Movies, Films, and Actors

English Conversation Lesson

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People love to talk about what they have seen in the cinema. Any class will usually be well versed in both their own native country's films and the latest and greatest from Hollywood and elsewhere. This subject is especially useful with younger students who might be hesitant to speak about their own lives. Speaking about films provides an almost endless font of possibilities for conversation. Here are a few ideas:

  • Aim: Promoting conversation, especially with younger students who might be hesitant to speak about their own lives.
  • Activity: General introduction to films, dictation and short listening exercise, followed by students' discussing their answers to dictated questions.
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced

Conversation Outline About Movies and Actors

Introduce the topic by asking students to name different types of film and a film they know of that represents that genre.

Example: Comedy - Manhattan by Woody Alan

Dictate the following questions to the students. They need only write down their responses.

  • What is your favorite non-Italian, German, French, etc. (you name the nationality) film?
  • What is your favorite Italian, German, French, etc. (you name the nationality) film?
  • Who is your favorite actor or actress?
  • What is the worst film you have ever seen?
  • In your opinion, who is the worst actor or actress in film today?

Have students put aside their answers to the above questions. Read the short description of the film provided with this lesson (or invent a short description of a film you know that most students have seen). Ask the students to name the film.

Have students divide up into small groups and discuss a film they have all seen. After they discussed the film, ask them to write a short description of the film like the one you have read to the class.

Groups read their summaries aloud to the other groups which need to name the films described. You can easily turn this into a little competitive game setting the number of times the descriptions can be read aloud.

Returning to the questions at the beginning of class, ask each student to choose one of the questions and answer that question explaining to the other students their reasons for choosing that film or actor/actress as the best/worst. During this part of the lesson, students should be encouraged to agree or disagree and add their own comments to the discussion at hand.

As a follow-up homework task, students can write a short review of a film they have seen to be discussed during the next session.

Which Film?

Ask students to name this movie: This film takes place on an Italian island. An exiled, communist poet comes to the island and slowly becomes friends with a simple, local man. The film seems to be about learning which can take place between friends. During the film, the poet helps his friend persuade a beautiful young woman to become his wife by helping the man write love letters. The film follows the maturing of a young, simple man through his contact with a famous man who he admires greatly.

Answer: "The Postman" by Massimo Troisi - Italy, 1995