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Bend it Like Beckham
SUBJECTS — Sports/Soccer (Football); World/England;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Breaking Out; Parenting;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Respect; Caring.
Age: 13+; MPAA rated PG-13 for language and sexual content; Comedy; 2003; 112 minutes; Color.
This story focuses on two English girls who want to play football (soccer) professionally. Jesminder (Jess) is from an Indian Sikh family that has recently emigrated to England. Julie is from a traditional English family. Each suffers from the prejudices of her parents. Jess' parents believe that playing football and displaying her legs to the world are improper for a traditional Sikh girl. They forbid her to play. Julie's disinterest in things feminine and her friendship with Jess lead Julie's mother to believe that Julie is a lesbian. It all comes to a head at Jess' sister's version of the "Big Fat Sikh Wedding."
This movie shows: (1) girls being serious about sports, in this case soccer, called football everywhere but in the U.S.A.; (2) a child of immigrant parents in Britain breaking out of traditional Sikh life-styles; and (3) parents adapting to the unexpected paths their children take. A core message is that "in the modern world children have to be allowed to forge their own futures. ... [W]hile we need to be reasonably understanding of parents and elderly folk who cling to the old ways, we don't need to make excuses for their intolerance."
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In Bend It Like Beckham, we see two girls who want to play professional soccer (football). Jess has a more difficult time than Julie because Jess' parents believe that playing football is not a proper activity for a Sikh young woman. They forbid her to play. The movie shows how Jess' family resolves this issue and regains their mutual love and respect.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below a portion of a sample lecture on ethics to be given after children have seen Bend It Like Beckham.
The Sikh religion is the 9th largest religion in the world, with 29 million adherents. It is concentrated in the Indian province of Punjab, but adherents live all over the world. Sikh craftsmen were brought to East Africa by the British in the early twentieth century to build the Uganda-Kenya railway. Some stayed and Sikh communities were established in Uganda. In 1972 the erratic dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin, ordered the expulsion of all East Asians. Britain offered political asylum and many Indians, including Sikhs, settled in England. Most likely, this is how Jess and her family came to England.
The Learning Guide to the film Bend It Like Beckham contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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