Ethos Education

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Something small in something big

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Assembly Objective:

  • How important to us is our individual status, compared to the wider community of which we are a part? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching that it is better to play a small part in a bigger community that, together, is achieving good things.

Film:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2014, certificate 15). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible: 

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty is essential to the educational goal of developing pupils with ‘rational autonomy’. However the values of Democracy and Rule of Law are based on a shared community where we respect the wider society beyond our individual status.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Hotel or No-tel (quiz)

Download the Hotel or No-tel PowerPoint with this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Ask the students to identify which of these hotels are real and which are mere inventions from film, television, etc. You could get two volunteers to come up to compete against one another, divide the room into two teams, or even just ask everyone to vote for whether they think each suggestion is a hotel or a no-tel.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Question 1: Hotel California [click to reveal] false: it’s the title of a song by 1970’s country-rock band The Eagles.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Question 2: Hotel New Hampshire [click to reveal] false: it’s from a novel of the same name by John Irving.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Question 3: Taj Mahal Palace hotel: [click to reveal] true: opened in Mumbai in 1903, it boasts the Beatles and Barack Obama among its list of former guests.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Question 4: The Landmark, London [click to reveal] true: founded in 1899 and still open for business today.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Question 5: The Overlook Hotel [click to reveal] false: it features in 1980 horror film The Shining.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Question 6: Hotel Denouement [click to reveal] false: it’s from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events books.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Question 7: Park Hyatt, Tokyo: [click to reveal] true: although it features in the 2003 film Lost in Translation, it is also an actual real-world hotel.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Question 8: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [click to reveal] false: it’s from a 2011 film starring, among others Bill Nighy, Judy Dench and Dev Patel.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Question 9: The Crossroads Motel [click to reveal] true: although it was originally the fictional setting of 1970s soap opera Crossroads, the hotel where it was filmed was subsequently renamed and operated under the once-fictional name.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Question 10: Hotel Babylon [click to reveal] false: it was the setting of a 2006 Drama on BBC television.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Question 11: The Bloxham Hotel [click to reveal] false: it was the setting for the first Hercule Poirot novel written after the death of original author Agatha Christie.
  • [PowerPoint slide 13]
    • Question 12: The Grand Budapest Hotel [click to reveal] false: it’s the title of a 2014 film by Wes Anderson, which we’ll be watching a clip from later in the assembly.

Small Beginnings (something to think about)

Download the Small Beginnings PowerPoint with this activity.

  • Display the PowerPoint with a suitable soundtrack. We suggest Do Anything You Wanna Do by Eddie and the Hot Rods, which is available on the album Do Anything You Wanna Do: The Best of Eddie and the Hot Rods (Spectrum Audio, 2012). Click here to buy the track online.
  • The wording on the PowerPoint is as follows:
  • John D. Rockefeller was the son of a con artist. Rockefeller left school at sixteen years old, determined to earn $100,000 in his lifetime. By the time he retired in 1902, he was worth $200 million, and his wealth was in excess of one billion dollars by the time of his death, aged 97.
  • Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire in 1759, the son of a self-educated tenant farmer. He received little formal education and worked as a farm labourer. His poetry and prose writing, both in Scots language and in English with a Scots dialect, have given him the status of Scotland’s national poet and a world-wide reputation.
  • At the age of seventeen Henry Ford left his family’s farm to become an apprentice machinist in Detroit. Ford became a pioneer in the American motor industry. His commitment to building an affordable car made motoring accessible for normal people, rather than being the preserve of the rich elite.
  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens grew up in nineteenth century Missouri, receiving no formal education beyond the age of eleven and serving an apprenticeship as a printer. After an unsuccessful stint as a miner, Clemens found success as a writer. Using the pen name Mark Twain, Clemens became a giant of American literature, his The Adventures of Tom Sawyer regarded as a classic.
  • Albert Einstein failed his Polytechnic entrance exam working in the Swiss patent office, he was passed over for promotion due to his failure to ‘fully master machine technology’. He went on to win the Nobel prize in physics and to be recognised as arguably the greatest scientific mind of the twentieth century, his name a by-word for genius.

FILM CLIP

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2014, certificate 15).
    • Play the clip from The Grand Budapest Hotel:
      • Start time:       0.11.26 (in chapter 5 of the DVD)
      • End time:         0.13.20
      • Clip length:      1 minute and 54 seconds
    • The clip starts with Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) instructing Zero (Tony Revolori), ‘Run to the Cathedral of Santa Maria…’ It ends with Gustave saying, ‘Very good.’ Please note that during the clip, Gustave tells another of his employees to ‘Call the God-damn plumber’. If you think that this is inappropriate for your students, you could start the clip at 0.12.54, with Gustave and Zero entering the lift. The first line of the shorter clip is Gustave saying, ‘Six, Igor’ to the lift attendant.

    • The clip shows Zero being interviewed for the position of lobby boy at The Grand Budapest Hotel. Gustave seems unimpressed until, when asked why he wants to be a lobby boy, Zero replies, ‘Who wouldn’t? At The Grand Budapest, sir. It’s an institution.’


TALK

Download the Ambition Budapest PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What do you want out of life? How big are your dreams? Perhaps some of you dream of being professional athletes, representing your country at your favourite sport. [click] Perhaps you see yourself as the next Lord Sugar, a titan of business and a millionaire to boot, creating jobs for other people and lots of money for yourself. [click] Perhaps you see yourself as a politician, wielding power over the whole country and playing a major part on the world stage.
    • Or perhaps your ambitions are aimed a little lower than that. Here’s a film clip where a young man is being interviewed for the lowly job of lobby boy at a hotel. Take a look and see at what point he manages to impress the interviewer.
    • Play the clip from The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2014, certificate 15)
      • Start time:       0.11.26 (in chapter 5 of the DVD)
      • End time:         0.13.20
      • Clip length:      1 minute and 54 seconds
    • The clip starts with Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) instructing Zero (Tony Revolori), ‘Run to the Cathedral of Santa Maria…’ It ends with Gustave saying, ‘Very good.’ Please note that during the clip, Gustave tells another of his employees to ‘Call the God-damn plumber’. If you think that this is inappropriate for your students, you could start the clip at 0.12.54, with Gustave and Zero entering the lift. The first line of the shorter clip is Gustave saying, ‘Six, Igor’ to the lift attendant.
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say:
      • ‘In the film The Grand Budapest Hotel, a young lad applying for a job as a lobby boy is assessed as having zero experience, zero education and so on, but finally impresses his would be boss by being more focused on the fact of working for so great an institution as The Grand Budapest Hotel than with the fact that his actual job would be a lowly one.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • How did Zero impress Gustave the concierge? By his commitment to The Grand Budapest Hotel. Zero didn’t mind that his job would be a lowly, unglamorous one, he just knew that the hotel would be a marvellous place to work, to be part of. That attitude, despite all of his shortcomings, was enough to impress his interviewer and get him the job.
    • Some jobs are great because of what you get to do; others are great because they give you the chance to be a small part of something big. The Bible recognises that it’s good to be a small part of a big something. This is from Psalm 84:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. Psalm 84: 10 (New Living Translation)
    • The psalmist knows that it’s so good to be where God is, that he’d rather have the smallest role in God’s house than a position of wealth and luxury elsewhere. He knew what was important, and that was being close to God.
    • So what’s important to you? Would you rather be a big wheel in something insignificant, or play a small part in something huge?

Headings and Bullets

Download the Ambition Budapest PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What do you want out of life?
      • Professional athlete?
      • [click] Business leader, the next Lord Sugar?
      • [click] Politician?
    • Perhaps your ambitions are lower than that.
    • Introduce film clip:
      • Young man interviewed for lowly job as a hotel lobby boy.
      • How does he finally impress the interviewer?
    • Play clip from The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2014, certificate 15)
      • Start time:       0.11.26 (in chapter 5 of the DVD)
      • End time:        0.13.20
      • Clip length:     1 minute and 54 seconds
    • The clip starts with Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) instructing Zero (Tony Revolori), ‘Run to the Cathedral of Santa Maria…’ It ends with Gustave saying, ‘Very good.’ Please note that during the clip, Gustave tells another of his employees to ‘Call the God-damn plumber’. If you think that this is inappropriate for your students, you could start the clip at 0.12.54, with Gustave and Zero entering the lift. The first line of the shorter clip is Gustave saying, ‘Six, Igor’ to the lift attendant.
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘In the film The Grand Budapest Hotel, a young lad applying for a job as a lobby boy is assessed as having zero experience, zero education and so on, but finally impresses his would be boss by being more focused on the fact of working for so great an institution as The Grand Budapest Hotel than with the fact that his actual job would be a lowly one.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • How did Zero impress Gustave, the concierge?
      • His commitment to The Grand Budapest Hotel itself.
      • Zero didn’t mind a lowly job, so long as it was at such a fine institution.
      • His attitude overcame his lack of qualifications and got him the job.
    • Some jobs are great because of what you get to do; others because they let you be a small part of something big.
    • The Bible sees the value of being a small part in something big:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. Psalm 84: 10 (New Living Translation)
    • It’s good to be where God is.
      • Even the smallest role in God’s house is better than wealth and luxury elsewhere.
    • What’s important to you? Would you rather be a big wheel in something insignificant, or play a small part in something huge?

RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you that we can be a part of your world and a part of your plans. Help us to see our place in your plans, and to delight in being a small part of something bigger. Amen.

Reflection

  • When you think about your future, how do you see yourself? At the centre of your own little world, or playing a part in something bigger?

YOU WILL NEED

  1. A copy of the film The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2014, certificate 15). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Hotel or No-tel PowerPoint.
  3. Small Beginnings PowerPoint.
  4. Ambition Budapest PowerPoint.
  5. (Optional) Do Anything You Wanna Do by Eddie and the Hot Rods to play during the Small beginnings PowerPoint. Click here to buy the track online.

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