The Grammar of Film: A Primer for World Language Teachers
Mark Kaiser – Retired BLC Associate Director
Maya Sidhu – Continuing Lecturer, French Department
Designed for language instructors who would like to have a better understanding of the visual language of film in order to enrich classroom discussions on films they teach, this workshop will examine how a diverse set of filmic elements work together to compress time and space, form a narrative structure, and create meaning.
The workshop will begin with a 20-minute lecture defining and illustrating various types of shots and cuts and their semiotic potential (handout provided). Some of the topics to be covered include shot length, focus, shot angle, transitions and juxtapositions, various types of matches, lighting, the mise-en-scène and intertextuality. The majority of the workshop will be devoted to a viewing and discussion of a half dozen clips where we spotlight examples of specific film devices and how they make meaning in that particular segment of film. Finally, we will consider the place of filmic devices in the world language curriculum.
Download workshop handout as a PDF