This pack contains a photocopiable Student's Guide and a Teacher's Commentary

In the Student's Guide the film is segmented into units of 10-15 minutes duration. This facilitates work in the normal class period. There is a series of questions for each sequence that guides the viewing of the students and encourage them to keep a personal Response Journal.

The Teacher's Commentary is a well researched separate booklet which covers issues raised in the guide.

Each pack is priced @ € 35.00, postage free. Titles are shipped on receipt of payment. Delivery is by Standard Post: next-day delivery in Ireland, and 2-10 days for international orders.

 

 

Extract from Teacher's Commentary: 

SEQUENCE 1
CHRISTY'S BIG DAY
Let the film roll until Mother's picture appears

The film opens with a shot of a record being placed dextrously onto a turn-table by means of a left foot. Before moving up to Christy’s face, the camera pans slowly, in big close-up, across a typewriter, some sketches and the record. This sets up the wheel motif that will run through the film as Christy journeys, by means of his art (painting, literature and music), from a small cramped house, to a mountain-top where he will be entered into the pantheon of great Irish writers. Christy's formal attire, the white cars, the elegant streets and, later, the mansion fit in with the music we hear. It hardly suits the environment of the narrow streets that the white cars end up in, though. They wind their way through elegant streets of fine grey neo-classical buildings, but soon come to poorer streets. We see a low angle shot of the magnificent white car passing another means of transport - a humble horse-and-cart. This signals the transition to the poorer world of narrow streets and cramped houses. Christy’s family are dressing up. They are making themselves presentable to the world of the white cars. The music and the cars join the two worlds of rich and poor. This film is to be the story of how Christy makes the journey between the worlds, and the way the white cars make the transition in the opening shots encapsulates the story of the entire film.

Eileen is perfectly at home in the elegant surroundings of Lord Castlewelland's mansion. She is of this world. Even her dress blends with the rich colours of the decor, as she is filmed from a low angle, making her grand entrance. Mary enters in the same setting, but without the show of style. She is in blue and white, her nurse's uniform. She enters in a very matter-of-fact way and takes Christy into the library according to her instructions. Mother, Eileen and Mary have all dressed up for the occasion, but it is Eileen who fits in the best. Mary makes a similar entrance to Eileen, but would seem to have more in common with Mother - she is half-way between the two.

The theme of appearance and reality will be examined throughout this film. In this scene Christy is referring to his book when he says "Looks can be deceiving". The phrase can equally well be applied to himself, especially in his early days, when all his father sees in Christy is a twisted body. Rachel gives all the appearance of liking Christy as a teenager. The reality is that she is forced into giving him this impression in an act of bravado in front of her girlfriends.

Extract from Student's Guide: 

SEQUENCE 1
CHRISTY’S BIG DAY
When does the first cut occur in this title sequence? What is the effect of the length of the first shot? What aspects of Christy Brown’s life are emphasised in this shot? Have the props in this opening scene anything in common? What is your initial impression of the man and his world?

What associations have you with cars such as the white ones in this sequence? Notice the camerawork. How are the cars photographed? What is the function of the white cars? What impression of the cars are we, the audience, being invited to form?

Describe the streets the cars travel through. What kind of worlds do the buildings represent? Do the cars fit in with the streetscapes? Is there a point at which a change comes in the streetscape?

What kind of music is playing? Does it suit the setting?

What is your impression of Christy’s home and family? Why are they all dressing up? How would you describe the architecture of Christy’s street? Why have all the children gathered there? How would you describe the behaviour of the children?

How does the third setting, the home of Lord Castlewelland, fit in with the two we have seen so far?

What impression is the audience invited to form of Castlewelland? What do you think of Christy’s remark about the “. . . humble abode”? How does Lord Castlewelland react to the remark? How does he use the phrase later? What does this tell us about him?

Two worlds are introduced in this sequence. Describe each of them.

We meet three women in the opening scenes - Mother, Mary and Eileen. Examine how each of them is introduced - refer to the Setting, Costume, and Actions of each. What similarities do you notice in the way Mary and Eileen are introduced? Why would a screenwriter or director choose to introduce characters in a similar way like this?

What is Christy referring to when he uses the words “The Original”? What else is Mary holding at this point? Watch out for the way alcohol is referred to throughout the film and see what you think of its place in the work as a whole.

Make a list of the contrasts you can find in this sequence.

Christy says, “Looks can be deceiving.” How can this apply to himself? Watch out for this idea of the appearance not being the reality in the rest of the film.

What kind of a person is Christy Brown, based on what you have seen in this sequence?