Problem Library

National Film Preservation Problem

Length: 3-6 hours

Discipline: English

Level: Advanced (majors)

Author: Johnson, Bryan

One problem students face when it comes to the moving image film or television is the tendency to see those images as pure entertainment and therefore beyond analysis. It isn’t unusual to hear students complain that teachers murder their favorite forms of entertainment by dissecting them. This real-world problem puts students in the position of making their own judgments about film and connecting those judgments to a visible purpose. Since citizen nominations for the National Film Registry require judgments of a film’s cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance, students will hopefully see that specific films are only worthy of public appreciation after serious study and analysis. Looking at the current list of films in the National Film Registry should prove to students that even such popular films as Casablanca and Psycho have been recognized by film scholars, film historians, filmmakers, and the average film viewer as important to American culture and history.

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