Blog Post #1 Question #6: What purpose does film serve in the history classroom or in the telling of history?
by mdigs23 on October 6, 2017 - 11:16pm
The purpose that film serves in the history classroom or the telling of history is its use it has as a teaching device.
Films allow students or audiences to gain a different prospective on historical times or events. The message that each film or story teaches can vary depending on the information given, the topic, the event, the time, the place, or the person at hand and on a person’s ability to draw his or her own conclusions from that particular film or story.
To look deeper into the purpose that film serves as a teaching device in the history classroom or the telling of history, I will refer to the films we have watched and discussed in class. I will begin with the film Momento, in which the theme to me is quite obvious, memory. What I had drawn from the film Momento as a learning experience would be that memory is a very sensitive and precious thing that can be altered in negative ways. In the film Leonard Shelby teaches me the horrible realities of human memory, these realities teach me to live as if every moment was my last, I couldn’t imagine being trapped in something as horrible as he was. Momento shows us the purpose that film has in the history classroom or the telling of history by means of teaching us about the realities of memory (what could happen to our memories). This, altering of memory will reflect my next point, which is on the film Waltz with Bashir. From this film we can see the purpose that film has as a teaching device in the history classroom or the telling of history by showing us the suppression of negative memories (the altering of memories) by means of experiencing horrendous atrocities. This film teaches us that stories (history) can be altered because of these supressed memories. In the film Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman had lost his memories from the time he had spent in the war, so he sets out to put the story back together (to remember his past). The film show us how stories that are past down through storytelling (memory), could become altered from the person telling the story. For my last point on how film serves as a teaching device in the history classroom or the telling of a story, I will draw upon the film Half of a Yellow Sun. This film shows me that film can be used as a teaching device from my own personal experiences with this film. The struggle of the Nigeria/Biafran people was not something that I was well aware of; this film brought new information to light for me. Although a lot this information was dark and gruesome, the struggle of the Biafran people and the Nigerian Civil War was something that I was unaware of. This shows us that one of the purposes of film in the history classroom or telling of a story is that it can be used to distribute new information to its students or audience.
We are able to see the purpose that film has as a teaching device in the history classroom or in the telling of a story be means of showing students or audiences human realities such as memory suppression, memory loss or the altering of memories, as we see in the films Momento and Waltz with Bashir. We are also able to use film as teaching devices by means of gaining new prospective from information brought fourth by these films, as we can see from my experience with Half of a Yellow Sun.