Doc Title
Curricular Connections
Your Rating
Link to
Thin Blue Line
Errol Morris
Police Brutality; Murder
Perspective, Bias
Depiction of Violence

Wagner's Dream
Susan Froemke
Risk, Process, Technology, Opera, Wagner
Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration, Reimagining, Revision, Overcoming Failure

Brooklyn Castle
Katie Dellamaggiore
Education Cuts, Inner-City Education, After-School Programs, Chess
Influence of After-School Programs on Student Learning and Performance, Impact of Education Cuts, Solutions and Problems Faced during Economic Crises

Anne Buford
Following Dreams, Perseverance, Culture shock and eventual adaptation
Stereotypes, Impact of Sports on Education, Sports as a Road to Success, Competition, Belonging, Point of View, The Contender by Robert Lipsyte, Slam by Walter Dean Myers

First Position
Bess Kargman
Sacrifice, Expectations, Fighting the Odds, Competition, Drive to Succeed
Pursuing Dreams, Power of Passion, Internal and External Conflict

Shakespeare Behind Bars
Hank Rogerson

Redemption, Reform, Education, Forgiveness
Education and Freedom, Relevance of Shakespeare, Power of Language, True Purpose of Prison, The Tempest
Sex and violence are discussed briefly

I'm Not There
Todd Haynes
Identity, Expectations, Gender Roles, Power of Music, Movements, Time
Identity, revision, interpretation, creation/writing of biographical texts, and artistic reimagining.
There are potential objections to the depiction of drug-use, sex, language and nudity in this film, as well as criticisms of the inaccuracies or creative rendering of Dylan and his life which could come across as confusing and misleading.
I'm Not There Film Rationale
King Corn
Aaron Woolf
Food Production and Consumption, Environmental Issues, Health Issues, Public Policy
- Connections to argumentative writing and speaking
- Useful for examining persuasive techniques
- Strong links to public policy analysis and environmental studies
- One minor instance of obscenity (not pronounced--part of the diegetic background noise)
- Short bar scene (drinking and smoking shown, but nothing excessive or offensive)
- Light-hearted joke about growing marijuana included about half-way through the film

Man on Wire
James Marsh
Man on Wire deals with many thought-provoking themes that can both facilitate students’ critical thinking as well as help them connect with other works of classic literature with similar thematic concerns. Fate is a recurring theme throughout this film. From the moment Philippe saw the images of the Twin Towers in a French magazine—even before they were constructed—he knew this was his destiny; that he was born to tightrope walk between them. Philippe devoted all of his time and resources into accomplishing his dream of tightrope walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. I am reminded of John Milton as I watch Philippe’s story. Like Philippe, Milton had the indescribable feeling that it was his destiny to write the great English epic poem, and he devoted his entire life preparing for his crowning achievement. Man on Wire also brings up the theme of ethics and morality. The audience is left questioning the film in its entirety. Should we view Philippe positively or negatively? Was Philippe right for breaking the law? Is Philippe a hero? Were Philippe’s actions meaningless? As an immediate reaction to the film, I think most students would view Philippe as a triumphant figure (I sure did); however, if the students dig deeper into some philosophical and psychological issues relating to the film and its characters, I know that many students would be forced to challenge their beliefs and use higher level critical thinking skills to come to a well-thought-out opinion.
In a sense, this is a coming of age film. Philippe didn’t fit into the “traditional” mold of society, and he used tightrope walking as a way to literally and figuratively rise above the norm and find his unique identity. With this in mind, Man on Wire would pair nicely with J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. As a character study, students could use Philippe as a means to better connect with the fictitious character of Holden Caulfield. Both characters share the innocent idealistic nature that puts them at odds with “reality” as they struggle to find their place in the world.
One could also use Man on Wire as a way to teach and discuss the tradition of oral storytelling. This would pair nicely, for instance, with a unit on Native American or African American slave narratives, as well as various pieces of World Literature.
Lastly, Man on Wire could be used to teach the genres of expressionism and surrealism. Many of the reenactments are shot in an expressionistic style similar to the German expressionist films of the early 20th century (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, for example). The visual nature of film could help students better grasp the complex literary genres of expressionism and surrealism.
  • Conducting complex analysis of how two or more central ideas interact and build on one another (CC.11-12.R.I.2)
  • Understanding the development of themes and central ideas over the course of a text (CC.11-12.R.I.2)
  • Developing narratives using real and imagined experiences (CC.11-12.W.3)
  • Using digital media needs to enhance the understanding of evidence and reasoning and to add interest. (CC.11-12.SL.5)
Possible objections could arise due to some sexuality and nudity, and drug reference. One of the interviewees mentions smoking marijuana, which has no impact on the film besides comedic effect, and there is a shot of a man and a woman’s nude backsides, which lasts only a few seconds and can be easily fast forwarded past.
Man on Wire Rationale
Mad Hot Ballroom
Marilyn Agrelo
Adversity, Coming-of-age, Class relations and struggles, Urban settings, Taking risks
Catcher in the Rye
Any piece containing risk taking, class struggle, urban settings

Invisible Children Presents:
Innocent, the Story of A Night Commuter

Genocide, Hope, War, Bravery
Long Way Home
"Hotel Rwanda"
Any text that deals with children struggling to stay alive in times of prejudice and hardship
There may be some objections because this film is tied to the "Kony 2012" campaign, which didn't tell the whole truth. This film though doesn't go into detail about Kony though, it focuses on the young boy, Innocent, and what he must do to stay alive. Some of the images in the film and the background story of the film may be hard for some students, so it would be important to warn them. The film is short, only about 10 minutes long.

The Mean World Syndrome
Jeremy Earp
Violence, Media, Fear, Racism, Immigration
This film could be used in collaboration with the Hunger Games Trilogy making connections to overcoming fear, racism, and violence, as well as showing how the media can distort our perception. The Lighting Thief can be used to make connections to fear and violence. Don Quixote could also be used with this documentary, as Don Quixote sets out to become after reading many romances. This would demonstrate how literature can also distort reality in the same ways that media often does.
This film contains violent and often graphic clips from movies and television. The issue of race is also addressed including one graphic scene of a Latino harassed regarding immigration laws

Michael Moore
Government manipulation/control, the concept of the greatest good for the greatest number, exposure of social injustice, socialism, propaganda, capitalism, class division, and the rights of mankind
This documentary could be paired with novels such as Animal Farm, The Jungle, and Fahrenheit 451. Nonfiction texts such as political speeches, advertisements, or current event pieces could be used as parallel texts. The speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama would prove particularly effective.
Brief, strong language. The film opens with a man stitching an open wound on his leg. The behind of a man is visible as he is given an injection by a doctor. The film also discusses sensitive issues regarding 9/11. Volunteers discuss finding bodies in the wreckage.

The Weather Underground
Sam Green & Bill Siegel
A group of University students use whatever mean necessary to voice their opposition to The Vietnam War and the civil rights violations done to minorities
The novels Things they Carry, On the Road, and Wednesday's War would connect beautifully with the film. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech against The Vietnam War is pretty eye-opening. Throughout the film, genocide is often mentioned, the film Devil on Horseback is a modern view on the genocide occurring in Sudan.
The film is of adult themes and would not be appropriate to show to students under eighteen. The film uses adult language, brief nudity, and violence.

Jeffrey Blitz
The commonality between all people despite the obvious differences,
The American Dream
Point of view,
Creating plot through editing
No objections; it's perfect for school use