Some of my awesome students wrote, performed, and edited a silent movie. They read the book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and watched the silent movies mentioned in the book. The book is written as a silent movie, a detail I kept hidden from them until the end of the book. The book follows Hugo through a train station in Paris as he tries to rebuild an automaton that his father was working on at the time of his death. Hugo, an orphan, is forced to steal the parts he needs from a toy shop owner that turns out to be the famous (and real) filmmaker George Melies. During the book my students came across the names of some of the earliest silent movies. I had my students watch the movies that were mentioned in the story to gain background knowledge about the time period in which this story was set. The movies are quite different from the movies that they see now.
The best find this year was the video about Buster Keaton. The video highlights his career in silent movies. He was definitely the master of the “gag”. My students’s final video was definitely influenced by how Buster Keaton made movies. I have included the videos that we watched while reading the book below.
I always try to end the novels we read with a creative challenge. For Hugo, I challenged my students to create a silent movie that told a story in the style of the movies that we watched and the book we read. Below is their final product. Enjoy THE CHASE!