In a writing class this summer, my 8-9 graders took a crack at writing about film. No easy task. Since they’ve been reading Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, we took a clip from the 1957 film to analyze and write a thesis on. Before watching, we gave them a glossary of film terms (stolen from Wikipedia, of course) and looked at some examples of story boards. Hitchcock has some good ones.
Step one: Watch the clip with a critical eye. To make sure the kids watched it looking for small details, we had them create a story board for the clip, one sketch for each shot. Our kids are lil’ perfectionists, so this step took a bit.
Step two: Discussion. We asked them what filmic elements stood out the most. Maybe it was Henry’s hand slamming down on the sugar cubes he had lined up. Maybe it was the dramatic music. Maybe it was the warm colors of the bar compared with the cool colors of the hospital. Lots of options there.
Step three: Thesis statement. This has really been the focus of this summer class: writing good thesis statements. And these kids pulled through. Although new to film analysis, they produced some good analytical thesis statements that could eventually be developed into decent essays. So proud.
Fatih Akin is one of my heroes. He’s one of the foremost German filmmakers today, the director of Soul Kitchen and Im Juli, as well as a segment of New York, I Love You. He’s also the screenwriter of one of my fav films, Kebab Connection. Watch the clip below to see why:
Update: The original video I posted got removed from YouTube. Lame. Here’s the trailer, instead.
Here’s the synopsis: young Ibo, a Hamburger of Turkish descent, aspires to make the first German kung-fu film. Meanwhile, his girlfriend gets pregnant. Comedy ensues.
There are SO MANY reasons to include this film in your German classes. For one, the role of Turks in Germany is a hot topic issue, and this is a good way to get students to start discussing immigration issues both in Germany and in the states, as well as other German current events. For another, the exploration of fine German cuisine, the omnipresent Döner (I’m drooling just thinking about it). Or even still, listening to real German helps students with their Hörverstehen skills and expands their vocabulary. Which is why, you know, we teach German. Right?