Movies are not just movies.
Although they can entertain us, movies are grounded in a rich cultural and industrial history. From early Hollywood Films of the Silent Era that stem from the deeply politicized birth of cinema as an industrial and cultural art to the global box-office Goliath’s of today, movies are a shared cultural experience; rising out of the political and speaking to, challenging and/or reaffirming a sense of shared cultural values at a particular time.
How movies represent and shape meaning matters. As a cultural property accessible to a global audience, a critical framework to decode movies is urgent. As it pertains to students, movies can be readily used to build and sustain cultural literacy; an understanding of our world through narratives that codify and represent our shared sociological fabric. This includes: race, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality etc. Importantly, popular cinema can either be detrimental in its representation or progressive and empowering.
Its in recognizing that movies are a cultural artifact, that the study of genre filmmaking becomes relevant. Transcending beyond mere consumption, the cultural reading of a film speaks to understanding a shared value system; reinforcing that Black Panther, is like no other Hollywood Blockbuster ever made.
In celebration of not only the character but importantly the film’s cultural relevance through representation, a teacher lesson plan will be launched on Friday February 16 at 9am (Eastern) that will provide context to reading the film through a genre and cultural lens, with the goal to shape young learners to be culturally and media literate; understanding the importance of decoding media for meaning.
In the meantime, the following is a design tutorial for the graphic below that is readily accessible for classroom use. Click here for the tutorial