Film and Lit

I’m about three weeks into the new semester, and even though the new Film and Literature class isn’t really off the ground yet, I’m starting to feel really good about the class.

The central focus of the class is systems and the ways in which they work – or not – on both a micro and macro level.  The kids will be reading What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson, A Time to Kill by Grisham, Orwell’s Animal Farm, and The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal and, as each story gets read, we’ll watch films that deal with many of the same big-picture ideas.  The kids will be working on reflective essays that get them to think beyond the plots of the stories and into some of the “so what?” questions the films and stories ask us to consider.

Last week, the kids watched Forrest Gump (a couple of them, surprisingly, for the first time).  Here’s the prompt I gave them:

Consider the interplay between the system and the individual. How do personalities affect the way we perceive the effects of a system on our lives, and in what ways do personalities affect the systems that act upon us? Consider the several characters in the film; how do they deal differently with the same stimuli, and how do their different responses affect the trajectory of their lives, and the lives of others?

How would YOU answer this question?

Tune in later; I’ll give you the Shawshank Redemption prompt….



Filed under analysis, composition, critical thinking, film as literature, lesson planning, Teaching

4 responses to “Film and Lit

  1. I just finished reading Kerry Max Cook’s book about being exonerated from TX death row so my answer to this is WAY too long for a comment. Fucking fucked up systems, fuck them!

    So instead I will take this opportunity to marvel again that we can be such good friends and yet have such wildly divergent about which movies have value?! How do we DO this?!?!?!

  2. Knighton

    I love this concept!

  3. Richard Matheson was a treasure. “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” is one of the best non-horror stories ever written by Stephen King. I am charmed and enthused by your range of titles and authors, your students are fortunate for such exposure. I regret they may be some years away from realizing the opportunity you have provided with this reading list!

  4. Hello Mrs. Chili, we would love to share a novel with you that would make a great pairing with the film Vertigo for a film lit class: the book is “The Testament of Judith Barton,” a re-telling of the film through the eyes of the Kim Novak character. If you or any of your readers are interested, please feel free to contact me: wendy(at)thetestamentofjudithbarton(dot)com. Thanks for all your work!

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