Developing film language

Teachers who took part in the BFI’s Screening Languages project found that one of the ways of intriguing and engaging young people with a new language was to help them explore the technical language of film - shot types, camera positions, technical terms - but in your target language.

This was in a way quite ironic: film study, in English, is marked by its use of French cinema terms, such as auteur, montage, mise en scène, genre. The fact that one has to use French to speak film, might be offputting to some learners. However, when film terms are introduced in a language lesson, teachers have found that pupils are motivated to learn those terms.

In this step, we offer some ways of thinking about film language - in a different language!

Start by looking at the downloadable resource Les Crayons - Film Language Resource - French. This is a resource that you could use in class and translate into your target language. Now download the Szalontudo Shot Types resource. Although this resource is in English and will help with learning film terminology per se, it can also be translated into any language. For two of the shots in this resource, you could also ask your students what type of shot it is, and why they think the director chose that type of shot for that moment in the story, either in English or a target language. We have included a Camera Shots and Angles resource in the downloads section and the full film in this step to you help you.

Please post any comments and ideas about these resources in the comments section. How would you use and amend these resources in class? Do you think these resources and activities help students to engage more with film and in turn their target language?

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This video is from the free online course:

Short Film in Language Teaching

The British Film Institute (BFI)

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