One mother’s day, my mother insisted that I watch a movie. She has never done this before or since. The movie is called Paper Clips, it’s out on DVD, and I urge everyone to see it. It’s about the holocaust, it’s about a small town in Tennessee, it’s about changing people and changing the world.
Why am I recommended a film on Docudharma? This isn’t a site about film, after all. There are two big reasons: First, I am coming to think of myself as part of this community, and to count some as friends. My friends should see this movie. Second, although it isn’t totally obvious, this is exactly a Docudharma kind of film.
Before I go into a little detail, I will say that the movie, while uplifting overall, does deal with a lot of horrible information. It’s a disturbing film. It’s a good kind of disturbing, but I think that it might not be right for kids younger than about 10, and even older ones will need guidance with it, particularly if they do not know about the holocaust.
Paper Clips is about the Holocaust; but not really. It’s not really a film about Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, it’s a film about Tennessee in the 1990s. It’s not really a film about the genocide of millions of people, it’s about learning. It’s not really about hate, it’s about hope. It’s about changing the world. And isn’t that what Docudharma is about?
OK, some details, without (I hope) spoiling it. In 1998, in Whitwell, Tennessee (a small, all-white, all-Protestant town near Chattanooga) the high school principal decided that the kids should learn about some different people. She decided that the school would study the holocaust. They started off with not much idea of what to do. Few of the teachers knew much. One of the teachers admits to having been rather prejudiced. The kids got the idea to try to collect a paper clip for every Jew who died in the camps. This is their story.
Go see it.