Human-Interest Lesson

Reply Thu 5 Dec, 2019 10:15 am
Hugo didn't write in English. Shelley's novel is so much harder than that which followed a few decades later. Dickens and Thackeray are so much easier to read, it's more familiar, more like how we talk now, not so many convoluted sentences.
Reply Thu 5 Dec, 2019 02:45 pm
I know Hugo wrote in French. Many of the translations I've seen are just too complex in sentence structure and diction to follow easily.

I did manage to make it through the Hunchback of Notre Dame, though.

I am thinking of lightening up and using a clip from "The King and I" (Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr), but not a song. Possibly the school-room clip where geography is being taught...

I already used "Descendants" (the first of the trilogy), maybe I'll find something from the next two installments.
Reply Thu 5 Dec, 2019 04:52 pm
How about something from the Wizard of Oz?
Reply Thu 5 Dec, 2019 05:37 pm
Don't know if I'm going off track on this Seizan, but maybe if you supplied the kids with written lyrics of Somewhere Over the Rainsbow while Dorothy sang, they would enjoy it. These 3 are kind of a synopsis.

The language in the last video seems pretty simple....

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Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2019 09:28 pm
Last week I used a clip from "Cats and Dogs", a fluff-brained comedy about a war between cats (trying to steal a dog-allergy medicine) and dogs (trying to protect the doctor and his formula). Questions for the kids were simple, like "What color was the van / how many dogs did you see / what did the cat climb to escape the dog?", etc.

This week I am using a clip from "Abominable" (2019), a Dreamworks animation. Interestingly, this movie (produced by the same people who made "How To Train Your Dragon") has been banned in some Southeast Asian countries because a map briefly shown the film indicates Chinese ownership of almost all the South China Sea (it is referred to in China as "The Nine-Dash Line"). Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia banned show of the film in theaters in their countries because of the territorial dispute. I'm not sure about Japan, but I can't find a Japanese movie poster (lots of Chinese, but no Japanese yet).

This starts in a big unnamed Asian city (presumably Hong Kong because everyone speaks English with a slight British-like accent, and it seems several characters are non-Asians). A major corporation involved is owned by a man named Mr. Burnish.

Anyway, as I edited the clip, I noticed that a few things parallel the previously-mentioned Frankenstein movie...!

The main character is Everest, a young yeti who was captured by an elderly adventurer (Mr. Burnish) and is being experimented on by an evil scientist (the "monster" was locked up in a lab dungeon). Everest escapes (like the Frankenstein creature, he bashes the door down). Yi, a young Chinese teenage girl whose father passed away recently, finds the yeti hiding out on her roof, where apparently few residents of her apartment ever go. She often spends time up there alone, and plays her violin to remember her father and the trip across China they had planned while he was alive. She discovers the yeti while playing the violin (the Frankenstein creature was initially attracted via the violin music).

Everest cannot speak, but Yi finds he can understand her pretty well (like the hermit and the creature). Yi feeds him pork dumplings (made of rice flour and pork -- the hermit fed the creature bread and soup). Everest was injured while escaping (his left arm, like the Frankenstein creature). Yi takes his arm gently and bandages it, then Everest lies down to sleep (like in the Frankenstein movie). While Everest sleeps, Yi builds a sort of makeshift shelter around him to keep him safe and camouflaged from the scientist who is searching via helicopter. The hermit lived in a hut...

Yi plays her violin to sooth Everest (as the hermit played violin for the Frankenstein creature, making the creature happy and relaxed).

When the scientist is inadvertently alerted to Everest's presence, the shelter that Yi built was destroyed (the hermit's hut was destroyed).

Everest puts Yi on his back and escapes the men in the helicopter. One of his pursuers aims a tranquilizer rifle to shoot Everest (two hunters entered the hermit's hut; one had a rifle which he tried to cock and shoot at the creature, who got away). He misses, and Everest ends up on top of the highest building in the city. The man reloads his tranq rifle and is aiming when the whole building lights up for the nightly Light Show, and Everest escapes again using the glare of the laser lights. This takes on a scene from the old King Kong movie, with the planes flying around Kong on the top of the Empire State Building, and shooting at him.

Everest and Yi escape on a boat and at this point, Yi gives Everest his name (the Frankenstein creature had no name) and determines to take him back to his home on or near Mt. Everest. Everest, Yi, and two other friends go on a fantastic journey across China, fulfilling Yi's dream of visiting those same places with her father. I won't spoil the ending.

The edited clip is rather long at 9 minutes and I was anxious that the Japanese-English teacher might mention the length, but he was as fascinated with the story as the students were.

This is a great family film, disregarding the political ripples caused by a map to which most children and many adults would pay little or no attention. The scenery is wonderful and real to life, despite that it's an animation (some of the places are real places to visit in China).

And once again, there is a message that not everything is what it seems to be -- not all "monsters" are monsters...
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