NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES

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Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2011, 08:57:24 PM »
Optical effects: The editor can use a number of optical effects to connect different shots together.
    A fade-in gradually lightens the beginning of a shot from black; a fade-out gradually darkens the end of a shot to black.
    In a wipe, the initial shot is replaced by the subsequent shot through a horizontal motion, as when one piece of paper is gradually slid over another.
    In a dissolve, the subsequent shot is briefly superimposed over the initial shot. Dissolves often denote the passage of time.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2011, 08:58:41 PM »
Continuity: The dominant style of editing in Western narrative film is called continuity editing. Continuity editing, which tries to keep the aesthetic qualities of images before and after a cut the same, is designed to minimize the distraction and disorientation caused by cuts and to establish narrative causality.
    Continuity editing follows the 180° rule, the practice of keeping the camera on one side of the action to retain consistent spatial relations between figures from shot to shot.
    Editors commonly use establishing shots to familiarize audiences with a given space and matches on action to present movement from multiple angles.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2011, 08:59:47 PM »
Spatiotemporal effects: Whereas continuity editing seeks to present events in chronological order and show events only once, editors often deviate from these norms.
    Flash forwards and flashbacks present events out of sequence or show events more than once (such as a persistent memory or nightmare).
    Crosscutting enables editors to show events at two of more locations simultaneously by cutting back and forth between them. This technique disrupts spatial continuity but establishes temporal simultaneity.
    Often, a film presents an event in a shorter amount of time than its actual duration. This effect is achieved by letting a character move out of frame and then, after a cut, showing the character move into frame at a new location. This effect may also be accomplished through the use of fades and cutaways.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2011, 09:00:26 PM »
Other editing techniques: With continuity editing, the primary site of meaning is the scene. By contrast, a montage sequence, such as the newsreel passage in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, uses rapid juxtaposition of images to create meaning at the shot level. Experimental filmmakers often break the rules of continuity editing, such as through the use of unexpected jump cuts to disorient the audience and undermine the realism of their representation.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2011, 09:01:29 PM »
Narrative
The majority of commercial films have a narrative—a series of events that make up a story. While most people use the terms story and plot interchangeably, in film studies these two terms have different meanings.
Story and Plot
The plot of a film consists of all the events and characters that are represented directly during the course of the film; the story is a broader set of events and characters, some of which are contained within the plot and others that are alluded to but not shown in the film.
    For instance, a detective film often begins at the scene of a crime. The criminal act is not shown in the film, so it is not part of the plot but is part of the story.
    Elements of a film that take place within the world of the film’s story are called diegetic. Elements of the film that exist outside of that world (such as music heard by the audience but not the characters in the film) are called extradiegetic or nondiegetic.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2011, 09:02:14 PM »
Narrative Development
Film narrative usually is linear and driven by cause-and-effect relationships among characters and events.
    To stimulate interest in the narrative, films typically present characters with whom viewers can identify. The characters are assigned certain traits and motivations that propel the events of the film to their conclusion.
    Although most films are character-driven, other forces can affect the course of the narrative, such as the natural world, societal structures, and historical events.
    The beginning of a film often establishes a conflict that is then resolved, after a turning point and a climax at the conclusion of the narrative.
    Films that follow this normative pattern of conflict resolution (common in Hollywood films) are said to have a closed ending.
    A film with an open ending never fully resolves the conflicts it initiates.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2011, 09:02:46 PM »
Narration
Narration is the process by which the film reveals relevant information to the viewer.
    Since in most cases the audience initially knows nothing about the world of the film, early scenes typically involve exposition, wherein a large amount of information about characters and events is provided.
    If a film reveals all the relevant information required to understand the story, and the audience knows more than the characters in the film do, the film is using omniscient narration.
    If a film allows the audience to know only as much as, or less than, the characters in the film do, the film is using subjective narration.
    Films sometimes employ a narrator, whose voice can be heard on the soundtrack in the form of a voice-over, to deliver critical information to the audience.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2011, 09:03:23 PM »
Narrative Meaning
Films are not self-enclosed entities but make statements about the world in which we live. Films create meaning through the use of symbols, metaphors, and motifs, which are repeated techniques, objects, or thematic ideas.
    In allegorical films, plot events take on meanings that are greater than their function within the logic of the narrative. Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, for example, can be interpreted as an allegory of American militarism in Vietnam.
    Contemporary film narratives are often highly intertextual, referring to previous cultural works, whether in the cinema, television, or the other arts.
    Films depend on a willing suspension of disbelief that allows audiences to believe temporarily in the events and characters of the films’ fictional narratives.
    Filmmakers who want audiences to take a more critical position use alienation effects to remind viewers of the constructedness and unreality of their narratives.
The profit motive driving Hollywood studios leads producers to repeat, with some variation, formulas that prove financially successful. This practice has led to the establishment of familiar categories of films, known as genres, some of which are first developed in literature and then adapted for the screen. Some genres, like the western and the screwball comedy, are quintessentially American, while others, like the musical and the melodrama, are popular around the world.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME INPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2011, 09:05:30 PM »
Genre Theory
    As audiences become acquainted with particular genres, they come to expect a specific type of viewing experience from films of that genre.
    Genres typically have a life cycle, progressing from uncertain beginnings to stable maturity and parodic decline.
    Though generic similarities between films have existed since the beginning of cinema, it was the advent of semiotics and structuralism that gave scholars a sophisticated methodology with which to analyze film genre (see Film Theory).
    Jim Kitses defined genre in terms of structuring oppositions, such as the wilderness-civilization binary found in westerns.
    Rick Altman divided genre into the semantic (iconographic elements such as the cowboy hat) and the syntactic (structural and symbolic meanings).
    Recent genre theory has emphasized the postmodern mutation of genres toward hybridity and reflexivity .
 

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2011, 08:00:08 AM »
Gangster
The gangster genre emerged during the Depression era with sound films such as Mervyn LeRoy’s Little Caesar (1930), William Wellman’s Public Enemy (1931) and Howard Hawks’ Scarface (1932). These films embodied Americans’ ambivalence with law and order, chronicling the spectacular criminal exploits of Prohibition-era gangsters in ways that enabled audiences to both identify pruriently with them on their rise to power and cheer moralistically at their inevitable downfall.
    In the 1940s and 1950s, gangster films became much darker, adopting a film noir style that was defined by low-key lighting, a claustrophobic urban setting, a morally compromised protagonist, and seductive, deceptive female characters known as femme fatales. In these psychologically complex films, such as Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat (1953), the line between criminality and law and order is blurred beyond distinction.
    The Hollywood blacklist during the McCarthy era (see Postwar Period) shifted the thematic emphasis of the genre away from social criticism, as in Abraham Polonsky’s Force of Evil (1948), toward anti-Communist paranoia, as in Samuel Fuller’s Pickup on South Street (1953).
    Contemporary gangster films have focused almost exclusively on Mafia families, most notably in Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather films (1972–1990) and Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas (1990) and Casino (1995).

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2011, 08:00:30 AM »
Western
Whereas gangster films explore the moral corruption of contemporary urban American society, westerns mythify the European colonization of the American heartland. Both genres conceive of law and order as the only thing that stands between civilization and chaos. In the western, the villains are often Native Americans, who were portrayed in many films through the unflattering, inaccurate stereotype of the violent savage threatening the “innocent” white settler community.
    In the silent period (see Silent Period), many of the most successful and prominent directors, such as Cecil B. DeMille and D. W. Griffith, made westerns.
    In the 1930s and 1940s, John Ford became the genre’s leading practitioner. His films reveal the gradual transformation of the western toward ever more benign (if still inaccurate) portrayals of Native Americans, such as in Cheyenne Autumn (1964). In Ford’s The Searchers (1956), the protagonist is as morally flawed and complex as his film noir contemporaries.
    The postwar adult westerns of Anthony Mann, Budd Boetticher, and John Sturges highlight psychological drama over epic spectacle.
    Italian director Sergio Leone’s violent, stylized spaghetti westerns, such as A Fistful of Dollars (1964), revitalized the genre briefly, as did later self-reflexive and unglamorous westerns like Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992).

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2011, 08:01:08 AM »
Horror
The horror film is organized by the division between self and other, which can be defined in sociopolitical or psychoanalytic terms. The emblematic figure of the genre is the monster. Monsters such as vampires and zombies often straddle (and therefore unsettle) binary oppositions that are used to define human existence, such as life/death, man/woman, domestic/foreign, and healthy/degenerate. While exemplary horror films, such as James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931), portray the psychology of the monster sensitively, most cast the monster into abjection, expelling it from the world of the narrative in order to restore order and normalcy. More than any other genre, horror is defined by its effect on audiences, who expect to be frightened, shocked, or disgusted.
    German expressionism provided the silent period’s greatest horror films, such as F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). Classical Hollywood films, such as Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People (1942), used offscreen sound, character reaction, and shadows to evoke a monstrous presence without violating the Production Code (see Classical Period).
    American independent films such as George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive (1974) combined horror conventions with social and political analysis.
    Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973) accorded the horror genre mainstream respectability.
    In the late 1970s and 1980s, teenage horror subgenres like the slasher film, as in John Carpenter’s Halloween series, introduced the genre to a new generation.
    Some of the most innovative horror films of recent years have been made in East Asia, such as Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998) and Miike Takashi’s The Audition (1999).

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2011, 08:01:58 AM »
Science fiction

The threat of nuclear holocaust and the promise of space travel led to the postwar emergence of the science fiction genre, which is concerned with the impact of technology on the future of human existence.
    Early science fiction films, such as Gordon Douglas’ Them! (1954), were B-movies that used alien invasion to express anti-Communist paranoia. Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is exemplary in that it has been alternately interpreted as critical of Communist infiltration and xenophobic mass hysteria.
    François Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1971) accorded the science fiction genre mainstream respectability and artistic legitimacy.
    Contemporary science fiction films, such as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985), have constructed dystopic visions of the near future as a form of social and political critique.
    Hollywood also has combined science fiction conventions with those of other genres, such as family drama, in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977); horror, in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986); and action, in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall (1990), to create successful blockbusters that appeal to a wide audience.

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2011, 08:02:36 AM »
Other Genres
Other commonly identified genres include musical, melodrama, romantic comedy, action/adventure, fantasy, biopic, war, historical, teen comedy, animation, biblical, mystery, crime thriller, suspense, parody, mockumentary, blaxploitation, disaster, political, court drama, social problem, and pornography.

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS OF FILM STUDIES
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2011, 08:02:57 AM »
Film Theory
Film theory is a collection of interpretative frameworks developed over time in order to understand better the way films are made and received. Film theory is not a self-contained field: it borrows from the disciplines of philosophy, art theory, social science, cultural theory, psychology, literary theory, linguistics, economics, and political science. Some of the major approaches and movements in film theory appear below.