What’s this film class really about?
Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien does not check the age of people borrowing R-rated films. Parents, however, sign a card when their child applies for a library card, acknowledging "there are no age restrictions on borrowing any library materials a
Films to be studied
Some of the films to be shown in Hinsdale South’s film in literature class.
George Melies’ A Trip to the Moon
Edwin Porter’s The Great Train Robbery
Walt Disney’s Finding Nemo
Mike Nichol’s The Graduate
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
I Love Lucy television show
skits from Saturday Night Live television show
Updated: November 5, 2012 6:45AM
HINSDALE — The objective of the film as literature class at Hinsdale South High School is not to showcase R-rated movies.
In the course syllabus, English teacher Kristin Wittmann explains students will learn film history and the vocabulary of cinema, such as camera angles. Students will be asked to contrast the tools filmmakers have at their disposal, compared to writers.
Assignments for the English elective include telling a story with 12 photographs that offer examples of film terms and exploring how a text is transformed into a film through storyboarding.
In this unit, the students study how Stephen King’s novella, Stand by Me, was transformed into the movie with the same name, and how Annie Proulx’s short story originally published in The New Yorker grew into the feature length film, “Brokeback Mountain.”
The students also learn different conventions commonly used in various genre, including comedy and surrealism.
They are required to do two projects in the course, the first to produce their own film. The second requires students watch one director’s films, write a 3 or 4-page paper about the director’s work and then critique a scene from one of the director’s movies in class.
The final may be an essay written about a film excerpt that is shown in class. Or the student may film a scene from a piece of fiction they read, explaining their cinematic choices.
Jim DiDomenico, who teaches a film course at Hinsdale Central called “film studies,” has students take an interactive approach to film study.
Because he wants students to see examples of a great number of movies, he plans to show only one or two scenes, four at the most, from any one film.
DiDomenico instructs his students to blog about the movies they see in their free time. He also requires students choose a few movies by the same director or connected in another way, such as by genre or writer. The analysis of the three or so movies will be a “more formal blog entry,” he states in the course description.
Activities in Central’s film class include an online movie mogul game and a game of Jeopardy instead of a test of the students’ film knowledge.
Students also have a group project, where they act as producers pitching a concept for a film.
In his course description, DiDomenico tells his students that he designed the class “with your passion for film in mind. . . My goal is to immerse you in the world/history of film and attempt to make this journey as thought-provoking and entertaining as possible.”