Films and Interpersonal Communication

Reviewing pages for the next edition of TICB and thinking about how I can better integrate media literacy into my books, I thought that different students are going to have very different opinions about how effectively the chapter opening photos function to introduce the chapter. And they’ll also have very different opinions as to which film might have been a better choice. So I think I’d try using this with any kind of chapter summary lecture: Now that you’ve read the chapter, what film would you have used to introduce the chapter? What television show? Why? How would you write the opening paragraph?

Here, btw, are the films and opening paragraphs that will appear in the next edition (I retained the same order of chapters):

1. The Aviator tells the story of Howard Hughes, one of the most interesting and eccentric people of all time, and his relationships with a wide variety of very different people; in a way it covers many of the topics discussed in this text—the importance of the self, verbal and nonverbal messages, interpersonal relationships, and perhaps especially conflict and power.

2. Hotel Rwanda tells the story of an attempted genocide by one cultural group, the Hutu, against another cultural group, the Tutsi, and the hotel manager who fights to save as many Rwandans as he can. Although the film can be appreciated on many levels, one level is clearly the horrors that can result from a lack of cultural understanding and an appreciation for cultural diversity—some of the issues explored in this chapter.

3. Sideways tells the story of two college friends who have entirely different self-concepts and the ways these self-concepts influence what they do and how they form relationships, topics considered in this chapter along with other topics relating to the self and interpersonal communication.

4. Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (like all six films in the series) challenges your initial perceptions and forces you to see dramatic changes in various characters. As you’ll see in this chapter, however, our perceptions of other people (and their perceptions of you) are extremely resistant to change—a good reason to make favorable first impressions.

5. Cellular tells the story of a high school science teacher (played by Kim Basinger) who is kidnapped and locked in an attic. With only a broken cell phone she tries to find someone to listen to her and come to her rescue and to save her son. This chapter is devoted to listening with a much more modest goal—to make your interpersonal communication more effective.

6. The financial and critical success of Ray is clearly due in great part to the effective combination of verbal and nonverbal messages used by Jamie Foxx to depict the life and music of Ray Charles. In this chapter we look at verbal and nonverbal messages and how they interact to yield effective messaging.

7. Finding Neverland is the story of James Barrie and especially his creation of Peter Pan and how entirely through words brought to life characters (Tinkerbelle and Captain Hook) that have lived in the minds of children (and adults) ever since. Words have tremendous power and can enable you to accomplish a great deal as you’ll discover in this chapter.

8. With little in the way of story, House of Flying Daggers engages you with its visual display. It is the power of the nonverbal messages that maintain your interest and attention much as it happens in interpersonal communication—the subject of this chapter.

9. In Phone Booth you see a man who is confined to talking on the telephone to prevent his own death and although conversation is not usually a matter of life or death, it does have considerable consequences as you’ll discover in this chapter.

10, One of the most influential people in bringing to light the sexual and relationship practices of ordinary people was Alfred Kinsey whose life and contributions are depicted in Kinsey. In this chapter we also look at relationships and describe their characteristics, stages, and how they are influenced by both culture and technology.

11. Closer tells the story of two couples—their growth and their deterioration and the changes that take place in their interpersonal communication—a topic that closely reflects the substance of this chapter.

12. On one level Vera Drake tells the story of a woman who performs illegal abortions in London in the 1950’s. On another level it is the story of a family and how its members are all affected by what happens to one of them, a defining quality of relationships that are interpersonal. This chapter too discusses family as an interpersonal relationship along with friendship, love, and work relationships.

13. Million Dollar Baby is on the surface a film about conflict in the boxing ring but on a deeper level is about a wide variety of relationship conflicts, the subject of this chapter.

14. The Incredibles tells the story of a superhero who must now fight a giant killer robot to save the world, a test of who is more powerful. This chapter also focuses on power but of a different type—the power of messages to influence and help you accomplish what you want.


byron2julia said...

This post helped me a lot. I'm having my midterm on tomorrow and the questions is about Hotel Rwanda. I was trying my luck so I searched for Hotel Rwanda and Interpersonal Communication in Google and I saw this post. I hope I can pass Interpersonal Communication. Till now, I'm still confused about what is Interpersonal Communication and what is taught in Interpersonal Communication (obviously the lecturer didn't help a lot). And I'm still confused about the reason I choose Communication as my major. Hope to get some guide from you. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

where can I find the movie Sideways which you described. I looked online to find more details about it but I could not find it.

JoeDeVito said...

Sideways can be found at various places, e.g., Amazon.com