Representing’Race’ in recent American movies

Nimen Hao,

today we will use the films Green Book and BlackKKKlansman and some critical responses to the films to talk about representation, using some of the key concepts we’ve learned so far this semester.

Elements of Movie reviews

  • Creative craft elements (including, for example, quality of script, direction and performances, visual design and cinematography,  lighting, set design, costume, hair, make-up, special effects, sound, music, editing.
  • Story, plot, genre, style.
  • Social themes and significance.

Group discussion one: Craft Elements (at the denotative level)

Let’s start with a bit of nuts and bolts (basic mechanics) reviewing.

Working in your small groups discuss the craft elements of each movie (or just one if the people in your group only watched one of them). Try to discuss them at the descriptive (denotative) level, without moving onto the wide (connotative) level. So please avoid talking about the social themes and their significance, the story, plot, genre and style.

What kinds of languages (broadly defined) are the movies communicating with?

Group Discussion two:the films’ denotative-connotative level

  1. Identify the films genre and styles. How are they communicated (including through which languages, or combination of languages)?
  2. Tell us what happens in each movie (summarize the story/plot)?
  3. Identify the social themes and tell us how they are communicated.
  4. Discuss the films’ social significance.

Reading one and two

Now please take 10 minutes to read the following short review article.

(article to be sent to our wechat group during the lesson).

Discussing the review articles

Let’s discuss the review articles.

The films in terms of representation concepts

Now let’s have a final look at the films in terms of the representation concepts you’ve learned this semester.

IELTS spoken word practice exercise (time permitting)

Let’s do one or more IELTS exercises. These are useful practice for later English assessments (including TEMS 4).

Next week’s class.

Next week we’re going to look at representations of gender in American superhero movies.



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