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SUBJECTS — U.S./1941 - 1945; World/WW II; France & Morocco;
ELA: Extended Metaphor; Allegory; Hero's Journey;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Romantic Relationships; Redemption;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility, Caring; Citizenship.
Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1942; 102 minutes; B & W.
This film is a classic story of love and redemption through sacrifice at the beginning of World War II. It's one of the most popular films ever made. With its extended metaphor relating to the end of American isolationism, Casablanca can assist learning in both English Language Arts and social studies classes. The film is an excellent example of historical fiction.
Moreover, the film can serve as an example of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey through Rick's internal quest for redemption and self-rediscovery.
The character of Rick provides an example of the value of redemption, both on a social and personal level. Watching this movie permits children to work through the issues of romantic attachment and when that attachment must be sacrificed for more important values. Because of the power of the story, Casablanca is an excellent Reward Film.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Casablanca provides a movie worksheet for use in ELA classes, another for an ELA class on the Hero's Journey, and a third for social studies classes (treating the film as an example of historical fiction). It contains extensive background information that will support an introduction to the film. The Guide also contains discussion questions and assignments.
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Casablanca is an American classic.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a portion of the introduction suggested for teachers to give to students. This is in the Helpful Background section of the Learning Guide to Casablanca.
Casablanca is a black and white film and most students must be guided in the appreciation of the artistry with which it was filmed. They should watch carefully for the contrasts that please the eye and reveal layers of shading from spotlights, well placed lamps and window blinds. The incessant cigarette smoke drifts and whorls and gives the eye something to watch. Vivid contrasts can be seen in clothing such as stripes on ties and blouses and in columns and arches as well as shadows cast by people, plants and a variety of other objects. Close shots of Ilsa's face reveal light reflected in her eyes and another cast by her earrings. Each of these shots, and many others, were carefully lined up in order to create a luxurious texture, one not easily achieved even in full color films.
The Learning Guide to the film Casablanca contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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