Saturday, January 06, 2007

Movies that deal with writing: Freedom Writers, I Remember Mama, Little Women

I hope that movie buffs, school teachers and administrators, and writers will all, out of self-interest, check out the film Freedom Writers, distrubuted by Paramount, produced by MTV (the music television cable network), written and directed by Richard La Gravenese, a true story about Erin Gruwell, an English teacher in a high school in troubled East Los Angeles in the early 1990s after the Rodney King riots.

She has students writing journals about their inner city life, and eventually these get published in a book, The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them (Broadway Books, 1999), foreword by Zlata Filipovic, Amazon link here.

One thing that is a bit dicey here is writing and publishing about your own world, including your own family, as this might have an effect on them (hopefully here, a positive one). That controversy had been taken up in the 1948 classic from George Stevens and RKO Radio Pictures (remember that studio? I think it got assumed by Columbia/Sony, but I'm not sure) I Remember Mama, in which the daughter writes a story about her mother, first considered rude, but she gets it published and can actually advance the fortunes of her 1910-era (post 1906 San Francisco earthquake) family. To some extent, Louisa May Alcott's novel and film adaptation Little Women (RKO again, George Cukor) took this up in the movies in 1933 (there have been remakes, the latest in 1994), and Alcott herself dealt with whether her writing was "selfish" when she became a nurse during the Civil War, a point made in the discussion on Turner Classic Movies Christmas Eve.

My other links: Detailed review of Freedom Writers
Reviews of Little Women, I Remember Mama.

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