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This content is taken from the The British Film Institute (BFI) & Into Film's online course, Teaching Literacy Through Film. Join the course to learn more.

Reading images - character

Many of the methods we use for learning about characters within films are equally applicable to characters within written texts; in both formats we examine character traits, interpret behaviour, and form expectations of characters’ responses.

We note that characters appearing in specific settings will behave in particular ways and predict what they will do, we infer feelings from their facial expressions, and take pleasure from stories where they surprise us completely.

When we focus on character, we look at the characteristics and behaviour of an individual that makes them distinct from someone else. We can determine much about a character from their appearance and where they are positioned in relation to others or their environment.

Over the next two steps, we will watch clips from two short films, Sausage and Between Us and start answering simple questions that can be used as a catalyst for further character work.

Before we start analysing the characters from these two great short films consider the following questions and leave some thoughts in the comments area:

Have you ever used focused on a character from a film to aid characterisation work in class? If so who?

Should we always look to analyse human characters? How about animal characters with human characteristics?

Have you ever come across any interesting characters in films you’ve watched that you think would work in your class context?

Who is your all time favourite character from a film and why? What is it about them that makes them so enthralling?

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Literacy Through Film

The British Film Institute (BFI)

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