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Film Festival - La Ciudad (The City)

Wednesday - December 1, 2004
MAC Playhouse - 3:30 pm - 6:15 pm

La Ciudad (The City)

Hosted by: Dr. Robert Singer, Professor of English
College Now English Course Coordinator
Dr. Marcia Babbitt, College Now ESL Course Coordinator

About the Movie: La Ciudad (The City)
Director, David Riker 1998 - Rating NR

La Ciudad shows us the oppressive lives and living conditions of recent Latino immigrants in New York City in four separate but linked stories. Many of these people are victims of abuse because of poor language skills, unemployment, basic prejudices, and other reasons. This film is sad and moving, but at times, hopeful, and features real, recent immigrants to New York.

About the Presenter: Professor Marcia Babbitt
Professor Marcia Babbitt is Co-Director of ESL at Kingsborough Community College and director of the Intensive ESL Program, a content-based interdisciplinary program designed to accelerate the progress of entering ESL students. Marcia holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center. She feels La Ciudad is very relevant to her students as it explores the difficulties of new immigrants to America.


Extra Credit Assignments
A New York congressperson has introduced a bill in the legislature that would disallow the children of illegal immigrants to attend public schools in the State of New York. The congressperson has stated that a free education is simply too expensive and that it is unfair for taxpayers to pay for non-citizens. Critics of the bill state that it is unfair to punish children and that it is covertly racist, since most of the affected children are non-white. This bill would even include the children of immigrant parents who work and pay taxes but who are still not citizens. According to the congressperson, the children who would be affected would have to attend private schools or at least have their parents file papers to become legal residents and then wait for them to be processed. Only the children of legal immigrants would be allowed to attend public schools.

You have been asked to write a letter to your local congressperson in which you will express your views concerning the issue of disallowing the children of illegal immigrants to attend public schools in the State of New York. Fully discuss your view; you may refer to other opinions or even the film La Ciudad.


THIS IS NOT A RESEARCH PAPER - IT IS A REARCH-ORIENTED EXPERIENCE IN WHICH STUDENTS GATHER AND CATEGORIZE INFORMATION. THEY CAN PREPARE OUTLINES, NOTE-CARDS, A BIBLIOGRAPHY, CITE REFERENCES (quote, paraphrase, summarize), OR PRACTICE ANY COMBINATION OF THESE SKILLS ASSOCIATED WITH PREPARING A RESEARCH PAPER. Utilizing the library and its resources, and/or material from the Internet, prepare an investigative project that focuses on any one of these topics associated with the film, La Ciudad:

a - immigration to New York City - 1900
b - immigration to New York City - 2000
c - history of photography
d - popular Spanish actors/actresses
e - popular Spanish music


Many issues arise from the analysis and discussion of the film, La Ciudad. Some of the more personal issues involve how boys and girls relate to each other, problems with attending school, trying to find employment, writing letters to your family back in the old country, and more. Some broader, social issues discussed in the film involve unfair labor practices, second-class housing and education, racial prejudice, and loneliness. There are other related personal and social issues arising from the analysis of this film, and these are only some suggested and significant ideas and themes to consider.

In a full-length essay (approximately 400-500 words), later to be revised for content and correctness, discuss any of the issues raised in the film La Ciudad
that you consider to be of special interest either for yourself or for society. Explain why and how these issues are significant not only in the film but also in relationship to your own life, American society, or both.

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