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The Film Experience An Introduction

by ;
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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-11-06
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Now available with Achieve! The Achieve courseware for The Film Experience sets the standard for driving student learning in your introduction to film course with powerful learning content, engaging activities, and actionable insights and analytics. Achieve brings together an interactive e-textbook, LearningCurve adaptive quizzing, engaging videos, and instructor resources–all within a new, enhanced technology platform carefully built over the past five years.

The Film Experience offers a comprehensive introduction to the art, language, industry, culture, and experience of the movies —with new digital tools to bring that experience to life and help students master course material. The text highlights how formal elements like cinematography, editing, and sound can be analyzed and interpreted within the context of a film as a whole. With superior tools for reading and writing about film, as well as unparalleled coverage of diversity, inclusion, and non-mainstream filmmaking traditions.

The most robust introduction to film on the market, the Sixth Edition emphasizes film technology through expanded coverage of animation and a new Technology in Action feature, which puts the evolving technology of film in historical context.

Table of Contents

Part One: Cultural Contexts: Watching, Studying, and Making Movies

Chapter 1: Encountering Film: From Preproduction to Exhibition

Production: How Films Are Made




Distribution: What We Can See


Ancillary Markets

Distribution Timing

Marketing and Promotion: What We Want to See

Generating Interest

Film in Focus: Distributing Killer of Sheep (1977)


Technology in Action: The Changing Technologies of Film Promotion

Word of Mouth and Fan Engagement

Movie Exhibition: The Where, When, and How of Movie Experiences

The Changing Contexts and Practices of Film Exhibition

Technologies and Cultures of Exhibition

The Timing of Exhibition

Film in Focus: Exhibiting Citizen Kane (1941)

Chapter 1 Review

Chapter 2: History and Historiography: Hollywood and Beyond

Silent Cinema

Silent Features in Hollywood

German Expressionist Cinema

Soviet Silent Films

French Cinema

History Close Up: Oscar Micheaux

Classical Cinema in Hollywood and Beyond

European Cinema in the 1930s and 1940s

Golden Age Mexican Cinema

Postwar Cinemas (1945-1975)

Postwar Hollywood

International Art Cinema

Film in Focus: Mother India and Postwar History (1957)

Cinematic Globalization (1975-2000)

New Hollywood in the Blockbuster Era

The Commercial Auteur

American Independent Cinema

From National to Transnational Cinema in Europe

African Cinema

Chinese Cinema

Iranian Cinema

Cinema in the Digital Era (2000-present)

Global Hollywood

Diversifying Screens

Culture in the Twenty-First Century

Technology in Action: Film Preservation and Archives

Film in Focus: Rediscovering Within Our Gates (1920)

Chapter 2 Review

Part Two: Formal Compositions: Film Scenes, Shots, Cuts, and Sounds

Chapter 3: Mise-en-Scène: Exploring a Material World

A Short History of Mise-en-Scène

Theatrical Mise-en-Scène and the Prehistory of Cinema

1900-1912: Early Cinemas Theatrical Influences

1915-1928: Silent Cinema and the Star System

1930s-1960s: Studio-Era Production

1940-1970: New Cinematic Realism

1975-Present: Mise-en-Scène and the Blockbuster

The Elements of Mise-en-Scène

Settings and Sets

Scenic Realism and Atmosphere

Props, Costumes, and Lights

Performance: Actors and Stars

Film in Focus: Mise-en-Scène in Do the Right Thing (1989)

Technology in Action: Scenic Lighting

Thinking about Mise-en-Scène

Mise-en-Scène as an External Condition or a Measure of Character

Primary Traditions for Mise-en-Scène

Film in Focus: Naturalistic Mise-en-Scène in Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Chapter 3 Review

Chapter 4: Cinematography: Framing What We See

A Short History of the Cinematic Image

1820s-1880s: The Invention of Photography and the Prehistory of Cinema

1890s–1920s: The Emergence and Refinement of Cinematography

1930s–1940s: Developments in Color, Wide-Angle, and Small-Gauge Cinematography

1950s–1960s: Widescreen, 3-D, and New Color Processes

1970s–1980s: Cinematography and Exhibition in the Age of the Blockbuster

1990s to the Present: The Digital Era

The Elements of Cinematography

Point of View

Four Attributes of the Shot

Technology in Action: Color in Film

From Special Effects to Visual Effects

Thinking about Cinematography

The Image as Presentation and Representation

Traditions of Images

Film in Focus: Recreating History in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)

Chapter 4 Review

Chapter 5: Editing: Relating Images

A Short History of Film Editing

1895–1918: Early Cinema and the Emergence of Editing

1919–1929: Soviet Montage

History Close Up: Women in the Editing Room

1930–1959: Continuity Editing in the Hollywood Studio Era

1960–1989: Modern Editing Styles

1990s–Present: Editing in the Digital Age

The Elements of Editing

The Cut and Other Transitions

Continuity Style

Art Cinema Editing

Editing and Temporality

Technology in Action: Editing, Traditional and Digital

Thinking about Film Editing

Film in Focus: Patterns of Editing in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Editing as a Subjective Experience or as an Objective Perspective

Primary Traditions in Editing Practices: Continuity, Disjunctions, and Convergences

Converging Editing Styles

Chapter 5 Review

Chapter 6: Film Sound: Listening to the Camera

A Short History of Film Sound

Prehistories of Film Sound

1895–1920s: The Sounds of Silent Cinema

1927–1930: Transition to Synchronized Sound

1930s–1940s: Challenges and Innovations in Cinema Sound

1950s–1980s: From Stereophonic to Dolby Sound

1990s–Present: Sound in the Digital Era

The Elements of Film Sound

Sound and Image

Technology in Action: Sound and Image

Film in Focus: Sound and Image in Singin in the Rain (1952)

Sound Production

Voice in Film

Music in Film

Sound Effects in Film

Thinking about Film Sound

Sound Continuity and Sound Montage

Authenticity and Attention

Film in Focus: The Sound of Silence in A Quiet Place (2018)

Chapter 6 Review

Part Three: Organizational Structures: From Stories to Genres

Chapter 7: Narrative Films: Telling Stories

A Short History of Narrative Film

1900–1920s: Adaptations, Scriptwriters, and Screenplays

1927–1950: The Coming of Sound and Classical Hollywood Narrative

1950–1980: Art Cinema

1980s–Present: Franchises, Narrative Reflexivity, and Games

History Close Up: Salt of the Earth (1954)

The Elements of Narrative Film

Stories and Plots


Diegetic and Nondiegetic Elements

Narrative Patterns of Time

Narrative Space

Narrative Perspectives

Technology in Action: Immersive Film Narrative

Film in Focus: Narration and Gender in Gone Girl (2014)

Thinking about Film Narrative

Shaping Memory, Making History

Narrative Traditions

Film in Focus: Classical and Alternative Traditions in Mildred Pierce (1945) and Daughters of the Dust (1991)

Chapter 7 Review

Chapter 8: Documentary Films: Representing the Real

A Short History of Documentary Cinema

A Prehistory of Documentaries

1895–1905: Early Actualities, Scenics, and Topicals

The 1920s: Robert Flaherty and the Soviet Documentaries

1930–1945: The Politics and Propaganda of Documentary

1950s–1970s: New Technologies and the Arrival of Television

1980s–Present: Digital Cinema, Cable, and Reality TV

The Elements of Documentary Films

Nonfiction and Non-Narrative

Expositions: Organizations That Show or Describe

Film in Focus: Nonfiction and Non-Narrative in Stories We Tell (2013)

Rhetorical Positions

Thinking about Documentary Films

Confronting Assumptions

Altering Opinions

Interpretive Contexts and Traditions

History Close Up: Indigenous Media

Technology in Action: Documentary Sound

Chapter 8 Review

Chapter 9: Animation and Experimental Media: Challenging Form

A Short History of Animation and Experimental Media

1910s-1920s: Early Avant-Garde Movements

1930s-1940s: Sound and Vision

Film in Focus: Avant-Garde Visions in Meshes in the Afternoon (1943)

1950s-1960s: International Animation and the Postwar American Avant-Garde

History Close Up: Floyd Norman

1968-1980: Beyond North America

1989-Present: New Technologies and New Media

Principles of Experimental Media and Animation

Abstraction and Figuratio

Experimental Organizations: Associative, Structural, and Participatory

Animation Modes: 2D, 3D, Stop-Motion

Technology in Action: Animation through the Decades

Thinking about Experimental Media and Animation

Expanding Perception

Experimental Film Styles and Approaches

Film in Focus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Chapter 9 Review

Chapter 10: Movie Genres: Conventions, Formulas, and Audience Expectations

A Short History of Film Genre

Historical Origins of Genres

1890s-1910s: Early Film Genres

1920s-1940s: Genre and the Studio System

1948-1970s: Postwar Film Genres

1970s-Present: New Hollywood, Sequels, and Global Genres

The Elements of Film Genre


Formulas and Myths

Audience Expectations

Technology in Action: Special Effects and Iconography in Science Fiction

Six Movie Genres





Horror Films

Film in Focus: Genre and Gender in Jennifers Body (2009)

Crime Films

Thinking about Film Genre

Prescriptive and Descriptive Approaches

Classical and Revisionist Traditions

History Close Up: John Waters and Midnight Movies

Local and Global Genres

Chapter 10 Review

Part Four: Critical Perspectives: Reading and Writing about Film

Chapter 11: Reading about Film: Critical Theories and Methods

The Evolution of Film Theory

Early Film Theory

Classical Film Theories: Formalism and Realism

Postwar Film Culture and Criticism

Film Journals

Auteur Theory

Genre Theory

Contemporary Film Theory

Structuralism and Semiotics


Theories of Gender and Sexuality

Cultural Studies

Film in Focus: Clueless about Contemporary Film Theory? (1995)

Film and Philosophy


Film Theory and Digital Culture

Chapter 11 Review

Chapter 12: Writing a Film Essay: Observations, Arguments, Research, and Analysis

Writing an Analytical Essay

Personal Opinion and Objectivity

Identifying Your Readers

Elements of the Analytical Film Essay

Preparing to Write about a Film

Asking Questions

Taking Notes

Selecting a Topic

Film in Focus: Analysis, Audience, and Minority Report (2002)

Elements of a Film Essay

Thesis Statement

Outline and Topic Sentences

Revising, Formatting, and Proofreading

Writers Checklist

Researching the Movies

Distinguishing Research Materials

Primary Research

Secondary Research

Film in Focus: Interpretation, Argument, and Evidence in Rashomon (1950)

Using and Documenting Sources

Technology in Action: Creating a Video Essay

Film in Focus: From Research to Writing about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Chapter 12 Review



The Next Level: Additional Sources

Supplemental Materials

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