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Section C: US Film Comparative Study This section of the exam will focus on the comparisons and contrasts between two American films. This is one of three.

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Presentation on theme: "Section C: US Film Comparative Study This section of the exam will focus on the comparisons and contrasts between two American films. This is one of three."— Presentation transcript:

1 Section C: US Film Comparative Study This section of the exam will focus on the comparisons and contrasts between two American films. This is one of three sections to the unit FM2: British and American Film (the other being Producers and Audiences and British film) The exam in May will be 2 hours long therefore you should spend 45 minutes on each of the 3 sections

2 Approaches to US film comparative study The major focus on this section is comparing and contrasting films according to their: Genre Narrative Themes Historical context

3 Genre- recap What is genre? A simple way of categorising film. The notion of convention, repetition and expectation are central in understanding genre theory. Genre production works to repeat and contain these elements.

4 Genre continued….. What are film genre conventions? Name 3 conventions of police crime films? Who establishes the conventions Why are the conventions repeated? What are the audience expectations? What are the repertoire of elements?

5 Genre and the repertoire of elements example –science fiction What is iconography? Task: Identify the iconography from this sci-fi film. Other worlds/planets. Bad guys wear black. Creatures/aliens. robots Futuristic/advanced technology and weapons. Spacecraft/transportation. Minimal monochrome costumes. However, do all sci-fi films follow this iconography?

6 Narrative What is it? The process of story construction. How material is selected and arranged in order to give meaning to the audience. Task: think of a sci-fi film and write down the plot in 5 points.

7 Narrative terms Whats the story? : The story is the basic chronological order of events. The story can also be referred to as the diegesis and is everything in the narrative. Including inferred background stories. Plot: The term plot is used to describe everything we visibly and audibly present in the film narrative. The plot can also feature non –diegetic techniques such as music, voiceover and text. Linearity/Chronology: Simply the ordering or sequencing of events. This is often referred to as the narrative structure. Non– linear narratives are not told in order. The Exposition: Is another word for establishing. It sets up the film world, characters, setting, era and themes. The exposition often sets off the chain of events to get the narrative motivation going.

8 Ideological themes Ideology? A set of ideas which give some account of the social world. What ideas can you think of that shape the us/society/ the world? Christianity, Vegetarianism, Islam, Feminism, Communism, Ecology, Capitalism, multiculturalism. The relationship of these ideas or values to the media text is all based on whether the message is intentional or unintentional from the media producer.

9 Themes continued….. An audience can buy into a media texts ideological message. Some media texts have more obvious ideological messages than others. This is distinguished as either covert or overt ideological approach. Task: Watch this clip from the Sci-Fi film The Matrix. What ideas/themes are in evidence in the film?

10 Overt and covert messages Task: discuss the ideological message of the following films. Are they overt or covert messages?: Avatar I Robot Slumdog Millionaire Task: watch opening minutes of Men in Black and make notes on the ideas that are apparent from the film. Are the messages overt or covert?

11 Historical/Social Contexts The historical/social context of a film ties in closely with the ideological themes present in the film. To understand a film it is important to understand its context. The historical/social context is dependent on the era the film was made in and what was happening in society, nationally or internationally. Films that reflect what is happening in an era are said to reflect the zietgeist – the spirit or mood of the time.

12 Zeitgeist What are the current contemporary zeitgeists. What media texts can you think of that reflect the current social climate? Global warming Terrorism Youth crime Celebrity culture Task: Can you name any media particularly films that reflect these issues? Our two American film case study films will be from different eras. To understand them better, research will need to be conducted into the historical period when the film was made.

13 Ideology and the zeitgeist Example: Star Wars (1977) Much has been said of Star Wars and its religious and political subtexts. What are they? Watch clip and decide. Imperial rule : The central theme of Star Wars is the idea of (the rebellion) fighting an oppressive regime (Imperial Force). Religion: The Jedi, the force and the dark side are quite obviously religious metaphors. Multiculturalism: Communities coming together for the common good. George Lucas has said that he created Star Wars as a fable or allegory for the state Of America at the time. In the 70s America was run by what many saw as a corrupt government led by President Richard Nixon. Lucas has stated that Darth Vader is in fact Nixon in disguise. The idea of the rebellion rising to beat the imperial army is considered by many as a political statement. Many Hollywood film of the time explored the issue of other cultures conflicting with the establishment.

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