On the afternoon of Wednesday 24th February, a group of Sixth Form French and Spanish students attended a series of lectures and workshops at the University of Birmingham. Focusing on ‘Languages and Film’, the afternoon began with a very impressive talk on what we can learn about a culture through cinema. Here, we were able to watch the first film ever created, a minute-long piece of footage from 1895, simply showing a group of employees leaving their factory after a day at work.
We then enjoyed a sequence of interactive language workshops. All related to cinema, we discussed its origins, as well as the different techniques used over time to create films. The groups attending the Spanish workshop discussed the question of gender and feminism in Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervio by Pedro Almodóvar, as well as the ways in which the Spanish Civil War can be sensitively, yet realistically depicted to an audience in the films La lengua de las mariposas and El laberinto del fauno. It was interesting to learn about the cultural transition of cinema in Spain when the censorship disappeared after the dictatorship of Franco.
In addition to this, we were able to brush up on some grammar, meaning that these sessions did not only give us the chance to learn many new things, but also served as some useful revision.The afternoon also provided us with the opportunity to hear from some current students about what it might be like to study Modern Languages at university. Despite them all studying the same course, it was really interesting to hear about all of their different university experiences. Regardless of our own future study plans, it gave us all a lot to think about, with regards to perhaps studying abroad in the future, just as many of these students had spent a year doing themselves.
Amber-Lei commented “I really enjoyed the activities, the workshop was engaging and the films were good choices.” Overall, the afternoon was a very insightful one, giving us the chance to look in depth at a topic which we might not have covered in as much detail in class. All girls found the afternoon to be most exciting, and one which complemented our A Level studies brilliantly.