Children of Men: Year 12 Visual text study

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Oct 25, 2013 (4 years and 19 days ago)

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Children of Men: Year 12

Visual text study


Curriculum Level
8

Task

Students will integrate sources of
information, processes, and strategies
purposefully, confidently, and precisely
to identify, form, and express
increasingly sophisticated ideas on the
subject of
Children of Men
. They will:



Contribute to peer, group and
class
discussion on the ideas, character,
structure and style of the film



Make a record of the study process,
noting understanding and supporting
evidence



Write a personal response to the film,
practising the skill of opinion writing



Write an essay: reflec
ting and using
material from text study

recognise, understand, and appreciate
the connections between oral, written,
and visual language in film

think

critically about
film

with
understanding and confidence


identifies partic
ular points of view
within
the film

and understands
how it

position
s

a reader


recognise, understand, and appreciate
how films are constructed

make and support inferences from texts
independently

Show a discriminating and insightful
understanding of how
verbal and visual
language features are used for effect
within
film

Show a discriminating understanding
of
how films are structured.


Assessments:



(informal assessment: peer assessed) opinion piece on film.



Formal literary essay based on previous
Level

2

exam paper


Teaching plan


View film

F
ocusing
material

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Dystopian films



The birth of Jesus
-

Bible


Opinion Writing

W
riting of own opinion piece


personal response.

Teach about using
heart/feeling words, not head words. Ask for initial response to the film, its
characters, structure, ideas, writing for
twenty minutes
. Then an open (see where
discussion goes) discussion of what they wrote.


Terminology

Check understan
ding of
narrative and meaning sheet,

go over it
, check
understanding of terminology
. Explain: media studies students will be experts and
expected to contribute expertise as we close read.

Close read


Opening scene.
See exposition sheet.



What do we know? (a
bout setting, character,
genre
)



How do we know it? (Technique and Detail)


Slow watch
, close reading

for:

evolution of character,
turning points
,

style (e.g.
car chase, long takes, action),
climax
, end, theme
.


Discussion and further notes

Handout.

Begin with opinions.

on cover page. Follow with

Internet search of
reviews. Discussion, followed by
discussion questions to focus further
thought/processing of film. If necessary, review scenes.


Essay

Review essay writing. In particular, look at underst
anding the question and forming
a thesis statement.

Using study notes, students to write a literary essay.

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Connections for Essays




character and theme

Faith and Chance: Julian had faith in Theo to get the job done.

Theo lost his faith because chance
killed his son but he regains this faith
throughout the movie.



character and technique

The use of handheld camera makes it seem as if we’re actually in the
scene/film


makes it more realistic.

Non
-
diegetic sound of choir singers


symbolises hope eg. when

the child is
born.

Shows that Theo is taking another step towards “growing.”

Shots isolating Theo show that he’s cut off from everyone else.

High pitched ringing


Julian tells him to enjoy it while it lasts: sound acts as a
thematic device. Also acts as
a threnody.



setting and theme

Theme that world without hope will lose its sense of shared humanity
demonstrated through the refugee camps. Future will stop caring about the
now demonstrated through destroyed cities/city.

Ruined school.

Politics: almost eve
ry scene employs the use of government/authority eg.
signs, posters, TV ads, propaganda.

Setting close enough to now that we can relate to it, makes us think about
today’s problems.

Setting of the barn and others relate to nativity story.

Lack of peace ine
vitable relating to Nazi Germany.



film techniques and style

Handheld camera: main purpose to set up cinema verite.


café scene
following Theo, demonstrates that “The Fishes” have been following him.

Low angle mid shot of Theo after Julian’s death makes Th
eo look
disapproving of what Miriam is doing over Julian’s body.

Window camera shots


Theo and Sid talking, makes us seem protected but
makes Theo look vulnerable.

Long blended shots make it seem very real.



structure and theme

(this would include inter
-
te
xtual references, allusion and
conflict)

Reference to famous arts


chaos, art being devalued.

Reminiscent of the bible in the birth, symbol for Jesus. Venus birth
referenced to when Kee show Theo she’s pregnant. Blasphemy of “Jesus
Christ”

Conflict
between Theo and Julian, Theo takes time to get used to seeing her
again, structure around conflict...

Fishes conflict with the government
-
trying to overthrow them.



genre and style

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Style of dystopian genre is shown through gloomy setting, pollution, n
atura
l
lighting, costuming



how impact(in theme/style/genre/character/narrative) is created

In the mise
-
en
-
scene


diegetic ringing in Theo’s ears creates impact.

Relatable costumes


similar to what we wear now. (this could happen)

De
-
saturated colour sets the
tone that introduces us to Theo reflects his
mood

Handheld camera creates tension for the audience because it shows his
involvement

Long takes give a sense of sensations the characters feel. Puts us right in the
action

Natural lighting and cinematography

Post production


no background music to create even more tension

Absence of non
-
diegetic sound creates more impact when it does appear eg.
deaths and birth of child


Theme in Children of Men


A.

Consensus Discussion


Rank these ideas in order of their
importance in the film.


1.

There is a risk, because of how we are living now, that the human race will
become infertile.

2.

This film isn’t about the future. It’s about right now.

3.

This film is about how our civilisation has become desperate and dangerous.

4.

We sh
ould place our hope in the next generation.

5.

We are on our own to fix the world we have broken.

6.

Hope shines brighter in a disintegrating world.

7.

This is a film about politics, not faith.

8.

This is a film about the battle between faith and chance.

9.

The theme is
hope: how we thrive in its presence and wither in its absence.

10.

Human society in crisis will lose its principles and shared humanity.


B.

Class Discussion


Consider how these concepts are explored in the film.


1.

Illegal immigration

2.

H
uman dignity

3.

E
uthanasia

4.

September 11 and terrorism

5.

G
lobal grief

6.

Nativity

story


C.

Questions to Consider

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1.

What do you think of “the Fishes’” intentions and methods?

2.

How plausible a view of the future do you find
Children of Men
?

3.

How does the film refer to or echo our current world
situation?

4.

Why is so much attention paid to Theo’s footwear?

5.

Do you see hope or hopelessness at the end of
Children of Men
?

6.

Is it possible to retain faith when there is no conceivable future?

7.

What does the film suggest about the role of men and women? Is i
t a sexist
film?

8.

Who is the primary audience for this film?

9.

How is this film about good and evil?

10.

Is Theo a hero?



Exposition
:

the beginning. Establishes key elements of the film.


A.

In Children of Men, we’re going to focus on how the exposition introduces
setting, style/genre and character.

A lot of the ‘setting up’ or introduction of the diegesis (the world of the film) is done
through the setting.


What is the world of the
film?
(Facts about the
world)

How do we know?





B.

This is a
dystopian
film.


How (
in addition to the setting as outlined above) does the exposition of this film
establish its genre?


Technique

Detail





C.

The third main element of the exposition of Children
of Men is the
introduction of the main character. How is he characterised in the
exposition?


What do we know?

How do we know this?




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Read the character guide below. Add a quote or scene form the film that demonstrates the
characteristics/personality traits of the character. Give three examples. Use refill if you need more
space.

THEO FARON

PLAYED BY: CLIVE OWE
N

Theo Faron is the disillusioned government drone who has lost any hope in the future, until he
becomes the unexpec
ted guardian to the mother of the last baby on Earth. That hope lies in
getting her out of a heavily militarized and fortified country and into the hands of The Human
Project, a shadowy organization for good that may not even exist.

Evidence from film:

JU
LIAN TAYLOR

PLAYED BY: JULIANNE
MOORE

Julian is the tough leader of the rebel fighters known as The Fishes. She is also the ex
-
wife of
Theo who still trusts him enough to put the future of the world into his hands. Though the
marriage ended over the bitterness and despair following the loss of

their only child, Julian and
Theo cannot discount the affection that they still hold for one another.

Evidence from film:

KEE

Meaning and
Narrative
include:


Genre


Style


Character


Setting

Plot


Theme

established
through use of

Techniques

which include

mise
-
en
-
scene

acting

script /dialogue

setting

costume/makeup

diegetic sound

composition

cinematography

camera
-

shot size, angles,

lighting

post
-
production

editing

non
-
diegetic sound

titles

special and sound effects

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PLAYED BY: CLAIRE
-
HOPE ASHITEY

Kee carries the future inside her. She is
a “foogee” prostitute who is
inexplicably pregnant with

the last baby on a planet that has been infertile for the past 18 years. With the help of Theo and
the revolutionary group The Fishes she must keep herself alive knowing that what she holds is
valued by everyone and what's valued by everyone is worth a ve
ry high price.

Evidence from film:


JASPER PALMER

PLAYED BY: MICHAEL C
AINE

Alfonso Cuarón was stumped. Who would he get to play Jasper Palmer, the benevolent, old pot
-
smoking hippie who he referred to throughout the screenwriting process as "the Michael C
aine
character"? Well, we didn't say he was stumped for long. Jasper Palmer is a wise, old friend to
Theo who, despite the nihilism around him, keeps an optimistic, humorous, but pragmatic view
of the world. Caine based his performance on the speech patter
ns and mannerisms of an old pal
of his
-

John Lennon.

LUKE

PLAYED BY: CHIWETEL
EJIOFOR

Along with Julian, Luke is a leader of The Fishes. A calm, thoughtful strategist, Luke seems to be
getting tired of the police blaming every bombing in London on his semi
-
peaceful rebel group. If
the world already sees them as terrorists, then maybe they h
ave no choice but to start acting
like them. And no terrorist has ever had as powerful a symbol as they have in Kee's unborn
child.

Evidence from the film:

MIRIAM

PLAYED BY: PAM FERRI
S

Miriam is part of Luke's revolutionary group, but rather than being a soldier her matronly ways
made her ideal to play the role of midwife to Kee. A schoolteacher before there were no children
left to teach, Miriam is a strong and comforting presence on th
e hellish road trip to find The
Human Project.

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Evidence from the film:

SYD

PLAYED BY: PETER MUL
LAN

It might not be readily apparent by the syntax, but the quote above is actually spoken by the
off
-
kilter soldier, Syd. Syd refers to himself in the third pe
rson, which makes his eccentricities
readily apparent, but also lets you know he has no allegiances, not even to himself. What Syd
wants to do, Syd does
-

the person talking to you is just the messenger. Unfortunately for Theo,
it is in Syd's hands that he

and Kee are placed as Syd escorts them through the fugee (refugee)
camp to meet with The Human Project.

Evidence from the film:

NIGEL

PLAYED BY: DANNY HUS
TON

What Nigel tries not to think about, in answer to a question from his cousin Theo, is why he
bothers to race around the world to save priceless works of art when no one will be around to
appreciate them in a hundred years. In his collection, we see Picasso
's Guernica (a depiction of
the chaos and destruction of war) and Michelangelo's David, now missing one of its legs. While a
refusal to think may seem like a denial, it is also a degree of hope and a reminder to Theo that
he must do the same if he is to do

something for a world that seems beyond hope.

Evidence from the film:



You tube clips:

the philosopher Zizek on the film:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbgrwNP_gYE

tracking shot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en16i8BY4hI

the making of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A55xTYXMpI

long take 2

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQLrnN3qsDs

analysis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiisVEvHHUQ

cast interviews

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1gTwVVCrb8&feature=fvw
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