Film : A Critical Introduction

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-01-01
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
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Film: A Critical Introductionprovides a comprehensive framework for studying films, with an emphasis on writing as a means of exploring filmrs"s aesthetic and cultural significance. This textrs"s consistent and comprehensive focus on writing allows students to master film vocabulary and concepts while learning to formulate rich interpretations. Part I introduces readers to the importance of film analysis, offering helpful strategies for discerning the way films produce meaning. Part II examines the fundamental elements of film, including narrative form, mise en scegrave;ne, cinematography, editing, and sound, and shows how these concepts can be used to interpret films. Part III moves beyond textual analysis to explore film as a cultural institution and introduce students to essential areas of film studies research.

Author Biography

Maria Pramaggiore is a Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University Tom Wallis is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at North Carolina State University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xii
Picture Creditsp. xv
Introduction to Film Analysisp. 1
Introductionp. 3
Cinema: A Confluence of Artistry, Industry, and Technologyp. 4
How This Book Is Organizedp. 6
Technical Tipsp. 8
An Approach to Film Analysisp. 9
Understanding Audience Expectationsp. 10
Expectations and Modes of Organizationp. 11
Expectations about Genres, Stars, and Directorsp. 13
The Orchestration of Detailp. 15
Motifsp. 15
Parallelsp. 16
Details and Structurep. 19
Parallels in Openings and Closingsp. 19
Structure and Turning Pointsp. 19
Repetition and Non-chronological Structurep. 20
Creating Meaning Through the World Beyond Filmp. 21
Historical Events and Cultural Attitudesp. 21
Stars as Referencesp. 22
Public Figures and Celebrities as Referencesp. 23
Intertextual Referencesp. 23
Avant-garde and Documentary Referencesp. 25
Meaningful References with Objectsp. 25
The Goal of Film Analysis: Articulating Meaningp. 26
The Importance of Developing Interpretive Claimsp. 30
Summaryp. 30
Film Analysis: Reading Significant Detailsp. 31
Historical References in Devil in a Blue Dressp. 31
Writing About Filmp. 33
Getting Startedp. 34
Keeping a Film Journalp. 34
Formulating a Thesisp. 35
Four Types of Writing About Filmp. 35
The Scene Analysis Paperp. 35
"The Divided Human Spirit in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat"p. 36
The Film Analysisp. 39
The Anxieties of Modernity in Steamboat Bill Jr.p. 39
The Research Paperp. 43
The Evolution of an Idea: The Changing Hollywood Aesthetic in The Conversation and Enemy of the Statep. 45
Works Cited (in the research paper)p. 51
Conducting Archival Researchp. 52
The Popular Reviewp. 53
Film Analysisp. 59
Narrative Formp. 61
Defining Narrativep. 62
Framing the Fictional World: Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Elementsp. 63
Within the Diegesis: Selecting and Organizing Eventsp. 65
Narrative Structurep. 68
Techniques in Practice: Narrative Structure in Stagecoachp. 70
Alternatives to Conventional Narrative Structurep. 72
Variations on Narrative Conventions: Beyond Structurep. 75
Perspective and Meaningp. 76
Character Subjectivityp. 79
Techniques in Practice: Noticing Shifts in Perspectivep. 81
Summaryp. 83
Film Analysis: Analyzing Narrative Structurep. 84
The Narrative Complexity of Rashomonp. 84
Mise en Scenep. 87
Settingp. 89
Describing Setting: Visual and Spatial Attributesp. 91
The Functions of Settingp. 92
Techniques in Practice: Same Film, Different Settingsp. 93
Techniques in Practice: Same Setting, Different Filmp. 94
The Human Figurep. 97
Castingp. 97
Acting Stylep. 98
Acting Brechtian: Distancing the Audiencep. 99
Actors' Bodies: Figure Placementp. 100
Techniques in Practice: Figure Placement in Citizen Kanep. 100
Actors' Bodies: Costumes and Propsp. 102
Actors' Bodies: Makeupp. 104
Techniques in Practice: Physicality in Raging Bull and Alip. 106
Lightingp. 107
Compositionp. 112
Balance and Symmetryp. 112
Lines and Diagonalsp. 113
Framingp. 115
Foreground and Backgroundp. 116
Light and Darkp. 116
Colorp. 116
Two Approaches to Mise en Scenep. 119
The Frame in Two Dimensions: Mise en Scene in German Expressionismp. 119
Combining Mise en Scene and Camerawork: The Frame in Three Dimensions in French Poetic Realismp. 121
Summaryp. 124
Film Analysis: The Functions of Spacep. 124
Spatial Oppositions in Thelma and Louisep. 124
Cinematographyp. 129
Camerawork: The Camera in Time and Spacep. 134
Creating Meaning in Time: The Shotp. 134
Altering Time: Slow and Fast Motionp. 137
The Camera and Space: Height, Angle, and Shot Distancep. 139
Camera Heightp. 140
Camera Anglep. 140
Camera Distancep. 143
Camera Movement: Exploring Spacep. 146
Horizontal and Vertical Movementp. 146
Movement in Three Dimensionsp. 147
Techniques in Practice: Patterns of Camera Placement and Movementp. 150
Lenses and Filters: The Frame in Depthp. 151
The Visual Characteristics of Lenses: Depth of Field and Focal Lengthp. 152
The Zoom Lensp. 155
Combining Camera Movement and Lens Movementp. 156
Through the Lens: Filters and Diffusersp. 157
Techniques in Practice: Lenses and the Creation of Spacep. 159
Film Stockp. 164
Characteristics of Film Stockp. 164
Light and Exposurep. 165
Film Stock and Colorp. 166
Wide Film and Widescreen Formatsp. 170
Processing Film Stockp. 171
Special Visual Effectsp. 173
Manipulating the Image on the Setp. 174
Creating Scene Transitions, Titles, and Credits: The Optical Printerp. 177
Optical and Digital Compositing: Assembling the Elements of the Shotp. 178
Computer-Generated Imagesp. 179
Adding and Subtracting Framesp. 180
Digital Cinema: Post-Productionp. 180
Digital Cinematography and Film Stylep. 182
Summaryp. 183
Film Analysis: Cinematography in Documentary Filmsp. 184
Cinematography in Two Documentariesp. 184
Editingp. 191
The Attributes of Editing: Creating Meaning Through Collage, Tempo, and Timingp. 193
Joining Images: A Collage of Graphic Qualitiesp. 193
Tempop. 196
Shot Lengthp. 196
Shot Transitionsp. 197
Adjusting the Timing of Shot Transitionsp. 199
Techniques in Practice: Using Contrasting Imagery and Timing to Romanticize the Outlaws in Bonnie and Clydep. 201
Story-Centered Editing and the Construction of Meaningp. 203
Editing and Timep. 203
Condensing and Expanding Timep. 203
Suggesting the Simultaneity of Eventsp. 205
Arranging the Order of Eventsp. 206
Editing and Spacep. 207
Shot/Reverse Shotp. 208
Eyeline Matchp. 210
Cutting to Emphasize Group Dynamicsp. 211
Cutawaysp. 212
Beyond Narrative: Creating Meaning Outside the Storyp. 212
Continuity Editing: Conventional Patterns and "Bending the Rules"p. 213
Continuity and Spacep. 213
Continuity and Chronologyp. 215
"Breaking the Rules": The French New Wave and its Influencep. 217
Associational Editing: Editing and Metaphorp. 221
Soviet Montagep. 221
Techniques in Practice: Soviet Montage Aesthetics in The Godfatherp. 226
Summaryp. 228
Film Analysis: Classical Editingp. 228
Editing in Notoriousp. 229
Soundp. 233
Film Sound: A Brief Historyp. 234
Critical Debates over Film Soundp. 236
Freeing Sound from Imagep. 239
The Relationship Between Sound and Imagep. 241
Emphasizing the Contrast Between Onscreen and Offscreen Spacep. 242
Emphasizing the Difference Between Objective Images and Subjective Soundsp. 242
Emphasizing the Difference Between Diegetic Details and Non-diegetic Soundp. 243
Emphasizing the Difference Between Image Time and Sound Timep. 244
Emphasizing Differences in Image Mood and Sound Moodp. 245
Three Components of Film Soundp. 245
Dialoguep. 246
Text and Subtextp. 246
Volumep. 247
Pitchp. 248
Speech Characteristicsp. 248
Acoustic Qualitiesp. 250
Addressing the Audience: the Voice-Overp. 252
Sound Effectsp. 253
Functions of Sound Effectsp. 254
Characteristics of Sound Effectsp. 256
Techniques in Practice: Sound Effects and the Construction of Class in Days of Heavenp. 259
Musicp. 260
Functions of Film Musicp. 261
Five Characteristics of Film Musicp. 264
Techniques in Practice: Bernard Herrmann's Score and Travis Bickle's Troubled Masculinity in Taxi Driverp. 271
Summaryp. 273
Film Analysis: Sound and Languagep. 274
Language, Nationality, and Class in The Grand Illusionp. 275
Alternatives to Narrative Fiction Film: Documentary and Avant-garde Filmsp. 279
Three Modes of Filmmaking: A Comparisonp. 280
Documentary Film: "The Creative Treatment of Actuality"p. 283
Narrative Documentariesp. 285
Documentary Formp. 286
Voice of Authorityp. 287
Talking Heads and Director-Participantp. 287
Direct Cinemap. 289
Self-reflexive Documentaryp. 290
The Mockumentaryp. 291
Ethics and Ethnographyp. 291
Avant-garde Filmp. 293
Surrealist Cinemap. 294
Abstract Filmp. 296
Techniques in Practice: Interpreting Abstract Filmsp. 297
The City Symphonyp. 298
Structuralist Filmp. 301
The Compilation Filmp. 301
Conducting Research on Documentary and Avant-garde Films: Locating Sourcesp. 302
Summaryp. 303
Film Analysis: Interpreting Avant-garde Filmsp. 304
Analyzing Meshes of the Afternoonp. 304
Cinema and Culturep. 308
Social Context and Film Stylep. 311
Hollywood's Industrial Context: The Studio System as Dream Factoryp. 312
Classical Stylep. 312
Economic Practice and Hollywood Conventionp. 314
Censorship and Hollywood Conventionp. 315
American Ideology and Entertainmentp. 317
Reaffirming or Resisting Dominant Ideologyp. 318
International Art Cinemap. 321
The Ideology of "Art"p. 323
Italian Neorealismp. 325
Third Cinemap. 327
Film and Ideologyp. 331
Ideology and Film Analysisp. 333
Ideology and Film Spectatorshipp. 335
Anti-Communist Witch Hunts and Hollywood Cinemap. 337
Racial Ideology and American Cinemap. 339
Gender and Cinemap. 343
Sexuality and Cinemap. 346
Disability and Cinemap. 348
Film Stardom as a Cultural Phenomenonp. 355
Stars and the Movie Industryp. 358
The Dynamics of Performancep. 359
The Star Personap. 361
Stardom and Ideologyp. 366
Stars and Subculturesp. 368
Fan Culturep. 371
Genrep. 373
What Makes a Genre?p. 374
Major American Genresp. 379
The Westernp. 379
Film Noir and the Hard-boiled Detective Filmp. 382
The Action Filmp. 383
The Science Fiction Filmp. 386
The Musicalp. 389
Genre, Film Production, and Audiencesp. 391
Genre Film and Aesthetic Appeal: Cliche or Strategic Repetition?p. 392
Genre and the Status Quop. 393
Genres as Culturally Responsive Artifactsp. 393
Genre and Film Authorshipp. 394
Film Authorshipp. 397
The Idea of the Auteur: From Cahiers du Cinema to the Sarris-Kael Debatep. 398
Auteur as Marketing Strategy: Old and New Hollywoodp. 401
Studio-era Auteurs: Welles and Hitchcockp. 402
Blockbuster Auteurs: Spielberg and Lucasp. 405
Using the Auteur Approach to Interpret and Evaluate Filmsp. 406
Readings in Auteur Criticismp. 407
Ousmane Sembenep. 407
Kathryn Bigelowp. 408
Ang Leep. 409
Wong Kar Waip. 411
Jafar Panahip. 412
Cinema as Industry: Economics and Technologyp. 415
The Changing Structure of the Film Industryp. 416
From Oligopolies to Conglomeratesp. 416
Horizontal Integration and Synergyp. 418
Globalizationp. 418
Industry Labor Practicesp. 419
Outsourcingp. 419
Runaway Productionsp. 420
Creative Centralizationp. 420
Films as Productsp. 421
The Blockbusterp. 421
The High Concept Filmp. 422
Saturation Marketingp. 422
Independent Film Culturep. 423
Two Independent Institutions: Sundance and Miramaxp. 424
Film and the New Technologyp. 425
The Rise of the DVDp. 426
Film and Digital Technologiesp. 427
Glossaryp. 432
Bibliographyp. 439
Indexp. 444
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