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Author Topic: Freedom Writers
shanty
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posted 14 January 2007 04:29 PM      Profile for shanty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
WOW! I just went to see Freedom Writers, it is an amazing film. Often as an educator, I feel it is difficult to relate to all kids. So many kids come from different background than I come from. This movie validates the unconventional methods that I get excited about, like giving students experiences they can grow from instead of busy work…..creating an epiphany. It inspired me so much!!

I too find myself saying things in front of a class that I think is cool, only to hear groans… as was demonstrated in the movie!!

I believe an education that embraces differences while exploring commonalities is the most beautiful event that can happen in any society.
(For me, reading babble also demonstrates this, I have learned much "out here".)

I had spent a year volunteering full time in an urban school, before pursuing my teaching certificate. I found that kids really do want to do great things and be accepted for who they are while growing into adults. We had so much fun doing service learning projects in the community.

Anyway, this movie is well worth the time and money to see. It is also very timely with Martin Luther King day tomorrow!! I also did a little google on it; the movie credits showed a foundation for freedom writers, I was excited that there are educational materials available to incorporate into a lesson plan. Once it is available, I will purchase this movie to use in a classroom. There is also a book I noticed I'd love to get, "Teach with your Heart", to be released Feb. 1

www.freedomwritersfoundation.org

Has anyone else seen this movie yet?


From: Great Lake Shore | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 15 January 2007 05:03 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Shanty, it was truly an excellent movie. However this Board may not be the best place to ask a question about educators who use the lessons on the Holocaust. I note this for example from "Freedomwriters" website:

quote:
Then a pivotal moment changed their lives forever. When a racial caricature of one of the African-American students circulated the classroom, Erin Gruwell angrily intercepted the drawing and compared it to the Nazi caricatures of Jews during the Holocaust. To her amazement, the students responded with puzzled looks. Erin Gruwell was appalled to discover that many of her students had never heard of the Holocaust.

In another thread a moderator for example posted a NY Times story that told of a Rabbi (yes there are Jews who can be anti-Semitic-sadly) who suggests that Jews (and I suppose those that in any way support Israel) use and exploit the Holocaust for their own purposes. If the modrator had posterd this story as a means by which to condemn such statements (by Jews and non-Jews) one could understand. That does not seem to be the case.

Thanks for telling the Board about this movie though. Its worthwhile and the work done by Freedomwriters is vital.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 January 2007 05:09 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey ohara, how about you keep fights from one thread in the thread where it's occurring rather than dragging them into other threads? That would be awesome, thanks.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
shanty
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posted 15 January 2007 07:00 AM      Profile for shanty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The movie is essentially about gangs and their hatred for one another. The teacher used the book Anne Frank's Diary to help the students to gain empathy toward a human who is hated based on her culture. In fact, the entire class wrote letters to the woman who hid Anne in her attic and the class eventually met her. Through the lessons of the horrific happenings of the holocaust the class became more compassionate toward all human race, and each other. (Don't worry, I am not ruining the movie… there is much I am not sharing ). History's lessons can be a powerful way to create a shift of thinking.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” - Maya Angelou

From: Great Lake Shore | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 January 2007 07:25 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My favourite movie about gangs came out in the 80's and is called Romper Stomper, starring Russel Crowe as the attractive and detestable Skin Head Neo-Nazi gang leader. Its one of his first movies, made independenly in the eighties in Australia.

My favourite review of it took place in an after hours club in Toronto talking to Steve Johnson, AKA Steve Goof, from Bunch of Fucking Goofs. This is what he looks like:


Notice Steve has hair -- this is important. Here he is running for City Council in Toronto.

He said: "I loved that movie, the only thing I didn't like was that one of them was left at the end."

In anycase its a nice snapshot of gang culture without a lot of superfluous explanative commentary. No one is saved really. They eat each other up.

I am sure its a big hit with the Skinhead crowd --they are stupid that way.

[ 15 January 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
shanty
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posted 15 January 2007 07:30 AM      Profile for shanty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I will definitely check it out. I have never heard of it before. We are having a snow day today, too bad I'd have to drive to rent it!!
From: Great Lake Shore | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 January 2007 07:37 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Its about as violent as "American History X," just so you know.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
shanty
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posted 15 January 2007 07:45 AM      Profile for shanty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So not a classroom movie huh? I also think "Crash" is a great movie about racism. I teach sociology & movies are great ways to get kids talking, Crash can be used with parental permission slips.
From: Great Lake Shore | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 January 2007 07:49 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Grade 12 minimum. But I was sort of into the anti-skinhead punk gang culture when it came out, and I related to it very strongly and it sent a very powerful message to me. There was one guy I know who I saw it with who said it convinced him not to run with the Skinhead Gangs anymore.

I had some problems with Crash.

[ 15 January 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
shanty
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posted 15 January 2007 07:53 AM      Profile for shanty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I had some problems with Crash.

I am sure they are insightful, such as?


From: Great Lake Shore | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 January 2007 08:02 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well one thing that bothered me about Crash was the tendency to play against stereotype. Now I understand why someone would want to make an anti-racist movie that plays against stereotype, but it does this so completely that every turn the unexpected happens, which is actually what you expect as you see immediatly that the movie as deliberately trying to break down stereotypes by playing against stereotypes.

So the Black Police officer who is the one who caves into preasure from above. It is the white racist cop who saves the day, the gangbanger is actually just a hard working stiff, and it is the nice anti-racist cop who shoots the nice christian black boy. Its too simple.

These are meant to be clever, but seem pretty obvious.

The inversions, themselves become a reaffirmation of the stereotype in this way, and rather than going beyond stereotype and finding real characters and real story it simply revereses them.

[ 15 January 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
shanty
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posted 15 January 2007 08:36 AM      Profile for shanty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That sounds like a great element of the movie to bring out in a class discussion. I think you are right. What I like about the movie is the fact that racism it demonstrated head-on, this helps kids to see it clearly.
From: Great Lake Shore | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 January 2007 08:43 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bell Hooks is always worth quoting on this kind of thing.

quote:
James Baldwin was fond of saying that "sentimentality is the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion. It is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel."

Many people see Crash as a film which invokes deep pathos and feelings. Actually, it is a sentimental and melodramatic film in the classic mode of Hollywood.

In Hero With a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell shows how western culture really thrives on the classical myth of hero. The classical hero triumphs over his fellow man. He has strength. His heroism must be recognized. He takes what he wants by force and dominates others.

In Crash, Matt Dillon's character Ryan is cast as the hero. He is the only character who rises above personal limitations, personal prejudices. His willingness to risk his life to save the life of a black woman he has violated and humiliated springs not from a concern for her humanity but rather from his desperate need to prove he is worthy of the status of hero. It is his moment of glory. And like all Hollywood heroes he steals the limelight. His sins are forgiven and he is allowed to continue his domination over others.

Viewers may not consciously experience the film as yet another film in a long line of racialized Hollywood narratives from Birth of a Nation to the present day, where the theme and plot is centered on white male triumph over bestial emotions. We may not be conscious of that narrative, but it is playing itself out in the unconscious. It is the film narrative they have come to expect.



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remind
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posted 15 January 2007 11:34 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Love this quote, and what a great thread.

quote:
James Baldwin was fond of saying that "sentimentality is the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion. It is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel."

From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 January 2007 06:47 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, James Baldwin.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 15 January 2007 07:31 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
However this Board may not be the best place to ask a question about educators who use the lessons on the Holocaust.
What a disgusting, lazy smear. You are one of a kind, ohara.

From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 January 2007 08:59 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well you know what they say: "if the witch floats burn her."
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 January 2007 10:38 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Okay, thanks for the support, but the discussion is going well now! Let's not allow the derailing to succeed, okay? Let it go. (Something I should do more often!)
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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