Sometimes all you need is a Shujaa, fictional or otherwise

movies
Screenshot from Pacific Rim

We’ve compiled a list of movies that will inspire to do better despite your circumstances and be your own personal Shujaa. 

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Contagion (2011)

This film was released in 2012 but it saw a resurgence in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more either watched it or downloaded it. The movie revolves around a more potent virus than Corona that is wreaking havoc around the world while health experts, doctors and government officials try to contain the spread of false information. Sound familiar? 

Softie the film (2020)

You can watch this feature film in theatres in Nairobi. It tells the story of Boniface Mwangi, a political activist, as he struggles to fight for the people while protecting his family. Is it really one man’s job to fight for the justice of all?

Black Panther (2018)

This movie should fall under the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it deserves its own spot on the list. There is a lot going on in the world right but specifically in Africa with movements like #EndSars and #Congoisbleeding dominating our Twitter feeds and the news. It makes sense to want to watch a movie set in a fictional African country that is technologically savvy, independent and not beholden to colonisers. It’s also a good way to honour Chadwick Boseman.

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The Boy who Harnessed the wind (2019)

Sometimes heroes are born out of the mundane. This film tells the story of a boy from a small rural village in Malawi who builds a wind turbine in order to save his family and village from famine. Necessity is the mother of invention after all.

Independence Day/Resurgence (1996/2015)

The first version of this film was released in 1996 starring Will Smith. The second version was released in 2015 and is a sequel to the first. Earth is facing an alien invasion and in order to save the world, a pilot sacrifices himself to save the earth.

Armageddon (1998)

The theme in this movie is similar to Independence Day except in this film, an asteroid is headed to earth and the only way to save humanity is to break the stone apart. Fair warning; tears will be involved in the watching of this film.

Remember the Titans (2000)

Set in racist America, a black coach is sent to a newly integrated High School in order to form the first integrated football team. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well. The film is a biographical feature about the real life of Herman Boone but it is also a reminder that we can achieve more when we are one.

Train to Busan (2016)

To be a film connoisseur, you must at least watch one or more foreign films. This Korean film is the only horror of the list. It revolves around a selfish broker who finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with his daughter. It is a joy to watch him grow more humane as their train is infested with more zombies and truly heartbreaking to see what he endures to save his daughter. 

In the Pursuit of Happiness (2006)

This film is the heartbreaking story of Chris Gardner who invested all his life savings in a product that eventually didn’t pan out. It is one of Will Smith’s most tragic film roles.

Braveheart (1995)

Before Scotland gained her independence, William Wallace was leading the charge in the first war of Scottish independence. This 1995 Mel Gibson film tells the story of his life, his revolt and his gruesome death. 

Gladiator (2000)

Can you really compile a Shujaa movie day list without Gladiator? The answer is no. Set in the Roman empire, a Gladiator fights in the arena to save his life after a regime change leaves without power or influence.

The trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

In 1969, a group of seven activists organised a peaceful protest in Chicago to demonstrate against the Vietnam war. The protests turned into clashes between the police and protesters eerily similar to what has been happening in the anti-police American protests this year. The 7 were soon charged with conspiracy to commit violence. The film follows the trail and the events that took place after.

Pacific Rim (2013/2018)

Written as an ode to anime media specifically Kaiju and mecha, the film follows humanity’s new heroes as they try to fight an invading monster force. 

Transformers (2007 – 2017)

We’re adding this to the list because no one gives a speech like Optimus Prime. His speeches are the definition of a Shujaa day speech. 

“…We live among its people now, hiding in plain sight, but watching over them in secret, waiting, protecting. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars. We are here. We are waiting.” 

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

If you have never watched a Quentin Tarantino movie we advise that you can “gird your loins.” It’s going to be bloody, there will be a lot of swearing and many people will die. However, this is the best year to watch a film about anti-heroes taking down an oppressive regime. And if at the end of the movie you feel like yelling “Death to the Nazis” have at it. 

Schindler’s List (1996)

Set in Nazi Germany, this film tells the real story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who used his influence to smuggle out as many Jews out of Germany as he could. 

42 (2013)

This is Chadwick Boseman’s second film on the list and it celebrates Jackie Robinson, the first Black American baseball player to play in a white league.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Starring Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, this is a heartwarming comedy about beating the odds and achieving success through sheer obliviousness and luck.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008 – 2019)

This features all the movies in the MCU including Captain America, Ironman, Avengers, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy and more.

The DC Extended Universe (2013 – 2019)

Features all the movies under DC including Man of Steel, Aquaman, Wonderwoman, Justice League, Batman and more.

 

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