In my usual Values Analysis course (core curriculum ethics course), I have students watch two films — one after reading Confucius, and one after reading Mill/Bentham. Students are expected to write a paper that answers a question about the film using the material just studied. So, for instance, we watch Groundhog Day and students are expected to use the Analects to answer the question: Is Phil a junzi at the end of the film? Similarly, students are expected to use consequentialism and answer the question “is (Ramon’s plea for) euthanasia acceptable?” after watching Mar Adentro (an excellent foreign film, by the way). In the fall, I’ll be teaching Asian Ethics, a course meant to fulfill the core requirement of Values Analysis but from an Asian perspective. So I need some Asian films!
As I develop this course, I’m trying to “mirror” the structure of my Values course as much as possible. I’d like to use two films as well (good breaks in a course that tends to be very difficult for non-philosophy students), but I don’t want to use Western films in a course meant to represent the Asian (cultural and ethical) perspective. So I’d really like to find two Asian films to use that fulfills the same function as the two mentioned above. Since the course attempts to present an Asian “representative” for virtue ethics, consequentialism and duty-based ethics, what I need are two Asian films around which a question can be asked that could be answered by two of those three traditions.
Does anyone out there know of any good ones? Basically, any film that deals in a central way with a central component or question that would seem appropriately addressed by any of the three ethical traditions will do. There are no restrictions on the type of film — comedy, drama, science fiction, it doesn’t matter. As long as they can be used for this purpose, and are actually decent films to watch (my students tend to be real critics).
Thanks in advance to anyone who has some suggestions.
By the way, I’m getting old — the post title refers to an old TV series with Leonard Nimoy that I loved as a little kid, and I’ll bet no one knows it but me.