Movies, TV & Music
Screen Education

Screen Education

No. 97

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.
hidden treasures adolescent adventures in dora and the lost city of gold

As kids move into their tween years, they usually leave their early-childhood loves behind. The music of The Wiggles falls away, to be replaced by K-pop, boy bands and rap music. TV programs that once fuelled their imaginations and viewing habits are replaced by teen romances, gross-out comedies (both animated and live-action) and dramas like Stranger Things. The catchphrases and theme songs of the earlier years are filed away at the back of their brains, and the merchandise that once demonstrated their often-obsessive affection ends up at the back of the cupboard, thrown away or handed down to the next bunch of up-and-coming little kids. Nickelodeon’s beloved animated TV series Dora the Explorer, which features six-year-old Dora and her similarly aged cousin Diego exploring the jungles around their Peruvian homes, is…

19 min.
a revisionist history of violence the nostalgia and fantasy of once upon a time … in hollywood

It’s just after midnight on 9 August 1969. Actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) – who once starred as bounty hunter Jake Cahill in a now-cancelled cowboy TV series called ‘Bounty Law’ – is in his Los Angeles home, drunkenly making frozen margaritas, when he hears a noisy car idling outside. He stomps out in his bathrobe, blender in hand, to confront a ‘bunch of goddamn fucking hippies’, and berates the shocked young driver, Charles ‘Tex’ Watson Jr (Austin Butler), into reversing back down Cielo Drive. Tex and his three passengers are not lost. They’ve come, dressed in black and carrying knives and guns, to kill Rick’s next-door neighbours – a crime that in real life would become known, infamously, as the ‘Manson Family murders’.1 Now, at the climax of Quentin Tarantino’s…

16 min.
cinema science planetary propulsion in the wandering earth

More often than not, Cinema Science introductions include a passing reference to the chosen film’s or franchise’s box-office takings. While I’m loath to overemphasise the importance of a film’s profitability or lack thereof – in stark contrast to a large chunk of contemporary entertainment journalism – these figures are important in the context of this column. Box-office success, perhaps better than any other metric, measures the popularity of a film. Given that Cinema Science is built around choosing films whose cultural ubiquity ensures their relevance in the classroom, it makes sense to talk about box-office figures. It’s not a perfect measure, though, as exemplified by Chinese sci-fi film The Wandering Earth (Frant Gwo, 2019). Measured purely on its box-office receipts, it’s one of the most popular films of 2019: at the…

16 min.
the mark of the beast civilisation and morality in lord of the flies

William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord of the Flies is a perennial staple of required-reading lists in secondary schools. And, with it, Peter Brook’s 1963 cinematic adaptation of the book is routinely wheeled out in front of classes. Unlike the book, the film isn’t exactly an unimpeachable classic. It’s slightly clunky, and often poorly acted; there’s a reason why Hugh Edwards, the ten-year-old who plays Piggy in the movie, never appeared in another film. And where the book is hailed for its timelessness, this movie feels dated – the music, mise en scène and, uh, full-frontal boyhood nudity very much of their day. The production itself sounds as wild as the story, in which a group of schoolboys survive a plane crash and end up stranded on a deserted island; there, they…

18 min.
light, darkness visualising loss in secret sunshine

Secret Sunshine is an appropriate text for senior secondary students, and may relate to learning outcomes in Media Arts, Philosophy and Korean. It is recommended that teachers watch the film beforehand to gauge its appropriateness for use as a classroom resource. Schools are also advised that Secret Sunshine contains adult themes (including the death of a child and depiction of self-harm) and a sex scene. The film has a running time of 142 minutes, and is in Korean. It is available on DVD with English subtitles internationally through The Criterion Collection. In South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong’s second film, Peppermint Candy (1999), the protagonist, Yong-ho (Sol Kyung-gu), chances upon a woman (Ko Seo-hie) watching the rain as he wanders through the nocturnal streets of Kunsan. As they sit in an empty…

20 min.
selling virtue ‘woke’ advertising and corporate ethics

A melancholy piano score plays over a montage of similar images. Two people, faces unseen, reach out for each other’s hands in a range of everyday situations: walking together, climbing a tree, sitting at a table, lying by a pool. The pairs come closer to touching with each image, until we see each pair clasp hands at the same moment that it is revealed we are looking at same-sex couples holding hands in public spaces. Eventually, we cut to a shot of two women walking hand in hand onto a bus and sitting down. One of them looks warily at a man sitting nearby with a scowl on his face, and we see the women’s hands again as they release their grip. From there, with just seconds between each scene…