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Desert island films

To challenge the students to confront prejudice in their lives.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To challenge the students to confront prejudice in their lives.

Preparation and materials

  • You need to plan your list of films.

Assembly

  1. If you were stuck on a desert island, and had a DVD player, I wonder which films you would take with you? Give students time to think, then ask for suggestions.

    Can you tell me what makes this your favourite film? Ask the same students who had volunteered their favourites.

    If I were shipwrecked, these are some of the films that I would take… Fill in here with some of your favourites, and explain why you like them so much.
  2. But there’s one film that I’d like to mention here. I don’t know if it would be one of my top ten, but it has a very special opening line. The film begins with the narrator saying: ‘This is the story of an unprejudiced heart.’

    Does anyone recognize that line? I’ll give you a clue; it comes from a children’s film that was released in 1995.

    Babe is the story of the ‘sheep pig’, taken from the book of that name by Dick King-Smith, someone whose stories you may well have read when you were a great deal younger. If you’ve never seen the film, it’s the story of a piglet that is fostered by a sheepdog, and grows up wanting to do the work of a sheepdog. Technically the film was significant, as it was done through the use of animatronic animals and CGI effects – for the first time in this manner.

    Now, normally, a piglet would end up on the dinner table, but this piglet is a plucky little piglet, because the piglet proves to the farmer that he can actually herd sheep, and he can do it very well. While the dogs herd sheep by bullying them, Babe, our hero piglet, herds sheep by politely asking the sheep to do as he asks. It’s a very funny and touching film. And the crux of the plot is that because Babe has an unprejudiced heart, he has no problem working with the sheep, which the dogs regard as stupid, and no problem working with the dogs, because he has achieved honorary dog status. Babe straddles the gap between the two, because he always approaches other creatures with kindness and respect.
  3. I won’t spoil the film of you haven’t seen it by giving away the ending, but I can recommend it as well worth the time to watch it, especially if you’ve got some younger children to accompany you.

    For me, the important thing about this film is the message it gives; that Babe achieves what he does through his attitude to life and to others. ‘This is the story of an unprejudiced heart.’ I have never met anyone about whom I could say that. Have you?

Time for reflection

Spend a few moments thinking about the times when you have been the victim of prejudice.

Was it because you were a young person?

Was it because of the colour of your skin?

Was it because of your gender?

Was it because of the way that you speak?

Was it because you have a disability?

Was it because you are who you are?

Now think about the times that you have acted in a prejudiced way towards someone else.

Was it because they had done the same to you?

Was it because of the colour of their skin?

Was it because of where they came from?

Was it because they were different from you?

‘This is the story of an unprejudiced heart.’ Think about how you would like your life to be different because some form of prejudice has been removed.

Now think about how you are going to work on removing one of your prejudices. Think for a moment of how you might challenge any prejudice that you might witness or experience today.

Perhaps you’d like to join in this prayer.

Give me an unprejudiced heart,

and help me to stand against any form of prejudice that I encounter today.

Amen.

Publication date: February 2008   (Vol.10 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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