Life Made Aware: Scripting Lives through Eyes Only

byBonnee L. Breese

This curriculum unit will help teachers explain how Black people are depicted in African and American films. It will expose students to West African cultural groups, giving them a technically visual understanding of misinformation in the American film industry. It probes matters concerning the visual imagery surrounding American students including the glorifying of violence; the self-degradation of Blacks; the exploitative lewdness of spirit in film and the savoir-faire tactics of propaganda tools in American films.

Students will learn to adopt filmmakers' worldview through the telescopic eye of the movie camera and editorial cut. Using literary terms closely associated with the industry, students will be able to intelligibly question all aspects of film. Students will understand the making of films, keeping in mind the written story, the use of film editing and adaptations. This unit offers a learning environment that celebrates the phenomenal intellect of Black writers, directors and filmmakers, past and present.

This unit is designed for use in the high school classroom setting, fitting the mold for advanced or regular English language arts classes, social studies classes and students in film and/or cinematography classes. This unit is also appropriate for use in classrooms of varied racial diversity.

(Developed for English, grade 9, and African American Literature, grades 11-12; recommended for English, African American Literature, Social Studies, and Film, grades 9-12)

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