When we talk about reading a film what we actually mean is looking at the film in great detail to see how it is put together. There are many different elements to consider when undertaking such an activity and it is usual to read an extract from a film rather than the whole film.
Reading a film is just like reading a book, except that instead of looking at a written page we are looking at the cinema screen. We can look at text, books or film for a variety of purposes; we can either read a book or watch a film purely for enjoyment, or, we may want to look at it in more depth to see why it actually is that we enjoy it so much. As with any other creative text each person will have an individual response to a film. Whilst you may enjoy say, the unusual camera angles in a film, someone else might find them annoying because they distract from the narrative. A friend may think that a certain facial expression reveals something important about a character; you may see it as meaning something completely different. When we read a film we are interpreting the text as we see it; we are saying why we think the filmmaker made certain choices and what the film means to us. If you read a written text and it has a certain effect on you, for instance it makes you scared, we can look closely at the way the text has been constructed to see how the writer has used the tools at their disposal to create the fear. Reading a film works in exactly the same way except that the tools that are used to create meaning are different. We call these tools film language.