I recently found the website Kidsloveshortfilms.com which has a good range of short films for use in the classroom. I have watched several but one that I particularly enjoyed was Tuurngait by Paul-Emile Boucher, Rémy Dupont and Benjamin Flouw. A tuurngait is an Inuit spirit which can be helpful in terms of helping the community to hunt and heal sickness or can be evil or monstrous and can be responsible for bad hunts or broken tools. We often have the saying that a bad workman blames his tools but obviously in Inuit culture the Tuurngait is to blame.
The story tells of a young boy playing at home when he is tempted away by a bird which he follows. The bird takes him far from home, onto a glacier and then the ice floes where he meets more Tuurngait. His father realises he is missing and sets off to find him, saving him from the fighting Tuurngait. The story is simple but there is plenty to describe in terms of setting and character and filmic devices to include in writing. Elements of this film made me think of Blue John by Berlie Doherty.
This is the story of the creation of the precious stone Blue John set in caves in Derbyshire. Fire and Ice create Blue John who takes the form of a small boy. He explores the caves he is in but is tempted outside by children playing. Unlike the film, he does not return to the cave when called by his ‘Mother’ and goes outside to play with the children and turns to stone as a result.
Parts of the book that link particularly well are the description of Blue John exploring his cave. This is one of excited exploration (p16 and p20) created with a strong sense of movement through the use of verb choice and adverbials of where, e.g.
He wriggled through holes and slid down slides. He clambered into cracks and swung from stalactites.
There is also some use of alliteration as well. The challenge for children would be to change this to give a more threatening feel to match the film.
The verb choice followed by adverbial would also be a great way to write the journey of the bird as it leads the little boy to the glacier and floes. The movement of the bird – swooping, soaring, diving and gliding – allows for careful verb choice and the adverbial can give us more detail about the setting, e.g. over the granite peaks, along the valley, down the cliff. Joined together in a chain, these adverbials can give us a real sense of movement and journey.
One filmic device that the children could bring to their writing is the difference in colour between the father in his workshop/home and the boy outside. The creation of a colour thesarus for each environment would support vocabulary development.
Another filmic device is the use of sound. It would be interesting to explore writing an opening to the story focusing on the sound and then one using the images. The children could decide which is the more powerful or whether both could be used to create a more effective opening.
Are there other texts that you think would link well to this film? Do share your thoughts.