Film Blog 1 Question 6.
by MasterDJ on November 9, 2017 - 4:12pm
Film serves in the Coles notes role nowadays in the classroom when it comes to history especially when it comes to events that aren’t going to be talked about in bigger budget movies. People (not just kids) are much more connected and are much more on the go as compared to 20 years about or even when I was in high school 10 years ago. This has led to a culture of speed and sitting around reading, or even learning in some cases, is considered boring so it makes sense for film to pick up the slack to teach people something that they would once upon a time have just read about. Seeing a film on something historical is the start not the end; it should be used as the opening gambit to get people interested to look up more information on a specific topic. If they see a movie like Rhymes for Young Ghouls, it should hopefully encourage the kids to look up more on this subject then what was discussed in the movie.
In terms of telling history, film serves two roles. First as noted above the Coles notes or starting point. A film should tell the history of an event as clear as it can just to get the bullet points of what happened out to the people because then they might be interested enough to look up a BBC or PBS documentary on the subject which will have more information than just what was discussed in the movie. A movie can’t show all the information on one event most of the time because the event can be so far reaching or just have so many events in it that it’s just too much information to cram into a 2-3 film. It’s the reason that a movie doesn’t usually talk about the entire second world war; it focuses on a specific character or a specific company or a specific event (like the Normandy landings on D-Day).
Secondly film serves as a gateway to learning something about an event that perhaps aren’t that familiar with. A topic like the American revolution or WW2 is something everyone would know about and have seen a half of a dozen movies about but a movie about the Lebanon war (like Waltz with Bashir) or the Algerian war of Independence (Battle of Algiers) are outliers because they are amazing films about events that the general public wouldn’t know about. This can be incredibly helpful in the classroom as well because when you start teaching kids about something not as well recognized like the residential school in Rhymes or the English Spanish front in the Napoleonic wars (personal favourite the Sharpe movie series), this can lead them or others who see them, to search out more info.
Film will always have a role in telling history simply because unfortunately it’s easier for most people nowadays to understand as compared to hearing it in a classroom or reading it in the book. It’s sad but true.