Professional Risk: Sex, Lies, and Violence in the Films about Teachers
Authors: Alexander Fedorov, Anastasia Levitskaya, Olga Gorbatkova, Galina Mikhaleva
Number of views: 393
Pedagogical issues are rather popular in the world’s cinematography. Images of school and university teachers occupy a special place in it. Hoping to attract as many viewers as possible the cinematography prefers to refer not to everyday routine education process but to “hot spots” of teaching associated mainly with sex, lies and violence (in this regard deception is successfully combined with narrative moves of violence and sex) in recent decades.
Thus, the title of the French film Risky Business (Les risques du métier, 1967) contains the essence of the media presentation of the teacher’s image whose profession is undoubtedly linked to serious risks and challenges. The review and analysis of 1300 Western films about school and university, study of more than 7000 published materials (books, research articles and film reviews) on the declared topic have enabled us to reveal the following basic types of teacher’s images in the Western cinematography: positive (super)hero (often a male, a school teacher recently employed) who reeducates an aggressive and disobedient class; a negative personage who hates students (in some cases he/she can even be a robot-killer or an alien); a loser / clown, outsider suffering from his job; a bureaucrat-administrator.
The authors of the article point to the fact that the teacher’s image on the Western screen has significantly transformed over time. The self-censorship that existed practically till the 1960s did not allow film makers to touch upon such radical aspects as violence, sex, obscene language, racial and religious problems in schools and universities. But after the lifting of the Hays Code and the advent of the so-called sexual revolution of the 1970s the Western screen began to successively exploit the topics forbidden before, thus creating new horrifying narratives moves every year. On the other hand, the tendency for reflection on the pedagogical mission and real professional challenges involved stills remains in the Western cinematography.
Such hermeneutic analysis of Western audiovisual media texts about school and university allowed the authors to integrate the structure of media stereotypes of school and university teachers in films.