THEMATHIQUE 1 : RENCONTRES
I. Victoria and Abdul / Relationship between the Empire and its colonies during the Victorian era
Group work on the Victorian era : GROUP work Victorian era
HWK / Look at the picture on slide 1 and describe it as accurately as possible ! Then compare the 2 pictures on slide 2. PPT here –> ppt Victoria and Abdul Karim
Movie trailer « Victoria and Abdul »- take notes and answer the questions below.
What do you learn about Queen Victoria? About Abdul Karim? Queen Victoria is well in her 80’s, she is a widow (dressed in dark colors) and is bored with her life. She feels lonely and old : she has all sorts of illnesses. On the other hand, Abdul Karim is a much younger man: he is Indian, but from his clothes, his turban and beard, we can understand that he is not Hindu but Muslim. He has been sent to England to work as a servant at the Royal Court.
How does she first notice him? Because he looks at her in the eyes / he holds her gaze/ he does something forbidden (he was asked not to look at the Queen in the eyes) -> he stands out. Then she requests him to become her personal attendant / footman.
Why do you think the Queen grew fond of Abdul Karim? He is different, he is from India, therefore has a different culture -> he is kind of « exotic » for Queen Victoria. He also seems to be a kind and truly caring person.
Who are the other characters in the trailer? Victoria’s son Bertie (future king Edward VII), Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, other members of the royal household
What does she get out of this friendship? She learns a lot about the country she’s Empress of: he teaches her Urdu and the Coran. She finds a new interest in Indian culture. He also becomes her confidant: she confides her sadness and loneliness to him. She confides in him -> she opens up to him about her loneliness. He seems to be able to comfort her and to really care about her, in short, to make her happy.
How did her entourage react to their friendship? And how did Victoria respond? They are worried at first, then shocked (because he is Indian? he is coloured? he is Muslim? he is a commoner?) and feel threatened by the influence Abdul has on the Queen. They disapprove of their relationship / their friendship raises eyebrows. They resent Abdul for becoming her favorite. They don’t understand what she sees in him. They are suspicious, then downright hostile to him. They fear he’s going to corrupt her with his language and religion. Victoria’s son (the heir to the throne) threatens to have her declared insane.
At first she doesn’t seem to care, but then loses her temper, is defiant and declares that Abdul will remain her friend, no matter what.
From whose point of view is it shot? How does it influence the viewer? Would you like to see this film and why? It is an omniscient film director but we can clearly see that he sides with Queen Victoria. She is the most present character, there are many close shots on the Queen (-> feeling of intimacy) , we feel for her and the heavy burden of her position. The director really wants the viewer to empathize with this old bored Queen who seems to find a true friend at the end of her life.
Because of her friendship with Abdul Karim and the influence he has on her, Victoria’s son wants her to be declared insane – Watch Victoria’s speech, it will give you a good idea of her personality !
Here is the script of her speech : try to repeat it the way she does and translate the passage : speech Victoria
This work (questions on the trailer + translation) needs to be sent on my email address : email@example.com
Pair work : describe the photo you were given in class and comment. Give your impressions. How is is related to the theme « encounters » ? ppt encounter
We speak English in the classroom (reminder) – click here -> We speak English in the classroom
INTRODUCING YOURSELF – CHINESE PORTRAITS
Record yourself and send your Chinese Portrait on an audio MP3 (format) via Whatsapp or to : firstname.lastname@example.org