Movies about HungerSince 1992, the number of undernourished individuals around the world has been nearly cut in half. Despite this progress, global hunger is still a deadly problem affecting many in developing countries. In recent years, several movies have used hunger as an important plot component. Whether they are Biography, Sci-Fi or Drama, these movies help raise awareness for the 13 percent of the global population that still struggles with undernutrition. Here are five movies about hunger:

  1. Slumdog Millionaire
    Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of a young man named Jamal as he progresses through the Indian game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Through flashbacks, Jamal recounts growing up as an orphan on the streets of Mumbai where he and his friends had to pull off elaborate schemes just to get enough money to survive.
  2. Interstellar
    Interstellar takes place in future where the world is plagued by food shortage and drought. Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a man who sets out into space in order to find a new planet for humans to inhabit. While trying to save his family and the human race, Cooper and his crew find more than they ever expected.
  3. The Hunger Games
    Panem is a land split into 12 districts ruled by a corrupt government. Every year, two children from each district are chosen to participate in a bloody competition called The Hunger Games as punishment from the government. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is from District 12, where the local population is forced to break the laws in order to supply her friends and family with food. Katniss volunteers to compete in The Hunger Games to save her sister, thus sparking her future as “The Mockingjay.”
  4. District 9
    Aliens arrive in South Africa looking for help, but after the dust settles, the South African government is responsible for hundreds of thousands of unruly aliens. The aliens are separated from humans and placed in slums where they must rummage through trash piles to find food and make shelters. When a government agent named Wikus is infected with a strange virus, he must make new allies in order to try and cure himself.
  5. The Pursuit of Happyness
    After his wife leaves him, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) and his son have to endure the ups and down of urban poverty. Even after Chris lands a promising internship, he must fight to provide food and shelter for his son.

While these movies about hunger remind viewers that hunger exists, they also show that hunger is a chief motivation factor for far more beyond curbing an appetite. Success, comfortable living and even the strength to live are directly related to the accessibility of food. The fight to provide food, the central plot element in the movies about hunger, is a very real experience for people all over the world.

Weston Northrop

Photo: Flickr

RefugeesFilm is undoubtedly one of the most compelling forms of storytelling and some of the most powerful yet untold stories are those of the refugees.  Many millions have left their homelands and travelled across the globe throughout history, inspiring film-makers to capture their journeys. Here are four movies about refugees—two older, fictional films and two newer, real-life stories—that portray the experiences of refugees in an important and meaningful way. Although this list is only comprised of four movies about refugees, hundreds of documentaries, feature films and shorts are available online and in stores.


In This World (2002): Shot like a documentary, In This World portrays two Afghan refugees’ land journey. Unlike many other fictitious films about refugees, this film shows a fairly complete picture of a refugee’s journey, which includes the endless hours of waiting, hours of panic, and brief, beautiful moments of hope.

Welcome (2009): A beautiful, artistic and rather unsentimental picture of one Iraqi Kurd’s attempt to swim the English Channel in order to gain asylum, this French film portrays the stark situation of many homeless refugees living in France at the time and the legal dangers that awaited the French people who helped asylum-seekers.


The Land Between (2014): Documenting the everyday lives of Sub-Saharan migrants trapped between their homelands and the prospect of a new life in Europe, The Land Between addresses one of the most important questions of all migrant crises, whether past, present or future: why, and how, do people risk their lives and everything they own?

Neuland (2015): Neuland explores the lives of immigrants and refugees from all over the globe as they acclimate to life in Switzerland. Following the students in one class, the film shows the hardships and joys of building a new life in a foreign country.

In addition to many other full-length fictitious and real-life movies about refugees, many organizations, like Amnesty International, compile short films to spread awareness about refugees. In the end, whether short or long, real or imagined, movies about refugees provide an invaluable window into the lives of victims from all over the world.

Sage Smiley

Photo: Flickr

Movies about human rights have the power to make the problems of distant countries personal to viewers. Whether it is a documentary or a fictional story, the impact of film can be extraordinary. These five movies are just a few of the films that highlight human rights issues throughout the world.

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Hotel Rwanda depicts the atrocities of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Following decades of power struggles between Hutus and Tutsis, the Hutu government sought to cleanse the country of Tutsis. This infamous movie about human rights is based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, who opened his hotel to Tutsi refugees during the conflict despite being a Hutu himself.

While the Rwandan genocide occurred over two decades ago, the country still faces crippling poverty. The film illustrates the effect of violence and civil war on already vulnerable nations.

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Beasts of No Nation never reveals the country it is set in. However, the events within the film continue to happen in various regions. The main character, Agu, loses his family to the violence around him. He is eventually forced to become a child soldier and goes on to commit atrocious crimes.

Sierra Leone, Uganda and Sudan are among the various African regions where child soldiers are recruited. The film highlights the effects of poverty and conflict on children within war-torn nations.

India’s Daughter (2015)

India’s Daughter follows the aftermath of the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh in 2012. The event, which took place in an off duty bus, raised various concerns throughout the country about women’s safety. The documentary interviews a wide array of individuals including Singh’s parents, the parents of the accused and the bus driver.

The documentary brings India’s gender bias to the forefront as it depicts the various protests that emerged following the crime.

5 Broken Cameras (2011)

5 Broken Cameras is a documentary shot by Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer, in a West Bank village known as Bil’in. The film is also co-directed by Isreali filmmaker, Guy Davidi.

The documentary depicts life in the West Bank through footage of protests and Burnat’s own family. The film gives raw insight into the lives of those living within an unstable and impoverished region; it is one of the great movies about human rights.

When Elephants Fight (2015)

This film highlights the underbelly of consumerism and its implications in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Electronics companies desire minerals from this region to manufacture their products. However, this practice has led to an illegal mineral trade as well as the rise of warlords within the country.

The documentary calls for companies to hold themselves accountable for the war and poverty that plagues the nation.

Movies about human rights are important and informative as global communities work together to end abuses against the most vulnerable individuals and groups.

Saroja Koneru

Photo: Flickr

Anime Series
Anime is a style of Japanese animation shown in anime series and animated films. This type of animation varies in categories, and it can be aimed at adult audience as well as a younger audience. Many anime series and films present characters that have Japanese customs that develop in cities or places from Japan, showing the audience some Japanese manners, customs, places and ideologies from the country.

Anime genres can vary depending on the plot of the series or films. Some of the genres that these animations have are adventure, action, comedy, drama, fantasy, harem (anime that involves one male character and many female characters), historical, horror, mystery, magic, kids, shoujo (anime for young girls), shounen (anime for young boys), slice of life (naturalistic anime), among others.

Listed below are anime series or films of different genres that talk about poverty.


Top Japanese Films and Anime Series Tackling Poverty


Binbou Shimai Monogatari (Poor Sisters Story)
This animation tells the story of two sisters overcoming poverty after the death of their mother and their father’s abandonment. Both sisters decide to support each other in order to fight for the betterment of their lives. Kyo, the oldest sister, studies and takes temporary jobs while Asu, the youngest sister, is in charge of household chores and managing finances. The story centers in the relationship and support that these sisters have for each other.

This anime series was first aired in 2006 and counts with 10 episodes of 24 minutes each. It is considered an animation for all ages.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama! (Maid-Sama!)
This anime develops in a once all-boys school called Seika High School. After becoming a co-ed school, the female population is still a minority and it is hard for females to thrive in the school.

Character and student Misaki Ayuzawa decides to make the school a better place for the female population. She becomes the first female student council president of the school, and the hope for various teachers and fellow female schoolmates. Notwithstanding, Ayuzawa works as a part-time maid in a café in order to support her family. One day, her male schoolmate Takumi Usui discovers her secret occupation and starts taking interest in her.

The series was first aired in 2010 and has 26 episodes, each 24 minutes long. It is an animation directed to an audience of 13 or older.

Tokyo Godfathers
This is an animated film about three homeless people (an alcoholic, a trans woman and a runway girl) living in Tokyo who find a baby while looking through trash on Christmas Eve. The three homeless companions look for clues and search through the city of Tokyo to find the newborn’s parent. During their search, the homeless have comforting memories about their almost-abandoned life.

The film was aired in 2003 and it is 1 hour and 32 minutes long. It is directed to an audience of 13 or older.

Les Misérables: Shoujo Cosette
This is an anime based on the classic novel, “Les Misérables.” The story develops in an early 19th century France and is about a young girl named Cosette who travels with her mother who is struggling to find a job and a place to live. Once her mother gets a job, Cosette has to separate from her mother and ends up with a caretaker who later makes her an indentured servant. The mayor observes these situations and decides to take action.

The anime was first aired in 2007 and counts with 52 episodes of 24 minutes each. It is an animation suitable for all ages.

Flanders no Inu (A Dog of Flanders)
This anime series is about a poor orphan with a talent for drawing named Nello Tarth. Nello lives with his grandfather and helps him with milk delivery. One day, he finds and helps an abandoned and mistreated working dog that will later create a bonding friendship with Nello.

Nello has Alois Cojez, the daughter of the richest man in the village, as his best friend. During his adventure, Nello will have to experience rejection from people in the village and from Alois’s father, who believes he cannot make a living out of drawing, but Nellos perseverance will lead him to achieve his dream.

The series was first aired in 1975. There are 52 episodes of 26 minutes each, and it is a show for all ages.

Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: My Anime List 1, My Anime List 2, My Anime List 3, My Anime List 4, My Anime List 5, My Anime List 6
Photo: Entertainment Guide Film TV

Band Of Brothers Steven Spielberg Conflict Resolution Easy Company
From sci-fi and action thrillers, like E.T. and Jaws, to historical dramas such as AmistadSchindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan, director and producer Steven Spielberg has done it all – and he’s done it well. Spielberg has produced and directed everything from amateur releases to box office masterpieces and has won multiple Academy Awards in the process.

A common thread in all his works seems to be his detail and interest in conflict resolution. Time and time again, his characters are faced with impossible circumstances; yet through perseverance and determination, a favorable outcome is usually reached on their behalf. Perhaps this is a means of teaching the audience life lessons.

Spielberg movies teach us about conflict resolution. First and foremost, they teach us that giving up is never an option – Spielberg characters never take an easy out.

Take Saving Private Ryan, for example, when Miller and his troop go searching for the paratrooper, Ryan, they easily could have left after the first bump in the road. However, they didn’t. They kept on searching until they found him, thus making the story the epic tale that it is.

Spielberg audiences are also taught that helping others ultimately helps oneself. This is portrayed in several Spielberg movies. In Amistad, freeing the illegally enslaved Africans gives Americans a sense of morale and gives the country a backbone to rely upon. Again, in Saving Private Ryan, helping Army authorities by retrieving Ryan also helps the fellow soldiers get back home faster. In Schindler’s List, Schindler employs numerous Jews, and in return, is able to gain their love and trust.

Audiences are also taught to fight until the finish. Honorable characters in Spielberg movies stay until the conflict at hand is over, thus exemplifying reliability and loyalty. Take any of the Transformers movies for example – Sam always waits to see what happens and shows courage in the face of peril.

Another component of conflict resolution in Spielberg movies is the fact that characters never leave their men behind. They are loyal until their last breaths.

Last but certainly not least, Spielberg movies teach audiences to be kindhearted—to show mercy and humility to those deserving of it. Spielberg movies show that conflict resolution can be obtained by respecting others, by not boasting in times of advantage, and by only using violence when necessary. “I just know that every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel,” Miller said in Saving Private Ryan.

Steven Spielberg has made a name for himself by which movies he chooses to direct and produce. Nearly all movies associated with Spielberg teach some form of conflict resolution to its viewers. The reason for this is not really known, but audiences hear his messages loud and clear. Spielberg’s thoughts and theories on conflict resolution seem to be both rational and reasonable, leaving plenty of food for thought. What if more people adapted to these methods of conflict resolution?

– Meagan Hurley

Sources: IMDb Steven Spielberg, IMDb Saving Private Ryan Quotes, Kottke, Tactical Operations Center
Photo: The Guardian