Books and Movies Reviews

Civilized

What does it mean to be civilized? By definition, a civilization is simply a culture developed by a particular society or epoch. Therefore, any groups of people that have developed their own way of life and their own culture have also developed their own civilization. By creating their own civilization and living in this civilization are they not civilized? In the movie, "Mr. Johnson," the main questions are, what does it mean to be civilized, who decides what is civilized, and if one is not civilized, what is the correct path to take in order to become so. A path, or more appropriately called a road in the case of the movie, is the ultimate metaphor throughout the whole video. Separated by a barrier of color, the people of Fada, Nigeria work with the whites to create a road, that once built serves as a means of transportation, not only of people and cargo but of ideas, other beliefs, other cultures, and above all, another world.
What exactly does the road represent? The road represents many things. In the beginning of the movie, the main character, Mr. Johnson, is introduced. Mr. Johnson is not like other black men from Fada, he is in fact, "civilized" and proud of that definition. He meets his future wife, Bamu as she works; promising her that he can make her civilized and proper like the English men and women. At this point, the road is a mere hope of combining two different cultures. This project is the dream of Harry Rudbeck. Along with the help of Mr. Johnson, many of the people of Fada, all of color, are recruited to work on the road in hopes of gaining the promised reward when the road is finished. Atfirst glance, the road appears to be simply, a long stretch of dirt and rock that takes many hands to develop. However, if a closer look was taken, it is apparent that the road develops along the same way as Mr. Johnson himself develops.
Throughout the movie, it becomes obvious to us, the viewers, that …

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