Film as Literature
(Some must-read film texts)

I recommend the following film texts as great reads! It is my contention that film has a unique ability to facilitate even cause learning in its readers--just try to stop it!
These literary works have played a role in shaping my world view, and are particularly meaningful to me.

As with any good text, a great deal can be learned on many levels from reading these films critically. A real critic can not just see (view) the text (film), but must actively read the text, studying and questionioning the messages. In this light, every film is a documentary of sorts as it reflects and comments on the times and society that produced it.

As I reflect on the films that attract me, I seem to value character studies that offer insight into people; their cultures, their relationships with others, their environments and how they overcome challenges. For me, reading filmtexts from other cultures and nations is one of the best ways to evaluate and metacognate on my own dominant mental routines.

As I delve deeper into the field of teaching and learning, I am repeatedly made aware of the powerful learning that film and video can facilitate--primarily for the critical viewer!

I have recently read a palestinian and a few Iranian filmtexts (A Wedding in Ramallah, A time for Drunken Horses, The Color of Paradise) and was overwhelmed (once again) with the richness of the medium. There are so many subtexts, both intended and unintended that a critical viewer can mine from a filmtext in a relatively short period of time.
The list of films below reflects my interest in the richness of film subtexts, not directly communicated through the spoken or written word. The subtleties of language (tone, inflection) and gesture (glances, authority, body language), the settings (natural environment, technology, architecture) the social structures and daily rituals of different cultures all lend meaningful context, that is unmatched by other texts and forms of media--including the written word and even life experience (will I ever get to experience Iran in my lifetime? would the experience be the same--since I'm a blond, "western", non-native?)

So, head down to your local library or video rental house, and be prepared to rearrange your world view, illuminate dim corners of your schemata...
... in short, be prepared to see differently--be prepared to be different--be prepared to learn.

Some of these are just films I like, but may not have been life-altering. enjoy!
I'll add more as I reflect more on this.

Title Year Heritage (*Eng. subtitle)
Whalerider 2002 New Zealand
A Wedding in Ramallah 2002 Palestinian (Arabic*)
A Time for Drunken Horses 2001 Iranian, Iraqi (Kurdish)*
Shall We Dance 1996 Japanese*
Journey of Hope 1990 Turkish, German*
Shower 1999 Chinese*
The Wedding Gift 1994 British
Cinema Paradiso 1988 Italian*
Strictly Ballroom 1992 Australian
The Last Wave 1977 Australian
Life is Beautiful 1997 Italian*
The Mission 1986 USA
Our Planet Earth 1991 USA (documentary)
The Grapes of Wrath 1940 USA
Schindler's List 1993 USA
Koyaanisqatsi 1983 USA, Italian
Powaqqatsi 1988 USA, Italian
Enchanted April 1992 British
Birth of a Nation 1915 USA
Coming of Age 2000

USA (experimental) 360° immersive
Poor quality on numerous accounts (acting, language and story) but technically significant to the industry, with the ability to fundmentally extend film language and change storytelling and production norms as well as audience role.

The Color of Paradise 2001 Iranian*
Waking Ned Divine 1998 Irish
Babe :-) 1995 USA

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