21 February, 2019 Academic

Year 12 English students analyse Hitchcock on the big screen

As a K-12 school in vibrant inner-city St Kilda, our students are fortunate to be able to learn with and from the creative, academic, not for profit and business communities that call this vibrant city home. The students perform, exhibit, play sport and learn in some of Melbourne’s most iconic, creative and professional spaces, one of which is the iconic Astor Theatre, which is used regularly for Years 7-12 Assemblies.

Earlier this month, Year 12 English students were treated to a private screening of the VCE English film text, ‘Rear Window’ by Alfred Hitchcock, at the Astor Theatre.

Co-Head of English, Dr Brandon Jenvey said, ‘Mainstream English students were able to experience the film in the cinematic medium that Hitchcock originally intended, and the event focused on empowering St Michael’s students to become critical and analytical viewers of the text and appreciate Hitchcock’s mastery of cinematic technique.’

‘The setting of the historic Astor Theatre allowed students to perceive a level of filmic detail not readily available when viewing on a smaller screen.’

You can see a lot more of the characters’ expression on the big screen. I felt it easier to understand what the characters were trying to convey. It was also easier to see Hitchcock’s use of film technique.Year 12 student, Luca

To solidify the students’ learning and provide a new perspective, after the film, scholar Dr Patricia Di Risio, a film studies lecturer at Melbourne and Monash universities, delivered an engaging lecture to the cohort highlighting areas of interpretation for the students and their classroom teachers to pursue.

Student Jamie Richter appreciated Dr Di Risio’s lecture and observed that it was ‘good to hear the lecturer’s point of view and analysis as it invited us to consider different sorts of analysis’.

Year 12 student, Jack Jowett, a keen follower of cinematic technology, was also privileged to enjoy a guided tour of the projector room with Astor Theatre film projectionist, Chris Elliot.

The tour was quite literally heaven for me, as the room was the highest point in the entire theatre and full of large, beautiful film projectors.Year 12 student, Jack

He was also shown the film storeroom which he likened to, ‘an Area 51 of film stock, some of it over 80 years old’. Jack was even offered an invitation to join Chris the next time they show a film on traditional stock and projectors.

We look forward to sharing more experiences and opportunities like this that provide added depth to our students’ learning.