Still from Zootopia

This month will see the inauguration of a new president in this country, bringing hopes for repair of a particular kind: social repair. The three films that we’ve chosen all speak in different ways to the possibility of social change and the need to make the world a better place for all.

 

Our animated film, Zootopia (2016) explores the values of inclusivity and tolerance within a world of anthropomorphic animals. Our live-action film is the documentary, He Named Me Malala (2015), which tells the story of Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousafzai, who has advocated for the rights of girls to an education. 

 

Finally, our classic is The Court Jester (1956), a medieval comedy starring Danny Kaye as a replacement jester who helps defeat King Roderick the Tyrant. Kaye was a comedian famous for his skill with tongue twisters, and The Court Jester contains one of his best: “The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice in the palace has the brew that’s true.” See if you can match Kaye’s speed of delivery!


 

Zootopia

Dir. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, 2016

United States | PG | ages 8+

 

From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder.


Disney+ | Prime Video | iTunes


 

He Named Me Malala

Dir. David Guggenheim, 2015

United States | PG-13 | ages 12+

 

After the Taliban tries to kill her for speaking out on behalf of girls' education, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai emerges as a leading advocate for children's rights and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.


Prime Video | iTunes | YouTube


 

The Court Jester 

Dir. Norman Panama, Melvin Frank, 1956

United States | Not Rated | ages 6+

 

Former carnival performer Hubert Hawkins (Danny Kaye) and maid Jean (Glynis Johns) are assigned to protect the infant royal heir from tyrannical King Roderick I (Cecil Parker). While Jean takes the baby to an abbey, Hawkins gains access to the court by impersonating the king's jester, unaware that the jester is really an assassin hired by scheming Sir Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone). When Princess Gwendolyn (Angela Lansbury), falls for Hawkins, a witch secretly aids him in becoming a knight.


Crackle (free) | archive.org (free) | Prime Video  

Fun fact:  Danny Kaye was the first celebrity representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an organization with which Malala Yousafzai has worked extensively.


Please note: We provide MPAA ratings and suggested age range ratings from Common Sense Media for your guidance, but as always, parental discretion is advised.


Get Creative Project

                              

Danny Kaye, the star of The Court Jester, was famous for his rapid fire delivery of tongue twisters.

 

Listen to Danny Kaye sing 'Tongue Twisters' here, and, if you want to sing along, here are the lyrics.

 

Try it yourself or compose your own tongue twister.  Send us a video of your attempts!

 

Upload your video to this Google Form or email it to us at lenfest-center@columbia.edu.

 

We will feature selections from your submissions on the Lenfest website and social media.