Imagine attending a class where Gabbar Singh mouths the iconic dialogue “kitne admi the…” It’s easy to envy such students. Imagine the contrasting sound waves in Takhshshila, when one gets to hear baffling mathematical calculations or chemical equations from neighbouring classrooms but in one of the classrooms, we have the evergreen words heard decades back, repeat, during a school examination,It’s unbelievable and perhaps has the potential of being dismissed as a misfit in proper education structure.
Cinema evokes emotions and mirrors or influences social fabrics. Language is mere communication tool. Cinema has the potential to influence. Film Studies is essential, especially in this day and age. The young minds who are the prospective future vote banks for any democratic nation, need this exposure to the worldof art and cinema.
The International Baccalaureate curriculum emphasizes on the element of ‘culture’ in it’s an effort to impart education in Cinema, and the subject is innocently labeled as ‘Film Studies.’ The oxymoronic addressing of the subject which weighs much more than mere ‘weightage’ or ‘grades’ to determine comprehension and reasoning among students, merits a ‘compulsory’ inclusion in the Diploma Program.
The veteran Academy Award-winning filmmaker of international repute, Martin Scorsese, is of the opinion that “Cinema is what is in the frame and what’s out.” This filtering in the mind, that decides how much is to be captured by the lens, which is technically a single eye, and the manner in which it decides to present the communication. is the Cinematic grammar. This grammar invites skill, and a certain discipline and exposure of the mind. The Film Studies syllabus provides academic approach towards achieving the requisites for such communication. It’s important for impressionable minds to realise that there’s lot more to Cinema other than the glittering and candy coated misleading glamour, which is unfortunately recognised as synonymous with cinema.
I’m enjoying my stint as a Film Studies facilitator and the four students who are the first batch of this flagship subject will vouch for the fact that there’s actually lot more to the Gabbar Singh episode. Students were reflecting on their comprehension of diegetic and nondiegetic sound. They could read the cinematic piece with more clarity. The fact that the ‘belt’ is also a character. The sound of the shoes on the rocky terrain of Ramanagara (in Bangalore) has enough academic interest and actually thirsts for further investigation onit’s employment of various elements of cinema and the reflection of culture even in those frames.
The students of Film Studies have represented the school in festivals and have already won accolades. The department, called The Cinematologisits, was responsible for the Senior School’s film observing the Indian Independence Day celebration, last August. The department curated the first-ever online school one-act play theatre exhibition.
Today education is being imparted with the help of images. These images are still and moving images. The new generation of learners are banking on a separate set of devices like mobile phones, iPods, television screens, and Cinema. Cinematic grammar is not confined to mere entertainment alone. Students of Film Studies need to have a knowledge of German Expressionism, and French Wave Cinema to appreciate the works of the likes of Ram Gopal Verma on one hand and Christopher Nolan on the other.
Screening Literacy, the 2011 European Commission on film education, defined film literacy as:
“The level of understanding of a film, the ability to be conscious and curious in the choice of films; the competence to critically watch a film and to analyze its content, cinematography and technical aspects; and the ability to manipulate its language and technical resources in creating moving image production”.
Cinema illiteracy is unhealthy and the fact that here in Pathways World School, Aravali, we have launched the subject, I am hopeful that in the days to come, the stake holders will wake up to it’s cause and will realise why it’s inclusion is imperative.