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Films about exile and restoration?

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A reader at Looking Closer writes to say he's teaching a film class and he wants to focus on films on the theme of exile (personal and corporate) and restoration.

An intriguing theme. Do any particular discussion-worthy films spring to mind?

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Some of these are more obvious than others; I'll give a thumbnail reasoning after each title.

Exodus (Otto Preminger, 1960) Obvious, given its title and subject matter.

Dune (David Lynch, 1984) Less obvious, but it's drawing heavily both on the Mosaic tradition and on Lawrence of Arabia.

Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar-Wai, 1990) This one is all about exile and attempted return, though the return's success is doubtful.

The Addams Family (1991) I won't stop plugging this one because it's really a classic, for all that it's part of that 90s glut of remade TV shows. But Uncle Fester goes through an actual exile and return. And there's room to discuss what kind of family/community makes space for returning exiles.

Moonlight (2016) Existential exile. Most closeting narratives could probably fit here, including the much-less-interesting Beach Rats. 

Ben Hur (William Wyler, 1959) For obvious reasons.

 

*I did not put The Ten Commandments (1956) because that one's more about communism than it is about its purported subject-matter.

 

Edited by NBooth

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I think one could view the Dardennes' Two Days, One Night and The Kid with a Bike through the lens of exile-and-restoration, although those themes aren't the most prominent.

Coming-of-age films come to mind: Moonrise Kingdom, Son of Rambow, The Kings of Summer, Stand by Me.

I have mixed feelings on the film, but perhaps Captain Fantastic. And for a weird one, Swiss Army Man.

The survivalist stories of recent years--The Martian, The Revenant--could be applicable, although I'm personally negative on both of these examples. Maybe Gravity?

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Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner is noteworthy for being a supposedly "authentic" First Nations story that actually has a "Christianized" ending (i.e. the restoration of the exiled person does *not* involve killing off the people who exiled him, which is how the typical pre-Christian story of this sort ends; cf. Homer's Odyssey).

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Babette's Feast is the film that came to me first, very much about restoration (spiritual and vocational) while in a place of exile.

The Chosen is a film I remember being about relational exile, and feeling exiled from pursuing one's dreams, but it's been a really long time since I've seen it.

Cast Away was another in the survivalist genre that came to mind, but that and all those other films are rather thin. That is, whatever their merits as films none of them really warrant the weight of the word "exile" and all it signifies. Life of Pi is another, but again, not really an exile per se.

Also a lot of hero films involve a kind of exile from a community and then a restoration via a return that saves the community (or something like that). Like The Lion King. I'm not recommending that, just thinking out loud!

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Andrei Rublev, The Human Condition, and the Apu trilogy may have aspects of exile and not necessarily restoration, together with Manila in the Claws of Light and This is How We Were Before, How are You Doing Now?

 

 

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Rob Z wrote:
: Also a lot of hero films involve a kind of exile from a community and then a restoration via a return that saves the community (or something like that).

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home!

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