Yesterday was our last day before spring break. We just completed our Chicago History research project and Fair the previous week as well as our Pullman debates— discussing and debating labor issues, the role of unions, and the materialism of capitalism. Watching Modern Times seemed the best capstone to these days of study.
The students truly loved the film. Chaplin’s role in the factory as literally a cog in the machinations of capitalism, his humility, compassion, and perseverance in the face of raw materialism, inequities, and lack of opportunity, his masterful miming and timing, acting and directing attach him to all of our hearts even after all these 80 years (1936) since the movie’s first showing.
The students left the class yesterday smiling, in part because Spring break was moments away, but also because with great humor, they so enjoyed watching Chaplin “sticking it to the man” and creating deep empathy for the plight of all of humanity. It was not lost on them that “Modern Times” are still alive and well in 2016.