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Teaching film and Better Things

It took only a muffled giggle. It took only a muffled giggle from a 14 year old boy watching what I thought was a good choice of film to show teenagers (drugs, relationships between kids) to make me fall out of love- drastically- with Better Things.  I suddenly saw and heard it through their eyes- the  opening voice over I once thought pertinent, the 'sophisticated' use of sound (which seemed for no reason except that it could be done) which I had thought daring, the tableaus of the drugged and dead young woman which I originally thought was a nice use of editing rarely seen in Britain, now only made the narrative melodramatic and spoiled any emotional effect the reveal might have had...I suddenly saw how the film made a mockery of their emotions through the distortion of the film being an 'art' film.. it is not the details of the narrative that make the film laughable to teenage boys but the imposition of a style..
And I was also imposing. Trying to be clever. Now realising that all along it is me who has misunderstood Better Things....it is an  18 certificate but it is definitely for adults who can take visual information with a bit more sophistication. ... and though a film primarily about young people, is definitely not for young people.
So I have to change how I approach my film teaching. Instead of trying to be clever and picking things I think relevant or exciting because of their approach may be I should pick things that are just enjoyable, just good and interesting. Instead of me trying to impose I should not 'pick' out films but give the students some choice about what they might watch. Without realising it I was being too dogmatic and that is what that young teenage boy taught me that day, as well as making me reevaluate Better Things and why I may like it- quite possibly not for the reasons I thought.

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