NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES

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Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2011, 08:14:44 AM »
Porter, Edwin S.: Porter’s two 1903 films, Life of a Fireman and The Great Train Robbery, feature groundbreaking editing techniques such as simultaneous parallel action, elliptical shifts in time and location, and cutting away from scenes before completion. These films were the first to use the shot, rather than the scene, as the primary unit of composition, as well as the first to establish causality and meaning between shots. The Great Train Robbery was the most successful film made before 1912, establishing cinema as a viable profit-making enterprise.

Griffith, D. W.: Griffith is a controversial figure whose career combined unrivaled technical ingenuity with highly objectionable political views. During his most productive period, 1908–1913, Griffith directed 450 one-reel films. He is considered the principal architect of classical Hollywood editing, with innovations such as accelerated, associative, and parallel montage; psychological editing with cuts from medium to close shots; and use of flashbacks and switchbacks. Griffith also pioneered new compositional techniques, such as tracking shots, high- and low-angle shots, and realistic lighting. His film The Birth of a Nation (1915) is technically brilliant and emotionally gripping but also ideologically insidious in its racism and historical revisionism. The film was very successful financially, accorded the medium of film great prestige, and swayed later Hollywood production toward emotional, melodramatic, and sensational narratives.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #46 on: December 09, 2011, 08:15:20 AM »
Ince, Thomas: Ince directed over 100 films but is better known as a producer who in 1912 founded Inceville, the first modern Hollywood studio. Ince established firm hierarchies, supervising all aspects of production and retaining authority over the final cut of all films. The studio used five self-contained shooting stages, production units each headed by a different director, and detailed shooting scripts with strict timetables that planned out production shot-by-shot. Inceville became the model for Hollywood’s industrial mode of film production.

Sennett, Mack: Sennett was the founder of silent-screen slapstick comedy, producing thousands of one- and two-reel films and hundreds of features between 1912 and 1935. Sennett’s films depict an anarchic universe in which logic of narrative and character falls victim to purely visual humor. Influenced by vaudeville, circus, burlesque, pantomime, comic strips, and Max Linder’s French chase films, Sennett’s signature style features rapid-fire editing, violent yet harmless gags, last-minute rescues, and parodies of other films. Many of the silent era’s comedy greats, such as Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Harry Langdon, and W. C. Fields began their careers working with Sennett.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2011, 08:15:54 AM »
Chaplin, Charlie: Between 1914 and 1918, Chaplin became the first international film superstar when he wrote, directed, and starred in short films as “the Tramp,” a comic figure with baggy pants, oversized shoes, cropped mustache, derby suit, and cane. For Chaplin, comedy was not an end in itself but a means to examine the impact of social forces and structures on individual freedom and happiness. The Tramp is full of contradictions: pragmatic, courageous, and ingenious but also romantic, vulnerable, and socially awkward. Chaplin’s criticism of authority figures, moral and political orthodoxies, and material and psychological divisions between classes and genders reached its peak in later feature-length works, such as City Lights (1931) and Monsieur Verdoux (1947).

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #48 on: December 09, 2011, 08:16:37 AM »
Keaton, Buster: Raised on a tradition of vaudeville, Keaton began directing features in 1923. Unlike Sennett’s brand of comedy, Keaton’s is never ridiculous and does not undermine the dramatic logic of his narratives. His humor is based on a brainy, at times philosophical, use of irony that explores the inexorability of catastrophic actions threatening human existence. Keaton’s style is defined by his “stoneface” persona (in contrast to Chaplin’s sentimental expressiveness) and the kinesthetic energy and precise synchronization of his stunts, whose danger is part of their appeal. Keaton’s The General (1925), a box-office failure now considered a masterpiece, explores the linearity of narrative and the primacy of visual over verbal communication in silent cinema. It displays the same distrust about technology’s impact on human labor that is found in Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936).

Micheaux, Oscar: Micheaux was one of the most important American independent filmmakers of the silent era. He established the Micheaux film company and, between 1918 and 1948, wrote, directed, produced, and distributed more than 30 films. An African-American, Micheaux made films with black casts targeted at black audiences, seeking to counter the prejudiced, historically inaccurate, and disempowering representations of racial minorities in the Hollywood cinema of the period.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #49 on: December 09, 2011, 08:17:08 AM »
Dreyer, Carl Theodor: The Danish director Dreyer directed what many consider to be the greatest silent film ever made, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), a triumph of realism and spiritual expressiveness. Depicting the trial of Joan of Arc, the film’s courtroom scenes are shot almost exclusively in close-up, situating all the film’s meaning and drama in the slightest movements of its protagonist’s face. Dreyer continued to investigate the power of faith in a world of skepticism and hardship and the connection between the material and spiritual realms in acclaimed sound films such as Day of Wrath (1943) and Ordet (1954).

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #50 on: December 09, 2011, 08:17:44 AM »
Flaherty, Robert: Considered the founder of the documentary form, Flaherty rose to prominence with his first film, Nanook of the North (1922). It was the first feature-length documentary to become a commercial hit and inspired a generation of documentary filmmakers around the world. Flaherty’s principal innovation was to organize nonfiction events into a narrative that told a compelling story. Like many documentaries and ethnographic films, Nanook contains fictional elements, reflecting Flaherty’s admiration for Inuit culture but also his desire to cast it as a primitive society without any material relation to the modern Western world. The scrutiny over Nanook’s factual accuracy has been applied to many other documentaries over the years, reflecting the increased ethical burden that documentary filmmakers bear in the presentation of their work.

Other major directors: Cecil B. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, King Vidor, Erich von Stroheim.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #51 on: December 09, 2011, 08:18:20 AM »
Film History: Classical Period (1930–1945)

The transition from silent to sound films caused great upheaval in the film industry, requiring costly renovation of production facilities and movie theaters, ending the careers of many silent film stars, and making it more difficult to market films abroad. Hollywood took some time to overcome the artistic and technical challenges of sound film production, and the result was several years of mediocre output. For European filmmakers, production costs skyrocketed because Hollywood studios owned the patents to the new sound technology and licensed it at an exorbitant price.

By the mid-1930s, Hollywood entered a period of unparalleled success and stability, with five major studios (Paramount, Warner Brothers, MGM, RKO, and Twentieth Century Fox) and three minor studios (Universal, Columbia, and United Artists) cultivating distinct styles, genres, and stars. In 1934, under pressure from religious organizations such as the Legion of Decency, Hollywood enforced a Production Code that censored the content of its films, screening out foul language, depictions of “deviant” sexuality, narcotic use, and graphic violence. During World War II, Hollywood contributed enormously to the war effort through the production of propaganda films.

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #52 on: December 09, 2011, 08:18:44 AM »
Major Movements
French poetic realism: This movement, which emerged in the 1930s, is characterized by expressionistic, sublime imagery; fluid camera movements; deep-focus photography; and symbolic mise-en-scène. Its films show an understated humanism and profound empathy for their characters, who find themselves trapped between their desire for spontaneity and freedom and the social customs and hardships that constrain them. With World War II looming on the horizon, these films, while often whimsical and joyous, seem haunted by a sense of loss and impending doom. Key films include Jean Vigo’s Zéro de Conduite (1933) and L’Atalante (1934), Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game (1939), and Marcel Carné’s The Children of Paradise (1945).
 

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #53 on: December 09, 2011, 08:19:15 AM »
Major Directors
Capra, Frank:
Capturing the optimism of New Deal America, Capra became one of the most successful directors of the studio era through a series of well-crafted social dramas and comedies of manners, such as It Happened One Night (1934), that feature “everyman” protagonists, witty dialogue, and populist themes of justice and redemption. Many of Capra’s films make reformist political statements in the liberal tradition, featuring ordinary people who attempt to redress personal or systemic injustices by appealing to existing societal institutions: legal institutions in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), governmental in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and media in Meet John Doe (1941).

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2011, 08:19:51 AM »
Von Sternberg, Josef: Like his German compatriot Fritz Lang, von Sternberg moved from Ufa to Hollywood in the 1930s after Hitler came to power. Known primarily for the seven films he made with Marlene Dietrich, including Blue Angel (1930) and The Devil is a Woman (1935), von Sternberg created a visual style defined by intricate and crowded mise-en-scène; spectacular and sexually suggestive sets, costumes, and props; and expressionistic lighting. Von Sternberg assailed the moral puritanism of American society through sophisticated visual symbolism and innuendo, integrating classical myths of female sexual power over men with Dietrich’s decidedly modern gender-bending persona and performances.

Hawks, Howard: In a career spanning more than 50 years, Hawks wrote and directed films considered among the best in their respective genres, notably the gangster film Scarface (1932), the screwball comedy His Girl Friday (1940), the detective film The Big Sleep (1946), and the western Red River (1948). Hawks’s films embody a quintessentially American and Protestant perspective, exploring the power of individual will and faith to overcome extreme natural conditions and social pressures. Hawks also created numerous strong, witty female characters, showcasing the talents of some of Hollywood’s finest actresses such as Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn.

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2011, 08:20:33 AM »
Ford, John: The director of over 125 films, Ford is one of the most influential and written-about directors in cinematic history. He gained greatest acclaim for his picturesque and epic westerns, including Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946), and Rio Grande (1950). In these films, Ford explores the moral and psychological dilemmas facing individuals and communities on the border between civilization and wilderness. A cultural conservative, Ford’s vision of American history is steeped in the mythology of the frontier, where courage, loyalty, and honor fuel the drive toward survival and progress. Unlike von Sternberg and Welles, Ford worked successfully within the studio system, sharing its emphasis on expert storytelling and populist values, as well as its racism and historical revisionism.

Deren, Maya: Trained as a professional dancer and choreographer, Deren became the most important practitioner, theorist, and promoter of American avant-garde film during the 1940s and 1950s. In “poetic films” such as Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) and At Land (1944), Deren expressed the metaphysics of movement and action—the vertical meanings and feelings associated with a given moment rather than its place within the horizontal logic of narrative. Influenced by Freud’s psychoanalysis and Jung’s ideas of myth and ritual, Deren’s films are full of dreamlike, surrealist imagery that explores the relationship between conscious and subconscious states.

Other major directors: George Cukor, John Grierson, John Huston, Leni Riefenstahl, Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, William Wyler.

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2011, 08:21:05 AM »
Film History: Postwar Period (1946–1959)

World War II left the European film industry in ruins, as only Italy’s production facilities avoided devastation. The war also affected American filmmakers and audiences, leading to the production of dark, morally ambiguous and socially critical films in the film noir style. As a result of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings, many of Hollywood’s most talented actors, directors, and screenwriters were blacklisted by the studios because of suspected ties to the Communist Party. Some moved to Europe, some continued to work by using colleagues’ names as fronts, and others saw their careers and lives ruined.
In response to competition from the new medium of television, Hollywood made films that showcased cinema’s distinctive qualities: stereophonic sound, large screen size, and color images, benefiting from the emergence of widescreen technology and better color film stock. By the mid-1950s, the blacklist and new technologies led Hollywood to concentrate on apolitical, spectacular films such as biblical epics, westerns, and musicals. A 1948 Supreme Court decision forced Hollywood studios to end their vertical integration policies, making the marketplace more competitive and increasing opportunities for independent and foreign producers.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 08:23:15 AM by Gopa B. Caesar »

Offline Gopa B. Caesar

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2011, 08:21:47 AM »
Major Movements
Italian neorealism:
After World War II, Italian filmmakers had to work under adverse conditions, facing a scarcity of film stock, studio space, lighting and editing equipment, and professional actors. The most talented of these directors turned these disadvantages into an aesthetic that came to be termed neorealism—a style characterized by on-location shooting; non-professional actors; natural lighting; grainy, documentary-like imagery; long takes; and stories about ordinary people. In the wake of the war’s devastation, neorealist films articulated the social, political, and economic problems facing Italy’s most disadvantaged and neglected citizens. Key films include Roberto Rosselini’s Rome, Open City (1945) and Paisà (1946), Luchino Visconti’s La Terra Trema (1948), and Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948).


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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #58 on: December 09, 2011, 08:23:25 AM »
Japanese art cinema: Influenced by both Western film aesthetics and Eastern artistic and philosophical traditions such as Zen Buddhism and Noh theater, several Japanese directors became the first non-Western filmmakers to gain international prominence. Noted for their technical brilliance, they ably chronicled the postwar transformations shaping Japanese society. Akira Kurosawa used sophisticated tracking shots, widescreen composition, and fast-paced editing to create epic allegorical recreations of Japanese history in the samurai era. Yasujiro Ozu employed long takes and a low-angled, motionless camera to make acute observations about generational tensions in post-war Japanese families. Kenji Mizoguchi combined Ozu’s use of the long take with Kurosawa’s fluid camera movement to shed a critical light on Japan’s feudal history and the circumscribed role of women within it. Key films include Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950) and Seven Samurai (1954), Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953), and Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu (1953).

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Re: NOTES ON SOME IMPORTANT TERMS FOR FILM STUDIES
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2011, 08:24:11 AM »
Major Directors
Welles, Orson: Unlike many of his contemporaries, Welles gained international prominence on the basis of only one film, Citizen Kane (1941). The film is full of technical innovations, including crane shots, overlapping dialogue, multiple audio tracks, purposely grainy film stock, and low-angle photography. It explores themes that Welles would revisit throughout his career: the corruption of power and wealth, the fine line between desire and obsession, the precariousness of knowledge, and the limits of ego and ambition. Welles’s use of deep focus, long takes, and chiaroscuro lighting, which located meaning in mise-en-scène rather than editing, influenced a generation of filmmakers working in the postwar film noir and realist styles. Though rejected by audiences and undermined by studio executives throughout his career, Welles still managed to make several more highly acclaimed films, including The Lady from Shanghai (1948) and Touch of Evil (1958).
Hitchcock, Alfred: In a career spanning half a century, Hitchcock won success in both his native Britain and Hollywood and directed some of the most memorable films of all time, including The 39 Steps (1935), Vertigo (1958), and North by Northwest (1959). Influenced by German expressionism (he was an assistant to F. W. Murnau at Ufa) and Soviet montage, Hitchcock used detailed visual and aural compositions to express his protagonists’ feelings of paranoia and claustrophobia, along with sophisticated editing to create suspense. With a fine-tuned sense of irony, Hitchcock examined the abnormal perversions and obsessive desires lurking beneath the surface of ordinary lives and societies, enabling him to become an astute observer of America in the 1950s, the decade during which he directed his greatest films.