2 Table of Contents 1. What is Realism and what is Formalism? 2. The Lumiére Brothers’ Workers Leaving the Factory and George Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon3. Realism vs. Formalism4. Problems of Realism and Formalism
3 What is Realism? 1. Dictionary definition (a) ‘a style of painting and sculpture that seeks to represent the familiar or typical in real life, rather than an idealized, formalized, or romantic interpretation of it’Collins English Dictionary(b) ‘… the style of art and literature in which everything is shown or described as it really is in life.’Longman American Dictionary
4 What is Realism?(c) ‘… in the arts, the accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of nature or of contemporary life. Realism rejects imaginative idealization in favour of a close observation of outward appearances.’Encyclopaedia Britannica
5 What is Realism? 1. Subjects and materials (content) -- the familiar or typical in our daily lifeSuperman cartoon in the 1940s (Fleisher Studio)
6 Daily Life Familiar Contents Frederick Wiseman’s High School (1968)Ken Loach’s It’s a Free World(job hunting)
7 Daily Life Familiar Contents Alan J. Pakura’s All the President’s Men(OfficeMike Leigh’s All or Nothing(Thpical British home)
9 What is Realism?2. The way in which such a subject and material is represented (method) - non-idealized, non-formalized, un-romantic, and unembellished rendition of outward appearance as faithfully as possible.-- MIMESIS (Gk. the imitative representation of nature and human behaviour)The representation of the familiar or typical inmimetic manners in literature and visual arts.
10 Boxer of Quirinal, Bronze copy of a Hellenistic Greek sculpture
28 What is Formalism? Definition in film studies ‘A style of filmmaking in which aesthetic forms take precedence over the subject matter as content. Time and space as ordinarily perceived are often distorted. For Formalism, film is an art because its properties are exploited to express filmmakers’ own vision’
29 Lumière’s Films Workers Leaving the Factory (1895) Actualités (actualities) - Recording an everydayevent with a stationary camera placed at eye levelwithout any editing Lumiere Brothers’ Sortie de l’usine Lumier a Lyon
30 Lumière’s Films Arrival of a Train at the Ciotat station (1985) - filmed record of the arrival of a train
31 Lumière’s Films Auguste and Louis Lumière Representation of the look of reality as it is commonly perceived
32 Georges Méliès’ FilmsA Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune, 1902)A fantasy about rocket journey to the moon.Adherence to film forms – special effects and surprising imagesOrdinary time and space distorted
33 Georges Méliès’ Films Georges Méliès A stage magician at Theatre Robert-Houdin turned filmmaker.The first innovator in filmmaking.The inventor of seminal film tricks
34 Georges Méliès’ Films Visual tricks in cinema Jump cut – a scene is cut in the middle of actionDouble exposure – two images aresuperimposed on the same piece of filmMultiple images – the screen divided intoseveral separate imagesPriority given to the display of (aesthetic) forms and visual effects over the representation faithful to reality. Expression of the filmmaker’s own vision disregarding what it may be in reality.
35 Realism vs. Formalism Film realism - the Lumière tendencies Recording reality without changing itFilm formalism - the Méliès tendenciesRecreating and presenting forms different from seen in reality
36 Lumiére-Melies Chart (Realism) (Formalism) LUMIERE MELIES The Blair Witch Project ExorcistFull Monty The Gold RushDocumentary Fantasy
37 Realism / Lumière Tendencies The Blair Witch Project (1999) - a low-budget horror film made as if amateur documentary footage were pieced together. Three students who is making a documentary film on a legend locally known as Blair Witch go missing.
38 Realism / Lumière Tendencies The viewer is told that they were never found but one year later their camera and films were discovered. The viewer watch the ‘discovered’ footage.The Blair Witch Project Part 1
39 Formalism / Méliès Tendencies The Exorcist (1973) by William FriedkinA cult film dealing with the demonic possession of a girl and her mother’s desperate attempt to win her back through exorcism conducted by two priests.The Exorcist
40 Realism / Lumière Tendencies Full Monty (1997) by Peter Cattaneo: a British comedy about six unemployed men trying to form a male striptease group to support themselves and their families.
41 Formalism / Méliès Tendencies Gold Rush (1925) by Charlie Chaplin: a silent comedy about a trump going to the Yukon to take part in the Klondike Gold Rush but being stranded in a cabin by snow storm.The Gold Rush
42 Problems of Film Realism Film as representation of realityWhat is filmed is not reality itself but its imageA person who appears on the screen is not herself but her image.An object who can be seen on the screen is not itself but its image.
43 Problems of Film Realism René Magritte’s painting of Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe)The picture is not the pipe itself, though it is life-like, but its image.
44 McLuhan and Annie HallReal Marshall Mcluhan appears in Woody Allen’s Annie HallIn the film, he is only the image of Mcluhan and not himself
45 Problems of Film Realism A film re-presents objects and peopleOr re-traces (an event); re-calls (an event); re-produce (reality), re-enact (an event/reality); re-fer to (an event / reality), re-build (reality); re-construct (reality): re-stage (reality / an event)Film is realization in ‘second-time’; thus actions are suffixed with -re; spatially and temporally different from what it shows.
46 Problems of Film Formalism Even fantasy, fantastic images, and forms are constructed on our perception of reality.It is impossible to create a world totally detached from reality.
47 Problems of Film Formalism Even a creature from Mars have two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two arms, fingers, and two legs.
48 Coexistence and Interaction Realism and formalism coexist and interactEvery film is constructed by a dialectic process of film realism and film formalism: of mimicking and changing reality
49 Blade RunnerRidley Scott’s SF film, Blade Runner was inspired by futuristic or postmodern city- scape of Osaka