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"Books and movies on cross-cultural interactions" 26 posts Sort by created date Sort by defined ordering View as a grid View as a list

Documentary: Babies (2010)

Filmmaker Thomas Balmès criss-crosses the globe to observe and record the first two years in the lives of four infants and their families. Ponijao is the youngest of nine children and lives in a village in Namibia. Bayarjargal's family lives in Mongolia. Hattie is a San Francisco couple's first child, and Mari is the first child of a couple living in Tokyo.

ADHD and Me: What I Learned From Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table


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Movie: The Karate Kid (1984)

Ralph Macchio, right, and Pat Morita starred in "The Karate Kid," which debuted in 1984.

Being the new kid in a Southern California town, 14-year-old Daniel becomes a red-hot target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo. At school, Daniel grows close with Ali Mills, an attractive cheerleader, which grabs the attention of her arrogant ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence, who is also a skilled practitioner of the unethical and dangerous form of karate. Johnny and his gang torment Daniel and continuously beat him up, until Kesuke Miyagi, the handyman at Daniel’s apartment, intervenes and single-handedly defeats all five bullies in the famous Halloween fight scene.


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Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Gregory Peck, left, and Mary Badham star in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The story of widower Atticus Finch, who makes the difficult decision to defend an African American man accused of raping a white woman, and his children teaches older kids important lessons about prejudice, and the themes of empathy, compassion and justice are universal and timeless.


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Documentary: Life, Animated (2016)

Owen Suskind stars in "Life, Animated."

This gripping documentary tells the story of Owen Suskind, a young man with autism who uses his passion for Disney movies to help him understand the world and communicate more effectively with the people in his life. By tackling the issues of disability, adult children with special needs, learning differences and what it means to be independent.


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Movie: Loving (2016)

Joel Edgerton, right, and Ruth Negga star in "Loving."

"Loving” is a powerful drama inspired by the true story of an interracial couple’s historic fight. Richard and Mildred Loving (played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, respectively) got married in Virginia in 1958, even though it was illegal at the time, and as a result, they are arrested and kicked out of their home.

At the heart of this movie is a message of hope: It’s possible for love and compassion to defeat hatred and prejudice, and real love survives even the harshest of social and cultural constraints.


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Movie: I Am Eleven (2014)

"I Am Eleven" follows the lives of eleven-year-olds from around the world.

This compelling, moving film follows 11-year-olds from around the world (Australia, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, India, Morocco, Japan, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States). The youngsters share their beliefs, challenges, passions and triumphs, showing that issues like bullying and discrimination are experienced by everyone, regardless of where you come from and what you look like.


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Movie: Hidden Figures (2017)

Taraji P. Henson, left, and Janelle Monáe star in "Hidden Figures."

The movie is about a true story of three brilliant African American women who worked at NASA during the early 1960s. At this time, both women and people of color were widely and openly discriminated against, particularly in segregationist Virginia.


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Movie: Remember the Titans (2000)

Will Patton and Denzel Washington star in "Remember the Titans."

The Titans have to learn to overcome their own personal differences and play together as a team despite their town’s racial tensions, which are highlighted by racial slurs, riots and public segregation.

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Documentary: On the Way to School (Sur le chemin de l’école) (2013)

Gabriel J. Esther, Emmanuel J. Esther and Samuel J. Esther all star in "Sur le chemin de l'ecole."

“On the Way to School” features four children on their way to school, each of them overcoming their own personal obstacles to get there. Samuel is pushed 2.5 miles in a homemade wheelchair by his younger brothers; Jackson has to avoid wild animals on the African savannah; Zahira navigates the Atlas Mountains weekly to get to boarding school; and Carlito has a 90-minute horseback ride across the pampas.

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Movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie poster.jpg

A young Greek woman falls in love with a non-Greek and struggles to get her family to accept him while she comes to terms with her heritage and cultural identity.

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Book: Interior Chinatown (2020)

 From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. 

Interior Chinatown

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Documentary: Mucho Mucho Amor (2020)

This documentary features interviews with American Latinos who found a connection to their heritage in Mercado’s ubiquitous presence on Spanish-language television for several decades.

Walter Mercado's Legacy in Netflix's “Mucho Mucho Amor” – NBC Palm Springs  – News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

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Movie: Moonlight (2016)

The film presents three stages in the life of the main character: his childhood, adolescence, and early adult life. It explores the difficulties he faces with his sexuality and identity, including the physical and emotional abuse he endures growing up.

Moonlight (2016 film).png

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Movie: The Namesake (2006)

The Namesake depicts the struggles of Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli (Irrfan Khan and Tabu), first-generation immigrants from the East Indian state of West Bengal to the United States, and their American-born children Gogol (Kal Penn) and Sonia (Sahira Nair). The film takes place primarily in Kolkata, New York City, and suburbs of New York City.

The Namesake.jpg


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Movie: Picture Bride (1995)

The film follows Riyo, who arrives in Hawaii as a "picture bride" for a man she has never met before. The story is based on the historical practice, due to U.S. anti-miscegenation laws, of (mostly) Japanese immigrant laborers in the United States using long-distance matchmakers in their homelands to find wives.

Picture Bride movie review & film summary (1995) | Roger Ebert

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Movie: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

As a contestant on the Kaun Banega Crorepati, an Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Jamal surprises everyone by being able to answer every question correctly. Accused of cheating, Jamal recounts his life story to the police, illustrating how he is able to answer each question correctly.

Slumdog Millionaire poster.png

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Movie: Saving face (2004)

Saving face is a 2004 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Alice Wu, in her feature-length debut. The film focuses on Wilhelmina, a young Chinese-American surgeon; her unwed, pregnant mother; and her dancer girlfriend.

Saving Face film.jpg

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Movie: Minari (2020)

A semi-autobiographical take on Chung's own upbringing, the plot follows a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make it in rural America during the 1980s.

Minari (film) - Wikipedia

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Book: Americanah (by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

When Ifemelu departs military-ruled Nigeria to pursue her studies in America, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. This powerful and tender novel illuminates race relations in contemporary America through Ifemelu’s refreshing wit and brazen honesty.

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Documentary: Crossing Borders (2009)

This is a documentary about the power of cross-cultural friendships. It follows four Moroccan and four American university students as they travel together through Morocco and, in the process of discovering The Other, discover themselves. 

Crossing Borders Poster

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Movie: Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

The film follows the 18-year-old daughter of British Indian Sikhs in London. She is infatuated with football but her parents have forbidden her to play because she is a girl. She joins a local women's team, which makes its way to the top of the league.

Two sporty girls hugging.

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Movie: Lost in Translation (2003)

The film explores themes of alienation and disconnection against a backdrop of cultural displacement in Japan.

Bill Murray's character sits on a hotel bed with Tokyo visible in a window behind him.

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Movie: The Farewell (2019)

The film follows a Chinese-American family who, upon learning their grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide not to tell her and schedule a family gathering before she dies.

The Farewell poster.jpg

Note: A tool created for this movie is available at

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Movie: Queen (2013)

Rani, an under-confident Punjabi girl from New Delhi embarks on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam by herself after her fiancé calls off their wedding.


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Movie: A Grandson from America (2012)

An old retired Shadow Puppet Chinese master, Lao Yang, has his quiet life disrupted his 6-year-old American grandson, who barely speaks Chinese. The movie is about their funny interactions and how they overcome differences in age, language and culture.

Grandson from America Poster

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Movie: Gran Torino (2008)

Set in Highland Park, Michigan, this film is the first mainstream American film to feature Hmong Americans.

Gran Torino poster.jpg

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