Gran Torino is a film starring Clint Eastwood as the main protagonist Walt Kowalski, as well as him being the director of the film. It was released in 2008 and brings up many important themes and issues such as racism, the meaning of family, life, and death and redemption in a riveting manner. Walt Kowalski is a grumpy, old man trying to live his life alone. But as certain events happen, Walt develops through the film and ends as a vastly different person.
At the start of the film, Mr. Kowalski is grumpy, sad and would love to be left alone. Mostly because his wife just passed away. With this attitude, Walt pushed away everyone with the tool of racism and inappropriate nicknames. An excellent example of this is when he called Thao´s brother and gang, “rice niggers”. Other instances he called an Irish man such names as “Mick” and “Paddy”. But as the film moves on, Walt gets a revelation from a Chinese shaman, and from this day on he vastly improves and actually try to befriend people.
Another example of Walts change is with his relation to the Catholic priest. At the start, Walt couldn´t abide the priest, and he was both mean and incredibly racist. Even though he just wanted to help Walt through his grieves. But, later in the film, Walt starts to accept the priest for who he is and at the end, he even makes a confession. Walt even allowed him to call him by his first name, which he only allows close friends.
As we see, Walt is a truly dynamic character in the film Gran Torino. He starts as an old, grumpy man, but ends up as a caring and helpful person. Of course, there are others in the film that changes but in my mind Walt Kowalski went through the biggest change.
On the 31st of October, we had a quite different day at school. This day was the International Day, which is arranged in cooperation with Operation Daywork. International Day takes place all over Norway every year and is an event where we highlight international problems, whereas Operations Daywork, the students give one day of their education to support this crisis. This year we showed our support to the troubling youths in Palestine.
On the International Day, different refugees visited our school to talk about their journey and experiences form Palestine. We didn´t have to much time visiting everyone, but I had the opportunity to talk to three of them. All of them had a different story and view of the crisis. The one I liked the most was Karrar Al-Azzawi. He was reflected upon the crisis and even came with different solutions on how to solve it. He even had the ability to show us pictures and short films from when he was on the move, this made me even more interested and made me think more about how good we actually have it here in Norway.
Recently in English class, we’ve watched two films, Girl Rising and Before the Flood. Girl Rising can we look at as a global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment, whereas the main goal is to change the way the world values girls. Before the flood, on the other hand, is about our evolving planet, climate changes and the need to take action before it’s too late. Their themes are utterly different, however, they share the will to ameliorate the modern world.
To emphasize their determination and influence the viewers, both films use well known and famous actors as narrators. This way the human brain is easier to persuade and in a way we feel safe and sound. In addition, all the narrators are throughout both films calm and chill. They take their time which allows the audience to let all the information sink in. Additionally beautiful, dramatic and gracefully music and images are exhibited to characterize our astonishing earth. I believe these films were made so people could raise their awareness for such ongoing events on earth, especially environmental and social issues. Furthermore, they are made to provoke us and take action, show us that we are the ones that can make a difference and shape a new and better future. Although I think these films are made for the grown-up audience, I think students at my age should watch these films to get a reminder and see for themselves that change is necessary. Because I agree with what Bansky once said:
“Film is incredibly democratic and accessible, it’s probably the best option if you actually want to change the world, not just re-decorate it.”
One individual or one government is not enough to change the world for the better. If we want to accomplish that, humans and governments need to stand united. If we together take actions and share thoughts anything is achievable.
The climate changes and global challenges made the UN gather in 2015 to work out a plan for the future. A plan that would include every country and every human in the world. In the end, the UN managed to put together 17 sustainable development goals. These goals are the worlds common schedule for work against poverty, inequality and climate changes within the year of 2030.
All around the news today we hear about the expression of sustainable development. This simply means that we need to take cover our necessities today, without diminishing the future generations to cover theirs. As seen in the picture above all the goals are very different but every one of them is an important step to a better future.
Each of the goals would I consider as important. But personally, I think goal number 4, quality education, and number 5, gender equality, is the most important. If we start by giving everyone a good education more people get knowledge. Thus more people can help in the fight against inequality and poverty, and join the fight for health, climate, clean water, and sanitation. For the gender equality, I think the former general secretary of the UN, Kofi Annan, sums it up pretty good:
“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance”.
– Kofi Annan
For the world to achieve every goal we need commitment and participation from every corner of the world. If not these goals will be hard, if not impossible to complete within 2030. I really hope the world will take action before it’s too late!