Sr English & Film

To print a copy of the syllabus Sr English & Film Syllabus

Welcome to Senior English & Film! I hope you will enjoy this course as much as I do, and I look forward to working with each of you to understand how films and visual culture shape our culture and us as individuals.

Our Guiding Essential Questions:

  • How is our understanding of the world both impacted by and reflected in images?
  • How are media messages constructed using a creative language to convey unique points of view?
  • How does the study of combined media enhance our understanding of timeless social and personal issues?

While this course is looks primarily at film, we will look at a variety of media and texts. This is not a production course, so while there will be some opportunities for you to work with imagery, this course is aimed at deepening your ability to LOOK and understand the medium rather than create.

In addition to the films listed, you will also have some assignments that require you to choose the film or other media you examine.

The course varies from semester to semester, but below are the units and potential films.

Intro to Cinematic Language & Reading a Film Like a Text

  • Hitchcock’s Rear Window, 1954, Approved
  • And another film of your choosing by the master director

Classic Hollywood Cinema

  • Howard Hawkes, His Girl Friday, 1940, Approved
  • Steven Speilberg, Raider’s of the Lost Ark, 1981, PG

Visual CultureImages, Power, and Politics

  • Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop, 2010, Rated R
  • Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 2010, Rated G
  • Sofia Coppola, Marie Antoinette, 2006, Rated PG-13
  • Abbas Kirostami, Certified Copy, 2010, Unrated

Vision & Justice

  • Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing, 1989, R

Teen Cinema: Youth Representation

  • Lukas Moodysson, We Are the Best!, 2013, Unrated (Rate UK: 15, Canada: PG)
  • Matt Wolf, Teenage, 2013, Unrated ( 14+up)
  • John Hughes, The Breakfast Club, 1985, Rated R
  • Choice of teen film for analysis assignment

Gender Representations & Film Noir

  • group viewings (Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, Sunset Boulevard, Out of the Past)
  • Michael Curtiz, Casablanca, 1942, PG
  • Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless, 1960, Unrated

Sci-fi, Horror, and the Mythical: Society’s Anxieties

  • Alfonso Cuaron, Children of Men, 2007, Rated R
  • Chris Marker, La Jetée, 1962, Unrated
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road, Australia, 2015, Rated R
  • Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild,  2012, Rated PG-13

Seeing the World: How cinema exposes us to other cultures

  • Asghar Farhadi, A Separation, 2011, PG-13
  • Asghar Farhadi, The Salesman, 2016, PG-13


  • Folder or binder for handouts
  • Composition Notebook


As seniors, I expect that you act as the mature, young adults you are. You should be at the pinnacle of maturity and come to class ready to work, participate, and think everyday. If you follow the basic principle – RESPECT the class, the teacher, and yourself – then you are meeting expectations.

Here are a few basic guidelines:

  • Show up to class every day prepared to think and actively participate. This begins with your notebook, a pen or pencil, and the reading materials on your desk when the bell rings.
  • Turn the phones off and put them away. I see them; I hear them; I take them.
  • Class starts when the bell rings. If the bell rings and I have started class, it is considered a tardy and will be recorded as such. Be on time. Don’t accumulate unnecessary unexcused absences. It is up to you to keep track of your absence points.
  • Bathroom, drinks of water, and other sometimes necessary breaks: Take them if you absolutely must, but figure out when the most appropriate time is to step out of the class for a Leaving when I’m going over the directions and requirements for a major assignment is not the appropriate time to leave the room. Figure it out. Discreetly signal to me your request; use your discretion, but DO NOT come sauntering back in after a 15 minute trip to the cafeteria. If this policy is abused, I reserve the right to take the privilege away.
  • Late work- I do not assign busy work. Your homework, classwork, and other assignments are a necessary component of the class for YOUR understanding of the material. Therefore, work is due when it is due.
    • For some assignments late work is accepted with the following penalties: 5% turned in after deadline but by the end of the same day; 10% turned in the following day; 20% turned in the second day; 30% turned in the third day, and no late work accepted after the third day.


Assignment grades will be weighted depending on the amount of time and effort necessary to meet the assignment’s requirements. Weights will range from 1 to 5:

  • ≤ 1 = homework checks, short classroom assignments
  •    2 = quizzes, longer homework, discussions, short writing responses
  •    3 = tests, long writing responses, notebooks
  •    4-5 = formal papers, unit tests, major projects

Semester Grading

  • Q1=42.5
  • Q2=42.5%
  • Exam: 15%


I expect that all writing is from your point of view and in your unique voice. I want to hear what you have to say. If you submit work that is partially or wholly not your own, you will receive a grade of 0 for the assignment with no opportunity to make up the assignment. This is a zero tolerance policy.


Planning periods and appointments:  I highly encourage you to come see me during my preps and before and after school if you have questions about assignments or need additional help.  In most cases, I can be found in the classroom or the English Office.

Office Hours for Chat on Remind:  Sunday, Monday-Thursday 7am-9pm and Friday 7am-3pm.  I will do my best to respond to you as promptly as possible.  Use this feature only for urgent questions.


A Note to Parents

Many of the films deal with mature subjects.  Please take the time to review the list of films to be sure there is nothing you find objectionable. The R ratings for films on the viewing list seem to be because of the language and mature subject matter. If there is a film you have further questions about, please do not hesitate to contact me. If necessary, arrangements can be made for an alternate film viewing. In no way will alternate film viewings affect a student’s grade.