July 12, 2010

Practice your Portuguese Watching Brazilian Movies at MoMA!

Another great opportunity to watch Brazilian Movies in New York City! Starting this week until the end of the month, MoMA will be showing movies by both new and established Brazilian filmmakers on their Premiere Brazil! Festival. It is a great chance to get expose to the language and different aspects of Brazilian Culture. I will certainly be watching some of the movies with my students. You should go too!

Even if you are not going with a teacher/ class, here are some tips to get even more of the experience (you can apply them to other Brazilian movies you may want to watch too). The idea is to get your mind prepared to the themes, vocabulary and the accent of the movie beforehand, so that you can make the most of it:

  1. Choose the movie you want to watch. I recommend you choose based on your interests (i.e., whatever looks more fun for you)... but if you want to worry about other things, remember that movies that are very urban, with gangs etc. (like City of God) are possibly more challenging (which can be good if that is what you are looking for). You can also see if there is any information on the description about the region where the movie is set: if it is set in the same region as your teacher/ materials are from, it may be easier to understand (materials often show features of São Paulo and Rio accents). If it is set in a different region, it may be harder, but also very interesting! If my students want to watch more than one movie, I usually suggest that they try and choose movies that look like they will feature different types of language (e.g.: a rural setting and an urban setting or a move set in the Northeast and one in São Paulo), to widen their exposure.
  2. Look at the cover/a picture/poster of the movie. Try and imagine what the movie is about. Make a couple sentences describing what you guess the movie is about (in Portuguese).
  3. Find a description of the movie from its promotional materials, read it out loud. Underline any words you don't know and either look them up or ask your teacher to help. Now, write or say your own short description, without looking and in your own words (in Portuguese).
  4. See if you can find a movie trailer and some clips of the movie. Listen to it a few times to get used to the accent. Try and repeat/ act out one of the scenes out loud. Repeat any words that you liked or where you found the pronunciation different or interesting.
  5. Think about what you know of the story so far and formulate a few questions about parts of the story that you don't know, so that you can answer them after the movie? Write a small list of questions down. These can be any questions, for example Qual é o relacionamento entre a mulher loira e a morena no poster do filme? (What is the relationship between the blond woman and the brunette woman in the movie poster?), Porque a mulher loira está correndo naquela cena do trailer? (Why is the blond woman running on that scene on the trailer?). You can see if you can answer your questions after the movie.
  6. Read the questions under number 7 below ("7.Review the movie") to see some aspects of the movie that you may want to notice (optional - you may just want to enjoy the movie instead).
  7. Enjoy the movie!
  8. Review the movie. If you have a teacher or a friend who speaks Portuguese, discuss the movie with him or her. there are may things you can talk about, here are some suggested topics (you should discuss it in Portuguese, of course):
    1. Plot and characters: Summarize the plot. Say what you thought about the story in general, about each of the main characters. What was your favorite character? How did you feel during the movie (assustado, triste, feliz, emocionado)?  Did the movie make you rir ou chorar (laugh or cry)? If so, in which scenes? Did you like the ending? Would you have changed it?
    2. Photography: Was the movie visually appealing? Was the 'look' of the movie (dark and heavy? Light and airy?). What were your favorite scenes (visually) in the movie? Can you describe one of the scenes, places or settings in the movie? (e.g. an old house)
    3. Cuture: Did you learn anything new about Brazilian culture? Was there anything that you found interesting? Was there any habits/ actions practiced by the characters that you didn't understand?
    4. Language: Was the language easy or difficult to understand?  Did you recognize and words or expressions that you already knew? Which ones? Do you remember any new words/ expressions that you found interesting? Was the accent of the characters similar or different from what you are used to? If so, did you notice how the accent was different (e.g., the pronunciation of the 's', intonation etc.).
  9. Write about the movie. Write a summary or review of the movie.
 ... or if you don't want to focus on learning so much this time, just go and enjoy the movie!

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