martes, 7 de diciembre de 2010


Based on the data and results of different surveys, it is found that studying in the authentic context that movies provides students with helps them in several ways:
(1) improve their English competence through watching, listening, speaking and writing.
(2) gain self-confidence in speaking English in front of audiences.
(3) improve their presentation skills.
(4) develop an awareness and understanding of cultures in English-speaking countries.

Students really enjoy watching movies and TV for a variety of reasons. For one, they get exposure to natural language in a non-threatening setting. Secondly, movies and video provide common ground to students of any international background.  So pop yourself some popcorn and settle down in front of your TV set for some fun with movies like the one I'm focusing on at the moment, an epic tale of History's most famous ocean liner: TITANIC.  If you find it hard to follow the dialogues, that's why english subtitles are for.  You, my dear student, have no excuse for at whatever level of Shakespeare's language you are.  Just make the most of it and watch this wonderful movie in original sound.  And now let's concentrate on this wonderful film. 

Deep-sea explorer Brock Lovett has reached the most famous shipwreck of all - the Titanic. Emerging with a safe believed to contain a diamond called 'The Heart of the Ocean', he discovers the safe does not hold the diamond but a drawing of a beautiful woman wearing it. When Brock is later interviewed on TV, he shows the drawing to the cameras, and a 100-year-old woman living in Michigan recognizes the woman in the drawing - herself! On a visit to Brock's explorer ship over the wreck, she tells her story of the Titanic and its ill-fated voyage:  After winning a trip on the RMS Titanic during a dockside card game, American Jack Dawson spots the society girl Rose DeWitt Bukater who is on her way to Philadelphia to marry her rich snob fiancé Cal Hockley. Rose feels helplessly trapped by her situation and makes her way to the aft deck and thinks of suicide until she is rescued by Jack. Cal is therefore obliged to invite Jack to dine at their first-class table where he suffers through the slights of his snobbish hosts. In return, he spirits Rose off to third class for an evening of dancing, giving her the time of her life. Deciding to forsake her intended future all together, Rose asks Jack, who has made his living making sketches on the streets of Paris, to draw her in the nude wearing the invaluable blue diamond Cal has given her. Cal finds out and has Jack locked away. Soon after wards, the ship hits an iceberg and Rose must find Jack while both must run from Cal even as the ship sinks deeper into the freezing water. When the ship sinks on April 15th, 1912 at 2:20 in the morning, Jack dies and Rose survives and 84 years later Rose tells the story about her life on Titanic to her grand daughter and friends on the Keldysh and explains the first sight of Jack that falls into love, then into a fight for survival. When Rose gets saved by one lifeboat that comes back, they take her to the Carpathia with the 6 saved with Rose and the 700 people saved in the lifeboats. The Carpathia Immigration Officer asks Rose what her name is and she loved Jack so much she says her name is not Rose DeWitt Bukator, but her name is Rose Dawson. She seen Cal looking for her, but he doesn't see her, and they never ended up together, her mom, Cal, and friends of the family has know choice but to think that she died on the Titanic. By the time the crash of 1929 took place, Cal had already got married, but when he lost everything he had he put a pistol in his mouth and committed suicide. So Rose is an actress in the 20's, and now 84 years later Rose Calvert is 100 years old and tells her grand daughter Lizzy Calvert the whole story from departure until the death of Titanic on its first and last voyage. To Rose, all Titanic and the real love of her life, Jack Dawson, is all an existence inside of her memory, and Titanic is to rest in peace at the bottom of the North Atlantic from 1912 until the end of time.

Hollywood doesn't make films like this anymore. With the two-hundred million budget of Titanic, one can see why. If moviemaking has reached the point where economics can restrain a vision, then we have a creative tragedy of near-Titanic proportions. In Titanic, James Cameron puts that two-hundred million on the screen. Every costume, every set, and every prop were carefully designed to meet Cameron's exacting standards of historical representation. The ship itself, whether sailing or sinking, is a testament to the power of the epic film that Cecil B. DeMille and David Lean would appreciate.  When the theatrical release of James Cameron's Titanic was delayed from July to December of 1997, media pundits speculated that Cameron's $200 million disaster epic would cause the director's downfall, signal the end of the blockbuster era, and sink Paramount Studios as quickly as the ill-fated luxury liner had sunk on that fateful night of April 14, 1912. The general public has always wanted the element of realism in their fantasy. It didn't matter that Charleton Heston wasn't Jewish as long as the clothes were right, the buildings had columns and he rode a chariot in Ben Hur. Likewise today, Saving Private Ryan has been hailed for its realism and has raised the bar for future war films. People don't mind the story, as long as it seems real to them.
This illusion is an art, and James Cameron is one of its masters. Cleverly starting the film in the present, he is able to build anticipation for the return to 1912 while seemlessly convincing us that Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson were as real to the world as Molly Brown or J.J. Astor. Perhaps most of all, Cameron accomplishes a great feat by making the audience painfully aware of the human tragedy while at the same time amazing them with the spectacle of the ship's demise.  Although there are weaknesses in the script, the sheer magnitute of the film keeps the story captivating while the actors bring the passengers and crew to life. Much has been spoken about Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, but the true backbone of the film are the supporting characters whose presence evokes the wide range of emotions needed for a viewer to invest in the plot. Whether watching Titanic again or for the first time, take special note of Kathy Bates as Molly Brown, Francis Fisher as Rose's mother and especially Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews.
Some studio executives were confident, others horrified, but the clarity of hindsight turned Cameron into an Oscar-winning genius, a shrewd businessman, and one of the most successful directors in the history of motion pictures. Titanic would surpass the $1 billion mark in global box-office receipts (largely due to multiple viewings, the majority by teenage girls), win 11 Academy Awards including best picture and director, produce the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time, and make a global superstar of Leonardo DiCaprio.

An awesome pop-cultural phenomenon, the film has all the ingredients of a blockbuster (romance, passion, luxury, grand scale, a snidely villain, and an epic, life-threatening crisis), but Cameron's alchemy of these ingredients proved more popular than anyone could have predicted. His stroke of genius was to combine absolute authenticity with a pair of fictional lovers whose tragic fate would draw viewers into the heart-wrenching reality of the Titanic disaster.

As starving artist Jack Dawson and soon-to-be-married socialite Rose DeWitt Bukater, DiCaprio and Kate Winslet won the hearts of viewers around the world, and their brief but never-forgotten love affair provides the humanity that Cameron needed to turn Titanic into an emotional experience. Present-day framing scenes (featuring Gloria Stuart as the 101-year-old Rose) add additional resonance to the story, and although some viewers proved vehemently immune to Cameron's manipulations, few can deny the production's impressive achievements. Although some of the computer-generated visual effects look artificial, others such as the sunset silhouette of Titanic during its first evening at sea, or the climactic splitting of the ship's sinking hull are state-of-the-art marvels.

In terms of sets and costumes alone, the film is never less than astounding. More than anything else, however, the film's overwhelming popularity speaks for itself. Titanic is an event film and a monument to Cameron's risk-taking audacity, blending the tragic irony of the Titanic disaster with just enough narrative invention to give the historical event its fullest and most timeless dramatic impact. Titanic is an epic love story on par with Gone with the Wind, and like that earlier box-office phenomenon, it's a film for the ages.  As I said before, Hollywood doesn't make them like this anymore, but they should. Watching Titanic is a hell of an experience that should sail into your heart and stay there for ever.

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