lunes, 30 de agosto de 2010

"My family and other Animals"...last question!

How do you imagine the characters' life back in England after their experience in Corfu? Choose two of the characters: Larry, Leslie, Margo, Gerald, mother.
Let your imagination fly!

domingo, 29 de agosto de 2010

"Mad Men" Episode 3: Marriage of Figaro

Hi guys! These are Brian's questions for this week's episode. Answer them, please.

1) How do the different characters relate to the idea of marriage?Compare/contrast the opinions of at least two people.

2) Based on all the three episodes we've seen so far, which behaviorsor vices do the characters find unacceptable? Which behaviors have weseen that are taboo or shocking by today's standards?

3) Why do you think the housewives feel so threatened by Helen Bishop?

sábado, 28 de agosto de 2010

Interesting facts about the movie "My Family and Other Animals".

Hi guys! I hope you all enjoyed watching the movie. I did!!!
We are dealing with the ecosystem and I found this quotation by Gerald Durrell. Isn't he absolutely right?!

We have inherited an incredibly beautiful and complex garden, but the trouble is that we have been appallingly bad gardeners

I also found this info about the production of the movie which I would like to share with you.

Production Notes
"Living in Corfu was rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas..."

from My Family and Other Animals, 1956

My Family and Other Animals was shot on the Greek island of Corfu over a five-week period, but it wasn't much of a holiday for the cast and crew."Although considered a 'sunshine island,' our filming on Corfu was plagued by rain to the point where, when we filmed out at sea, we got caught in a massive electrical storm," reveals producer Simon Lewis. He adds that, ironically, when the weather was good, "none of the actors were allowed to sunbathe on their days off as this would have affected story continuity. The film was shot out of sequence and the cast get browner as the story progresses so real suntans were banned. Everyone had to stay in the shade and tans came out of a make-up bottle.

"The location did have its positive aspects though, especially for the younger members of the cast. "On a trip into Corfu Town on her day off, Imelda Staunton bought a catapult as a present for Eugene Simon (who plays Gerry). When he received it he was so delighted that he rushed off into the garden of the house where we were shooting to look for a stone to try it out. The first 'stone' he picked up turned out to be a tiny baby tortoise! Eugene christened it "Slingshot," he became the unit mascot and appeared in the film."

"We could only film with 13-year-old Eugene for four and a half hours a day. So wherever possible we substituted a double. But Greek education laws are also very strict and it was difficult to get permission for local boys to come out of school to film with us. In the end, five different boys doubled for Eugene at various moments in the film."

With animals being so central to the program, there were bound to be some mishaps on set: "My favorite moment (probably unrepeatable) came when we needed the dog who played Roger to do a very specific look. Understandably, and frustratingly, this didn't go too well. The director (Sheree Folkson) was heard shouting something angry and expletive-laden at the canine actor. To which one of the crew replied 'But Sheree -- it's a dog!'"

"Many weeks were spent training a pack of dogs for one scene. In rehearsals they had been perfect. On the first take, they were released and all ran away. It took half an hour to round them all up again. Disaster!"

"We had trained some magpies to sit on top of a typewriter plucking at its ribbon. But on the day of the shoot, the director asked one of the actors to raise a cricket bat above his head as if to hit them. Magpies are far from stupid. They flew back to their cage and refused to perform for the next hour. The script required us to film a gecko preying upon a mantid. It took a whole day to film!"

One scene showed sea slugs off the coast of Corfu. "Although real sea slugs are to be found in the waters around Corfu," reveals Simon, "we had rubber ones made so as not to disturb their natural habitats."

Sadly, not everyone has the same concern for nature as the production team or Gerald Durrell himself: " The heavy use of insecticide to protect the olive crop on Corfu has killed off much of the insect and small mammal population -- many of the animals in the film had to be specially imported from the UK," explains Lewis.

Corfu, Greece

Corfu is is the most northern of the Ionian islands, lying to the west of the Greek and Albanian mainland, at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. The Ionian islands include many uninhabited rocks and islets as well as four large islands -- Corfu (Kerkira), Leucas (Levkas), Cephalonia (Kefallinia), and Zacynthus (Zakinthos). Altogether, the Ionians make up just 1.8 percent of Greece's total land area.Mountainous, especially to the north, with notable landscapes and dense vegetation, the fertile southern lowland is cultivated rigorously to grow olives, figs, citrus fruits, and grapes. Today, tourism is a major attraction -- traditional villages, Byzantine churches, museums, Venetian fortresses and a variety of golden beaches lure visitors.

lunes, 23 de agosto de 2010


There's a BBC movie production based on the book "My family and other animals" written by Gerald Durrell. Great story! Here's the trailer of the first 10 minutes. Sit back and enjoy it!!! Then, answer the questions below (but not as a blog comment).
Good luck with the listening! I hope you find it funny!

Answer the questions or provide the information required.

1- Where’s the family in the first scene?
2- What’s wrong with:
* Margo
* Leslie
* Gerald ?
3- Time of the year:
4- Where does Larry get the idea of moving to Corfu from?
5- Mother’s comments about moving to Corfu:
6- Comment on the customs scene.
7- What’s the dog’s name?
8- What’s the customs officer’s excuse for not giving mother her suitcase?
9- Why does Margo get upset at the table?
10- What explanation does Larry give for the taxi drivers behaving in such a crazy way?
11- How come the taxi driver, Spiro, speaks English? Characterize his driving. What’s his attitude once he gets to know the family?
12- Why do they move to another villa?
13- What do Larry and Leslie think of mother?
14- Why do they look at her feet?
15- How old is mother?
16- Find at least 5 phrasal verbs used by the characters.

Deadline:September 2
Do not post your answers. We'll discuss them in class!

domingo, 22 de agosto de 2010

MAD MEN again

Hi guys! After episode 2 (Ladies' Room), you have to respond to one of the following medical scenarios:

1) Your son is getting into trouble at school at least once a week forserious classroom disciplinary problems. The school officials tell youhe has a hyperactivity disorder, and that to stay in his class he mustbe medicated. He has always been a rambunctious, energetic, creativeperson, but since he started taking the pills his personality seems tohave changed completely and now he seems almost like a stranger toyou.

2) Your husband suffers from a very serious heart condition but won’ttake his medicines because the side effects are unpleasant andsometimes physically uncomfortable for him. Without the medicines, thefragile state of his heart makes him susceptible to heart failure atany moment.

3) Your mother is starting to develop Alzheimer’s and often forgetswhere she’s going, what task she’s working on, and sometimes where shelives. She does NOT want to enter an assisted living home but shelives in another city hours away from you and needs constantattention.

4) Your brother has a mental health issue that causes him to act outin very risky ways, sometimes endangering himself and others aroundhim. None of the current treatments on the market have been effectivebut he is eligible for a highly controversial and possiblylife-threatening experimental treatment. The state officials have madeit clear that if your family doesn’t find a suitable treatment soon,he will be forced to live in a strictly-monitored, high-securitypsychiatric treatment center.

miércoles, 18 de agosto de 2010

MAD MEN... Let's work with Brian!!

Hi guys!!! It's been a while since you last wrote on our blog.
I've really enjoyed the first episode of Man Men! I have the feeling it's gonna be great!

This is what Brian wrote:
Here are a few questions I thought the students might reflect on, even
if they don't have time to write full responses to them this week.

1) Why do you think the show is set in the year 1960? In the USA, how
are the 1950's typically represented? In contrast, how do we usually
imagine the 1960's?

2) How would you describe the dynamic that we see between men and
women in the first episode? When their "parallel universes" cross, how
do they tend to interact? Have we seen any exceptions to the typical
roles and relationships between men and women?

3) We met many characters in episode one. Take a minute to reflect on
the different personalities. Which is your favorite so far? Which is
your least favorite?