In my own time - Angela McEwan

10th June 2011 at 01:00
Education consultant at Media Matters Education Consultancy


Do I watch films for leisure? Probably not. There's always an element of considering where, how, why they might be suitable texts for schools. But that adds to the pleasure, and love film I do. I am influenced by director, rather than actors or writer, the visualising of the story, pulling it all together, and it's Peter Weir's vision which I consistently enjoy. From the unsettling Picnic at Hanging Rock, through the contrasting worlds in Witness, to the conflicts of Dead Poets Society and the questions raised by The Truman Show, Weir's films are bookmarks in my memory.


I have re-read Jane Austen's novels more times than those of any other writer. Why? The female central characters. Their concerns. The core place of families and small communities. Perhaps it's the familiarity I enjoy now and there's certainly no contempt for the small worlds portrayed. Victoria Hislop's novels are also a favoured route to peoples and places, times past and present. The Island, with its beautifully observed setting, is a haunting story, with so much regret. In The Return, Hislop's characters, in her split timeline, let me "visit" a place and time of which I had little knowledge. I'm awaiting the publication of her next novel, The Thread. Familiar territory again, but let's see what Hislop does with it.


Do TV favourites reflect who you are at different times in your life? Probably. In the 1970s, I wanted to be just like Margaret Lockwood in Justice. Remember that? In the 1980s, it was Cagney and Lacey. In the 1990s, BBC's Pride and Prejudice and all those other adaptations by Andrew Davis. (Great for the CSYS class and in-service courses.) And now? The Good Wife. There's a pattern there somewhere.

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