Archive for the ‘Year 12’ Category
It is always interesting to read reviews of the film you are studying. Here is one from the Nashville Scene:
Only a few movies have managed to convey believably both the menace of a future society and the courageous resistance of some of its members. The rebellion portrayed is usually trite and cornball, an easy idealism that believes in the power of the human spirit over all threatening forces. There’s a reason that the most compelling vision of the future in literature continues to be 1984–we know the deadening power of totalitarian bureaucracies too well to believe in simple escapes from them.
Gattaca’s protagonist, Vincent (Ethan Hawke), dreams of a very literal escape; he’s in training for a flight to one of Saturn’s moons. In an age of instant DNA sequencing from any sample of tissue or bodily fluid, however, the only people admitted to the Gattaca corporation’s space program are the genetically perfect, engineered in the womb. Vincent is a “love child” with a high probability of heart problems and early death, so he buys the identity of Jerome, physical paragon and certified genius. When one of the flight directors is murdered on the job, the physical evidence vacuumed up at the scene threatens to expose Vincent as an “in-valid” only days before takeoff.
The assumed-identity plot, with its threat of constant disaster hidden in Vincent’s dead skin cells, is the consistently exciting part of Gattaca. Ethan Hawke, who has a tendency to overestimate his own charisma as an actor, is effective when restrained by a plot that requires him to blend into a robotic, homogeneous work force. The credit sequence shows Vincent’s methodical daily preparation as he attaches fake fingerprints to his digits; a cache of Jerome’s blood is hidden underneath for the instant blood test at the door, while Jerome’s urine is strapped to his thigh for the unannounced sampling. Writer-director Andrew Niccol subtly evokes a whole society that trusts its computer identity checks more than its common sense. When the murder investigation reveals that in-valid Vincent is on the grounds of Gattaca, a futuristic corporation, detective Alan Arkin never thinks to compare his picture to the actual faces of employees, preferring instead to rely on a blood test.
Read the rest here.
Over Terms Two and Three, 20 issues of The College Herald will be published each Tuesday. In each issue, approximately 20 pieces of students work will be published. In all, 400 students will feature, so you have an excellent chance of getting published, getting your message out there and winning one of the prizes.
Every week, The College Herald will focus on a Weekly Theme. Five pieces of work will be published each week under the Weekly Theme category. Students can address one of these themes, or all of them, in any way they feel is appropriate.
They’re looking for all kinds of work, written and visual, from secondary students.
Written work can be in the form of modified essays or essay excerpts, feature writing, creative pieces, articles, reviews, poems, letters, interviews or investigative journalism.
Graphic and visual work includes artwork, photography, cartoons and illustrations.
Publication date: May 10
Deadline for submission to reach The New Zealand Herald: April 19
Raising children is one of the most important and demanding jobs we’ll ever have but there’s often little training for it. The first five years of a child’s life largely determines their physical, social and intellectual development. The teenage years can be the most testing for both children and parents as values are challenged and boundaries tested.
• How would you describe the way you were raised? What worked well for you and your parents and what was less successful? Has your relationship changed as you’ve got older?
• What advice would you give to parents to help them raise well-balanced children? What is the best advice your parents have ever given you? Did you recognise the value of that advice at the time?
• Should more be done to prepare people for parenthood? Some people have suggested parents should have to get a licence. If that were the case, what should it entail?
• New Zealand has a problem with child abuse. What are your feelings about this? What could be done to address this?
Suggestions: Create a parenting licence. Talk to your parents or grandparents about how they were raised. Take a photo that reflects your ideas about good parenting.
March is NZ Book Month and here at Katikati College we will have an extra focus on reading for its duration. New Zealand Book Month is an annual campaign to encourage us all to celebrate books and reading. New Zealand Book Month is the perfect time to discover your next life-changing book, pick up a recommended read, share a favourite book with your friends and family, to start a book club …
You can see what is happening on this blog and here.
I know some of you are prolific readers but is there a book that you feel really changed your life? A book that made you decide what you wanted to do or helped you to be who you are?
It might be a treasured childhood book, a coming-of-age story, a classic novel or even a ‘how to’ book, a book that made you think or one that made you laugh… Whatever it is, tell me about “the book that changed your life”!
Here’s an example from Stormbreaker writer Anthony Horowitz:
It would have to be Dr No by Ian Fleming. It was 1967. I was about 12, trapped in the weird and miserable bubble of prep-school life where my experience of sexual desire and violence edging on sadism was largely restricted to my French teacher. The book introduced me to a whole new world. Even the Jamaican setting seemed impossibly exotic.
This one is about The Faraway Tree and it is from Roald Dahl’s granddaughter and writer in her own right Sophie Dahl:
It was the first book I read by myself when I was about six. It made me long for bedtime, even though it was summer and still light outside. The Faraway Tree was buried deep in an enchanted wood, at whose edge lived the children Bessie, Fanny, Jo and later, cousin Dick (in his new PC incarnation unfortunately renamed Rick). One day the children stumble upon a magical tree inhabited by a clutch of fairy folk, among them Moon Face, Silky the fairy, Dame Washalot, the Angry Pixie and the Saucepan Man, a creature rendered deaf as a post because of the constant clang of the saucepans he wears. As with most Enid Blyton books, food is integral to the story, and the children are incessantly eating delicious sweets and biscuits and having picnics. As an immensely greedy child, my plump imagination was on overload due to the graphic descriptions of said feasts, and it was probably my first exposure to food writing, which has stuck with me ever since.
The Enchanted Wood fueled my imagination, appetite (for food and reading), and perhaps most importantly, uncovered a lifelong voracious leaning towards happy endings.
For writer Jacqueline Wilson it was Lolita:
I’d have to choose Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, which I first read when I was 13. My dad bought it eagerly but gave up on it a few chapters in. My mum had a go then, but found Nabokov’s baroque style irritatingly impenetrable. I asked to read it and my parents said absolutely not. I didn’t waste my breath arguing. I simply waited till I had the opportunity to whip the distinctive yellow dustwrapper off Lolita and rejacket it with the Catherine Cookson novel I was reading. I spent the next week reading in the bath, in bed, at playtimes, at school. It was a total revelation to me. I hadn’t realised you could use language in such a rich and elegant way, and I was amazed at the subject matter. I thought it the most wonderful and exciting book I’d ever read. I realised that literature could be outrageous and mind-stretching and utterly extraordinary.
I have just finished re-reading this book and I think it is one that many of you would find a rewarding read. The book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie, is an award-winning story of a 14-year-old American Indian who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. It is both funny and moving, a story about a boy who doesn’t fit in anywhere, who has to fight for a place, and still feels like an outsider. Major themes in the book include death, poverty, racism, and alcoholism. I know that sounds depressing but Alexie writes in such a way that the book is both heartbreaking and funny.
‘The Absolutely True Diary’ is used widely as a class reader but it is not without controversy. Some parents at Antioch High School wanted the book pulled from the school’s shelves and the curriculum because they believe it uses foul, racist language and describes sexual acts according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” has won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and was named one of the Los Angeles Times’ Favorite Children’s Books of 2007 and New York Times’ Notable Children’s Books of 2007.
“It’s not just a stylistic conceit, it’s part of the story. The first five times that it happens in the movie, people go, ‘Oh my God, look at that colour.’ A character stares at the rose, he’s blown away. There’s constant reaction to the bits of colour… It’s like a virus that spreads. It’s done in part to keep the viewers off guard and give them a sense of surprise and wonder, because this world of predictability is breaking down.”
(Director Gary Ross)
The film uses colour in a complex and symbolic way, mixing monochrome and colour objects in the same frame. The film contrasts the complex, colourful, contemporary world of the late 1990s with the simplified, black-and-white world of Pleasantville, a late 1950s TV sitcom. The introduction of the intruders David and Jennifer to Pleasantville gradually changes the sitcom world and these changes are reflected by the gradual introduction of colour.
Pleasantville’s world is simple. It is a closed universe, where the streets loop back on themselves. In Pleasantville it never rains. There are no fires, all the fireman do is to rescue cats from trees. Everything is perfect and simple. The basketball team has never lost, it even seems that is impossible to miss a shot. While there are books in the library, they are filled with blank pages. The simple clarity of black and white matches the idealised nature of the world.
When Jennifer (Mary -Sue) starts the process of sexual awakening in the town it spreads quickly through the town’s teenagers. The viewer sees car brake lights suddenly glow red. Later we see a pink tongue, then a green car. In the soda shop, Mary-Sue nibbles at the red cherry on her ice cream. The parking spot in Lover’s Lane becomes a riot of colour. It is interesting how other aspects are used to signal changes in a variety of ways and it is not just though the gradual appearance of colour. A tree busts into flame. Text and pictures start appearing in library books. The juke-box music in the Pleasantville soda shop moves from sugary middle of the road music to rock-and-roll and then to modern jazz. It also starts to rain.
In Pleasantville, colour is used to differentiate two universes. In the film Gary Ross uses colour as a metaphor for race. The people who have experienced epiphanies or strong emotion are represented in colour and referred to as “coloureds,” while the people who are still only black and white try to segregate and oppress them.
In 1951, after celebrating Christmas Day, civil rights activist Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette went to bed – ten minutes later, a bomb shattered their house and ended their lives. This event shattered any hope that the South was ready to give up centuries of white supremacy for a new era of racial equality.
Harry T. Moore was a distinguished school teacher and Executive Director of the Florida chapter of the NAACP. He ran a passionate crusade for equal rights and he could not be discouraged from his fight – either by the white power structure or the more cautious factions of his own movement. Although Moore’s assassination was a big event internationally in 1951, it was overshadowed by later events in the Civil Rights movement and eventually almost forgotten.
Moore paved the way for the ’60s Civil Rights movement. He was a tireless organiser and an dedicated champion of equal pay for black teachers and voter registration; during his tenure in the Florida NAACP he raised the number of Florida’s black voters to twice that of any other Southern state. He was also an eloquent and prolific letter writer, constantly petitioning government officials to right the many injustices committed against his people, including numerous instances of lynching and police brutality. It was his outspoken fervour about one of these cases, the notorious case of the Groveland Four – black youths accused, under murky circumstances, of raping a white woman – that many believe finally pushed the local Klan to silence him once and for all.