Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Norman Jewison and Movies with a Message
Ask: Have you seen a movie that changed your opinion about something? Discuss some of the ideas that arise.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Master Storyteller Norman Jewison on the
CBC Digital Archives website. Have them review the clips "Not your typical film
director" and "One on one with Gzowski".
Students will record Jewison's ideas about making controversial films,
such as F.I.S.T., and his observations on "message" movies in general.
Divide the class in four groups and assign each group one of the following films: In the Heat of the Night, F.I.S.T., A Soldier's Story, and The Hurricane. Students are responsible for obtaining and viewing their assigned film after receiving their guardian's approval. While viewing, students should note the social issues the film addresses and whether viewing the film has made them rethink the issues.
Revisit and Reflect
After all members of the group have seen the film, students will work together to prepare a presentation containing a brief outline of plot and character and an in-depth analysis of the film's message regarding social issues. Students should be encouraged to include short clips from the film to support their ideas. After the presentations, discuss the themes that repeat throughout Jewison's work and how he uses film to express his worldview.
Students can use the internet to investigate the history of the film they screened. Was it considered controversial when it was released? Was it ever banned? What do the director or the actors have to say about the film's ideas and influence on society?