Essay Instructions: Use the following format to write your analysis after viewing the selected film.
Course and Section #
In 350-400 words, address the following questions in essay form:
In no more than 3 sentences, summarize the SUBJECT MATTER. What is the film about?
Analyze the following FILM ELEMENTS. Explain how each is utilized in the film.
-Camera shots and angles
-Different editing styles
-Function of sound effects, spoken language, and music
-Character movement and placement
-Story, genre, and ideology
As you discuss each element, be sure to use SPECIFIC EXAMPLES. Select a specific scene which exemplifies the selected element.
Explain how the VIEWER is impacted by the filmmaker's actions.
Use the appropriate TERMINOLOGY from the lessons on film.
Provide a brief EVALUATION of this film.
Judge its MERITS. What did you like or dislike about this film?
Should it be on the Top 100 Films list? Why or why not?
Lesson based on reading from The World of Art pgs. 279-283 (Sayre)
Once all of the scenes have been shot, it is the editor's responsibility (with direction from the director) to put the shots in order after filming. As Sayre explained, this is the process in which selected sequences of film are arranged to achieve the final product.
There are numerous editing styles to choose from. Typically an editor will use the same type of editing style throughout a film to be consistent and provide minimal distractions for the viewer. Cross-cutting and flashbacks are two editing techniques. The CROSS-CUT takes the viewer back and forth between two separate events (Sayre 280). The FLASHBACK does just that, it goes back to an earlier period to provide the viewer with details to move the story along.
Three additional editing techniques are the jump cut, dissolve, and fade. A JUMP CUT is an abrupt movement from one shot to the next. The DISSOLVE is an editing style which creates the illusion that the current shot is disappearing into the next. The fade refers to the editing style in which the screen fades to black to move from one shot to the next as another image slowly fades in.
Note: Editing is a very costly and time consuming aspect of filmmaking. At the beginning of his filmmaking career, Kevin Smith had to use funds from his credit cards and other sources (total of $27,575) to make his first film, Clerks. Due to his very limited budget, long takes were necessary to avoid a lot of editing.
Sound effects, spoken language, and music all have an impact on your viewing experience. Consider the Psycho shower scene with the fast-PACE, high-PITCH sound effect. Would it have been as frightening if the sound effects were slow-paced and low-pitched? Why or why not? Would you have anticipated the Jaws shark attacks without the slow-paced Duh da...Duh da...that gradually increased in pace and VOLUME? As you watch your film this week, consider the pace, pitch, and volume of sound effects. How do you react?
According to Louis Giannetti in Understanding Movies (a great resource for information about films), he states that there are two types of spoken language in movies: the MONOLOGUE and DIALOGUE. Monologues are oftentimes found in documentaries as the narrator supplies the viewer with information about what he/she is watching. Monologues are also found in other films such as American Beauty when Lester provides the audience with information about his life and ultimate death.
Dialogues are conversations between characters. Kevin Smith is known for his witty dialogue in films such as Clerks, Mallrats, and Dogma. What type of spoken language will you discuss in your film analysis? How does the author use it to convey his message?
And, there is the music. How different would Grease have been without the music? What if there was only spoken language? Many films today utilize music that has already been released. It is less expensive to purchase the rights to an existing song than to pay a composer to create music, hire an orchestra to play it, and then to pay the cost for renting a recording studio. How many contemporary films do you recall have original music? Not many.
Story, Genre, and Ideology
As noted in last week's assignment, filmmakers usually attempt to influence your beliefs and values through a STORY in which they provide an introduction, work up to a climax, and then down to a resolution. There are several GENRES of film such as action/adventure, comedy, drama, mystery, romance, and science fiction. Genres are categories of film that are united by a similar theme or characteristics. For example, Die Hard, Matrix, and National Treasure are action/adventure films. What do they have in common? What genre most appeals to you? Why?
The IDEOLOGY of a film refers to the social issues the filmmaker is addressing. For example, several of the crime dramas on television focus on deviance and our society's attitudes towards it. The manner in which the PROTAGONIST (hero) attempts to solve the crime and defeat the ANTAGONIST (opposing force/person) can either covertly or overtly reveal how the filmmaker feels about the issue. Identify and discuss the ideology of the film you watch this week. What is the subject matter and content? How does the filmmaker explore the topic? Does he beat around the bush or does he take a direct approach? What is the moral of the story?
There are faxes for this order.
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