Hou Hsiao-hsien: A new video lecture! How Motion Pictures Became the Movies. Constructive editing in Pickpocket : A video essay. Lessons with Bazin: Six Paths to a Poetics.
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Hou Hsiao-hsien: A new video lecture! How Motion Pictures Became the Movies. Constructive editing in Pickpocket : A video essay. Lessons with Bazin: Six Paths to a Poetics. Murder Culture: Adventures in s Suspense. Mad Detective : Doubling Down. Nordisk and the Tableau Aesthetic. Re Discovering Charles Dekeukeleire. Doing Film History. Anatomy of the Action Picture.
Film and the Historical Return. Studying Cinema. It considers common types of films, principles of narrative and non-narrative form, basic film techniques, and strategies of writing about films. It also puts film art in the context of changes across history. Film Art first appeared in and is currently in its eleventh edition, published by McGraw-Hill. For more on our purposes in writing it, go here on this site.
Film analyses from earlier editions of Film Art. As Film Art went through various editions, we developed analyses of various films that might be used in an introductory course. But as space grew tight or certain films dropped out of circulation, we cut those analyses and replaced them with others.
The Internet allows us to revive these old pieces. Many of the films are now available on DVD, and we invite students and professors to use these analyses in examining the movies. Functions of Film Sound: The Prestige dir. Christopher Nolan, In London around , two magicians are locked in desperate competition, each searching for ever more baffling illusions.
As they deceive each other and their audiences, the film about them tries to deceive us as well. The film tries to be as tantalizing as a magic trick, but one that can eventually be explained. As a result, director Christopher Nolan and his screenwriter and brother Jonathan Nolan must both reveal and conceal information. The film must present us just enough of the story to keep us engaged, while holding back the answers to the puzzles—and sometimes, like a magician, distracting us from what is really going on.
Read this essay. Bruce Conner, Conner took a comparable approach to filmmaking. He typically used footage from old newsreels, Hollywood movies, soft-core pornography, and the like. By working in the found-footage genre, Conner juxtaposed two shots from widely different sources.
When we see the two shots together, we strive to find some connection between them. From a series of juxtapositions, our activity can create an overall emotion or concept.
An Example of Experimental Animation: Fuji dir. Robert Breer, Fuji begins without a title or credits, as a bell rings three times over blackness. In the distance, what might be rice paddies slide by.
This shot and most of the rest of the film are accompanied by the clacking, rhythmic sound of a train. More black leader creates a transition to a very different image. Against a white background, two flat shapes, like keystones with rounded corners, alternate frame by frame, one red, the other green.
The effect is a rapid flicker as the two colored shapes drift about the frame in a seemingly random pattern. Another stretch of black introduces a brief, fuzzy shot of a man in a dark suit running across the shot in a strange corridor. A Man Escaped dir. Robert Bresson, The story takes place in France in Fontaine, a Resistance fighter arrested by the Germans, has been put in prison and condemned to die.
But while awaiting his execution, he works at an escape plan, loosening the boards of his cell door and making ropes. Just as he is ready to put his plan in action, a boy named Jost is put into his cell. Deciding to trust that Jost is not a spy, Fontaine reveals his plan to him, and they are both able to escape.
Throughout the film, sound has many important functions. As in all of his films, Bresson emphasizes the sound track, rightly believing that sound may be just as cinematic as images. At certain points in A Man Escaped , Bresson even lets his sound technique dominate the image; throughout the film, we are compelled to listen. Indeed, Bresson is one of a handful of directors who create a complete interplay between sound and image.
High School dir. Frederick Wiseman, The film that resulted uses no voice-over narration and almost no nondiegetic music. Wiseman uses none of the facing-the-reporter interviews that television news coverage employs. Stagecoach dir. John Ford, Hannah and Her Sisters dir. Woody Allen, Yet many Hollywood films use multiple protagonists. Desperately Seeking Susan dir. Susan Seidelman, In many classical films, groups of characters interact to create causes and motivations.
Their actions, added together, steadily push the action forward. In Desperately Seeking Susan , however, the two protagonists, the staid New Jersey housewife Roberta and the wild, streetwise Susan, initially seem to have little connection to each other.
The early portion of the plot alternates sequences involving the two women, but, although Roberta reads about Susan in the personals column and becomes fascinated with her, they do not interact directly. The form of the film depends on devices of parallelism that point up how the women are actually somewhat alike. Day of Wrath dir. Carl Dreyer, Many films pose few difficulties for viewers who like their movies straightforward and easy to digest. But not all films are so clear in their form and style.
In films like Day of Wrath , the questions we ask often do not get definite answers; endings do not tie everything up; film technique does not always function invisibily to advance the narrative. Day of Wrath , a tale of witchcraft and murder set in seventeenth-century Denmark, offers a good test case. Last Year at Marienbad dir. Alain Resnais, When Last Year at Marienbad was first shown in , many critics offered widely varying interpretations of it. When faced with most films, these critics would have been looking for implicit meanings behind the plot.
These proved difficult to agree on. Did the couple really meet last year? If not, what really happened? Innocence Unprotected dir. In analyzing the film, it is useful to think of its form as a collage , an assemblage of materials taken from widely different sources.
Clock Cleaners dir. Walt Disney, Clock Cleaners is a narrative, but it does not adhere to the typical patterns of narrative development that are frequently at work in feature-length Hollywood films. Employing a strategy common in slapstick shorts, it sets up a situation and then has the characters perform a series of nearly self-contained skits or gags, building up as the film goes along.
In this case, three familiar stars, Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck, all appear, each working in a different part of the huge clock tower. They do not interact until near the end of the film. No overall pattern like a search or a journey helps the plot develop; although the characters could be said to share a general goal of cleaning the clock, they have not accomplished it by the end of the film, and our sense of narrative progression has more to do with their mishaps than with any work they may get done.
Tout va bien dir. Jean-Luc Godard, If Meet Me in St. Louis uncritically affirms the value of family life and Raging Bull offers an ambivalent critique of violence in American society, Tout va bien strongly attacks certain features of the state of French society in We shall use it as an example of how a film may present an ideological viewpoint explicitly and drastically opposed to that of most viewers.
ISBN 13: 9780077768928
Film Art: An Introduction