Teacher notes - Le Havre

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ill, Marcel's path crosses with an underage illegal immigrant from Africa. A dock worker in Le Havre hears a human sound inside one of the containers in port.

Teacher notes - Le Havre Brief synopsis of the film Le Havre is a 2011 comedy-drama film written and directed by Aki Kaurismäki. Marcel Marx, a former bohemian and struggling author, has given up his literary ambitions and relocated to the port city Le Havre. He leads a simple life based around his wife Arletty, his favourite bar and his not too profitable profession as a shoe shiner. As Arletty suddenly becomes seriously ill, Marcel’s path crosses with an underage illegal immigrant from Africa. A dock worker in Le Havre hears a human sound inside one of the containers in port. The police of Le Havre and French border guards find a group of illegal African immigrants still alive inside the container. On the sign from one of his elders, a young teen boy among the illegal immigrants manages to escape, news of which hits the local media. The first friendly face that boy, Idrissa, encounters is that of Marcel Marx. Marcel and friendly neighbours and other townspeople help to hide him from the police. The police inspector may, or may not, be hot on their heels. Marcel decides to help Idrissa by hiding him in his house. Marcel goes to great lengths to find out Idrissa’s story, which leads to Marcel’s further task of trying to get Idrissa to London, his original destination where he can find his family.

Description of activity and suggested uses Activity 1

This activity is a matching activity. Statements have to be matched to the individual word or groups of words containing important themes of the film. However, there is an added challenge as this activity has a time limit.

Skills covered Listening, reading, oral (class discussion--see below) This can lead to writing (paragraph on themes in the extract).

A class discussion is possible once the task has been tackled as a “game” and has been completed “on screen”. Such The on-screen themes comprise discussion could take a theme only a small number of words to and discuss the director’s allow the “challenge” or “game” thoughts on it in greater detail feature of the task. Please note e.g. immigration that the rejected themes are also useful because they are often the opposite of the theme illustrated. By negating the “wrong” themes, it is possible to add to the number of relevant themes for the extract. The right answer in the game usually shows three “correct” themes. A class discussion can take place once the matching exercise has been completed “on screen”. Such discussion could take a theme and discuss the director’s thoughts on it.

Teacher notes - Le Havre Activity 2

This is a translation exercise (French into English/Welsh) of a review of the film, containing key thematic content. This task does not have a vocabulary list or a list of corresponding French/English (or Welsh) constructions or idioms and is therefore quite demanding. There is also a pop-up solution. Students can tackle this on their own or in small groups. Afterwards they could compare their translation with translations by other class members and/or the pop-up solution (in English).

Reading, understanding translating from the language of study into English or Welsh.

Activity 3

For this activity students have to read two quite long reviews on the film, with a view to writing their own. One review is very positive and the other is very negative. Before writing their own review, students should be carefully prepared by teachers. Initially that will probably involve reading and thoroughly understanding the two model reviews which are rich in (often contrasting) ideas. Thereafter, students could discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of the reviews. At the teacher’s discretion, students could then write their own, which they could subsequently present to the class.

Reading, critical evaluation, oral presentation, probably written class work and also writing (individual, or a composite group review)

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