Because everyone interprets media through the lens of his or her own experience, media literacy analysis is about rich readings rather than specific “right” answers.
These suggested questions are starting points for that type of analysis. They are designed for diverse films and audiences; choose the ones that best meet the needs of your situation. To encourage deeper readings, try using follow-up questions such as, “How do you know?”; “How could you find out?”; “What evidence from the film backs up your answer?”; “What else do you notice?”; or “What else do you want to know?”
Authors & Audiences
- Who made this film? What do I need to know about the filmmaker(s) to analyze this film?
- What central questions is the film trying to answer?
- What does the filmmaker want people to know or remember?
- Who is the target audience?
- Who funded this film and what is his or her interest in this particular approach to the film’s main topic(s)?
- Who might benefit from the messages in this film? Who might be harmed or disadvantaged by them?
- What have I learned from this film? Why might the film’s message(s) matter to me?
- What kinds of actions might I take in response to this film?
Messages & Meanings
- What is this film about (and what makes you think that)?
- What ideas, values and information are overt? Implied?
- Who are the voices of authority in this film? Are there voices left out that would add important perspectives?
- What techniques does the filmmaker use to communicate essential ideas?
- How do those techniques communicate the intended message(s)?
- How might others see this film in a way that differs from the way I see it? How and why might different types of people interpret this film in divergent ways?
- What is my reaction to this film and what do I learn about myself from my reaction or interpretation?
Representations & Reality
- When was this film made? Since then, has anything occurred that is relevant to the claims or focus of the film?
- Where or how has this film been distributed (shared with the public)?
- Which of the film’s assertions are facts and which are opinions?
- What sources does the film rely on for its information, ideas or assertions? Are those sources credible? How do you know?
Based on NAMLE’s Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States, April 2007 – www.NAMLE.NET/core-principles – Adapted by Faith Rogow, Ph.D.