A picture within a picture
Old SYLLABUS Text Resources
Close Study of Film -A Beautiful Mind
Historical Context-Cold War Snapshot
Interview with Ron Howard
Time spent on class evaluation of sample thesis paragraphs or past student samples is essential to really demonstrate how to lift a script by 'close' attention to 'how' it is written and 'why'. Application of writing skills always works better than just telling them what to do and how to do it via a handout.
Tracking down someone who can give a really effective reading of the poems is wonderful as well as no matter how great a teacher you are, they sometimes need a different 'voice' and for Owen in particular, a male voice, to really engage with his poetry. One of the best renditions of 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' can be found at the site below. Hope you find these resources useful.
This is from the previous 'close study' syllabus but it could be a Prelim text.
Students are to engage with the text to respond imaginatively, affectively and critically. They explore and analyse articular characteristics of the text, considering how these shape meaning. They also consider the ways in which these characteristics establish the text's distinctive qualities. Composition focuses on meaning shaped in and through the text and may be realised in a variety of forms and media.
The contextual support required for 'A Beautiful Mind' involves some general understanding of the Cold War Period as well as the treatment and effects of Schizophrenia. What becomes quickly apparent when researching this film is the fact that the' biopic' representation offered by Ron Howard, is largely fictionalised , the facts reworked to fit the Hollywood 'triumph of the human spirit' template. Criticism of the film's treatment of mathematics, schizophrenia, the Cold War and Nash himself is largely based on issues of filmic misrepresentation.
Hollywood films have nearly always focused on telling a compelling story rather than sticking to the facts about factual events or individuals. We are drawn into this film and there are many positive qualities that can be acknowledged. It is however far more complex than 'Witness' ever was and will be a more challenging prescribed text to Standard students. Reliance on superficial storyline and filmic techniques does not meet the demands of a Close Study.
Nor will it be enough to enable students to differentiate between what is 'real' and what is hallucinatory within the film. Mathematical genius is juxtaposed with mental instability and students will need to grasp this as well as evaluate how well Howard portrays it on the screen.
'Language is never neutral but carries within it, within in the cultural and attitudinal meanings embedded, a way of seeing the world.'
'Language is not a transparent medium in which we simply name and describe reality, but is influential in constructing our attitudes to the world.'
I am an experienced English Head teacher and author of forty Senior English textbooks.