Tag Archives: film and visual media

The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal: A highly regarded film (1957) directed by the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007). A vision of a medieval land ravaged by the Black Death, the film impressed and mystified audiences around the world. The title refers to a verse in the Bible:

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in

heaven about the space of half an hour.’

Revelation 8:1

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

The Temple and the Holy Ark

If you have by any chance showed “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to you homebound students, or plan to, then you might find that this reading on the Temple and the Holy Ark and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet complements that exciting film.

I’ve tagged this as high-interest material because when I have offered it to students while making its connection to the Indiana Jones movie referred to above, their interest was piqued.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire: An intense drama (1947) by the US playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-83) about the relationship between a faded Southern belle, Blanche Dubois, and her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski. It was subsequently turned into a successful film (1951), directed by Elia Kazan, starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. The play had several titles before the final one, including The Moth, Blanche’s Chair in the Moon and The Poker Night. The eventual title was inspired by a streetcar labeled ‘Desire’ (for its destination, Desire Street), which, together with another called ‘Cemeteries,’ plied the main street in the district of New Orleans where Williams lived. In the play the names are taken symbolically, Blanche contending that her sister Stella’s marriage is a product of lust, as aimless as the ‘streetcar named Desire’ that shuttles through the narrow streets. The name of the street does not denote a place of pleasure but derives from the French girl’s name Desiree. A monument, the ‘Streetcar Named Desire,’ now stands on the site near the French Market. The play is a leitmotif in Pedro Almodovar’s film Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother1999).

‘They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, then transfer to one called Cemeteries.’

Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire (Blanche’s first line).”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Ten Days that Shook the World

Ten Days that Shook the World: A book (1919) by the US journalist John Reed (1887-1920), an eyewitness account of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. Reed, who came from a wealthy background, was one of the leading radical figures in the USA, became a friend of Lenin and helped to found the US Communist Party. Accused of treason in the USA, he fled to Soviet Russia, where he died of typhus. After his death the US Communist Party established many John Reed’ clubs for writers and artists in US cities. His life is the subject of the film Reds (1981), directed by and starring Warren Beatty.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Bonnie and Clyde

As I get ready to leave school for the day, I’ll post this reading on Bonnie and Clyde and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheetNota bene, please, that this is not biographical material on Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, but rather a reading on Arthur Penn’s film starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, respectively, in the title roles.

Have you seen it? It’s a masterpiece by any standard I recognize.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Auteur Theory

auteur theory: A theory of film criticism and analysis that derived from the writings of Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, and others, which appeared in the influential magazine Cahiers du cinema in the early 1950s. In an article printed in Cahiers in 1954, Truffaut proposed “la politique des auteurs” in an effort to free directors from traditional script-dominated films. Truffaut and his colleagues, who were to become the vanguard of the New Wave, held that, although films are collaborative efforts, they should ultimately bear the artistic stamp of the director, whose personal vision creates the film as an author (auteur) would create a book. The theory was first championed in the U.S, by the critic Andrew Sarris.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Wizard of Oz

Finishing up on this unutterably beautiful morning in Southwestern Vermont, here is a reading on the classic film The Wizard of Oz along with its accompanying worksheet for building vocabulary and comprehension.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.