Our excursion into the Cinema

As you’re working your tail off to polish your test-preparation, those of us still in class are still working hard as well.  We will be viewing four films in the next few weeks.  Here is the permission form for two of the films that are rated R.

In class the first week we are viewing the film Blackhawk Down which originated as a series of news articles from Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Mark Bowden.  Later, it was made into the book by the same name as the film.  The event returned to the news recently as Secretary of State John Kerry visited Somalia to encourage the Somali government in its effort to establish a stable government.

Some of the film is hard to watch.  It is a tragic drama based on real life.  Watch what you feel comfortable watching and read the sections you don’t want to watch.  Consider (and question) the decisions of the director as historian.  Compare the director’s ‘history’ to that of the original news articles.  If you have time, read this article – the first installation of a series – and then view the first 50 minutes of the film.  It is an engaging narrative..

We’ll be viewing the movie and considering the impact of the medium on the telling of the story.  As you reflect upon the ideal history many of you promoted, consider these original news articles and the interactive nature of their presentation by the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Which is a better telling of history?

And we’ll also consider the ethical decisions faced by the actors in this story.  Similarly, in viewing Of Mice and Men, you should consider and write a freewrite: “How do you know an action is ‘right’? ”  Consider, specifically, George’s decision at the climax of the film.  Did George do what is right?

Your freewrite response will also guide your viewing of Day one of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  Should Angel-Eyes have taken the life of Baker?  How did he justify his decision?  What is his moral code?  What is yours?

I will update this blog entry as we move on to the other films:

  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Minority Report
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Please add your thoughts on the following into the Ethics Journal.

How should an action be judged?

  • By the purity of the intent of the actor?
  • By some universal standard?
  • By comparison to others?
  • By the consequences of their actions?

In an expository essay format

  1. State your answer to the question above with a strong, precise thesis statement
  2. Consider the four possible elements: intent, universal standard, cultural comparison, consequence.
  3. Identify a predicament/decision from a fictional character from one of the films we viewed.
    1. Clarify the ethical knowledge issue inherent in the predicament
  4. Explain whether or not the character made the appropriate choice [was it morally right?] according to the ethical viewpoints that are relevant to the decision
  5. Support your argument/analysis by including an additional example from your personal experience in order to clarify how the philosophy would be applied in this situation
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