ELECTIVE CLASS

In this elective class, we were view films that present success after challenging confrontations. While some films are fiction, many are documentaries or films of non-fiction events that took place in history. We will discuss reasons why such events happen, how you face similar challenges, and what you can do to succeed.

In Columbia Pictures' The Karate Kid, 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying - and the feeling is mutual - but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts "the karate kid" on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.

During World War II, 8-year-old Bruno (Asa Butterfield) and his family leave Berlin to take up residence near the concentration camp where his father (David Thewlis) has just become commandant. Unhappy and lonely, he wanders out behind his house one day and finds Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a Jewish boy of his age. Though the barbed-wire fence of the camp separates them, the boys begin a forbidden friendship, oblivious to the real nature of their surroundings.

(placeholder)

Will Smith stars in this moving tale inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman struggling to build a future for himself and his 5-year-old son Christopher (Jaden Smith). When his girlfriend Linda (Thandie Newton) walks out, Chris is left to raise Christopher (Jaden Smith) on his own. Chris' determination finally pays off when he lands an unpaid internship in a brutally competitive stockbroker-training program, where only one in twenty interns will make the cut. But without a salary, Chris and his son are evicted from their apartment and are forced to sleep on the streets, in homeless shelters and even behind the locked doors of a metro station bathroom. With self-confidence and the love and trust of his son, Chris Gardner rises above his obstacles to become a Wall Street legend.

(placeholder)
(placeholder)

One of history's greatest villains comes to life as never before in this that traces the rise of Adolf Hitler through use of rare, original color archive film. From the frightening transformation of Germany into a Nazi state to Hitler's closely guarded relationship with Eva Braun and the fall of Berlin, this video looks offers a unique look at the key events in world history from a unique, and rarely seen perspective.

(placeholder)

An adaptation based on the autobiography of the acclaimed Polish composer, Wladyslaw Szpilman, who detailed his survival during World War II, and narrowly escaped a roundup that sent his family to a death camp. A composer and pianist, Szpilman played the last live music heard over Polish radio airwaves before Nazi artillery hit. There, in Poland, Szpilman struggled to stay alive--even when cast away from those he loved. He spent the duration of the war hiding in the ruins of Warsaw and scavenging for food and shelter. Szpilman eventually reclaimed his artistic gifts, and confronted his fears--with aid from the unlikeliest of sources.


(placeholder)

Poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) teaches at the predominately black Wiley College in 1935 Texas. He decides to start a debate team, something nearly unheard of at a black college. While at first he butts heads with the influential father (Forest Whitaker) of one of his best debators, eventually he is able to form a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard's prestigious debate champions.

(placeholder)

Children of Heaven (Persian: ‫بچه‌های آسمان‬‎ Bačče-hâ-ye âsemân) is a 1997 Iranian family drama film written and directed by Majid Majidi. It deals with a brother and sister and their adventures over a lost pair of shoes. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1998.

(placeholder)