Shaun Barry is a year 10 student at St Francis of Xavier College. During his work experience at FACT he has been helping the Schools and Learning Team run National Schools Film Week. Here are his thoughts on yesterdays screening of Animal Kingdom…

“This week has been National Schools Film Week. This provides teachers and their students a chance to see a wide range of films entirely free of charge in local cinemas. The Festival’s goal is to support classroom teaching by providing schools with a powerful and enjoyable experience for their students, linking directly to elements of the curriculum. Today I experienced this event in FACT, joined by a group of students from a range of colleges, watching the film Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom is a low-budget crime-thriller, filmed in Australia and directed by David Michod. The film picked up many awards including the winner at the Sundance Film Festival and is praised as “one of the best films to come out of Australia in years”. The film tells the story through a seventeen year old boy; Jay. It follows him as he is spiraled into a family of criminals and embarks on a Journey of manhood himself. I personally enjoyed the film, I believe although not a “masterpiece” it is still a refreshing change from the likes of Hollywood Blockbusters. The way the story is shown through Jay’s perspective gives us more of an insight into what it was like to be a part of a criminal family like this. The plot is based upon a real murder that happened in Australia in the late 80’s. This gives the film a more personal feel and lets us connect more with the story and the events that take place. The acting is superb, I believe a lot of the characters are easy to relate to and therefore making them more likeable. This likeability helps us to connect and feel more emotion to this family, although they are all criminals. Since the story is filmed not from the side of the police but from inside this criminal family, we as the audience are forced into their way of living and eventually don’t understand what is morally right anymore.

I can see why this film was used for the National Schools Film Week; it gives off a lot of messages and themes throughout the film, which will intrigue the audience and as this audience consisted of film and media students, it will give them a lot to think about. Afterwards we engaged in a question and answer session in The Box. Here it gave the opportunity for a group of students to talk about their feelings about the film. I believe this was a very interesting and beneficial experience for them, enhancing the overall experience of the film. This whole event today at FACT has let a group of students experience this film and reflect upon it in these question and answer sessions, thus enhancing their learning in their curriculum while enjoying a relaxing day out at FACT and the respectable film Animal Kingdom.”

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