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Regarding your students who respond only to the the narrative aspect of
current film in the theater.... Perhaps you could have them see and respond
(not react!) to the many non-narrative films out there.  From Classics to
Current (scuse my spelling...) such as "Qeeonasquatsi."  From a study of such
films, you could take the students across the bridge to narrative.  Then they
would understand the UNITY of narrative&visual.  Otherwise, the films are
just comic books that move.
            In the films that knock me over....the visual and the narrative
are one: that is the power of cinema for me.
 
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