For the Bulletin
Decades of Disney with Arne Sahlen will have a midweek re-run on Tuesday July 10, 7 pm at Kimberley United Church (by donation; Food Bank items also welcome). This popular topic draws young and old; in Invermere last week, three children came costumed in Disney style.
“Disney films are much more than just cartoons and comedies,” Sahlen said. “They deliver many rich life lessons.”
Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and many more stress the power of love; Pinocchio and Aladdin focus on being true to oneself. On YouTube an item, ‘Aladdin: How Can We Be Free’, studies freedoms against restrictions versus with resources, and of self-interest versus care for others. 101 Dalmatians, the Lion King, and Peter Pan are built upon strong family values – as are The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Frozen… the list goes on.
“All that said, this does not make for dry discussion!” said Sahlen. “To adapt from Poppins, a spoonful of humour helps the messages go down. There is a lot for everyone. I play and describe wonderful music, hand out song-sheets for singalong, and do lots of show-and-tell.”
Disney stories sometimes have have unexpected impact. A newly-widowed man wrote that he had tried to tell his small children, too young to understand death, that their mother might be watching from above. The Lion King connected with and comforted them with its imagery. His letter moved animator Lisa Keene to tears: “When our films do that, it makes it all worthwhile.” Director Rob Minkoff says that Disney stories ‘become real’ not because they are real, but because they capture a reality of spirit.