In space, no one can hear you scream.

Silence seems to have become a key cue in the science fiction film, from Scott and Cameron's iterations of the Alien franchise (Alien UK/US 1979 and Aliens US 1986), through Nolan's Interstellar (US 2014), and Cuaron's Gravity (US 2014) to the recent outing Arrival (US 2016 dir: Denis Villeneuve). Silence is a of course a feature of a vacuum, but is this why it is also a feature of some science fiction film? There are obvious connotations one could read into ...

A guide I use for students to prepare their oral presentations

In my teaching universe we are currently going through the second practice for our students at the oral presentation. Our process introduced them to it in December, where they prepare a series of slides on a sequence addressing the full pressie assessment criteria (well, all except the socio-cultural context). This is a weighted assessment task for semester one and helps determine semester performance grades. At the beginning of semester two our students, acting on detailed feedback from their slide 'presentation', ...

Visual Arts Internal Assessment Upload: Quick Overview

It’s April! That means for many of us its VISUAL ARTS UPLOAD MONTH! Of the three components the most complex in terms of files and the upload process is the Exhibition The aim of this post is to give some explanations and guidance in relation to the scary IBIS Internal Assessment upload process. For more information about the visual arts upload please feel free to refer to my February post The Digital Upload: First Time For The New Course – What To Do! Please also ...

The NEW visual arts course

  In my last blog I made some mention of the new DP visual arts course and suggested the 'top 4' differences between the current and the new course, but it’s probably about time to start talking about it in a bit more detail. Hopefully quite a few of you will already have participated in a workshop, either online or face-to-face. IB Diploma Programme subjects usually have a seven year lifespan. The current visual arts course (started in 2009) still obviously has ...

Django Unchained, representations and ‘positioning the audience’

The following is an exchange between one of my students and I, broadly made on the topic of psychoanalytical approaches to film analysis. Her contribution attempts to describe and explore the nature of representations in Django unchained (Tarantino US 2012), which my response attempts to take these ideas in to the realm of how audiences engage with these representation and what I believe to be the true intended meanings of the film makers, based on the experience of their oeuvre. Quentin ...

Moderators’ advice for your IA

Subject Reports The IB Diploma Psychology subject reports were published recently. They are where examiners and IB Diploma moderators give feedback on the quality of the May 2104 exams and the IAs.  This month we will take a look at what the moderators said about the IAs, both HL and SL.  Those of you taking your exams in May 2015 have probably now started your IA experimental study, and those of you taking your exams in November 2015 or May 2016 ...

COMPARING OLD AND NEW: 14 DIFFERENCES continued

In my last post (August) I discussed seven differences between the current and the new course. Here are some thoughts about another seven differences  1. Fewer final pieces in the exhibition Page 55 of the new guide says Formal requirements of the task—SL   SL students submit 4–7 artworks. Formal requirements of the task—HL HL students submit 8–11 artworks. What does this mean? Well, in some ways the numbers reflect the weighting. The exhibition accounts for 40% of the whole rather than 60% in ...

Evolution of the American Gangster Movie – Part one

The 'Godfather' movies are a significant step in the evolution of the American gangster film, in that many of the repertoires of elements conform to the classic conventions but present them in interesting and innovative ways. As films they  (well at least GF 1 &2) stand above the genre, and seemed to revivify it and set an new agenda for all gangster films to follow that is at least until Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas of 1990. Unlike their antecedents from the 1930's the ...

Exploring gender representations in the independent study

This post is an attempt to explain how one can approach the subject of representations in reading movie narratives, and to be taken seriously in the independent study. My primary intention is to offer some weight to those of you who might have students interested in exploring gender representations. Far too many independent study about gender representations confine themselves to the unfairness or narrowness of stereotypes as perceived through plot device. When what they should do is to use the ...

More scaffolding learning for the independent study

Documentary B-roll project B-rolls, according to Wikipedia, are the supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot in an interview or documentary. More often the b-roll is the sole source of visual material and some of the audio material, all held together within the dialectic of a documentary by a voice-over narration an example of clever use of the b-roll is in The power of nightmares (Adam Curtis 2004 UK) In this research project you will be expected to construct a B-roll for a ...