The first installment in the series of films for English 197A, Ethical Dilemmas on Film, encourages us to think about our personal and political involvements through the lens of our ethical commitments. While few of us are likely to find ourselves in the precise roles of the protagonists, Lawrence and Gina, their story raises a set of questions with which we all arguably ought to be concerned. Here are some of the many ethical questions that The Girl in the Café, raises:
Consider Gina's last line. "Does it matter whose child?"
- What do we owe to other people's children?
- Should we value children in our own country more than children in other countries?
- Should we value children in our own town or state more than children in other towns or states?
- Do you believe that parents in Africa value their children as much as parents in Europe and the United States value theirs?
- Is there a way to measure the value of a human life?
Can politics allow us to do the right thing by the world's poor and starving? Do politics prevent us from doing the right thing?
What do you think of Gina's behavior?
- Is it inappropriate? Is it rude?
- Should she be allowed to stay at the G8 summit?
- How would you behave in such a situation?
- How would you treat Gina?
- How would you think of Gina?
Do the two halves of the movie work well together?
- Does the discussion of global poverty work well in the context of a romantic comedy?
- What details of the romantic comedy are put to use in the discussion of global poverty? (Think about SPECIFICS. How are rooms decorated? What do the characters eat? Which lines of dialogue are significant?)
The Girl in the Café was written, directed, and acted by Brits. How is the United States portrayed?
How does Bill Nighy's performance contribute to your feeling about this film?
After watching the film, feel free to provide short comments and relevant links below, or to submit longer responses for possible publication here to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line 'State Theatre Films'.