Conflict in the movies
Type of Initiative: Discussion and Drama
Purpose: Participants will brainstorm different conflict situations in movies and process through the reality of the ending.
Source: Adapted from an idea given in a workshop.
Published in: Setting the Conflict Compass, Cummings, Anderson
Props Needed: Imagination
Group Size: 2–20
Directions: The movies are full of drama, and so are conflict situations! Kids are naturally drawn to movies, drama, and books. Much of literature is focused on a point of conflict for the character in a story. Movies are sometimes criticized for having "Hollywood endings," in which conflict is resolved in an unrealistic way in order to provide a happy ending. Not all conflict is resolved with happy endings. If children are allowed to practice how they would resolve a conflict, it will help them when an actual conflict arises.
- Have students brainstorm a list of their favorite movies.
- Assign students to choose one movie and rewrite the ending so that the conflict is not resolved, or it is resolved in what they believe to be more realistic. Host classroom "Oscars" the next day, allowing students to choose the best one or two new endings. Divide the class into groups according to the number of Oscar winners selected, and have students write scripts for their new movie endings and then perform them.
- After each performance, discuss the questions that follow.
- What was the point of conflict, and was it resolved with a Hollywood ending?
- Which ending was more true to life?
- Which provided a more important lesson?
- How can we apply the lessons of stories that seem very far removed from reality?
As an extension, students may want to read the novel Violet and Claire, by Lia Block. The plot revolves around their ambition to make a movie, which comes to represent the world as they wish it to be.
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