Introduction

New Perspectives in Children's Film Studies

in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society
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The study of children’s films is a complex and demanding issue, involving a range of critical, educational, psychological, cultural, institutional, and textual aspects. “Children’s films” can be a broad and ambiguous term; there are films aimed at children, films about childhood, and films children watch regardless of whether they are children’s films or films targeted toward adults. The rise of an expanding children’s film industry (including the accompanying merchandizing products) in the United States and many European countries presents a further challenge to the study of children’s films. In some countries, children’s films are included in the general school curriculum; this indicates that children’s films are a key part of children’s culture that requires educational attention. Another fact to which the inclusion of children’s films in school curricula points is the crucial role of these films in the development of media literacy, due to the fact that children come to recognize and understand the typical features of films by means of a gradual process which takes a substantial amount of time. The acquisition of a “film language” presupposes the ability to comprehend the symbolic meanings of images, the close relationship, upon which films depend, between a moving image, sound, and speech, and prototypical properties of films, such as shots, zooms, cuts, camera perspective, and voice-over.

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