non-biological fatherhood in contemporary cinema

The Pope Francisco, at the hearing on January 5, referring to the experiences of foster care and adoption, stated: “This type of choice is one of the most sublime forms of love and of fatherhood and motherhood […] Every time someone takes responsibility for someone else’s life, they are in a sense parenting that person.”
In our world torn apart by affective failures and loneliness, welcoming has become an essential human and social dimension. The cinema, a reflection of society, offers us many moving and truthful welcome stories. Let’s recall some memorable titles.

The blind side, de John Lee Hancock

A possible dream

The blind side (John Lee Hancock, 2009), starring Sandra Bullock and titled A possible dream in Spanish, it tells the story of a foster family, showing both its most pleasant aspects and its most painful ones, but in both cases without fanfare or sensationalism. Michael Oher is a huge young black man who wanders around the neighborhood, since his mother is addicted to crack and his father disappeared years ago. One day Leigh Anne Tuohy notices him., a Catholic mother of a family, with a strong character, who lives happily with her husband and two children. Moved by the helplessness of `Big Michael´, she welcomes him into her home and makes him one of the family. From that moment on, many difficulties will have to be overcome for the boy to get ahead.

Go and live by Radu Mihaileanu

An adoption in Sudan

If that film dealt with the option of foster care, the moving go and live (Radu Mihaileanu, 2005) presents us with an adoption story. Schlomo is an Ethiopian boy with a Christian mother, who forces him to pass himself off as a Jew in order to save him from famine and certain death. She stays in the camp in Sudan and the boy arrives in Israel, where he is adopted by a non-practising Jewish family. The family will accompany him unconditionally, but Schlomo reaches adulthood and the desire to return to his mother remains in him. His adoptive mother will help him find her.

The Fencing Class by Klaus Härö

supervening paternity

More sober, but no less true fencing class (Klaus Härö, 2015), which tells us about an unexpected paternity. The film tells the true story of Endel Nelis, an Estonian fencing teacher, who in 1950 arrives from Leningrad to the Estonian town of Haapsalu. With the Soviet annexation of Estonia, a persecution of all Estonians who waged war on the German side begins. That is why Endel thinks that in that lost town he can feel safe, and he begins to work as a fencing teacher in a school. Most of his students are orphans, either because of the war or because of the Stalinist purge, and they make of him the adult and paternal reference they need. There is a moment when Endel has to choose between his freedom and security or his unconditional ‘paternity’. He will opt for the latter so as not to betray the bond with his students, and this will cost him – knowingly – his confinement in Siberia.

The protagonists of Central Station of Brazil in one of its scenes

Creation of family ties

Another unexpected welcome story came to us from Brazil with Brazil Central Station (Walter Halls, 1998). Dora takes care of Josué, an abandoned child at the Rio de Janeiro train station. At first he does it in an interested way, but little by little the relationship becomes real and becomes almost a family bond. Dora crosses half of Brazil accompanying Josué in search of his father. They finally find her brothers’ house, and Dora thinks it’s time to leave for Josué to start a new life with his biological family. But they can never forget each other. They are linked forever. When someone enters one’s life in a true way, nothing and no one will be able to expel him from his heart.

Educando a J., de C. Lahti

be a good boss

In American independent cinema we find Educating J. (C. Lahti, 2001). A teenage girl in crisis named `J´, who plays Leelee Sobieski, has started working in a clothing store. Your boss (John Goodman) loses his temper when he discovers that the girl takes too many liberties in the store. After an argument, the boss realizes that J has no friends, his parents are separated, he has no boyfriend and no one to share what is happening to him… except himself. From that moment on, he will no longer limit himself to trying to be a good boss, but will instead become personally involved in the fate of his employee, trying to make a path with her that, curiously, will result in a change for the better in his own adult life.

Many titles can be added to this list of films about non-biological fatherhood and motherhood, such as Happy Thank you More Please (Josh Radnor, 2010), Gru my favorite villain (Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Y Sergio Pablos, 2010), Together (Chen Kaige, 2002) or not one less (Zhan Yimou, 1999), to cite an example. But what has been seen is enough to illustrate one of the most humane and non-ideologized veins of contemporary cinema.

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