IELTS Speaking topic - arts 2

IELTS Speaking topic – Art (Movies)

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a movie or a cartoon popular in your country
You should say:

  • what it is called
  • how long is it
  • what happens in it

and say why you think it is popular

Model answer

Viewers in my country are in love with action-packed flicks, however there is one particular type of these that has a special place in their hearts – war films. Perhaps the most recognized one is the award-winning ‘The Boat’, depicting harrowing reality of war.

In this four-and-a-half hour movie we are taken on a mission with the crew of a German U-boat during World War II. The director explores an array of different themes – camaraderie during hardship, the importance of duty, the dark parts of human psyche and many others. The plot might seem uneventful to an average viewer, some might even get bored as the majority of the story happens on the same set – inside the boat.

I think the movie owes its popularity to the gruesome and gritty portrayal of life in war times. It creates stark contrast with the seemingly slow and bleak, but fairly safe working life in peace time that people might not seem to appreciate enough. It serves as a reminder to be grateful for what we have now and how it can be taken away from us at a moment’s notice.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Movies

Why people choose to go to cinemas instead of watching movies at home?
Watching a movie, or any show for that matter, is a collective experience. They say that when you watch something live with millions of others all over the planet you can somewhat feel other people’s emotions of it. Going to the cinema rather than watching something on your own has to be similar. Another reason to go to the movies is a social one. It’s a great excuse to take your nearest and dearest with you, catch up on the latest news and gossip. Finally, picture and sounds quality at the movie theater are unmatched, this is especially important for action-packed titles.

Some people like feature films while others prefer documentaries. Why is that?
It all comes down to entertainment and education – and how big a part each plays in every person’s life. We can draw parallels with books, for instance there are people who outright refuse to read non-fiction as they deem it a huge waste of time. Others claim that real life is much more interesting than any author’s figment of imagination, so there is no need for made-up stories. Hence, documentaries are as interesting for them while also giving them important information on history or any other subject.

Do you think that movies with fighting and shooting can make people more violent?
I don’t believe that is the case, no. Normally the trope of shooting and other overt aggression is a pretext for the struggle between the abstract forces of good and evil. Rarely do we see fighting just for fighting’s sake – now that would be more likely to send the wrong message. Of course, nowadays we get all sorts of movies with most bizarre plots, so it is likely that some of them can give rise to the idea of meaningless violence.

Meaning of art

Is it better to try and understand art yourself or with the help of a guide?
If you have a person in the know who could break everything down for you – whether a guide or a well-informed friend – you are more likely to get to the bottom of author’s idea. Art connoisseurs will point out the importance of colour and composition of a picture, the intricate folds and creases of a sculpture, the interposition of objects in an art installation. Without a competent helping hand to guide you through the nooks and crannies of the mystic world of art most people are more than likely to get lost. To a lay person art rarely goes beyond looking pretty at best. This gets even more true when we talk about modern art, where form can be the opposite of the actual message the art might have.

Does meaning of an art object change as time passes?
It seems that while the original intention of the creator naturally remains the same, the context of current time might alter the way people perceive it. In order to understand the message intended by the author, we have to be aware of the historical and cultural environment of the period. Trying to interpret any symbolism without closely associating it with the period that spawned it is a surefire way to misunderstand it. Some artists like the infamous Banksy intentionally alter the meaning of art with time. The story when his latest creation after it had been sold on the auction practically self-destroyed sent a clear message – it was meant to inspire and to bring beauty into this world, not to be an investment instrument.

Art vocabulary

Flick (n) – an informal word for a movie
Plot (n) – the story of a film, book, play etc.
Set (n) – the place where a scene of a movie is shot, e.g. a house, a street, an airplane
Gritty (adj) – (here) with many unpleasant details that people might not want to see
Portrayal (v) – the act of showing something in a book, movie etc. ‘The movie had a very accurate portrayal of the way the Emperor dealt with his enemies’
Title (n) – (here) the name of a movie or series of movies
Figment of imagination – something that has been made up, not existing in reality
Trope (n) – an artistic attribute that is often used in a work of fiction. ‘A classic trope of love between two young people from different social stratas’
Break smth down (phr. v) – to explain something in detailed and easy to understand way
Connoisseur (n) – a person that likes and understand something. ‘Wine connoisseurs from all over the world came to the annual wine fair in Paris’
Perceive (n) – to see, understand or believe something in a particular way.

General vocabulary

Harrowing (adj) – arousing negative emotions because it is connected with pain and suffering
Array (n) – a number, a list or a selection of something. “The exhibition presented the viewers with an array of landscape paintings”
Hardship (n) – struggle or difficulty
Bleak (adj) – lacking colour or emotion
Nearest and dearest – your friends, family and other people you care about and are in close relationship with
Draw parallels – to compare
Deem (v) – to think, to believe or to consider. “The press deem her to be the favourite in this competition”
Overt (adj) – open, not hidden, easily seen
In the know – knowing, informed, knowledgeable. “People in the know say that another economic recession is inevitable”
Nooks and crannies – (used figuratively here) all the nuances and small details of something
Surefire (adj) – guaranteed to succeed

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