Movie-based class would focus on storytelling in visual form

ELA Dept. working to have class ready for 2023-24 school year

Movie-based class would focus on storytelling in visual form

Lucas Winkler, Reporter

When a movie is shown in class, many students take it as an opportunity to turn their brains off and relax for a bit. What these students might not realize is that a lot can be learned from a movie. 

A movie analysis class is in the works for seniors in the 2023-24 school year. Nothing is finalized yet, but English department head Eric Miller said his goal is to have the course start in the fall of 2023.

“We have traditionally used films in ELA classrooms as a supplement to demonstrate a story we’ve already read in a different way, or to compare a retelling,” he stated. “I think there is that opportunity where so much good storytelling and technique happens in film.”

But what would a movie analysis class look like? 

Miller says that the class wouldn’t venture into film making, but would instead have the “traditional focus of an ELA course”.  In other words, students would study meaning, character analysis, close reading, inference, and more, but using the medium of film instead.

As for ratings, PG-13 films are great, but they sometimes fail to convey more adult themes. When it comes to showing R rated films, Miller thinks it should depend on what constituted the rating –  swearing, violence, sexual content, drug abuse, etc.. In light of school rules though, Miller said, “There would have to be in place a system where parents can clarify the content of the film.” 

In addition, De Pere High School already has rules in place for showing R-rated films, requiring a permission slip from parents or guardians.

All of this begs the question, what motivated this sudden push for a film class? 

“I’ve always enjoyed what film offered,” Miller said. “There is a seriousness that can happen. A rewarding seriousness in evaluating the craft of it.”

Miller also explained how students, especially during senior year, may dread another ELA course. Miller believes a film-based class could remedy this problem. 

Miller says, “The initial motivation behind it is providing an offering in which students can engage in those traditional literacy skills in a way that’s more engaging.”