Super Special — Ashley Williams, 2019
A young girl with a lot of responsibility wakes up to find she has begun her first period. Searching for sanitary products in her bathroom proves unsuccessful and she later has to decide between buying some sanitary towels or ingredients to make a cake for her younger brother’s birthday. When she makes her choice and her grandmother finds out, she is taught about Māori heroes – and her own superpowers.
A gentle, reflective and empowering film on the impact of period poverty on girls and the stigma that still surrounds menstruation.
Classroom ActivitiesPrint All
- Clip Details
- Describe the girl’s home situation.
- Symbolism at beginning: we are misled at the beginning as to the reason for the blood; why do you think the director has chosen to do this?
- The director uses a variety of camera shots at the beginning of the film - can you name them? What do the shots have in common? Why do you think the director has chosen not to show her face at first?
- In the scene where the girl is in bed, describe her body language. What does her sleeping position look like and what this suggests? Also, describe the camera movement. What does it suggest? Describe the sound. What effect does it have?
- Identify the shot when her little brother jumps on her bed. What is the effect of this?
- What type of cuts do we get when the girl and her brother are on the bed? Think about the speed. Why do you think the director does this?
- Identify the shot of the boy’s birthday present. Why does the director use this shot?
- Why do we get a close-up of the girl’s face after her brother leaves her room?
- Describe the sound as the girl goes from her room to the bathroom. What is the effect of this?
- Can you identify the shot of the girl when she is looking for sanitary products in the bathroom? Suggest a reason why the director uses this shot at this point.
- Why does the girl not go to school? Describe the music when the girl decides not to go to school. What effect does it have? Describe the camera work as the girl walks away from school. What does it suggest about how she is feeling?
- Why does the director choose to use a voiceover of Nan when the girl is in the shop?
- Why do you think the director chooses a medium-long shot when the girl is cleaning her pyjamas?
- Describe the camera movement as Nan returns home – what does it suggest about how Nan is feeling?
- Describe the music when Nan and the girl are sitting on the couch with blankets – explain how it differs from earlier in the film and what effect it has.
- Suggest a reason why the director uses slow motion when the girl gets up from the sofa and throws off her blanket?
- Why do we have a shot following the girl touching all the photographs on the wall?
- On YouTube, find and research a selection of TV adverts for period products (such as the Tampax ‘It’s My Life’ advert (1992) and HelloFlo’s ‘First Moon Party’ (2014). How do they represent women? How do they represent periods? Do you think these adverts are appropriate? Why (not)?
- “Menstruation Around the World”: research how different cultures around the world react to/celebrate a girl’s first period.
- Conduct a survey (anonymous) around your school asking girls to reflect on their period experience – do they stay off school, are they embarrassed, how they feel about PE on their period etc… Reflect on the data and see what solutions you could come up with to help.
- "Break the Stigma": Visit the Breakthrough India website: Think about ways to break the stigma around menstruation, think about ways to explain to those who do not menstruate what menstruation is, what they can do support those who menstruate.
- Research if period products are easily available around your school and if not, find out if this could be changed.
- Create a list/leaflet/poster of things you could do to help a girl on her period.
- Create a “Periods Hack” video, blog, TikTok etc… to help girls in schools.
- Create a short film celebrating girls on their periods
- Create “Break the Stigma” displays for your school.
- Create a Period Positive poster or sign listing all the good things about having your period.
- Research the Period Products Bill (Scotland) 2021 and make a poster explaining what this bill does.
- Research the environmental impact of period products. Suggest solutions to these problems.
- Research the history of period products and assess the pros and cons of all of them.
|Year of Production||2019|
|Curriculum Areas||Health and Wellbeing, Literacy and English, Religious and Moral Education, Social Studies|
|Country of Origin||New Zealand|
|Medium / Content||Live Action, Fiction, Colour, Sound, Subtitles|
|Themes||Feelings, Relationships, Health, Culture / Society, Identity / Self, Poverty / Class, Communication|
|Age Group||P5-P7, S1-S3, S4-S6|