Losing Identity and Finding Humanity- A Look At Les Miserables

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With the Humphrey Seminar theme of leadership and the Oscar award-winning weekend, journalists from around the world are asked to find leadership examples in powerful motion pictures. Les Miserables took home three awards this weekend, but Humphrey Fellows found more than three leaders in the film.

Attache Brian Wise and Humphrey Fellow Fatima Ali explained that though characters lost their identity from harsh situations, they found them and became leaders. Jean Valjean became a charismatic leader, becoming an example through kind deeds and a  desire to help humanity. The antagonist Javert represents the bureaucratic leader and a personified version of harsh french law. The bishop was a servant leader, showing Valjean a new way to live through the example of kindness. The revolutionaries were delegative leaders, each taking turns to inspire and lead to a new ideal.

The conclusions from the film included finding that kindness can have a bigger impact than a revolution. The kindness the bishop showed was a revolution that changed the character of Jean Valjean from a starving animal to an upright man. On a less serious note, one conclusion is that Russell Crowe cannot sing.