Eng 230 Film Form
Terms in this set (27)
definition: a filmmaker/director whose personal influence and artistic control over a movie are so great that the ze is regarded as the author of the movie
Example: Alfred Hitchcock's cinematographic habit of leaving violent scenes off-screen
Example tied into overall film function/meaning: This signature cinematographic decision, as exemplified in the fall of Judy in Vertigo,allows the audience to receive the existential and moral messages Hitchcock transmits through the film without the distraction of blood and gore from Judy's impact with the ground.
Definition: the narrative and stylistic elements of a film working together to give viewer a coherent whole representation of some reality.
Example tied into overall film function/meaning:
Definition: a state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen.
Example: When Jessica Tandy (Rod's mother) walks down the hall of her neighbor's home in a long take before finding him with his eyes plucked out
Example tied into overall film function/meaning: Ms. Tandy's walk down the hall to meet the horrific sight of her dead neighbor parallels Rod's car to San Francisco. He thinks he is running away ,but he most likely is moving toward tragedy as the birds seem to be inescapable
Definition: the subtextual meaning
Example: Lina's annoying voice used to infantilize her and devalue her expression of self.
Example tied into overall film function/meaning: Male gaze's construction of Lina's womanhood served to further the overall sexist nature of Singin' in the Rain by causing the viewer to be aesthecially pleased by her, but agitated by her voice, mirroring the belief that women are to be seen and not heard.
Definition: the justification given in the film for the presence of an element.
Example: Mookie's paycheck motivated him to go to Sal's Pizzareia everyday, in spite of the Italian family's gross anti-Blackness.
Example tied into overall film function/meaning: Mookie's desire to keep his paycheck deterred him from being an activist for his community. It was not until his motivation shifted from monetary gain to being responsible that he was able to uplift his community.
Defintion: an element in a film that is repeated in a significant way.
Example: the appearance of the baby in the later part of the film
Example tied into overall film function/meaning: The baby kept the viewer asking itself, "Who is the father?". This reinforced the film's observation of the polyamorous lifestyle of a non-traditional woman.
Match on Action
Definition: A continuity cut that splices two different views of the same action together at the same moment in the movement, making it seem to continue to uninterrupted.
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning:
Hierarchy of Knowledge
Definition: the distribution of plot knowledge between characters and audience. Can be evenly distributed(mystery), weighted towards audience(suspense), or weighted towards (surprise)
Example: Viewers knew as much as the reporter in Citizen Kane
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: Keeping the hierarchy of knowledge between the reporter and the audience sustained the mystery of Charles Kane's life. This distritubion was maintained until the end of the movie where it shifted to audience's favor, letting them see that Rosebud was a sled, relieving the mystery.
Definition: the length of time in a film. plot time, screen time, story time
Example: screentime of Do the RIght Thing is 2 hrs 5 mins.
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: The 2 hr 5 min screentime gave enough room to relay the essential story elements of the community's struggle
Range of Story Information:
Definition: how much viewer is allowed to know at any given time. Can be restricted or unrestricted
Example: The viewer's range of knowledge is limited to what the reporter in Citizen Kane knows
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: This restricted range of story information is what allows Citizen Kane to be a mystery, which is solved for the viewer when the range of story information goes beyond the reporter to allow the viewer to see that Rosebud was Kane's childhood sled
Classical Hollywood Cinema
Definition: the film content tradition that follows
(1) single protagonist who propels the action
(2)Primalcy of causality
(3) objective point of view
(4)Strong closure, everything resolved
Example: Sarah was a protagonist driven by her desire to be a woman on her own terms
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: Sarah's actions caused by her desire to be her own woman affected the two men in her household and the community at large, driving the tension of the film
Definition: the relationship between events that respectively orient them as cause and effect.
Example: Shannyn blacks out from drinking and wakes up to a guy raping her.
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: The rape depresses Shannyn's self-concept explaining and mirroring her stumble through the college experience into adulthood.
Definition: illumination that creates litle contrast between light and dark areas of a shot.
Example: HIgh key lighting on Judy in the museum portrays her as pure, immaculate, and attractive
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: This potrayal of Judy via high-key lighting served to demonstrate how James Stewart put her on a pedastal and had to conquer her.
Speed of Motion
Definition: the rate of movement on the screen, depends on rate at which film was shot and rate of projection.
Example: in Don't Look Now, the father lifting his daughter in slow motion
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: This painful moment being shot in slow motion allows the emotional gravity of the moment to really place its weight on the viewer
Definition: use of camera lens and lighting that keeps objects in both close and distant planes in sharp focus
Example: the opening scene of Citizen Kane where all four characters in the three levels of setting are kept in sharp focus
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: Kane's mother was in the front of the shot and Kane in the very back, with the attorney and father in between. This demonstrated that Kane's mother was the ultimate authority while baby Kane had no voice in the decision of his future.
Definition:altering the focal length of the lens to give the illusion of moving closer to or further away from the action.
Example: the zoom shot on the bouquet of flowers and chignon of Judy & the painting of Carlotta.
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: The zoom relates the hyperscrutiny that Judy was under as John analyzed and dissected her womanhood to make her into the woman he wanted her to be.
Definition: technique for combining foreground action with a background action filmed earlier. Foreground filmed in a studio, against a screen; the background imagery is projected from behind the screen.
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning:
Definition:The relationshipof the frame's width to its height.
Example: 1.85: 1 aspect ratio of Do The Right Thing
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: allowed the volley of focus between whole community and individuals on screen to emphasize their personal narratives and their interconnectedness.
Definition: action that happens out of screen, camera pans to actors to reveal action
Example: Birds collecting on the jungle gum in The Birds.
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: Melanie was unaware of the birds collecting just as she was unaware of the reason for the birds attacking. Whether she knew why or not, they went on attacking. Much like life goes on even though we don't understand the meaning of it nor the reasons for its events.
Definiton: the six areas blocked from being visible on the screen but still part of the space of the scene: to each side and above and below the frame, behind the set, and behind the camera.
Example: the movie set of Singin' in the Rain
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: Kathy, Lina, and Don were almost always in the studio somewhere the offscreen space, revealing to the viewer the constant "acting" and deceiving they were doing throughout the movie.
Definition: A framing in which the scale of the object shown is very large, most commonly a small object or part the body.
Example: Mr. Senor Love Daddy's mouth in the opening scene
Example tied into the overall film function/meaning: The close up on the radio host's mouth illustrated his role as the voice of reason and compassion in the film. He was in the studio where it was cooler and he was removed from the community chaos ,affording him a different perspective to lend to the community.
Low Angle Shot
Definition: Camera placed anywhere below the eye line, looking up. the effect of the low-angle shot is that it makes the subject look strong and powerful.
Example: Mother sister looking down on The Mayor in Do the Right Thing
Example tied into overall meaning of the film: For most of the movie, Mother Sister's gaze was downward on The Mayor as she looked down at him from her stoop. She believed he wasn't worthy of respect. After the chaos of Radio Raheem's death, Mother Sister's regard for The Mayor changes, when she sees how strong and sensible he was when everyone else lost their head.
Definition: a mobile framing thta travels through space, forward, backward, or laterally.
Example: the tracking shot of Don singin' in the rain
Example tied into overall meaning of the film function/meaning: The tracking shot serves to follow Don on his journey of sexual expression, which is what Singin' in the Rain is all about: a white male's exploration of his sexual nature and fluidity.
Definition:a shot with with a change in framing accomplished by placing the camera above the subject and moving through the air in any direction.
Example tied into the overall meaning of the film:
Definition: editting that alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneously.
Example: cross cutting from father working on slides to daughter falling in pond
Example tied into overall film function/ meaning: The crosscutting unites the two planes where the parents of Christine attempt returning to life after she has passed and one where she has come back into their lives.
Definition: two shot joined together through a strong similarity of compositional elements.
Example: the fade out of Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman in the final scene
Example tied into overall film function/meaning: Clarissa (Streep) walks right into a room and closes door, room fades into darkness. Virginia (Kidman) walks right direction into river and scene fades into darkness. The door closes, signifying the close of both women's life.
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