What Can You Do After Watching Civil War?

This week, millions of Americans came together to marvel at the stunning solar eclipse, a rare moment of unity amid the darkness of a country torn apart by polarization. Bookending the same week? The release of A24 Films’ highly anticipated action-thriller film, Civil War. Set against the backdrop of an imagined second American Civil War, the film follows photojournalists as they capture the horrors of a failed country. 

While the film receives praise for its realistic depiction of war, how do we make sure the public doesn’t load up real bullets? 

We were pleased to be invited to the premiere last week where I spoke with writer/director Alex Garland and members of the cast about the work of the bridge-building and depolarization movements in America. In addition to providing resources to A24 sourced from the bridge-building field, Bridge Entertainment Labs also provided access to advance screenings of the film for bridging leaders around the county. Based on our early conversations with A24, we activated over 50 organizations with messaging and strategic guidance on how to pick-up where the movie leaves us. 

We were happy to see the themes of the importance of depolarization reflected in their CBS Sunday Morning interview last weekend, with actor Wagner Moura stating, “”Now I’m really making an effort to sit down and listen to people that I disagree [with]. And I was absolutely surprised to see that if you value democracy, if you think that democracy is an important thing, then there’s lots of common ground.” 

Here are 5 simple things you can do to depolarize your own life (and lead by example):

1. Listen with curiosity to those you disagree with as opposed to trying to ‘win’ a conversation. 
2. Ask questions with the intention to learn. 
3. Speak from personal experience
4. Diversify your media diet 
5. Take action next week by signing up for an event through the National Week of Conversation, which takes place April 15th – 21st.