Learning about life from film
Forty gifted local secondary students are learning to appreciate a variety of movies in the Humanities: Film, Art and Culture course conducted by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU).
The university began the two-month course in January under the government's Support Measures for the Exceptionally Gifted Students Scheme. The programme, first commissioned by the Education Bureau in 2006, is now in its third year.
The course consists of a series of movie screenings and discussions about specific films. It intends to arouse students' interest in serious social issues through exploring film.
The course features five movies - Children of a Lesser God, My Fair Lady, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Chariots of Fire and Some Like it Hot.
Amy Lee Wai-sum, one of the course tutors, said that a combination of vintage and recent movies encourages students to discuss social issues, both old and new.
'Take Terminator 2: Judgment Day as an example. It might be just a science-fiction blockbuster on the surface. However, if you dig deeper, you could explore many serious issues like man's exploration of the future and the origins of humanity,' said Dr Lee, an assistant professor at the department of English language and literature.
Western productions, with their strong visual imagery and taut storylines, have long been popular learning tools among both teachers and students.
Form Seven student Chloe Yeung Ling said that western movies revolving around political and social events have broadened her horizons considerably.
'My favourite film is My Fair Lady. The female protagonist [Eliza Doolittle] undergoes a tremendous transformation from a humble beginning as a poor girl with a coarse accent to a lady with fine manners. The plot touches on issues of self-identity,' said the student from Po Chiu Catholic Secondary School.
After four lessons, Form Six student Lorraine Lee Lok-yi said she has discovered the huge educational value of films.
'I saw films mostly as an entertainment medium in the past. But, beneath all the action and wisecracks on screen, they have a lot more to offer,' said the student from HKMA David Li Kwok Po College.