Friday, June 12, 2009

Nobody would argue that it's not educational at least

Robin's class was asked to watch The Mission by their art teacher.

I was asked to watch that for school once, but not at age 10.

The moms of the other two fourth graders on our street were as taken aback as I was. We're not sure if it's part of an overarching curriculum--they do study history and all, and it's not like they're going to sugar coat the conquest or the fate of the indigenous people, particularly at this school--but I would have expected some sort of communication to the parents about the movie and the school's approach to discussing it, rather than just a verbal "we're supposed to watch this by next Thursday." It's possible that it was a solo decision by the art teacher, in which case this won't be the last we'll be hearing about it.

Either way, I went ahead and rented it this afternoon, sent Julia to the neighbor's house and had the other two fourth graders over. I read a plot synopsis online, because it's been years since I saw it myself.

It was actually a bit anticlimactic, and I mean that in a good way. For one thing, there was no Spanish audio track, so we had to watch it in English, which put it at a remove for two of the three girls. And then the Spanish subtitles were in a very formal, literary Spanish that they're not used to seeing, and weren't as large or readable as subtitles usually are here.

And, of course, there was the fact that I had three 10 year old girls (well, two tens and a nine) on a couch, and they spent a lot of the time sitting on each others' laps and being reminded of things from school and generally distracting each other.

In this case, I think that was a good thing. I skipped one murder because I didn't remember how explicit it might be, and then just drew their attention to the major plot points. I stopped it for good 25 minutes from the end (it's a very long movie) when I'm pretty sure the only thing remaining was the massacre of all the priests and most of the GuaranĂ­s. I told the girls how it ends, and they agreed that they didn't need to see that.

So I'm glad that's taken care of, and I'll be interested to see if it turns into any sort of a Thing once all the parents have rented it for and, presumably, watched it with their fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

Now we're going to kick back and start the weekend for real with a different sort of movie.


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