Movies, TV & Music
Screen Education

Screen Education No. 86

Screen Education is essential reading for those with an interest in media literacy. Produced by educators, scholars and critics, the magazines content is tailored to the primary and secondary classroom, as well as some tertiary-level material, offering a unique and engaging perspective on screen education.

Australian Teachers of Media Incorporated
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4 Issues

In this issue

16 min.
slumber party girl asleep and growing into growing up

Girl Asleep (Rosemary Myers, 2015) tells the story of Greta (Bethany Whitmore) as she struggles through school and home life in the lead-up to her fifteenth birthday. Receiving critical acclaim across the globe, the film offers a spectacularly refreshing alternative for Australian cinema through its exploration of the teenage fantasy narrative with an absurd yet enchanting Aussie twist. Girl Asleep is also the perfect Australian coming-of-age story to study with secondary students. The narrative explores, as writer Matthew Whittet comments, ‘a young girl’s journey into figuring out who she doesn’t want to be’. THEATRICAL PRODUCTION AND AUSTRALIAN TONE Girl Asleep was originally a stage play, also written by Whittet and directed by Myers. The film contains continuous references to the story’s original medium through the manipulation of production elements: close-ups of facial…

19 min.
island idols custom, courage and culture in disney’s moana

The latest Disney heroine to grace our screens is a Polynesian self-declared non-princess who will leave the safety of her island in order to save it. She will team up with a demigod and battle fearsome monsters and gods. Along the way she will sing, dance and reconnect her people to their cultural traditions as ocean explorers. The story of Moana takes place around 2000 years ago. Although it is set in the Pacific Islands, the island of Motunui is deliberately fictional. Veteran Disney directors Ron Clements and John Musker, whose films include classics like The Little Mermaid (1989) and The Princess and the Frog (2009), came up with an idea to make a Pacific Islands–themed movie. They created a team, which became known as the Oceanic Story Trust, with the…

15 min.
temporal truths the girl who leapt through time

Although The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is often classified as science fiction, the most alluring quality of Mamoru Hosoda’s 2006 feature animation is its representation of the rhythms of everyday existence. The premise of time travel functions as a narrative device to facilitate protagonist Makoto Konno’s (Emily Hirst) discovery of what is important in life, rather than as an opportunity for escape or adventure. Loosely adapting the story told by Yasutaka Tsutsui in his celebrated 1967 book of the same name, Hosoda reimagines it in a twenty-first century context in which ‘young people have individual pictures of the future, not collective visions overall’. Hosoda has commented that Tsutsui, who has seen many adaptations of his classic tale, considers Hosoda’s film to be a sequel to his story. The basic…

16 min.
‘i’m a badass hunky dude’ gender, hegemony and she’s the man

Active for a large part of the twentieth century, and largely indebted to the socio-philosophical work of Karl Marx and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the Frankfurt School examined – among other things – the fallibility of capitalism as a politico-economic framework for society as well as the failure of communism to provide a viable alternative. Two of its key theorists, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, were particularly interested in the way in which what they termed the ‘culture industry’ perpetuates the societal status quo by bombarding the ‘masses’ with pop culture products instilled with dominant-group ideology. These views echo the work of neo-Marxist Antonio Gramsci, whose notion of cultural hegemony posits that the lower sectors of society ‘consent’ to their subordination as they have internalised these ideologies and thus perceive…

14 min.
cinema science

Passengers and the Specifics of Space First up: 2016 Hollywood space blockbuster Passengers. Just how realistic is this depiction of interplanetary travel? Is it possible for humans to hibernate? Could you really grow a forest in a spaceship? And why is Jennifer Lawrence’s hair immune to zero gravity? The erosion of the monoculture can make things tricky for a secondary school teacher looking to build student engagement by digging into pop culture. Take any sizeable group of teenagers and it’s hard to find anything they’ll all be intimately familiar with. Some might use Facebook obsessively; others might have never made an account. Some students might obsess over the Marvel Cinematic Universe; others might not know the difference between Captain America and Captain Marvel. This student plays videogames obsessively; that student is subscribed…

15 min.
kids on film teaching documentary in the english classroom

The place of documentaries in English classrooms has a rich history. This form provides educators with a cache of excellent source material that allows students to access a range of reader and analytical perspectives that they may not have seen before. The documentary turns the classroom into a hotbed of inquiry where a plethora of biased viewpoints are waiting to be unpacked by minds coming to terms with the idea of looking outside themselves and their own experiences in order to engage with the complex world around them. It is this very access to the broader world, this opportunity to push students beyond passivity and towards questioning and critical analysis, that can ignite excitement in the teacher who sees such an area of study approaching in their syllabus. They plan…