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December 13, 2009

Classic Holiday Films

For almost every culture around the world, this is a season of holidays. This generally means a time of travel, gathering with friends and family and ...

...it can also be a difficult time - especially for those far from home and familiar faces.

As much as I love immersing myself in new and foreign cultures, sometimes one has the need - and desire - to reconnect with home - however however far it may be.

One way to cope with distance - and to share one's home culture is through movies. There are many great holiday movies that are both reassuring as well as rich in cultural and historic resonance.

Thanks to the internet, these films can be found - and seen for free.

Here are just a few of my favorites that are suitable for all ages and are ideal for discussion.

A favorite American film for this time of year is "It's a Wonderful life" http://www.ovguide.com/movies_tv/it_s_a_wonderful_life.htm..

I've seen this film several times - and just saw it again. This portrayal of a man whose intent to see and explore the world is continually frustrated as he is called on to help his family and their business. After a severe financial loss, he is allowed (by an angel) to see what would have happened in his home town if he had never been born. It is a thoughtful film, easy to follow, yet with layers of meaning.

Another near-mythic Christmas film is "A Christmas Story" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085334/. Produced in 1983, this film is based on a variety of stories from the well-known story-teller Jean Shepherd (author of In God we Trust, All others pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories among other collections).

Be sure to note the, ahem, parenting styles at work as well as the scenes set in the main character's school.

There are many other great holiday movies, but another film worthy of repeat viewings is Elf http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319343/. This film from 2003 is funny and insightful - and even has a great soundtrack.

There is a also a movie trivia buff classic linkage here - The elf Ming Ming, who appears briefly in the beginning of the film, is played by Peter Billingsley, who starred as Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story.

We are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at December 13, 2009 01:38 PM

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