IU Media Services at Indiana University Libraries

Continue reading “Indiana University Cinema … A Place For Film™: Film Streaming at IU”

Animated Films: Not Just Simply for Kids

While at first glance, animated films are generally biased towards young children; however, many of them use their light-hearted approach as a medium to depict deeper meanings that are more likely to be appreciated by an older audience. This trend of portraying an omnipresent theme throughout the entire film is exemplified by numerous major animation studios, including Pixar, Disney Animation, and Studio Ghibli. These themes are often times inspiring and are comprised as an effort to educate the viewer, regardless of age, with an uplifting message or life lesson. The expressions of these messages are normally illustrated through the representation of ubiquitous issues, symbolized within the film. Listed below are notable examples of children’s films with deeper meanings, and are available for checkout and Media Services…. Continue reading “Animated Films: Not Just Simply for Kids”