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Is there a movie that closely follows The Odyssey that I can use to preview the story...

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jwbraatz | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:59 AM via web

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Is there a movie that closely follows The Odyssey that I can use to preview the story with my students?

I teach high school kids with language-based learning disabilities and I need a film that will preview the plot, setting and characters so they can better visualize it when they read the story.

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:24 AM (Answer #2)

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Check out the 1997 TV mini-series starring Armand Assante. You might want to show just sections at a time. Perhaps show a brief clip, talk about what's going on in that part of the epic in general, and then read and discuss the section from Homer with your students.

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hilahmarca | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:50 AM (Answer #3)

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I think if you're dealing with students who have learnign disabilities, you should stick to the Armand Assante TV mini-series. Also, I agree with the first comment to show it in sections. When I teach "The Odyssey", I always show the section that coincides with the Book of the epic poem that I had just taught. For example, after reading and discussing Book 9 of the epic poem, I would then show the part of the movie that had the Cyclops in it. It has always worked well for me. Visually, it's a good way to go.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 12, 2011 at 4:32 AM (Answer #4)

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I absolutely second the previous post's suggestion to use the 1997 TV mini-series of The Odyssey. I have taught The Odyssey (or at least portions of it) on many occasions and used the TV adaptation each time with great results. The kids LOVED the movie, and Armand Assante makes a great Odysseus. There are some excellent special effects, and the monsters are visually stunning. Naturally, there are some scenes missing and some condensed story-telling as well, but this is certainly one of the best (if not the best) versions of the story available. The rest of the cast--including Greta Scacchi (Penelope), Isabella Rossellini (Athena), Bernadette Peters (Circe), Irene Papas (Anticlea), Vanessa Williams (Calypso), Michael J. Pollard (Aeolus) and Eric Roberts (Eurymachus)--is also superb. The Odyssey won Emmys for Best Director and Best Special Visual Effects and was nominated for several others (including Best Miniseries). It certainly helps the students to better visualize the story, and I'm sure you will be able to create some lessons using the comparisons of the two.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:33 AM (Answer #5)

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Although it does not closely follow the story, O' Brother, Where Art Thou will capture your students' attention.  The story follows The Odyssey, but loosely.  It's based in the Depression-era south.  It's a wonderful film, and I guarantee your kids will love it.  Of course, it's just as fun or more fun AFTER you read the book!

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:10 PM (Answer #6)

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I think you've got an overwhelming vote for Assante.  I've included a link that puts you in touch with other film adaptations for Homer's epics.  I've seen many of them, and even though they are older, the timeless quality of the stories still enthralls students.  Good Luck!

http://www.umich.edu/~homeros/Representations%20of%20Homer's%20Ideas/Films%20of%20the%20Epics.htm

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:40 AM (Answer #7)

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I agree with others in recommending Assante, but to follow up the suggestion made in #5, to extend the comparison, you might want to think of how you can use Cold Mountain, either the book or the film, that is based very closedly on this epic text. It is very interesting to examine how such an ancient story still holds our attention today, and is the basis of so many other texts.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:31 AM (Answer #8)

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I showed the 1997 version as well (here is a link to more information on that version at imdb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118414/). I used this version with my high school students. My upper level kids watched the film after reading excerpts from the story. My lower level students just watched the film. Each day I would have some sort of activity for them to complete while they watched the movie. I had a big chart that included all the characters and showed their connects. We started with the chart before they watched the film that way they could keep it on their desk as they watched. It helped them follow the plot since there are so many characters. I also had a chart of all the gods and goddesses that we went through briefly. The video activities varied based on the students learning styles. Frequently, I asked them to take notes on the film. We would spend the first few minutes of class reviewing yesterday's materials and the characters they would see that day. The last bit of class we reviewed what they had seen and I helped them clear up any confusing parts. With my lower level students, I frequently paused them film when a new character was introduced to make sure they understood who it was and how they fit into the story. I have a quiz for this film that I've uploaded to eNotes. You can find it at http://www.enotes.com/documents/odyssey-short-quiz-63908
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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 16, 2011 at 9:08 AM (Answer #9)

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I, too, have used the Armand Assante mini-series version of The Odyssey. My students--honors and struggling--always love the series. It is structured logically; so you can easily break it into vignettes (as others have suggested). For pre-reading activities, I would first see how much your students know about Greek mythology. In the past, I have used a twenty-minute Jim Henson-produced video of Perseus and Medusa. Students enjoy it because Homer and his dog tell the story, and the puppet special effects are quite entertaining. This is a quick way to introduce students to classical elements of Greek heroes and mythology.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 6, 2011 at 1:36 PM (Answer #10)

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I agree that the Assante version is very well done. In fact, I just showed a bit of it this week to my students and they seemed interested and impressed. The fact that the series could be longer than a two-hour movie contributed to its success.

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