U.K. government promotes movie education for kids

LONDON — For Brits who want their troublesome tykes to know their Spielberg from their Almodovar, help is at hand.

U.K. finance minister Gordon Brown launched a national film club Thursday designed to introduce youngsters to a broader spectrum of cinema.

Flanked by thesp Thandie Newton and helmers Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”) and Beeban Kidron (“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”), Brown launched the initiative at a north London school.

“Film Club is a great example of how schools can offer young people the chance to do something engaging and exciting at the end of their school day,” said Brown, who is tipped to succeed Tony Blair as prime minister this year.

“For the first time, Film Club will allow young people to watch a much wider range of films from world cinema together and discuss them in groups,” he said.

Teachers and pupils are able to access 400 recommended titles at http://www.filmclub.org, which include mainstream fare such as “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” alongside specialized and foreign language pics such as “Central Station” and “Cinema Paradiso.”

The Web site enables teachers and pupils not only to order films, which will be dispatched by online DVD rental service Lovefilm, but also write reviews and rate movies, as well as access information about what’s on at their local cinema.

Themes on the site include “Terrorism” (“United 93″ and “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”), “Politics” (“Animal Farm” and “Citizen Kane”) and “Immigration” (“Dirty Pretty Things” and “In This World”).

Other notable supporters of the venture include Rosamund Pike, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Frears, Daniel Craig, Alan Parker, Simon Pegg, John Hurt, Nick Park, Joseph Fiennes, Daniel Radcliffe, Jo Wright and Sienna Miller, all of whom have agreed to visit schools during the pilot phase. Renee Zellweger has written exclusively for the Web site about a film that meant a lot to her as a young girl growing up.

Film Club is a non-profit organization supported by the U.K. Film Council, the BFI, The Guardian, Lovefilm, Film Education, All Industry Marketing, Film Bank/PVSL and the Film Distributors Association.

Currently in the pilot phase in 25 schools, the intention is to roll out Film Club to a further 10,000 schools nationwide this summer.

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