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Looking for Patterns

Looking for Patterns

By comparing and contrasting screen texts they have watched, the sophisticated viewer begins to show a deeper understanding of genre, culture or historical period, or of the work of a particular writer or director; and identifying recurring motifs within a film can help illuminate the text as a whole.

Patterns can be found in:

  • elements of the plot
  • repeated use of a certain colour or symbol
  • types of lighting
  • camera angles, shots or movements
  • shot sequences or transitions
  • sound (in particular musical motifs or instruments, or sound effects)

Sound and Image is an extremely effective tool for identifying these.

Using Freeze Frame or Shots in Sequence can also help make pupils more aware of patterns, by separating the shots in a sequence and looking in detail at narration.

still from the lucky dip

Some questions to ask

  • Can you see anything in the text which appears more than once?
  • Do you hear anything which appears more than once?
  • Do you notice any patterns among the images, or in the way they are filmed?
  • Did the length of the shots get shorter or longer at any point in the sequence? Is there a pattern here? If so, what effect does it have on the viewer?
  • Do you notice any patterns among the sounds? Are particular characters or actions associated with particular sounds?
  • Are there any recurring actions?
  • Are there any recurring ideas/themes/messages in the film?
  • What genre is this? How do we know? What would you expect to happen in this kind of story?