New Media: Film Studies 11

***This class can be taken by Grade 11 students to fulfill English 11 credits, or by Grade 12 students as an elective taken in addition to English 12.

A film is a petrified fountain of thought.

-Jean Cocteau

Welcome to Film Studies 11!LitFilm

Literature & Film is a course developed to explore visual literacy, an essential skill of today’s educated citizen. In this class, students will study the relatively young and tremendously engaging art form of film in conjunction with literature to develop an appreciation of artistic expression, to hone critical thinking and analytical skills, and to develop the ability to express themselves with words and images.

Unit 1: The Dark Side

  • What is literacy and how does it apply in our “information age”?
  • How are film and literary techniques used for effect in texts?
  • How is suspense created in stories and for what purpose?


Short Stories:  Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”

Films:  Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho


Reading/Viewing: review of film and literature terminology, annotation and analysis skills, use of devices for effect, focus on understanding irony and point of view

Writing/Expression: observation map of Jaws (analysis of literary elements and film techniques), analysis essay

Unit 2: Fantasy and Reality

  • What are some conditions that lead to the desire to escape reality?
  • What are the benefits and pitfalls of using the imagination?


Short Stories:  Anton Chekov’s “The Lottery Ticket,” and James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Film: Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful


Reading/Viewing: annotation close reading practice, reading comprehension quiz, analyzing tone and film/literary techniques (hyperbole, symbolism, colour)

Writing/Expression: synthesis essay

Unit 3: Delving Beneath the Surface

  • Why do writer’s use extended metaphors and symbols?


Short Stories:  WD Valgardson’s “Saturday Climbing” and Shinichi Hoshi’s “Hey, Come On Out!”

Film:  Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer


Reading/Viewing: practice spotting symbolism and decoding images, viewing notes for understanding allegory

Writing/Expression: Communicating with images poster assignment

Unit 4: The Nature of Evil

  • Why do good people do bad things?
  • Is aggression necessary to get ahead in life?
  • Is violence ever justified?
  • Do the means justify the ends?
  • Are there circumstances under which it is reasonable to break one’s personal moral code?


Films: Roman Polanski’s Macbeth and Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood

Media: YouTube video – Einar Overenget’s “Why Good People Do Bad Things”


Reading/Viewing: reading comprehension quiz, analyzing character and theme, synthesis viewing notes

Writing/Expression: Macbeth adaptation project

Unit 5: Technology and Society – Our Robotic Future

  • What makes us human?
  • What qualities separate humans from machines?
  • Will robots and artificial intelligence help us perfect ourselves and our world, or will they make humans obsolete?
  • What ethical limitations should there be (if any) on the development of AI?
  • Can you love, trust, or have an authentic connection with an artificial being?
  • Is it ethical to evolve the human body?


Short Story: Isaac Asimov’s “Robot Dreams” and Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics”

Non-Fiction: Francis Fukuyama’s “Transhumanism,” Rosa Brooks’ “In Defense of Killer Robots, Arthur House’s “The Real Cyborgs,” and Margaret Atwood’s “Are Human’s Necessary?”

Media: YouTube – “Sophia Awakens”, New Yorker cover – Kikuo Johnson’s “Tech Support”

TED Talks: “Can We Build AI Without Losing Control Over It?” Sam Harris,  “What AI is and isn’t,” Sebastian Thrun, and “What Will Humans Look Like in 100 Years?” Juan Enriquez

TV Episodes: Humans S01E01, Black Mirror “Be Right Back”


Films: Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (Spike Jonze’s Her for home viewing)


Reading/Viewing: recognizing persuasive/rhetorical techniques, analyzing theme, decoding images quiz

Writing/Expression: persuasion project

Unit 6:  War

  • What is the impact of war on the individual and society?
  • What is the impact of point of view on a text?


Poems: “Diameter of a Bomb,” “The War Works Hard,” “The Soldier,” “Dulce et Decorum Est,” “Christ and the Soldier.”

Films: clips from Ken Annakin’s The Longest Day and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan


Reading/Viewing: analysis of figurative language and point of view

Writing/Expression: poetry analysis paragraph

Unit 7: Humanity and Nature

  • What is humanity’s proper relationship with nature?
  • How does living in an urban setting affect our connection to the natural world?
  • What effect does the natural world have on the individual?


Media: YouTube – Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”

Poetry: Mary Oliver’s “Some Things Say the Wise Ones” and Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things” and Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us”

Film:  Sean Penn’s Into the Wild


Reading/Viewing: practice interpreting and connecting to poetry

Writing/Expression: poetry analysis – visual representation, creative writing