If you are integrating the teaching of intercultural communication and cultural awareness into your lessons, then the video extract below from the film, ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ is a great lead in to various aspects of the topic. The basic storyline of the film is this: A woman from a Greek family living in the USA falls in love with a guy from an average ‘white’ suburban family in the USA. A lot of the film’s humour comes from the differences in cultural values. Anyway, if you don’t have time to watch the whole film in class, this particular extract shows the part where the two sets of in-laws meet for the first time. You see the build up to the event and then the excrutiating scenes from the party itself.
Ask you students to watch and make notes about each of the following areas.
• Attitudes to family and relationships
• Greetings and levels of formality
• Space and body language
• Food and drink
• Suitable topics of conversation
Afterwards, they can talk about what they observed and use it as a springboard into the difficulties of intercultural communication. Note that if you watch the part of the film that follows on YouTube (search for My Big Fat Greek Wedding(9)) you see the reaction of the Greek parents to meeting the in-laws. It’s a great display of how people can often react to a different culture.