Metropolis (1927)

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Tips and Tricks, Video Highlights

timothy-eberly-382663-unsplashFritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis was ground breaking in many ways. At the time, it was the most expensive German film ever made, costing over 5 million reichsmarks and taking 17 months to film, nearly financially capsizing the production studio, UFA. As one of the first feature length science fiction films ever made, Metropolis is an expansive story that is renowned even today for its extravagant scenery, art direction, cinematography and utilisation of German expressionist techniques. At its original run time of 153 minutes, it was one of the longest films made, contributing to its initial financial failure, as it required over four kilometres of film to run it, a weighty investment for any theatre. With the science fiction genre as we know it today still largely being defined in this era (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, often considered the first work of science fiction, was published in 1818), it was a difficult film to categorise and advertise. Indeed, an advertisement from New Zealand reads ‘See it! Try to describe it!’ Nonetheless, it has since become recognised as a highly influential film, becoming the first film to be inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2001, and is widely studied in schools today for both its historical context as part of the Weimar Republic, an example of early science fiction, German Expressionism and the utilisation of the silent film genre.

The film was accompanied by a novelisation, published in 1925 by director Fritz Lang’s then-wife and credited screenwriter, Thea von Harbou. However, it was the film that really made an impact, with many praising its technical prowess whilst simultaneously lambasting it as being overlong and overwrought. Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times called it “a technical marvel with feet of clay”, whilst renowned sci-fi author H.G Wells criticised the film as being rampant with “foolishness, cliché, platitude and muddlement about mechanical progress and progress in general.” Regardless of these criticisms, Metropolis has undoubtedly had an impact upon contemporary science fiction, with as film critic Roger Ebert stated “from this film in various ways, descended not only ‘Dark City’, but ‘Blade Runner’, ‘The Fifth Element’, ‘Alphaville’, Escape From L.A’, ‘Gattaca’ and Batman’s Gotham City… Rotwang created the visual look of mad scientists for decades to come, especially after it was mirrored in ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’… the device of the ‘false Maria’… inspired the ‘Replicants’ of ‘Blade Runner.’” It was one of the first examples of the dystopia / utopia theme in science fiction, something that has continued to be explored (e.g.: 1984, Brave New World, Never Let Me Go, The Matrix, etc.) and has seen a resurgence in recent years.

The film’s most famous quote, “the mediator between head and hands must be the heart” reverberates throughout the entire film, with Metropolis demonstrating a schism between the upper and lower classes. In this case it is literal, with the lower classes living underground and the upper classes living amongst the sprawling excess of the city, overshadowed by their monolithic buildings, which are a combination of the grandeur of Greco-Roman architecture and luxe, geometric (harking back to the streamlined appearance of machines) Art Deco. Indeed, the sets appear to dwarf the actors, with the machines and the structures taking visual precedence. This is exemplified when Freder imagines one of the machines as Moloch, a Canaanite god / idol that required child sacrifice that is referenced in Leviticus. This precedence of machines is rectified by the end of the film, but this also highlights Lang’s propensity for biblical allusions throughout the film- the tower of Babel, the idolatress of Babylon and the beast with seven heads, Maria as a virtuous Mary figure preaching to the workers, Freder as a Christlike mediator between above and below, the gardens as a reference to Eden, etc. This lends the story gravity and also helped in creating a grounding point for the audience, references that they were familiar with amongst the fantastical landscape Lang presented.

Metropolis was released during the ‘golden era’ of the Weimar Republic, a brief period of stability and prosperity in Germany, prior to World War II. With a permanent currency implemented in 1923 and the Dawes Plan in 1924, it sparked a cultural renaissance, born in the wake of World War I, the immense hyperinflation and the influence of the cultural development in the Soviet Union. Innovations in German cinema, literature, architecture (particularly Bauhaus), film, art and theatre came to the forefront, with a fascination with the ‘ultramodern’ in addition to the mediums of cabaret and jazz and an overall differentiation from more traditional German values- an influence that is certainly explored in Metropolis. There was a certain contention between the pull of traditional values versus the influence of globalisation and the influx of other cultures, particularly America (via American films and fashion), with Americanisation progressing largely due to the Dawes Plan.

German Expressionism was at its peak during this time, with Metropolis being a prime example. It was more concerned with the evocation of a particular mood and aimed to show a highly subjective view of the world, as compared to the strict realism and somewhat detached perspective of art and film previously. This internal perspective was highly effective and necessary in silent film, given the absence of audible dialogue. This was characterised by evocative lighting (particularly via chiaroscuro, obviously highlighting certain objects / characters and casting others in shadow) and utilising different camera angles and perspectives. In the post World War I environment, there was an increased fascination with the human psyche, madness and the question of identity, as life as most people knew it had been irrevocably shifted.

Metropolis is a highly influential film that is broadly studied today. Whether you are exclusively studying the film or the Weimar Republic, 20th century Germany, the development of silent film or the consolidation of the science fiction genre, it is an important piece of culture that is still highly relevant.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources in relation to this subject. If you use the SmartSuite version of TV4Education, just search for the titles below on your site:

Metropolis (Movie 1927)

German Expressionism: Crash Course Film History #7

Fritz Lang Interviewed by William Friedkin (1974)

The Silent Era: Crash Course Film History #9

The History of Cinema- Silent Era

BBC Paul Mertons Weird and Wonderful World of Early Cinema

Generation War (Part One)

Dawes Plan

Ten Minute History- The Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany (Short Documentary)

The Great Depression: Crash Course US History #33

 

 

The Archibald Prize

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Tips and Tricks, Video Highlights

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The Archibald Prize is arguably the most prestigious and iconic portraiture award in Australia. Since its commencement in 1921 at the posthumous bequest of J.F Archibald, a former co-owner and editor of The Bulletin, the Prize has been the cause of much controversy and media attention, consolidating the career of many artists. Whilst it isn’t the highest paying Australian portraiture prize ($100,000 to the Moran’s $150,000), it is far better known, and for good reason, with J.F Archibald’s edict stating that the portraits are to be ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’. As such, the Archibald has oft depicted well known people of varying degrees of celebrity: politicians, actors, musicians, sports stars, other artists (à la Ben Quilty’s portrait of Australian icon Margaret Olley in 2011).

As we fast approach the centenary of the prize with today’s announcement of the 2018 winner, Yvette Coppersmith’s ‘Self-portrait, after George Lambert’, the Prize has demonstrated how portraiture has moved strictly from realism to a more emotive mode of painting. This was first particularly noted after the controversy surrounding the now infamous painting ‘Portrait of an Artist (Joshua Smith)’ by Sir William Dobell (whose portrait of Dame Mary Gilmore is featured on the Australian $10 notes)which won the prize in 1943, calling into question the nature and guidelines of portraiture, with the work being contested in the Supreme Court of New South Wales by two other entrants for falling into the genre of caricature as opposed to portraiture and thus not eligible for the prize. Nonetheless, their verdict was overturned and the Archibald has continued to be a demonstration of the changing face of art within Australia.

In 2014, there were over 130,000 tickets sold to the finalist exhibitions for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes, and it is an event that attracts over $1 million in profit each year, with that number only climbing. There is criticism that it is, to quote gallery owner Michael Reid, ‘a media circus’ as opposed to a respected art prize. Regardless of opinion, it has undoubtedly cemented its place in the Australian art world and provides a platform for artists such as Ben Quilty, Del Kathryn Barton, Yvette Coppersmith, Fiona Lowry and more to be recognised outside of the often introspective sphere of the art world.

Portraiture is so often stereotyped as a stoic, bygone form of art, with Dobell stating during the Joshua Smith case that ‘so long as people expect paintings to be simply coloured photographs they get no individuality and in the case of portraits, no characterisation. The real artist is striving to depict his subject’s character and to stress the caricature, but at least it is art which is alive.’ That is not to say that realism is out dated and irrelevant, but that the nature of portraiture goes beyond capturing a physical likeness of the subject. It is perhaps this unique insight of the artist, particularly when applied to so many notable figures in Australian culture, that has made the Archibald Prize the icon that it is today.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources in relation to this subject. If you use the SmartSuite version of TV4Education, just search for the titles below on your site:

The Archibald- Welcome to the Archibald (S01E01)

The Archibald- First Strokes (S01E02)

The Archibald- D Day (S01E03)

The Archibald- And The Winner Is (S01E04)

Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery- Ben Quilty

Artscape Paths to Portraiture

Art Nation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raising Pompeii

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Tips and Tricks, Video Highlights

caitlin-wynne-462953-unsplashRaising Pompeii, presented by Michael Buerk, provides a fantastic introduction to the study of Pompeii. It is a unique resource in that it showcases the former Roman port city in all its former glory, thanks to state-the-art computer imagery, in addition to its current state. Thus, it helps students to straddle the necessary perspectives of any historian: past and present, and the unmitigated correlation between the two.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD undoubtedly consolidated Pompeii’s place in history. Located along the Bay of Naples and once considered one of the gateways to the Roman empire, Pompeii was once home to an estimated 12,000 people. Today, it hosts approximately 3 million tourists every year. What is the reason for this intense fascination? Is it merely a sense of morbid curiosity surrounding the deaths of those who died in the Plinean eruption on August 24th, 79 AD? Mayhap, but it is also due to the fact that it is so rare for us to be offered such a holistic look at life in an ancient city. Pompeii is certainly unique in this regard, the very eruption that devastated its inhabitants also serving to make a lasting vignette of their lives, due to the thick layer of ash and pumice that was wrought over the city during the pyroclastic flow.

Indeed, Buerk concerns himself primarily with the notion of bringing ‘this city back to life’ and the lives that those in Pompeii led, not their grisly demise. Aided with computer generated reproductions, Raising Pompeii showcases Pompeii as it would have been in the 1st century AD, drawing on a wealth of knowledge from an array of archaeologists and historians such as Dr Sophie Hay and Peter Ellis. Every aspect of life in Pompeii is explored, from the agricultural industry, made possible by the rich volcanic soil, their production of wine and the infamous fish sauce garum, their imports and exports as a port city, diet, entertainment and even the utilisation of cosmetics are all discussed, as Buerk leads us through a sweeping look at life in Pompeii.

However, Buerk is also sure to provide specific examples of Pompeian life, leading us through the niche Porta Marina district and the house and bar of Sextus Pompeius Amarantus, showcasing the value of hospitality within Roman society as a platform with which to demonstrate your status, be it via the grand atrium or the food that was offered to guests, consolidating the class divide within Roman culture. He also demonstrates the importance of the forum within Roman society, be it as a political, religious (as showcased by the dominating presence of the temples of Jupiter, Apollo and Vespa) or social platform. We also delve into the importance of sports within Pompeian society, particularly gladiators and the Roman taste for the macabre. Buerk takes us around the amphitheatre, a veritable monolith of architecture and the first stone structure of its kind in Italy, made to host up to 20,000 people. Overall, every aspect showcased serves as a heady reminder of the might and grandeur of the ancient Roman empire.

Raising Pompeii serves as a fantastic introduction to the world of Pompeii and Ancient Rome in general, and will undoubtedly serve to pique student’s interest beyond the events of the eruption, providing a broader context with which to ground their study.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources that can be used in relation to the topics covered in this post. If you use the SmartSuite version of TV4Education just search for the titles below on your site.

Raising Pompeii

Pompeii Life Before Death

Pompeii Cellar of Skeletons

Pompeii- New Secrets Revealed

The Other Pompeii- Life and Death in Herculaneum

New shows coming this week 28th August

Newsletters, Video Highlights

28/08/2017

Let’s take a look at what educational programs are on this week – rest assured that these programs will be available on TV4Education ad free shortly after they air on TV. (If they’re not already available).

Click here to see how easy it is to find and save the videos you want to use in the classroom.

Programs in Blue are from Free to air TV, Programs in Green are from Foxtel TV. All programs are available ad free to Australian Schools through TV4Education.


Monday


 

Diana – 20 Years On (History Channel)

20 years ago the world was devastated by the death of the “People’s Princess”, but her legacy lives on. [Classified PG]

*HOT TIP* Take a look at our other documentaries and movies about Diana’s life by searching for “Princess Diana”.
News & Documentaries | History | Humanitarian | Empathy | Monarchy | Media | Secondary | Influential People

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Full Proof – Plastic (ABC3 Channel)

Mona lives in Amsterdam and is worried about the plastic waste in her city. She finds plastic bottles and bags in the parks, on the streets and floating in the canals. She wants to find out what plastic is and why it shouldn’t end up in the environment. So she starts to experiment. She melts plastic, she molds plastic, she makes a beautiful vase with plastic and she finds out how she can use plastic waste to stop the plastic problem in Amsterdam. [Classified G]

Science | Chemistry | STEM | Experiments | Secondary | Primary

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History’s Secrets – Atomic Bomb (History Channel)

Especially in this tense political climate, you have to wonder, how are atomic bombs so accessible? [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | History | Conflict | War | Science | Politics | Secondary

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Australian Story – Cracking Up (ABC1 Channel)

Comedian Sami Shah and psychologist Ishma Alvi left behind turmoil in Pakistan to give their young daughter a better life in Australia. When they ended up in a small country town in Western Australia, it was not the dream they’d imagined. Ishma found work in a detention centre and unemployed Sami hit the comedy circuit, poking fun at his new town of Northam, rousing the ire of some residents. [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | Modern Australia | Comedy | Inspirational | Cultural Understanding | Journalism| Interview | Human Interest | Secondary

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Russia’s War: Blood Upon the Snow – The Cult Of Personality (s01e10) (History Channel)

Stalin’s game plan is particularly selfish at the end of World War II. [Classified M]

News & Documentaries | History | Secondary | War | Conflict | Secondary

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Science Max: Experiments at Large (s01e09) (ABC3 Channel)

Phil gives himself super strength using the power of simple machines to move, lift and roll a machine he could barely budge otherwise. Plus, lift yourself with one finger and watch cavemen discover the wheel. [Classified G]

Science | Design | Biology| Experiments | History| Primary

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Maiko – Dancing Child (Arts Channel)

Being a ballerina is one of the world’s most tough, competitive and painful jobs – but imagine starting a family at the same time. [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | People & Culture |Arts | Dancing | Careers | Family | Stereotypes | Secondary | Performance Arts

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Chemistry Challenges And Solutions – The Behaviour Of Atoms: Phases Of Matter And The Properties Of Gases (s01e02) (ABC3 Channel)

Fundamentally, chemistry is the science of interacting particles. This unit covers the properties of solids, liquids, and gases in terms of the behaviour of invisible particles of matter that interact at the atomic scale. [Classified G]

Science | Gases | Chemistry| Experiments | Atoms | Matter | Primary

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Tuesday


 

Years of Living Dangerously – Uprising (s02e08) (National Geographic Channel)

America Ferrera meets activists in the US trying to shut down coal plants, while Sigourney Weaver investigates the impact that China’s pollution is having on the global environment. [Classified M]

News & Documentaries | People & Culture | Environmental Studies | Science | Climate Change | Global Warming | STEM | Secondary

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The House With Annabel Crabb (s01e04) (ABC1 Channel)

Annabel steps into the intoxicating world of the Senate, presided over by Senate President Stephen Parry (a former cop and undertaker) and his Clerk Rosemary Laing, an expert in 17th-century British poetry. [Classified G]

News & Documentaries |Politics | Canberra | Australia | Australian History | Secondary

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Soup Cans & Superstars (Arts Channel)

Alastair Sooke champions pop art as one of the most important art forms of the 20th-century, peeling back pops frothy, ironic surface to reveal an art style full of subversive wit and radical ideas. [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | People & Culture | Arts | Secondary | Creativity

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Catalyst – Closing In, The Hunt For Alien Life (ABC1 Channel)

Will we soon find evidence of alien life? Scientists are currently in the throes of an unprecedented search for ET – and an answer to this long-pondered question may come sooner than you think. [Classified G]

News & Documentaries |Science| Technologies | STEM| Space Science | Secondary

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The Truth Behind – King Arthur (s01e05) (National Geographic Channel)

Camelot. The Round Table. Excalibur. Are these stories historical fact or ancient fiction? Experts debunk the tale of King Arthur, one of the world’s most popular and enduring legends. [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | History | Iconic People| Secondary

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Late (s01e03) (SBS Channel)

Offred visits Janine’s baby with Serena Joy and remembers the early days of the revolution before Gilead. Ofglen faces a difficult challenge. [Classified MA15+]

Drama |TV Series| Literature| Acting | Secondary

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Dr Karl’s Outrageous Acts of Science (s01e10) (Discovery Channel)

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki uncovers the principles behind some mind-boggling experiments, extraordinary inventions and jaw dropping scientific stunts. [Classified PG]

| News & Documentaries | Science & Technology | Physics | Chemistry | STEM | Secondary

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Wednesday


 

Starting Up, Starting Over (s01e04) (Lifestyle Channel)

Hani and Sarah are turning their backs on their comfortable suburban lives in South West London. The couple and their two young children move 100 miles up to the Malvern Hills. They are putting all their life savings into building their own Brewery to sell their own beer with no previous experience in the industry between them. [Classified PG]

Entertainment | Lifestyle & Documentaries | Jobs | Careers | Work Studies | Small Business | Business Studies | Marketing | Start Up | Secondary

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Land Speed Heroes (s01e01) (Discovery Turbo Channel)

Get set for an action-packed hour as professional and amateur speed freaks try to set land speed records on Utah’s famous Bonneville Salt Flats. From hot rod-racing soccer mums to jaw-dropping streamliners and everything in between, get your kicks with these adrenaline junkies. [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | Science & Technology | Technology | Design | Mechanics | Cars | STEM | Secondary

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Thursday


 

Enemy Of The Reich (History Channel)

In 1943, Noor Khan was recruited as a covert operative into Churchill’s Special Operations. Khan became the only radio operator linking the British to the French Resistance, co-ordinating the airdrop of weapons and rescue of agents. [Classified M]

News & Documentaries | History | Secondary

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Rachel Hunter’s Tour Of Beauty – Hawaii (s02e05) (Lifestyle YOU Channel)

In Hawaii, Rachel learns that the Hawaiian secrets to health and beauty are intrinsically connected to nature. Oils, scrubs and flowers provide that Hawaiian glow. [Classified PG]

Entertainment | Lifestyle & Documentaries | Cultural Understanding | Mental Health | Health and PE | Self-Esteem | Self Care | Secondary

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Friday


 

Brain Games – Animal Vs Human (s04e16) (National Geographic Channel)

It’s going to be heads versus tails as we pit humans against animals in a series of unique competitions. If you play along, you’ll find out how a bird can eat like a horse and how a chimp can make you look like a chump. [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | Science & Technology | Science | Human Brain | The Human Body | Psychology | Secondary | Upper Primary

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Graceful Girls (Arts Channel)

Primary school teacher Brianna Lee takes one last shot at fulfilling her lifelong dream, of winning Calisthenics’ most prestigious title, ‘Most Graceful Girl’. [Classified PG]

News & Documentaries | People & Culture | Arts | Performance Arts | Sports Training | Health and PE | Secondary | Upper Primary

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Analyzing advertising, Blogging and Film.

SmartLessons

Aim: To teach students how to analyze advertising, blogs, and films. Giving them understanding into the different techniques and elements used to create each of the above disciplines.

Preparing: Pick a blog, series of adverts or a movie and have the students watch or read the content, noting down as much as possible about the language used, imagery, music, and elements.

For a Film: A quick search of TV4Education with the keyword being “Film (2014) will bring up all the movies that were made in that year. We do have a number of new releases also. Once you have found the movie, you can then do the analysis in the following format.

For advertising: Since TV4Education has all of its videos ad free the best way to find adverts on TV4Education is to look for shows who talk about them for example Gruen

You can also use Youtube to find great advertising videos.

 

You can also use Atom Lessons

ATOM_LOGO

Presenting: 

Film: Film theory

Matrix Education

Full Movie here: TV4Education Link

Image result for inception

Full Movie here: TV4Education Link

Image result for vertigo movie

Advertising:

Writing Commons

Understand Media

Applying: 

Film

Enter an Australian Film Competition

Advertising

Understand Media

©Copyright Functional Solutions 2017

The brain will get you thinking!

Newsletters, Video Highlights

TED-ED – What if we could look inside human Brains?

The brain is what makes us function, yet we understand so little about how it works. We are learning more about the brain by using new technology to monitor epilepsy patients during surgery. Moran Cerf explains the process doctors use to explore the brain further.

Click HERE to watch.

TEDTALKS – Ellen Jorgensen – Biohacking

Ellen is on the leading edge of the do-it-yourself biotech movement. Genspace in a nonprofit DIYbio lab in Brooklyn devoted to citizen science, where amateurs can go and tinker with biotechnology.

BREAKTHROUGH – MORE THAN HUMAN

Scientific advancements are challenging the concept of what it means to be human. In the near future, enhancing the human body with technology could lead to the next stage of our evolution.

Click Here to watch.

The Brain China – Season Premier

The Brain is a talent show that celebrates gifted minds and incredible skills of extraordinary men, women, and children. In each episode, seven contestants must perform mental and physical challenges that are impossible for the everyday person, such as solving a series of Rubiks Cube completely blindfolded in under five minutes.

Click Here to watch.

The Brain with Dr. David Eagleman

Six one-hour episodes that tell the story of the inner workings of the brain and take viewers on a visually spectacular journey into why they feel and think the things they do.

Click HERE to watch.

Brain Games – Life of the Brain

Jason Silva heads to the New Jersey Shore to see where your brain started as a baby where it is going as an adult and into old age.

Click HERE to watch.