Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION Film Studies and Film History. MACHINES WHICH CREATED THE ILLUSION OF MOVEMENT Phenakistoscopes Phenakistoscopes Thaumatropes Thaumatropes."— Presentation transcript:
INTRODUCTION Film Studies and Film History
MACHINES WHICH CREATED THE ILLUSION OF MOVEMENT Phenakistoscopes Phenakistoscopes Thaumatropes Thaumatropes Zoetropes Zoetropes Praxinoscopes Praxinoscopes All versions of spinning motion toys
EDWARD MUYBRIDGE Large scale photographic panorama of San Francisco 1878 Sequence of 13 photographs taken at different moments 360 degree view of city Created an illusion of continuity
FAMOUS ANALYSIS OF TROTTING HORSES (1878) Led to cinema’s creation Leland Stanford wanted to know if all four hooves were off the ground The horses tripped the camera’s shutters (quick) The unfolding motions of time and space
CELLULOID 1889, George Eastman Crude Flexible Film Base Long strips of frames became possible Celluloid is an early plastic that melts when it gets hot
PERSISTENCE OF VISION Persistent after imagesafter images Cinema arises from an interface Continuously moving still images A process of perception on the part of the human spectator which readies him or her to receive continuity as motion itself
ELEMENTS OF MOTION PICTURE FILM Flexible, Transparent Film Base (Eastman) Fast exposure time (Etienne-Jules Marey) 12 images on Film Glass Mechanism to pull the film through the camera Intermittent device to stop the film A shutter to block off light
THOMAS EDISON Kinetograph (recorded images) Kinetoscope Peep Shows Black Maria Studio (New Jersey) Horses Jumping, Niagra Falls, Trains, Dancing Girls etc..
LUMIERE BROTHERS A Step further than Edison Ensured that the film advanced at a uniform rate Mobile Cameras Projections (larger than life) First 35 mm camera that also served as a projector: Lumiere 1895, First public viewing of films at The Grand Café in Paris
STYLE OF EARLY FILMS Single shot framing action Long-shot distance Black Maria showed vaudeville entertainers, famous sports figures and celebrities performing for the camera The Lumieres took the cameras out to parks, gardens beaches and other public places
GEORGES MÉLIÈS 1896, Purchased a film projector and built a camera based on the same mechanism First films showed shots of every day activities Magician, discovered the possibility of every day effects Magician He built his own studio like Black Maria Glass sided like a greenhouse
GEORGES MÉLIÈS films progressed to being longer narratives with scenes shot in tableaux Each scene consisted of one shot except when certain transformations took place Cuts were designed to be imperceptible on screen
LATE 19 TH & EARLY 20 TH CENTURY Films circulated widely until World War I (1914) Limited Resources From 1904 on, narrative form became the most prominent form of film communication French, Italian and American films dominated world markets The Great Train Robbery, Edwin Porter 1903
CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD CINEMA Edison attempted to monopolize the early film industry Tried to force competing filmmakers out of business (patent violations) American Mutoscope and Biograph survived because of differing technology In 1908 Edison teamed up with Biograph forming Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC) Eventually they were the only stockholders and patent holders licensing other members to make, distribute and exhibit films MPPC never succeeded in eliminating its competition (Filmmakers like DW Griffith would break out and create their own companies)
DW GRIFFITH 1908 (Made 100’s of “one and two reelers” in a 5 year period) Complex narratives in short spans Didn’t event the devices that he used, he gave many techniques like cross-cutting or parallel editing a strong narrative motivation By the time he made his features he was creating lengthy complex scenes across multiple locations
THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) AND INTOLERANCE (1916) Directed actors in a different way Medium close-ups and close ups to get subtle nuances in performance –a technique still used today Quick cuts at the end of Intolerance were influential on Soviet Filmmakers like Eisenstein: Battleship Potempkin (1925) He viewed film as an expressive medium capable of bringing about social change
THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) About the American Civil War Strong visual aesthetic, Birth of Hollywood Aesthetic Distortion of history Testament to the deep racism at the time Many thought it contributed to the rise of the Klu Klux Klan
EBERT ON “BIRTH” Griffith has a sure hand in the way he cuts from epic shots of enormous scope to small human vignettes. He was the first director to understand instinctively how a movie could mimic the human ability to scan an event quickly, noting details in the midst of the larger picture. Many silent films moved slowly, as if afraid to get ahead of their audiences; Griffith springs forward eagerly, and the impact on his audiences was unprecedented; they were learning for the first time what a movie was capable of.
EBERT ON “BIRTH” "The Birth of a Nation" is Griffith's sin, for which he tried to atone all the rest of his life. So instinctive were the prejudices he was raised with as a 19th century Southerner that the offenses in his film actually had to be explained to him. To his credit, his next film, "Intolerance," was an attempt at apology. He also once edited a version of the film that cut out all of the Klan material, but that is not the answer. If we are to see this film, we must see it all, and deal with it all.The Birth of a Nation" is Griffith's sin, for which he tried to atone all the rest of his life. So instinctive were the prejudices he was raised with as a 19th century Southerner that the offenses in his film actually had to be explained to him. To his credit, his next film, "Intolerance," was an attempt at apology. He also once edited a version of the film that cut out all of the Klan material, but that is not the answer. If we are to see this film, we must see it all, and deal with it all.
EBERT ON “BIRTH” The long third act of the film is where the most offensive racism resides. There is no denying the effectiveness of the first two acts. The first establishes a bucolic, idealistic view of America before the Civil War, with the implication that the North should have left well enough alone. The second involves unparalleled scenes of the war itself, which seem informed by the photographs of Matthew Brady and have an powerful realism and conviction.
SARRIS ON “BIRTH” On the other hand, the equally distinguished critic Andrew Sarris wrote about Griffith's masterpiece: "Classic or not, 'Birth of a Nation' has long been one of the embarrassments of film scholarship. It can't be ignored...and yet it was regarded as outrageously racist even at a time when racism was hardly a household word."
INFLUENCE OF GRIFFITH Use of medium close ups and close ups Subtle changes in facial expressions Rapid editing at the end of Intolerance (Soviet Montage) Using parallel editing for highly dramatic purposes
CECIL B DEMILLE The Cheat (1915) Chiaroscuro/Rembrandt Lighting Influence on French Impressionist filmmakers Bright sources of light and no fill light Linear pattern of narrative Precursor to the formal complexity of Hollywood Narrative 1914 (first film) (Last Film)
CONTINUITY SYSTEM Coherent spatial and temporal relations within narratives Match on action Less reliance on single frontal shots Eyeline matches 180 degree rule
STANDARDIZATION OF HOLLYWOOD STYLE Carefully motivated narrative elements Straightforward causal development Same production system Similar division of labor Little independent production Most alternative films were made in Europe
CHARLIE CHAPLIN Successful British Vaudevillian Extremely famous for comic films during the silent film era (pre WW1) Wrote, Directed and starred in films He also continued to make silent films after the “talkies” were introduced Was identified with leftist views during the McCarthy era and moved back to Europe
CONTINUED 1913: Keystone “IS THERE A MAN NAMED CHAFFIN IN YOUR COMPANY OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT STOP IF SO WILL HE COMMUNICATE WITH KESSEL AND BAUMANN 24 LONGACRE BUILDING BROADWAY.” (1) They had lost Ford Sterling and needed to replace him By 1916, just two years after appearing in his first motion picture, Charles Chaplin had become the most famous entertainer in the world The Mutual Film Corporation created a subsidiary called The Lone Star Corporation solely to make the Chaplin films. Lone Star paid Chaplin $10,000 a week plus a $150,000 signing bonus for the twelve two-reel comedies.
CONTINUED: Viewed stereoscope images of the 1896 Klondike Donner Party Disaster of 1846/Horrors of the time are used for comic purposes Believed that tragedy and comedy are never far apart Elaborate year & ½ production Partially due to his personal life with Lita Grey
THE GOLD RUSH The Gold Rush out of the most unlikely sources for comedy. The first idea came to him when he was viewing some stereoscope pictures of the 1896 Klondike gold rush, and was particularly struck by the image of an endless line of prospectors snaking up the Chilkoot Pass, the gateway to the gold fields. At the same time he happened to read a book about the Donner Party Disaster of 1846
THE GOLD RUSH Chaplin - proving his belief that tragedy and ridicule are never far apart - set out to transform these tales of privation and horror into a comedy. He decided that his familiar tramp figure should become a gold prospector, joining the mass of brave optimists to face all the hazards of cold, starvation, solitude, and the occasional incursion of a grizzly bear.