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Posts Tagged ‘Argo’

captain pTruth in Fiction, Part 1: It was just announced that the New York Film Festival will open this year with Paul Greengrass‘s movie Captain Phillips.  With current trends leading us to have “Inspired by Something that Really Happened Somewhere Sometime in the Course of History” at the bottom of every movie poster, this movie starring Tom Hanks is another in the mode of last year’s award winning Argo.  Issues of the gray areas between non-fiction and fiction motion picture media are discussed at length in Chapter 6 of Moving Images (including images from the movie Seabiscuit as a motivator for classroom debate, among others), and contemporary filmmakers continue to push boundaries from both sides of the ledger.

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Where is the truth and what does media communicate to us? Ben Affleck standing in center with the real-life inspirations for “Argo,” including his character, CIA agent Tony Mendez, on far left (Keegan Bursaw/Embassy of Canada)

In earlier posts, I have discussed possibilities of cross-curricular work with social studies courses and this fall has offered countless examples of further opportunities to use media literacy to enhance learning in social studies classrooms.  Here are related pages from the newseum siteEdutopia, and Frank Baker’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse.  For the media literacy classroom, one of the most interesting aspects of this election was the creation of videos outside of the two campaigns and their dissemination through the Internet, such as the lip-dub treatments of the debates and other comedy pieces such as the gangnam-style parody with a Mitt Romney imitator done for the College Humor site.  At my own school, social studies teacher Mike Barile had his Civics students make their own videos for fictional campaigns (no, not comedy parodies but ones that suggest new approaches to official campaign ads) and they used them for comparison and analysis with current media and historical examples from American presidential races.

Still from Edward Zwick’s 1989 movie “Glory,” from which certain scenes can provide interesting comparison and contrast to “Lincoln”

Among current movies, two releases may provide for interesting discussion and study in either American history or International Studies curricula.  Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln joins the rich trove of Civil War movies that can be used in the classroom, while Ben Affleck’s Argo can be used in relation to studies of the history of Iran and its relations with the United States during the 20th century.  Here is an excellent counterpoint piece written by radio journalist Jian Ghomeshi in response to the depiction of Iranians and the political context of Iran in Argo, while here is a Washington Post article on the real people behind the story of this movie.  For Lincoln, there is an iPad book for the movie that may be useful for teachers.

Speaking about iBooks, in an earlier post about Tim Burton, I talked about his recent movie Frankenweenie.  Disney has released a free iBook for the movie, which is highly recommended.

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