3 Cinema

THE CLAPBOARD is the class symbol for the History Through Cinema.  It represents the work, care and craftsmanship that goes into great movie.  A great movie is not for everyone.  You must have patience, maturity and cerebral sense of storytelling.  A great movie can only reveal itself when a commitment is made to trust the director, the actors and the teacher who is showing you the film.

Since 2005

MISSION: Students can expect to learn about and watch some of the greatest and most acclaimed historical films of all time.  Students will evaluate the historical accuracy and discuss the theatrical and cultural merits of the teacher-selected films.
  • Know & Remember "The 10 Movie Themes", Film-watching etiquette, and Basic Movie Plots
  • Understand the importance patience, maturity and commitment in watching a great film
  • Apply their knowledge about films to engage in discussions, writing reviews and creating unique projects
  • Analyze film casting choices, historical accuracy, and film interpretation
  • Evaluate simulations, experiences, learning games & peer work
  • Create innovative authentic projects 
CULMINATING ACTIVITY: Film Matrix Project (End of semester)

  • Historical Research
  • Historical Interpretation
  • Watching, Analyzing and Evaluating Acclaimed cinema
  • Thinking on-your-feet
  • Discussing the films
  • Evaluating Peer Work
  • Public Speaking
  • Improvising, Adapting & Overcoming!

In the History Thru Cinema course we will watch award-winning, culturally and historically significant films to gain an appreciation for American and World History.  The course is meant to inspire a life-long interest in history and learning.


How To Write a Movie Review

From the University of Chicago "How to Write a Movie Review"


Five Parts (Paragraphs) of a Movie Review

First Paragraph: The Opening (Catch the Reader's Attention)

Think about how advertisements sell movies: "trailers" show you a few seconds of the movie to get you interested.

When you begin your movie review, make your own "trailer." If you liked the movie, then your trailer should make people want to see it; but if you didn't like it, the trailer should be something that shows why you didn't like it. Don't explain why you liked it or didn't like it; make the reader like or not like the movie by what you describe. Begin your review by retelling an incident or moment from the movie which you think captures the spirit of the movie as you understood it.

Second Paragraph: Take Care of Business
Near the beginning of the review, you have to tell the reader all the obligatory stuff--the title of the movie, the director, the studio, the main actors, the year it was made (if you watched it on video), the rating. This paragraph tells the reader the things they have to know about the movie. Also, in one sentence or two, you should explain very simply what the movie is all about--not necessarily what happens, but that might work, too, if you can say it in one two sentences.

Third Paragraph: Character and plot summary
What happens in the movie? You shouldn't tell everything that happens--and especially not the ending. But you want to summarize the basic plot of the movie, in more detail than you do in the paragraph above.  One way to do this might be to write a sentence about each main character.

Fourth Paragraph: A Key Moment or Idea
In this paragraph, go into detail about something important that interested you about the movie. If it was a musical, you should say something about the songs. Or if the soundtrack was good, talk about that. Or write more about one character who was really intriguing. Or retell another big moment from the movie and explain why it is important. If you think the "idea" behind a movie was really interesting, explain that idea and talk about it a little bit. In this paragraph, you must go into depth about the movie.

Fifth Paragraph: Evaluate the Movie
Do you recommend it or not? Who will like it (kids or adults)? The most important thing here is that you must also explain why you are making your recommendation.

You must justify your opinion--and that opinion should grow out of what you write in the rest of the review. Give at least two reasons why you liked or didn't like the movie.

Grading: Each film is worth 45-50 points (depends on film length)
  • 10 points = pre-film intro, notes and preview participation (must be present)
  • 15-20 points = Film Viewing (10 pts. per day)
  • 10 points = post-film critique, discussion and character study
  • 10 points = online discussion posting (class wiki)

Movie Watching Etiquette:

1. Absolute silence during film

2. Go to the bathroom during the 5-minute passing time

3. Cell phones off!

4. No loud food wrappers

5. No homework or other classwork during film

6. Stay awake! **I will brew coffee for our classes ;)

**Those who violate proper film watching etiquette will be disciplined accordingly.  

Repeated offenses will result in removal from class