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Film Literacy: Critical, Cultural and Creative Approaches

Film and Moving Image Literacy: Critical, Cultural and Creative Approaches

Screening Literacy (the 2011 European Commission on film education) defined film literacy as: “The level of understanding of a film, the ability to be conscious and curious in the choice of films; the competence to critically watch a film and to analyse its content, cinematography and technical aspects; and the ability to manipulate its language and technical resources in creating moving image production”.

In other words, the development of critical, cultural and creative skills, taught interconnectedly.

Critical skills are not just about analytical knowledge of technique or even of literacy skills. Critical thinking skills include:

  • Developing/evaluating/responding to arguments;
  • Examining from multiple perspectives;
  • Questioning evidence/assumptions;
  • Devising imaginative ways to solve problems;
  • Formulating/articulating thoughtful questions;
  • Identifying themes/patterns and making abstract connections.

Critical thinkers are therefore: better able to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions; have confidence in their present knowledge and position; possess a better sense of self; demonstrate an understanding and compassionate heart toward those with different opinion.

Cultural skills focus on film and moving image texts as the creator of social consciousness. They spread messages, expose the viewer to a variety of social and cultural representations, develop an understanding of the diverse wants, needs and expectations of different audiences, permit personalisation, choice, breadth and depth and allow an understanding of where someone's personal narrative sits.

All cultural activity has the capacity to inspire learning by its very nature. Artistic experiences can challenge and influence how we respond to the world in reflective and imaginative ways. Creative learning has huge benefits for individuals and society in terms of wellbeing, employability and skills development.

Creative skills are those developed from artistic and cultural activity. Within MIE, this may mean learning skills in the use of camera equipment or editing software, or how to design a set, costume, lighting or soundscape; but it also means learning how to be open minded, constructively inquisitive, able to harness our imagination, able to identify and solve problems and develop creative approaches to learning.