Learning Philosophy through the movie - an interesting experience

(VLU, 06/7/2021– In Semester II of the first study-year, the 26th Course’s students of Special Training Program named 26-DB study Philosophy. For them and probably for many students’ common psychology, philosophy is a "difficult, dry and terrible" subject. On the first day, the lecturer said that "Philosophy is an interesting science, helping us to understand the problem more deeply, more dialectically, thereby, working more effectively". However, in the following weeks of classes, with online learning, what the lecturer said did not seem to be enough to strengthen students’s faith. So the lecturer suggested that the whole class go to see a movie named "Dad, I’m sorry", which is being received by a large number of viewers.

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 The film is about Mr. Sang's family life in a poor labor village in Ho Chi Minh City. He is a member of a family of four siblings, including "Giau, Sang, Phu, Quy". First sister Giau and fourth uncle Phu also live in the same alley. Ms. Giau is the owner of a rice shop, while Uncle Phu owns a restaurant selling broken rice with grilled meat. It is not clear where the youngest uncle Quy lives, from time to time he appears in a state of drunkenness and disturbance. Mr. Ba Sang has a son named Quan and a young daughter named Bu Tot. His daily job is that he delivers goods for his sister Giau, takes care of food for the whole family, and takes his daughter to school.

When watching this movie, the teachers ask that in addition to entertainment purpose, can watching movies help with studying philosophy? And it is really surprising that students have identified and evaluated situations in the film through the lens of philosophy.

Cognitive experiences from a philosophical perspective

The first are the discoveries of fundamental law and the pair of philosophical categories shown throughout the film. Talking about the "opposite side", according to student Tran Quang Huy shared: "It is the opposite of the way of life and thinking between father and son. Ba Sang always lives for others, puts himself in their situation, calmly lets pass everything, even if people say bad things about him. On the contrary, Mr. Quan, a young person, lives in a new era with a lifestyle for himself, always has new thoughts, always opposes when he is bad-mouthed. Quan Hue Man also shared the same opinion: "The opposite face shown in the film is the difference between two generations in terms of thinking and lifestyle. The old-fashioned father Sang likes old things, while Quan lives in modern times. ".

The progression film lets viewers feel the change in Quan. From a guy with a lifestyle that only thinks about himself, to a person who worries about his father, willing to do whatever for keeping his father alive, donating his kidney to his father although knowing that his heart disease is difficult to allow him to do that. Nguyen Cao Son Loc pointed out: "The process of quantitative change leading to a change in quality is clearly shown in the scene when Quan begs his relatives to donate a kidney to perform surgery for Ba Sang. That is a man image who is more mature, lives responsibly and knows how to live for others.”

Ms. Le Thuy Minh Anh was impressed by the monk's words to Ba Sang: "Give the balance to all things. There are pains that must happen in order to good things happen”. This sentence is as a conclusion to the of negation of negation law.

The basic laws of philosophy exist and subtly govern each film scene. In a little more detail, we also encounter non-fundamental laws in pairs of categories in philosophy that are diverse, rich and interesting. For example, there is the pair of categories "Cause - Effect". According to student Nguyen Cao Son Loc: "The cause of Ba Sang's death was due to his end-stage kidney failure and unsuccessful kidney transplant surgery   that is direct cause. The root cause is that he did not pay attention to his health, did not have regular medical check-ups, etc, leading to a painful ending." If you stand from the perspective of the pair of categories "Reality - Possibility", you will agree with what Quan is doing. He’s a youtuber, and receives online community’s support, that is a reality and will create the ability to succeed, get rich, live changing. But, the appearance of Quan’s ex-lover with the information that Bu Tot is his daughter with her. This is a scandal and a new condition, creating new possibilities, thereby creating a new reality is Quan’s failure.

Feelings about psychology and family feelings

Lam Tran Bao Ngoc said: "This is a deeply emotional family film. It is necessary to know how to say sorry, thank your parents while you can. We have a lot of time but our parents do not. Apologizing to parents is difficult but it is so cute to say it".  Le Minh Hanh shared: "The film has touched the hearts and taken the tears of the viewers, making everyone realize a reality about family affection, words of love gradually become very difficult to say. And by the time these word can be said it, it's all too late". Nguyen Cao Son Loc added: "Men rarely reveal their feelings, love each other only in their hearts. Only when the family falls into tragedy, because they are so worried that they don't know what to do, they utter simple but difficult words to express their sincerity." Le Thuy Minh Anh confided: "After watching this film, I realized that I need to pay more attention to my family like listenning , understanding and accepting the differences between generations."

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Are you guys interesting? Philosophy is not far away,  it is in life. Open your heart to philosophy and use it to illuminate your life, you will see new things. Class 26-DB experienced this with the movie “Dad, I’m sorry”, we can do the same thing, and can experience with the richness of other movies, of the art and all sorts of issues, stories in life. Interestingly, that is the general answer of class 26-DB when asked how they feel about this learning method.

M.A Le Thu Hang – Vice Dean of the Faculty of Basic Science
and the class K26-DB


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