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Principles of Film Very little in any movie is left to chance. Film is highly organized and deliberately assembled by filmmakers. Mise-en-scene composes.

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Presentation on theme: "Principles of Film Very little in any movie is left to chance. Film is highly organized and deliberately assembled by filmmakers. Mise-en-scene composes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Principles of Film Very little in any movie is left to chance. Film is highly organized and deliberately assembled by filmmakers. Mise-en-scene composes elements such as lighting, setting, props, costumes and make up with in the individual shot that make up a scene. Sound is another elemental system that is organized into a series of dialogue, music, ambience and effects tracks. Narrative is structured into acts that establish, develop and resolve character conflict. Editing positions, individual shots, and orders these juxtapositions (an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.) into sequences and sequences into movies. All of these elements synthesize into the overall form that an individual movie takes.

2 Heist David Mamet 2001 film begins with an opening of a robbery scene at a jewelry store. As the scene unfolds we pick up several key aspects of this scene. The music starts off very quiet and one single instrument playing; as we follow the female character, though out her role, the music intensifies and we run into other actors coming into view and interacting, also very limited. The music and close up of objects are key in telling us of danger and suspense that will happen though out the robbery. When the music changes, so does the dynamics of the actors and their roles in the scene. They are professionals and will work together to execute the robbery. Something goes wrong to change the plans for one robber, Joe (Gene Hackman) bc he force to save the Heist by exposing his face and not putting on the mask from the beginning as for the other robber’s who are able to put on the masks to hid their identities. Here the director changes the content to the surveillance cameras and will Joe find the tapes in time. Clips of these machines throughout the scene remind us repeatedly of Joe’s predicament. Watching the robbery on the surveillance monitors allows us to observe every action of the thieves from that onset of the break in until they flee just a minutes later. Although the theft is set for 6 minutes, the viewer only see the actual 90 seconds of it before the timer sounds off.

3 Break down of the scene Heist
Joe and dramatic tension ex: stopping him self of putting in the mask, Stunning the woman in the store, finding a hidden camera on the shelf. Compelling details ex: drops in coffee, cane changing to door opener, screw driver to crack safe. Explicit information ex: timer, surveillance cameras, safe, diamonds Implied meaning ex: people in the store on the floor, waitress in the café, the box of papers and books that the heavy set man is carrying. When all the shots, music, sound and dialogue are put into sequence, we are left with a better and deeper understanding of what the director was conveying in this movie.

4 Isolating Content When a film rather than being separate things that come together to produce art or film. Sometimes its good and necessary to isolate the content of a film from it’s form. Especially when it comes to historical accounts of real events. An analysis, issues of completeness, accuracy and reliability would take precedence over the overall look and quality of the film, such as editing and cinematography. For some critics and film makers if you solely focus on content they risk overlooking the aspects as movies as an art form. Break down of Black Hawk Down Sound: gun fire, propellers of the choppers, screaming of soldiers, rocks falling, dialogue on radios Very little music if any. Images very gritty and real and the same action; war, combat, death and human lose.

5 Forms and Expectations
Our decision to see a particular movie based on certain expectations. Perhaps we have enjoyed the director’s previous work/style, or like the actors, maybe the ads/trailers have been enticing. No matter our preconceptions, once a the film begins we quickly from impressions. As the movie continues we experience a more complex web of expectations. Screenwriters frequently organize a film’s narrative structure around the viewer’s desire to learn the answer to such central questions as Will Dorothy get back to Kansas? Or Will Frodo destroy the ring? In Sam Mendes’s American Beauty (1999) The first scene introduces us to two of the film’s central characters- Jane (the daughter to Lester Burnham- Kevin Spacey) and Ricky (boy next door) video artist and drug dealer, who plants the idea that Ricky will kill Lester. This scene (and the one that immediately follows, in which Lester tells us in a voice-over that “in less than a year, I’ll be dead” shapes our expectations during the rest of the movie. Throughout the movie the audience adjust their expectations about the final outcome; but the audience already knows what the final outcome will be because Lester told them in the beginning of the film.

6 Hitchcock used meaningless term MacGuffin to refer to an object, document, or secret within a story that is vital importance to the characters, and thus motivates their actions and conflicts, but that turns out to be less significant to the overall narrative than we first expected. In Psycho, Marion Crane believes that the $40,000 she steals will help her start a new life. Instead, her flight with the money leads her to the Bates Motel, the resident psychopath, and Marion’s death. Once the murder has occurred, the money-a classic MacGuffin-is no real importance to the rest of the movie. The question that drew us into the narrative –Will Marion get away with the embezzlement? – suddenly switches to Who will stop the murderously overprotective mother?

7 Patterns As we watch films we search instinctively for patterns and progressions. An example of parallel editing is the scene in Silence of the Lambs where agents storm the wrong house and Clarice is left alone to confront Buffalo Bill. Patterns & Suspense - Silence of the Lambs The images on page. 37 FBI agents disguised as delivery man rings the door bell; then the close up of the bell ringing in Buffalo Bills basement; Bill reacts to the ringing; Bill leaves the basement to answer the front door; answers the door reveal Clarice not the disguised agent. Agents storm he house. Clarice starts to ask questions to Bill about the house and neighbors. Our anxiety rises as we realize the FBI agents storm the wrong house and Clarice is alone confronting Buffalo Bill, psychopath killer. Patterns of Connection – The New World The scenes shown on page. 38; initiates the romantic relationship between Captain John Smith and Pocahontas with a sequence that cuts back and forth between the two’s intersection of their eye lines. The back and forth shot sequence that is one of the most common editing patterns in film and can establish a significant and meaningful pattern.

8 Fundamentals of Film Form
Movies depend on light Movies provide an illusion of movement Movies manipulate space and time in unique ways Movies – Light Light is the essential ingredient in the creation and consumption of movies. Movie production crews – including the cinematographer, gaffer, the best boy and assorted grips and assistants- devote an impressive amount of time and equipment to illumination design and execution. Light is more than a source of illumination; it is a key formal element that film artists and technicians carefully manipulate to create mood, reveal character, and convey meaning.

9 One of the most powerful B/W films ever made was John Ford’s Grapes of Wrath (1940) It tells the story of an Oklahoma farming family during the Depression, The son, Tom returns home after serving a prison term to find that his family has left their land for “greener pastures” in California. He and a preacher friend enter his family home to find no power, and use candles for illumination. There they find a neighbor who has been forced off his land but refused to leave OK. This man, in the dark with only one candle for light , tells what has happened in the area. Tom holds the candle so that he can see the man’s face, and we see that contrast bw the dark background and the man’s haunted face which is illuminated by the flickering candle. This reveals their collective state of mind: despair. Such sharp contrasts of light and dark occur throughout the film, thus providing a pattern of meaning. Lighting also affects the ways in which we see and think about a movie’s characters. It can make them appear attractive or unattractive, be afraid of the character or reveal their state of mind.

10 Movies - Illusion of Movement
Movement separates cinema from all other 2 dimensional art forms. We call “movies” because a large part of their fundamental expressive power derives from the medium’s fundamental ability to move. Persistence of Vision is the process by which the human brain retains an image for a fraction of a second longer than it exists when the lights are turned out, we see light for a second longer than it exists when the lights are turned out, we see an afterimage and thus a smooth flow of images not in darkness between each frame of film. This gives us as illusion of movement. The Phi Phenomenon is the illusion of movement created by events that succeed each other rapidly, much like when we turn 2 lights off and on rapidly and we seem to see a single light shifting back and forth. Because shutters of modern projectors “double flash” each frame of film, we watch 48 pulses per second, close enough for our mind to eliminate our awareness of lights actually flickering on and off (the flicker effect) and we perceive apparent motion.

11 One of the best examples of contemporary films exploiting the properties of cinematic movement is Larry Wachowski’s The Matrix (1999) which exploits these techniques to create a kinetic movement which makes seemingly impossible movements look possible. This involves advanced computer software/hardware. To create the needed effects, instead of just 1 camera being used to film a given scene, up to 120 cameras were used. For examples, Neo is fired at by another protagonist, 120 cameras were mounted on a roller coaster- style arc and snapped single images in a computer-driven, rapid fire sequence. The result is dramatic action, such as dodging bullets, in what appears to be exaggerated slow motion, while the swooping camera seems to circumnavigate this stylized slo- mo subject at normal “real time” speed.

12 Movies – Manipulate Time and Space
Some arts are concerned mostly with space (architecture) while others are concerned mostly with time (music) but movies manipulate time ad space equally so that a seamless illusion is created. The Godfather (1972) in the scene of the “Baptism and Murder”, the 5 minute sequence consists of 36 shots made at different locations. Michael Corleone will be godfather to his nephew. The primary scene is the church where the baptism takes place; Coppola cuts back and forth between it the preparation for the 5 murders which Michael has ordered at 5 different locations, and the murders themselves. Each time we return to the baptism, it continues where it left off, we know this from the priest’ actions and dialogue, Latin incantations, and the Bach organ music. The organ music actually increases the tension of each of the sequences as the climax of each particular murder is about to take place. As the priest says to Michael “ Go in peace. And may the Lord be with you,” are left to reconcile this meticulously timed, simultaneous occurrence of sacred and criminal acts.

13 The parallel action sequences of Silence of the Lambs, The Godfather are evidence of cinematic ability of crosscutting to represent multiple events happening at the same time. These are manipulations of time and space. John Woo’s The Killer (1989) also uses manipulation of time through fragmentation and freeze frame. On page 49; The world weary title character is an expert assassin then it goes the officiates on the dragon boat ceremony; the assassin loathe to kill again, takes his time deciding to pull trigger and finally pulls the weapon, framed from different angles. The Gold Rush (1925) editing convinces the audience that we are seeing a complete space and continuous scene while the reality ifs that we are not. The filming was done in several places and at different times. Exterior shot of the cabin establishes danger main character only begins to become aware of; as the cabin hangs in the balance; alternating interior and exterior shots accentuate viewer suspense and amusement.

14 Realism and Antirealism
Realism in the movies basically overrides these approaches and implies that the world it depicts looks, sounds, and moves like the real world. It is also a way of treating subject matter that reflects everyday life. Realistic characters are expected to do things that conform to our expectations and experiences of real people. Cloverfield (2008) is an example of technology and realism in a movie. The movie is shot with point of view of one person video taping, shaky handheld style and degrading image (home movie style) – the ultimate in unvarnished reality footage. Antirealism is an interest in or concern for the abstract, speculative or fantastic. Many movies mix the real and fantastic – especially those in science – fiction, action and thriller genres. Donnie Darko (2001) The film goes back an forth between realistic depiction of the life of Donnie Darko and his fantastic take on it. The movie leaves the audience with a sense of how close the line between the real and fantastic can be.

15 Verisimilitude This is when the movie convinces the audience that things on the screen – people, places, no matter how fantastic or antirealist it seems – are “really there”. The movie’s version seems internally consistent, giving the audience a sense that the world onscreen, things could be just like that. Examples : Gladiator (2000) This film convinces the audience of the places, the looks of things, and sounds in a believable way because they conform to what common knowledge tells us about how life might have been lived and how things might have looked in ancient world.

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