Film education

Film education

Let’s talk about film:
The language of film | the language in film

For children and teenagers, films still act as windows on to an unknown world. And that applies to content as much as it does to form. Stories narrated in pictures. Moving images from other cultures. Views of an urban district that is structured differently to yours; of a neighbouring family that leads a life quite unlike the one you lead; and of children who dare to do things you would never imagine doing yourself. At that level alone, films are the perfect vehicle when it comes to simulating thought and getting a discussion going with school students.
The same could be said of all the films that the Dortmund | Cologne International Women’s Film Festival has screened over the last twenty years – courtesy of its dedicated school films programme. Then there’s the matter of form and format. Animated films, cartoons, documentary films, fiction feature films and experimental films. Which genre is best suited for which subject matter? What is true? Was it fashioned – and if yes, why and how? Questions to which this year’s programme offers a good selection of answers too. For example, primary-school children can take part in the production of an animated film together with filmmakers Kyne Uhlig and Nikolaus Hillebrand. And the documentary film One Way, a Tuareg Journey shows how the 13-year-old Sidi, under the watchful eye of director Fabio Caramaschi, records on camera the story of the migration undertaken by his family. Another important film effect is the music on the soundtrack. As well as sustaining the plot or the pictures, the music can also deliberately provoke confusion. So what do we think of the claim that the best film music is music the viewers do not perceive? To illuminate that question, film composer Martina Eisenreich will be on hand for a presentation of the film Mondmann (Man on the Moon). She will be giving the young audience a playful introduction into the different ways the music behind identical pictures can affect our perceptions and emotions.
Last but not least, we’ll also be looking at the language used in the film – the spoken language and the subtitles which help us to understand foreign films – without erasing the idiosyncrasies, the intonation, the rough and the smooth of the original language and/or the special timbre of a particular actor’s or actress’s voice. To do so, the Dortmund | Cologne International Women’s Film Festival has developed a concept aimed at helping school students to access and handle films in the original language. Together with a translator who works for the film industry, an Advanced French group from a Cologne high school first translated a short film and then produced subtitles to fit the shot lengths of the pictures. By no means an easy task, but one very much recommended in terms of getting school students to talk and write during foreign language lessons. The result is to be presented by the school students in the course of the festival.

_Barbara Fischer-Rittmeyer

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