Ten Weeks/Ten Movies* @ The Moviehouse & Eatery, Austin, TX
Led by media scholar Philip J. Hohle, PhD

Entertainment as a Second Language

The language of popular culture can be strange and confusing. At the same time, entertainment can be immeasurably influential. In particular, the movie is the most broadly influential and subtly powerful means for change in western society. With skilled craftsmanship, filmmakers carefully conceal their beliefs and convictions within a compelling story, and their artful invitation becomes almost irresistible to the average viewer. This truth raises important questions for the awakened audience member.

  • How is it that two people can watch the same movie but experience two completely different stories?
  • What is it about great movies that seem to stir the soul?
  • How does one uncover the subtle arguments embedded by the filmmaker?
  • What important details are easily missed—clues that give new meaning to the story?
  • What in the film triggered this remarkable disruption/empowerment?

Participants in these ESL classes will explore and practice using tools that can make them fluent in their media consumption—better at making sense of the messages and meanings behind their favorite movies. This activity is centered around weekly screenings at The Moviehouse that are followed by an open discussion led by our team of respondents.**

In the Lenses course, participants are equipped with ten separate lenses that will aid them in interpretation. With the Cinema & Religion class, participants focus on the single lens of religion (the Lens of Ideology).

To guide participants between movie nights, a media literacy curriculum was written for each class. These are short books written with informal class participants in mind. (Sold on Amazon or directly from the author.)

Lenses: Ten Ways to Interpret the Movies You Love (and some that you hated)

The Filmmaker's Prayer: Cinema and Religion

Improve your media literacy—become fluent in reading popular film.

Read the FAQs about the class.

For FALL 2019 LENSES Series, no registration is required. Simply purchase your ticket at the box office or on the Moviehouse & Eatery website.

*Parabolic Media reserves the right to change the overall number of evenings planned for the ESL series.

**Note that opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the employees, owners, or management of the Moviehouse.


Films Studied in the Fall 2018 LENSES Series

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Lens of Accuracy)
  • Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing (Lens of Form)
  • O Brother Where Art Thou? (Narrative Lens)
  • Isle of Dogs (Socio-Cultural Lens)
  • Manchester By the Sea (Psycho-analytic Lens)
  • Mud (Semiotic Lens)
  • No Country for Old Men (Lens of Value)
  • V for Vendetta (Rhetorical Lens)
  • Cirque du Soleil—Worlds Away (Ideological Lens)
  • Christmas Vacation (Lens of Genre)

Films Studied in the Spring 2019 CINEMA & RELIGION Series

  • I Can Only Imagine
  • Theory of Everything
  • Easy A
  • Sully
  • A Quiet Place
  • Nerve
  • Winter's Bone
  • The Shape of Water
  • Mother!
  • Black Panther
Classic movie stars on screen seeming to argue about religion.
Classic movie stars on screen seeming to argue about religion.

Cinema & Religion Informal Class — Spring 2019

A choice of Moviehouse Locations and Nights


Classic movie stars on screen seeming to argue about religion.

LENSES Informal Class—Fall 2019

(Ten Lenses to Interpret Movies)

Class logo

Media Fluency for People and Organizations