While the Advanced Placement English Literature students are organizing a final portfolio, I have been reviewing the elements of film making in class. Analyzing film is not unlike analyzing literature, and the focus of the past few classes has been the transfer of skills from reading books and poems to reading films.
Given the amount of time available in class, a good short film is all that is necessary for students to recognize how a director is communicating with an audience.
Today I shared The New Boy (2007) Director: Steph Green Writers: Roddy Doyle (short story), a 2009 nominee for a Best Live Action by the Academy Awards. This 11 minute film shares the poignant story of Joseph, a nine-year old African boy who is very much out of place in his new school.
The flashbacks that show Joseph’s experience in his former school contrast with the cold reception he receives from his new Irish classmates. The lesson, however, is that children will form a bond against a common nemesis, an over-bearing teacher. Cultural differences disappear in this “us against authority” story that we “read” together on screen.