directed by Gurinder Chadha
teaching notes prepared by Tania Kelly Roxborogh
Before you Begin.
Features of a film
Just as we study a novel, short story or poem and look at individual features such as language, setting, character etc, we separate aspects of the film in order to appreciate more clearly how it has been put together.
And, as with all literature (of which the study of film is a part) the most important feature is the theme (while the other features are designed to bring out, emphasize, show theme).

These are the main features we look at:
1. Character: what they look like, how they speak, what they do, what happens to them. There are main character (three dimensional) and minor characters (two dimensional) whose purpose is often to contrast with the main characters or act as a symbol.
2. Setting: time and place eg age (such as 1930s or in the future), day or night, country, area. All these communicate specific ideas which have an impact of the atmosphere and therefore the message.
3. Plot: Film makers carefully select which information and in what order the audience will see the story. This order determines our response/attitude to the characters and therefore the message.
4. Production Techniques: these are lighting, props, sound (including music), special effects, costume, the use of colour, camera angles etc. Film makers carefully arrange the above to emphasise an idea or to create (or add to) a particular atmosphere.
5. Dialogue: sometimes a narrator is used to communicate or comment on the action; what characters say (or don’t say) is important – every word counts.
6. The title: will be linked to the story or the message. Can sometimes be a pun or another type of word play but usually be have extra (sometimes hidden) meanings.
7. Theme: most films have a number of ideas they explore. Often this is connected to something a character learns and therefore what we learn.

First Viewing of the film.

After watching the film, answer the questions below:
1) In which category (genre) of film should 'Bend it Like Beckham' be placed?
Give reasons for your answer.
2) What is the film mainly about? Write a brief summary of the story.
3) What did you learn from watching the film?
4) Record your impressions of Jess, Jules, Joe and their families.

Second Viewing of the film.

There are three main cultures identified in this film: the English (London) culture, the English football culture and the Sikh culture.
1) List what is seen as the good aspects and negative aspects of each of the above cultures as is highlighted in the film.
2) What is the film maker trying to teach us about each of these cultures?
Using the information in the film and/or your own research, find out what the following means for Jess
Love match; Gora; Paki; Sikhism; Guru Nanak;
Bend the ball; Professional Football; foul; penalty goal; scout

4) What does the phrase 'Bend it Like Beckham' mean: in soccer terms and why might it be considered a metaphor for the lives of Jess and Jules?

The film is mainly from the perspective of Jess. Our opinions of things that happen are shaped by our sympathies for her character. The following questions ask you to consider the way the characters in this film are presented to us but our responses will most likely be in light of Jess's point of view.
Jess and Jules
1) Describe Jess's home life. Include the positives and the negatives.
2) Describe Jules's home life. Include the positives and the negatives.
3) In what ways are their lives similar? different?
4) Describe the relationship between Jess and Jules at the start of the film.
5) What problems do they encounter with each other and how are these resolved?
6) Describe the relationship between Jess and Jules at the end of the film.
7) What changes have occurred in this relationship?
8) What has caused these changes?

Other characters:
For each of the following characters below, answer these questions:
1) What is the character like?
2) What does the character want the most?
3) What is the character's main problem?
4) How is this 'problem' solved (if at all).

Pinkie Jess's mother Jess's father Jule's mother Jule's father Tony
Character focus: Jess
1) Briefly describe Jess.
2) What does she want from life?
3) What hinders her?
4) What does she learn: about her family, about friendship, about herself.
5) Choose three of the above characters and describe Jess's relationship with each: include comments on what difficulty she has because of this character and what Jess learns from the character.

There are a number of recognisable themes in this film and they all stem from the main idea of the clash of cultures. Associated with this is the idea of stereotyping and misunderstanding. The main themes we will study for this film are:
1) Culture Clash (refer back to your notes on setting)
2) Stereotyping and misunderstanding
3) Friendship and Love
4) Parent/child relationships
For each of the words in bold above:

§ write down your personal definition of each word
§ write down the dictionary definitions of the words
Using the same list above:

§ list examples from the film which show these main ideas.
§ what is the film maker saying about these ideas.

Sometimes a leit motif (a repeated image or idea) is used in literature to enhance our understanding of the main theme.
In Bend it Like Beckham, the leit motif is the idea of deception.
1) Which characters employ deception?
2) What do they do?
3) What are the consequences of their deception? for themselves, for others.

Important Quotes
For each of the following quotations:
· who said it and who is listening.
· explain what is happening at that point in the film.
· why is this quote important? Think about character, theme, plot development etc.
· what is your personal response to the comment.

1) What bigger honour is there than respecting your elders.
2) Your parents don't always know what's best for you Jess.
3) Children are a map of their parents
4) Parents never see the good things
5) I don't feel close to my family Jess. I don't need you to feel sorry for me.
6) I've decided that I've got to take an interest or I'm gonna lose you.
7) Why are they so frightened to let you play?

They want to protect me. This is taking me away from everything they know.
8) You're lucky to have a family that cares that much about you. I can understand you don't want to mess with it.
9) Whose life are you living Jess? If you try pleasing them for ever, you're going to end up blaming them.

9) All I'm saying is there is a reason why sporty spice is the only one without a fella.
10) You can marry anyone you want. It's fine at first when your in love and all that but do you really want to be the one everyone stares at ....because you married the English bloke?
11) You can't plan who you fall for; no one can.
12) She called me a Paki but I guess you wouldn't understand what that feels like.
13) I've never seen an Indian girl play football.

Close Viewing of the film.

1) Close Reading of the opening sequence (the start to, and including, the title):
a) Draw a table into your workbook. As you view the opening sequence, record what you observe, what sounds and/or music you hear, what is said, in voice over and dialogue, what visual effects you notice: colour, costume, shots, angels etc

b) From your close reading of this opening sequence, list all the clues the film maker has given us about the characters, plot, setting, and theme of this film:
What we learn about:
The storyline:
The setting:

2) Look closely at the scenes where Jess is in Hamburg and goes night clubbing.

§ Repeat the exercise for 1a) above
§ Briefly describe what happens
§ Explain, using examples and explanations, why this is an important scene

3) Look closely at 'Pinkie's wedding and soccer final' scene.

§ Repeat the exercise for 1a) above
§ Briefly describe what happens
§ Explain, using examples and explanations, why this is an important scene.
§ What film techniques does the film maker use to connect the happiness of Pinkie and the happiness of Jess.

4) Look closely at the scene where Jess tells her parents about America.

§ Repeat the exercise for 1a) above
§ Briefly describe what happens
§ Explain, using examples and explanations, why this is an important scene.

Response to the film.
Writing good literature essays
Whatever level you are writing essays for, all markers want the same thing from you:
· evidence that you understand what you have read and,
· evidence that you can express your understanding in a logical, convincing, coherent manner.
For that to happen, you need to:

· read and understand the text.
· you must understand what is being asked of you.
· you must ensure you respond directly, with detail and that you fulfill the demands of the task.
· Finally, what you write must make sense, be logical and, if possible, enlightening.

Below is a simple format for writing literature essays. It isn't the only way to write good essays but it is an sound way:

Step One: Think about your response to the question. Jot down possible answers. reasons, examples, ideas.
Step Two: Draft out your introduction. This should start with the main words of the essay topic and include your response to it with general reasons.
Step Three: Paragraph one: Take one of the main points from your argument and write it down. Call this the statement.
Step Four: Find an example from the text to support this statement.
Step Five: Find a specific quote from the text which adds to this example.
Step Six: Finally, explain how this example and this quotation support or justify the statement you have made and how it links to the topic.
Step Seven: Steps Three though Six is the structure of one paragraph. Repeat the process for each new point you make.
Step Eight: Summarize in one or two sentences the main thrust of your essay. Do not repeat phrases but do not introduce new ideas. Your conclusion should leave your reader/marker with something to think about.

Essay preparation
· From your notes, write down two main themes
· Find at least two examples each which give evidence for these themes.
· Find a quotation to support each example and explain how that quotation relates to the example.

example (2) quotation explanation
example (1) quotation explanation
example (1) quotation explanation
Theme (2)
example (2) quotation explanation

· From your notes, write down five main points relating to two characters from the film.
· Give examples which support each point.
· Find quotations to support each example and explain how that quotation relates to the example.
Statement example (2) quotation explanation
example (1) quotation explanation
Statement example (2) quotation explanation
Character (1)
example (1) quotation explanation
Statement example (1) quotation explanation
example (2) quotation explanation
Statement example (2) quotation explanation
example (1) quotation explanation
Statement example (2) quotation explanation
example (1) quotation explanation

and so on.

This preparation encourages you to think carefully about the supporting detail you need to use to justify the statements you make as well as explaining how each example and quotation adds weight to your argument.
It also means you attack almost any essay topic with confidence that you have the information to back up what you argue.
Essay topics:
1. Describe an important idea dealt with in the text. Why is this idea important?

2. Describe the setting of the text and explain why this is important.

3. Describe an important character in the text and say why he/she is important.

4. Describe the beginning and/or ending of the text. Explain why you could describe it as memorable.

5. Choose several of the production features that work well in the text and show how they are important. You could choose from the following: music, dialogue, lighting, graphics, colour, props, special effects, costume, sound track, camera work.

Static Images
A static image is an image that does not move. When you create a static image you need to consider these questions:
· why do you want to make this static image? (the purpose);
· what do you want to say? (the message);
· who do you want to say it to? (the audience);
· and, how will you get it across? (techniques).
The last question is divided into two sections:

The visual techniques, for example:
dominant image layout symbol contrast
font or lettering

And language techniques, for example:
rhyme pun cliché hyperbole simile
imperatives jargon rhetorical question metaphor slogan

A static image is successful if it achieves its purpose.

Look at the video cover (back and front) of the film.
1) What is its purpose?
2) What is the message?
3) Who is the image aimed at? (the audience)
4) What visual techniques are used to get the viewer’s attention?
5) How effective is the cover? Give reasons for you answer.

Design your own front cover for the video or a poster advertising the film and explain your answers to 1 to 4 above. Ensure you give detailed reasons for your choice of visual and verbal techniques.