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Corrigan, T. (2001). A short guide to writing about film (4 th ed.). New York: Longman.

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Presentation on theme: "Corrigan, T. (2001). A short guide to writing about film (4 th ed.). New York: Longman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Corrigan, T. (2001). A short guide to writing about film (4 th ed.). New York: Longman.

2 “Analytical thinking and reading about an “entertainment” invigorate and enrich it and perhaps make the event itself more entertaining.” (p. 2) emotional or intellectual reaction “Analyzing our reactions to themes, characters, or images like these can be a way not only of understanding a movie better, but of understanding better how we view the world and the cultures we live in.” (p. 5) Functions of writing about film (p. 7) understand personal response convince others why like/dislike explain or introduce new information compare/contrast connect to other cultural areas

3 Reviews summarize plot and recommend (or not) Critical essay doesn’t retell story--more focus on “subtleties or complexities” “What is interesting is not pronouncing a film good or bad, but explaining why” (Truffaut, 370) (p. 18)

4 Prepare for movie Commercial? Who is the intended audience? Unfamiliar/perplexing elements and repeated elements Questions to ask (pp. 27-28): – “What does the title mean in relation to the story? – Why does the movie start the way it does? – When was the film made? – Why are the opening credits presented in such a manner against this particular background? – Why does the film conclude on this image? – How is this movie similar to or different from the Hollywood movies I have seen recently or from those of an older generation?” – “Is there a pattern of striking camera movement, perhaps long shots or dissolves or abrupt transitions? – Which three or four sequences are the most important?” Also props, costumes, camera positions Necessary to take notes

5 Standard Terms (pp. 31-32) pov point of view shot ls long shot (whole figure from a distance) cu close-up (e.g., a character’s head) xcu extreme close-up (showing detail, e.g., the eyes) ms medium shot (between close-up and full— shows most of figure but not all) fs full or long shot (entire body in a frame) 3/4s three-quarter shot (shows ¾ of characters) ps pan shot (point of view pivots side to side)

6 s/rs shot/reverse shot pattern (point of view, person A looks at person B, then person B looks at person A) ct cut (one image to another) lt long take (long time to cut) crs crane shot (point of view outdoors scene from high above) trs tracking shot (point of view moves—e.g., following a running figure) la low angle (point of view low, tilted up) ha high angle (point of view above, tilted down) Support your ideas with description, then argument more convincing

7 Additional Film Terms Frame--“rectangle that contains the image” – May exclude actions or persons Themes—what is the film about? “Who are the central characters? – What do they represent in themselves and in relation to each other? The importance of individuality or society? Human strength or human compassion? – How do their actions create a story with some meanings or constellation of meanings?

8 Does the story emphasize the benefits of change or endurance? What kind of life or what actions does the film wish you to value or criticize, and why? If there is not a coherent message or story, why not? How does the movie make you feel at the end? Happy? Depressed? Confused? And why?” (pp. 42-43)

9 Narrative includes story (events) and plot voice-over classical narrative includes – Plot development – Closure – Focus on characters – Attempts to be objective

10 Characters focus action and themes Are they realistic? What makes them so? If not, why not? Do they change? What values are represented? Point of View How does the camera create the character’s point of view? Is it subjective or objective?

11 Mēs än sĕn’ (p. 55) Mise-en-scene French term “what is put into the scene” Lighting, costumes, sets, acting quality Suspect realism in movies Reality is constructed for a purpose in the movies.

12 Objects, props--natural and artificial Also consider their arrangements Costumes Lighting and use of space Composition Colors and tones and film speed (fast and slow motion action) Sound dialogue, music, noise Direct recorded when image shot Postdubbed sound added in studio Even silence

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