All things TOEFL iBT

#183 – Films can tell us a lot about the country where they are made. What have you learned about a country from watching its movies? Use specific examples and details to support your answer.

Points to remember:

Take no more than 30 minutes

Write a maximum of 300 words

Divide your answer in at least four-five  paragraphs – introduction, main point #1, main point #2, main point #3, conclusion.

Use a word processor to write your answer first; then copy and paste the text into the Comments box.



Comments on: "Independent Writing task – Films and countries" (6)

  1. Thais Cunha said:

    Watching movies is definitely a good opportunity to learn about a country that we had never been to. Brasil, and mainly Rio de Janeiro city, had been for years shying appearing on international scenario through Brazilian movies; mainly know as per their porn concept. But due to a high investment of government and private companies on cultural activities, Rio de Janeiro gained space on international scene. Movies with elaborated and more interesting stories contributed to the increase of the international confidence on the local security, also increasing the foreign interest on visiting the country.
    Movies like the series “Tropa de Elite” are a good example of the image change. Some years ago, trough “Cidade de Deus” the international community experienced the real life on a “favela”, the lack of control by the government on violence, drugs traffic, education and public health. Tropa de Elite hadn`t hired the security problems but from a different perspective showed that the government had been investing on trainings, education, and the country has a police arm that had been prepared to combat violence granting security to the society.
    On the other hand, a film like “Rio: the movie” had been able to show all the beauty of the city on a 3D computer animated perspective. It shares with the world an overview of the main touristic points as Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana beaches, the Sugar Loaf, Cristo statue, the Tijuca forest, Lapa and Santa Tereza showing also Brazilian carnival and the “carioca” way of life. Music, samba, and caipirinhas were the dose to show Brazilian`s culture happiness.
    We can consider that one of the reasons for the choice of having Brazil as the country to stage the World Cup and Rio de Janeiro the Olimpic games had been consequence of the space gained through the increase of cultural activities and international confidence. Watching a movie that shows the beauty of a country make us wish to experience the feeling of merging into its culture and get involved by same emotions shared trough the screen.

  2. Gustavo Barbosa Cleinman said:

    Movies are an excellent feature in the learning process because of, if well written, their capacity to resume a story. Being a media, with sound, image that happens in fast pace, plus a good story telling, it can be a good way to start an interest in a little known subject.
    One example of such, that has marked me a lot, was when my history teacher decided to show to her students the movie “Gandhi”, with Sir Ben Kingsley. It my opinion, it was the best way to make us understand what was taught during class. It was a resume of everything explained before, with a plus of images and a story telling. It certainly made me realize better the situation of the independence of India.
    Another good movie that helped explain a little of a situation of a country, was “Quase dois irmãos”. It is a movie that mixes some fictional facts with true ones in order to explain the formation of the first crime organization of Rio de Janeiro. It shows to people how it started and reminds us of many of the ironies and misdeeds that were committed, and still are, in Brazil.
    Of course these movies won’t ever show us the whole picture, but their function is only to instigate our curiosity about a subject, and this they do very well. It is a fantastically media that, if well made, can help a lot on discovering new things about other countries and their people.

  3. Vanessa Rodrigues said:

    A long time ago people usually read books to go to another place, other time, other life. Nowadays, the book place is being occupied by films and series. I confess that going to the cinema or watching television is not my favorite activity, but, at the same time, I recognize that can be at least inspiring.
    I want to talk about “Sex and the City”, the TV series that became film also. In general look is a normal TV series for women that made a huge success. However, paying attention is little bit more than this… It is a TV series that shows a lot of New York as well as the life in this city.
    Watching “Sex and the City” is a good way to learn about the Big Apple, it is a cheap manner to visit New York… This year, I had the chance to stay few days there and despite of going to the usual tourists’ places, I preferred to go to the set points, I preferred to know New York as Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes and Samantha Jones.
    Films and series, most of the time, give us the chance to know the uncommon of the cities and the places as citizens, not as tourists. Thus, places become more interesting, become more than the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Bridge… And the result is simple: if you can, you will visit the city personally, if you can’t, you will search more and more about the place…

  4. Movies are the best way to travel without spending any money. They allow you to know about the cultural habits, beautiful landscapes, exotic places and so on. What is most interesting is that they show evereything with contexts and not just the countries as documentaries does.

    “Australia” is a great example! Without the whole history surrounding the movie you wouldn’t pay much attention thus you would not be able to learn as much as you could about Australia. While telling the history, the movie makes you pass through characters feelings what takes you beyond the drama.

    The only problem is the lack of reality when showing another culture. “Tourists” that takes place in Brazil suffered from this. The history presents a group of teenagers going to spend their vacation in Brazil then they see themselves in hands of organ trafficants. A person that don’t know about the country think that Brazil is just violence but it is not.

    When you are thinking about watching a movie to learn about the country presented, reading comments about the movie can avoid waste of time. If it is good you may stay 2 hours away from your country without leaving your couch.

  5. Alcira Tequia said:

    First of all, what I have learned about a country from watching its movies is the reality of its society and its problems.

    For example, as a Foreigner, the first movie I saw from Brazil was approximately 7 years ago, its name was Cidade de Deus, it presented drug dealing, vandalism and jail, everything was focused in those who had not education and economic conditions. Apparently, there were many people involved in these actions that I thought that was what Brazil was made of.

    For me, it was scaring; it looked like the most dangerous country in the Latin-American continent. Fortunately, I moved to Rio de Janeiro one year ago and although when I can see these social problems like homeless people, drug addicts and robbers, it does not look so bad as the film projected, maybe things had improve.

    Also, I saw the latest international movie made in Rio de Janeiro Fast and furious, Rio de Janeiro operation and I could say with Absolut confidence that this country its not exactly what we see in movies, for example, this film had a scene with some train in the desert. Now that I live here I am very sure this state does not have any kind of desert like that, it was fiction, part of entertainment.

    Finally, I could say movies shows half-truth of the place where it is rolled so you may have certain idea how it is and works, but not a final concept or definition of the place, you must visit it to prove by yourself.

  6. Movies are an interesting way to have fun, to learn and to travel around the world without leaving your sofa. There are a lot of movies that are filmed on the streets, in touristic places from different cities and this give you the opportunity to know more about the place and, of course, the culture.
    I think that a 95% of the films that I already watched were filmed in US and the majority of those were in New York. And right because of that I prefer to give another example, that shows other kind of places and the movie is “Eat, pray, love” starred by Julia Roberts.
    This movie is divided in three parts: the first one, eat, is filmed in Italy; the second part, pray, is filmed in India; and the last part, love, is filmed in Indonesia.
    This movie not only shows really good about the countries, it is also shown the culture of the local people from each place. And what is really interesting for me is that is shown not only the touristic places, but common places that local people usually go, so you can learn from the place like you were living there.
    Concluding, it is a great opportunity to know better the places watching movies. This could also help you with an idea of a place to visit and spend your vacation or show you how is a place that you would never go in your life.

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