Monday, July 21, 2008

"Now is the winter of our discontent", three versions

One thing we did today was look at ways to compare films in our classroom. We watched five versions of the opening scene of MacBeth - Polanski, McKellen, this cool 2006 Australian version I'd never heard of, and a couple more - and we each took different jobs with analysis for each. The five jobs were Screenwriting, Cinematography, Sounds, Costumes, and Acting. Afterwards, we shared our analyses.

I've done similar things with Romeo and Juliet, but always tended to let the scene go on too long, I think. I also always have wished I'd given them sort of a "how to read and talk about film" lesson beforehand, because they just don't have the vocabulary. But it still has worked well, for the most part.

I really enjoyed watching five very different versions of Macbeth. Afterwards, we were instructed how to rip pieces of film into one file to use in the classroom. I think I'm a bit far off from that, but I sure would like to get to that point.

I was looking around Youtube tonight and found someone had done something similar, with the opening speech of Richard III, which is our play this week. Pretty interesting. I haven't seen the MKellen version since it came out, and really am excited to see it again now that I've re-read the play for the first time in a decade, since that Film & Literature class with Bill Vincent at Michigan State (where we read the play, then watched the Olivier version, the McKellen version, and the Pacino version of the film).

There is so much stuff on Youtube that would really work well in the classroom! If I could show scenes here and there from that site, I'd never have to have a DVD or television in my classroom. Alas, though, even if I ever get an LCD Projector, Youtube is blocked at school... I think there is a way to save them to a disc, though, if it ever comes to be that I might be able to use them. One year, I started a blog for my students to look at at home, with youtube videos I found that I wanted them to look at, but it never really got off the ground after the first few weeks. I could try that again and push it harder. I really enjoyed doing the internet discussion board last year, though it was really hard to assess and the site was pretty ugly.

Here is the clip I found. There's tons there, though:

2 comments:

jackie said...

This is frustrating for me as well-- we are a laptop school, and YouTube is still blocked at our shcool, on our server! I would love to be able to use it more in class.

I found the portrayals of Lady Macbeth in the Polanski/McKellan to be great contrasts for my students, especially in the sleepwalking scene (Polanski's LM is young, beautiful and near naked!)

Chiquita Banana said...

If you have computer access at home, try using http://vixy.net/. I've had some trouble with it, but I have a good friend who uses it all the time.