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Ted's teaching tips

Who are the most recognisable people on the planet? Those we have seen on film and television, especially the Hollywood superstars. Some film stars are unfamiliar to most people in Britain, but are famous to a billion or more worldwide, as India has its own successful "Bollywood" industry.

Film Think of films that have become "classics": why are they so appealing, why do some survive while others fade away? How did film-making develop (short "movies" since 1895; black and white, first silent then with sound in 1927; colour in the 1930s; later wide-screen, stereo sound, 3-D and other innovations)? Discuss what you look for when you see a film poster (pictures, text, instant appeal, information about the plot, the stars). Have you watched any foreign films, eg French, Italian, Indian, Chinese? Many films can be seen on television or on video, so why do people still visit cinemas? Talk to grandparents and older people about going to the cinema: how was it different in those days (television not so widespread, people saw newsreels, cartoons, documentaries, travelogues, "A" and "B" films)?

HollywoodBollywood Where is Hollywood (suburb of Los Angeles, west coast of the United States) and why is it famous (home of major film studios such as MGM and 20th Century Fox)? Where and what is "Bollywood" (a huge film industry operating mainly in Mumbai - formerly Bombay - India; first talkie 1931; more than a billion viewers worldwide, including many Asians in Britain; films often about love, adventure, many with music and dance)?

India What do you know about India (find it on the map)? How big is it (second most populated country - nearly a billion - after China)? History (important region of South Asia for more than 4,000 years; caste system banned but still exists; former British colony, became independent in 1948 after long campaign of "passive resistance" led by Gandhi)? Do you know geographical features (Himalayas 8,000m-high peaks; Ganges 2,500kms long; two-thirds of people work in agriculture, compared with about 2 per cent in Britain; large cities such as Mumbai and Calcutta)? What does India export (tea, iron, steel, minerals, metals, diamonds, oil)?

Writing (a) Describe your favourite film, why you liked it, the plot, who was in it, when you saw it; (b) paint your own film poster with text and pictures, thinking about how a poster can make an impact on passers-by; (c) write the outline of a story that you think would make a good film.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at the University of Exeter


Are film and television becoming too dominant in our lives?


The film industry is so large and the demand for new films so high that the standard of many films will be pretty low. People should live in the real world, not escape to a fictitious one. Many children spend more than 25 hours per week watching films, more time than they spend in school.


Story is an important part of life and the best films tell excellent stories. Many people have a stressful job, so they are entitled to seek escapism in their leisure time. Good films are instructive as well as entertaining. Although some people spend too much time watching television, most have moderate viewing habits.

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