1) Continuity editing: A system of cutting to maintain continuous and clear narrative action. Continuity editing relies on matching screen direction, position, and temporal relations from shot to shot.
i. Graphic qualities are roughly continuous from shot to shot. Figures are balanced and symmetrically deployed in the frame; the overall lighting tonality remains constant; the action occupies the central zones of the screen.
ii. Filmmakers usually adjust the rhythm of the cutting to the scale of the shots. Long shots are left on the screen longer than medium shots, and medium shots are left on longer than close-ups. This gives the spectator more time to take in the broader views, which contain more details. By contrast, scenes of accelerated editing favor closer views that can be absorbed quickly.
2) Techniques include:
i. 180 line/Axis of action: In the continuity editing system, the axis of action is an imaginary line that passes through the main actors or the principal movement. Filmmakers build the scene's space around the axis of action; any action - a person walking/ two people talking - would occur around the line. The axis of action defines the spatial relations of all the elements of the scene as being to the right or left. The camera is not supposed to cross the axis at a cut and thus reverse those spatial relations.
1. This helps to ensure that relative positions in the frames remain consistent.
2. Ensures consistent eyelines.
3. Ensures consistent screen direction.
4. Allows audience to know where the characters are in relation to one another and to the setting.
5. KNOW THE DRAWING
ii. Crosscutting: Editing that alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneously. Gives us comparatively unrestricted knowledge of story information. Crosscutting risks introducing some spatial discontinuity, but binds the action together by creating a sense of cause and effect and simultaneous time. By setting one action against another in a short time span, it can build tension. Also builds suspense, as we form expectations that are only gradually fulfilled.
iii. Cut-in: An instantaneous shift from a distant framing to a closer view of some portion of the same space.
iv. Establishing shot: A shot, usually involving a distant framing, that shows the spatial relations among the important figures, objects, and setting in a scene.
v. Eyeline match: A cut obeying the axis of action principle, in which the first shot shows a person looking off in one direction and the second shows a nearby space containing what he or she sees. If the person looks left, the following shot should imply that the looker is offscreen right.
vi. Match on action: 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 uninterrupted.
vii. Re-establishing shot: A return to a view of an entire space after a series of closer shots following the establishing shot.
viii. Screen direction: The right-left relationships in a scene, set up in an establishing shot and determined by the position of characters and objects in the frame, by the directions of movement, and by the characters' eyelines. Continuity editing will attempt to keep screen direction consistent between shots.
ix. Shot/reverse shot: Two or more shots edited together that alternate characters, typically in a conversation situation. In continuity editing, characters in one framing usually look left; in the other framing, right. Over-the-shoulder framings are common in shot/reverse-shot editing
x. POV shots
i. Graphic and rhythmic editing: Instead of joining shot 1 to shot 2 to present a story, join based on purely graphic or rhythmic qualities, independent of the time and space they represent.
1. Whiplash: BOTH Graphic & Rhythmic editing
2. Rhythmic editing: Percussive, rhythmic editing style plunges viewers within the mind-set of its characters. Anything music related is fast and frenetic while anything outside (e.g. dinner table scene with family, few scenes with Nicole girlfriend) is slower. This renders the music scenes, rehearsal and concert scenes with a sense of brutality, battle and war.
3. Graphic editing: For example, in one scene, Andrew's bus breaks down on the way to the competition and he rushes to find alternative transportation to rent a car. He leaves his drumsticks behind and speeds recklessly through an intersection in attempt to retrieve the sticks on time for the competition. He gets into a horrific accident because he's rushing. In this sequence, graphic editing is used where cuts quicken in rapid-fire succession, arriving at the images before Andrew does to show that they're one step ahead of him. This shows that Andrew is trying to catch up with Fletcher's time. When the accident occurs, time is literally turned upside down, as conveyed by the clock being upside-down in the frame, and time is thus said to be counting backwards.
ii. Jump cut: An elliptical cut that appears to be an interruption of a single shot. Either the figures seem to change instantly against a constant background, or the background changes instantly while the figure remains constant.
1. Whiplash opens with the sound of snare drums under a black screen. The beat gets faster and faster, after which the first shot is revealed through Andrew playing alone. This then cuts when Fletcher enters the room, and enters Andrew's life. The edit shows that Andrew's life on screen did not necessitate a single edit until he met Fletcher, when Fletcher begins to control Andrew's life by controlling his cuts/edits.
iii. Temporal discontinuity:
1. Stretching a moment out, making screen time greater than story time is another possibility.
a. In Whiplash, scenes of drumming are stretched out. Fletcher calls Andrew a "rusher" as his ambition seeks him to rush to greatness, however his drumming ability is dragging, and this is illustrated by stretching screen time of drumming scenes.
1) Diegetic/non-diegetic sounds are sounds that have spatial dimensions because they come from a source.
2) Diegetic sound: Any voice, musical passage (e.g. instruments), or sound effect presented as originating from a source within the film's world. Can be onscreen or offscreen, and internal (subjective), or external (objective).
i. Resources of diegetic sound: offscreen sound
1. Diegetic sound can be either onscreen, or offscreen, depending on whether its source is inside the frame or outside the frame.
2. Offscreen sound is crucial to our experience of a film and helps to save the filmmaker's time and money. (e.g. shot of couple in airplane can be coupled with engine throbbing noise, passengers chatting and creak of a beverage cart to conjure up a plane). It also creates the illusion of a bigger space than we actually see and can shape our sense of how a scene will develop.
3. Used with optical POV shots, offscreen sound can create restricted narration, guiding us toward what a character is noticing.
ii. Resources of diegetic sound: subjectivity
1. Diegetic sound can give us perpetual subjectivity, in a way parallel to an optical POV shot. (e.g. character's thoughts without lips moving)
2. External diegetic sound: sound that has a physical source in the scene
3. Internal diegetic sound: sound that comes from inside the mind of a character
iii. One characteristic of diegetic sound is the possibility of suggesting sound perspective. This is a sense of spatial distance and location analogous to the cues for visual depth and volume that we get with visual perspective. Sound perspective can be suggested by loudness (loud = near; soft = far). It can also be created by timbre. A combination of directly registered sounds and sounds reflected from the environment creates a timbre specific to a given distance. Timbre effects are most noticeable with echoes.
3) Non-diegetic sound: Sound, such as mood music, sound effects, soundtracks or a narrator's commentary, represented as coming from a source outside the space of the narrative. Narrator's commentary can come in the form of omniscient narrators, the disembodied voice that gives us information but doesn't belong to any characters in the film.
4) E.g. No Country for Old Men uses optical POV shots with offscreen sound to create restricted narration, giving us perpetual subjectivity to what the character is noticing and feeling. Sound perspective is illustrated by volume and timbre. In one scene, Llewlyn Moss is holed up in a hotel room with a bag of cash, hiding from his pursuer Anton Chigurh. When he realizes that a tracking device has been hidden among the bills, the narration is limited solely to what Moss sees and hears. He tries calling the downstairs desk. The volume is dim as we hear the distant phone ringing unanswered, so like him we infer that Chigurh has killed the clerk. The sonic texture is very detailed, highlighting the slight noises of Moss shifting on the bed and switching off the lamp. Then, against a muted background of wind, we hear steadily approaching footsteps in the hall. Here, timbre and loudness is combined in an echo form to suggest the decreasing distance. Moss's optical POV confirms Chigurh's arrival: we see the shadows of his feet in the crack under the door. Moss cocks his shotgun, creating a click that seems abnormally loud and close. The auditory climax of the scene is the metallic burst of the door lock rocketing in the room. No Country's narration creates suspense by restricting both vision and sound to Moss's range of knowledge. Non-diegetic sound is used in sound effect (wind blowing in establishing shot).
Loudness: related to perceived distance
Pitch: perceived highness or lowness of the sound
Timbre: harmonic components of sound which give it a certain color, or tone quality (someone's voice nasal or musical tone e.g. mellow is referred as timbre)
1) Explicit: significance presented overtly, usually in language and often near the film's beginning or end
2) Implicit: significance left tacit, for the viewer to discover upon analysis or reflection
3) Symptomatic: significance that the film reveals, often against its will, by virtue of its historical or social context
i. Symptomatic meanings reveals a set of values that is considered a social ideology/ remind us that meanings of all sorts are largely social phenomenon. E.g. religious beliefs, political opinions, conceptions of race/gender/social class
4) For example, in Citizen Kane, the meaning of the word rosebud can be interpreted explicitly, implicitly and symptomatically. The plot centers on Thompson's investigation on the significance of rosebud, and its relation to Kane. Finding the meaning of rosebud promises to reveal something about Kane's personality since it was his last dying word.
5) It is explicit in a sense that it is no doubt of extreme significance to the film. The film begins with Kane's death followed by reporters discussing rosebud. As the film develops, the explicit meaning of rosebud is revealed as Kane's childhood memory. When he was younger, he lived with his parents and played in the snow with his sleigh. This blissful time was later interrupted by his parents' decision to send him to live with Mr. Thatcher after inheriting the oil mine.
6) Although the explicit meaning of rosebud refers to Kane's sleigh, the implicit is more open to interpretation. One interpretation would be that rosebud signified his parents' conformation to the American dream. The fact that it was Kane's last word reveals his desire for simpler, more blissful times and the fact that he lost his childhood happiness because of his parents' decision.
7) The symptomatic meaning that comes with Rosebud would refer to American ideals, such as glorifying monetary wealth and fame above all during the Great Depression, which ultimately was what took away Kane's happiness as a child.
1) Focal lengths alter the size and proportions of the things we see, as well as how much depth we perceive in the image.
2) Depth of fields: range of distances within which objects can be photographed in sharp focus, given a certain exposure setting
3) Short-focal-length lens aka "wide angle lens":
i. Wide (stretched) but distorted field of view
ii. Exaggerated depth (makes figures in the foreground seem bigger, background further away)
iii. Greater depth of field
iv. Seems to accelerate action into and out of depth
4) Lenses of shorter focal length yield greater depths of field, which is called deep focus. In Citizen Kane, filmmaker uses deep focus camera techniques including lenses and lighting to make everything on screen appear in focus at the same time. For example, in the famous contract-signing scene in Citizen Kane, everything is in sharp focus from one plane near the lens (Bernstein's head), through several planes in the middle ground, to the wall far in the distance. This allows for subjective, omniscience of insight.
5) Long-focal-length lens aka "telephoto lens"
i. Flattens image
ii. Greater depth of field
iii. Seems to slow action into and out of depth
iv. Can make character/object blend into the setting, or stand out in sharp relief (e.g. seem more threatening). Can create solid masses of space as in abstract painting.
6) Zoom lens: E.g. Whiplash → moments of drum scenes where the camera zooms into drumsticks
i. Focal length can be changed during a shot (can be used for surprise/suspense)
ii. Can magnify an element of the scene
iii. Distorts space as focal length changes (deep focus/high depth of field; selective focus/low depth of field)
iv. Combines the wide-angle, medium and telephoto options
1) Experimental filmmaking: Nonconformist films where filmmakers set out to create films that challenge normal notions of what a movie can show and how it can show it. Filmmakers work independently of commercial production, distribution and exhibition, and often they work alone.
2) Abstract form: A type of filmic organization in which the parts relate to one another through repetition and variation of such visual qualities as shape, color, rhythm, and direction of movement.
3) Theme-and-variations principle: Introductory section shows the kinds of relationships the film used as its basic material. Then other segments go on to present similar kinds of relationships but with changes. The changes may be slight, but soon they will differ sharply from the introductory material. Bigger contrasts emerge, and sudden variations can help us to sense when a new segment has started.
4) E.g. Ballet Mecanique ("Mechanical ballet): classic example of how mundane objects can be transformed when their abstract qualities become the basis for a film's form.
i. Title suggests the paradox that the filmmakers employ in creating their film's pictorial theme and variations. We expect a ballet to be flowing, with human dancers performing it but we get a mechanical dance. Few of the many objects in the films are actually machines; it mostly uses hats, faces, bottles, kitchen utensils, and the like. But the context trains us to see even a woman's moving eyes and mouth as being like machine parts.
ii. Film techniques are used to stress the geometric qualities of ordinary things such as close framing, unusual camera angles, and neural backgrounds which isolate objects' shapes and textures. Through overall form and selected techniques, the filmmakers reverse our normal expectations about the nature of movement, making objects dance and turning human action into machine movement.
iii. Segments can't be traced by arguments or scenes of narrative action but rather changes in abstract qualities. 9 segments :
1. Credits sequence with a stylized, animated figure of Charlie Chaplin ("Charlot" in France) introducing the film's title. Human figure becomes an object. Figure of Charlot is highly abstract - recognizably human but made up of simple shapes that move in a jerky fashion. A more realistic figure, a woman swinging in a garden is then introduced. She is moving unnaturally, and becomes a puppet too.
2. The introduction of the film's rhythmic elements: Mundane objects are taken out of everyday context and made abstract. The woman now swings upside down, and a prismatic shot makes a pot lid into a disc, its shape picking up that of both the ball and the hat of the previous segment. Confirmed expectations that the film will compare shapes, rhythms or textures.
3. A treatment of objects viewed through prisms: shots of rows of platelike discs alternating with spinning shapes reminiscent of a fairground game wheel. Different rhythms succeed one another.
4. Rhythmic movements
5. A comparison of people and machines: Motions of the eye are compared to machine parts.
6. Rhythmic movements: mostly circular shapes. Woman's face appears in a prismed view...
7. A comparison of people and machines
8. Rhythmic movements of intertitles and pictures
9. More rhythmic movements, mostly of circular objects
10. Quick dances of objects
11. A return to Charlot and the opening elements: ends by emphasizing how much they have altered our perception of ordinary objects and people.
5) Associational form: A type of organization in which the film's parts are juxtaposed to suggest similarities, contrasts, concepts, emotions and expressive qualities. Suggests ideas and emotions to the viewer by assembling images and sounds that may not have any logical connection. But the very fact that the images and sounds are put together prods us to look for some connection/association that binds them together.
6) E.g. A Movie by Bruce Conner
i. 12 minute film pulls together shots of widely different things - blimps and stagecoaches, auto races, and undersea exploration.
ii. Early on, shots of stagecoaches and cavalry from old Westerns are followed by shots of a charging elephant and locomotive wheels. The shots ask us to build associations. Galloping horses are like rampaging elephants and locomotives, and all evoke motion across a landscape. Soon that association will embrace armored tanks and race cars. Eventually we'll see car crashes and vehicles hurtling off cliffs, as if the frantic race that started with cowboys has led to mass suicide.
iii. Doesn't tell a story in the manner of narrative film-making. Offers no characters, no specific casual connections, and no temporal order among the scenes. Film suggests that humans enjoy dangerous excitement and that other films encourage that (hence the title A Movie). But it doesn't try to persuade us that humans are by nature reckless by giving reasons and offering evidence. There is no voice-over narration to define problems, assemble evidence, and point to a conclusion.
iv. It is NOT purely a pictorial exercise, in the form of abstract form. It employs patterns of imagery and music in order to conjure up ideas and emotions.
v. Basic principles:
1. Assemble images into distinct part (also in abstract as in Ballet mecanique)
2. Create variations from part to part (change tempo, e.g. following a fast section by a slow one).
3. Repeated motifs to reinforce associations. A Movie con stantly invokes images of catastrophe, created by man or nature.
4. Invites interpretation, the assigning of general meanings to the film. Conner is suggesting that if a society keeps over-stimulating itself, it will collapse.
filming equipment, hand-held cameras and live, synchronous sound. This was a new groundbreaking technology that offered filmmakers to stray away from large crews, studio sets, tripods and special lights in filmmaking. As a result of the same technology used, both films may have similar visual aesthetics.
2) Both also are concerned with truth, authenticity, reality and the refusal to tamper with life as it presents itself.
3) However, they represent two different film making philosophical positions. In cinema verite, truthfulness is accessed with a higher degree, and new dynamics can be employed to disclose something essential or something that would not reveal itself willingly for the camera and thus needs to be teased out.
4) Direct cinema: characteristically records an ongoing event as it happens, with minimal interference by the filmmaker.
i. Passive camera: no provocation
ii. Strives to give us unmanipulated reality:
1. Attempts to remove all barriers between subject and audience
2. shoot/edit in chronological order
3. Music has to have diegetic source
5) E.g. Primary - Richard Leacock (1960). Film on the Kennedy-Humphrey battle in the Wisconsin Democratic Party Election. Regarded as the landmark of direct cinema because of the equipment used. For the first time, filmmakers walked in and out of buildings, up and down stairs, filmed in taxi cabs, all over the place, and got synchronous sounds. The new equipment resulted in fast, monochrome footage with restless and wandering camera movements, blurred, grainy images with sometimes unintelligible sound. The portable equipment allowed the filmmaker to flow the action spontaneously without dominating it. Intention behind the film was to show what really goes on in an election without tampering with the authenticity. The film humanizes an impersonal process and shows us a side of elections we rarely see by shooting both private and public situations. For example, in a scene, Humphrey leans back in his car to sleep, showing the bone-crushing fatigue of a primary campaign.
6) Cinema Verite (French for cinema truth): refers to documentaries characterized by self-reflexivity (filmmaker puts himself in the frame as guarantee of truthfulness, and actively participates in the film by interrogating/interviewing people)
i. Camera provokes subject
ii. New reality produced in the making of the film
7) E.g. The Carter - Adam Bala Lough (2009). Film about American hip hop recording artist better known as Lil Wayne. Production is shot completely in cinema verite, with the production team following the artist during his tours and gaining interviews from his managers and associates. The film accesses Lil Wayne's public and private lives to a great extent, capturing moments including his use of recreational drugs. His strong work ethic which enabled his productivity is revealed in the fact that Lil Wayne was always recording, whether or not on the road. Wayne filed a law suit attempting to block the release of the film due to his controversial use of recreational drugs including marijuana and cough syrup.
1) Mise-en-scene: All of the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed: 4 POINTS - the settings and props, lighting, costumes and makeup, and figure behavior (performance, staging). Used to achieve realism, giving settings an authentic look or letting actors perform as naturally as possible.
2) Setting & props: sets the stage for the action of the film, can take on symbolic significance, can lend authority, can establish mood or tone
i. Setting - Citizen Kane: Most of the story was set in the "Inquirer newspaper" and the mansion that Kane shared with his wife. The mansion was decorated with many statues and expensive furniture, alluding to the fact that he pursued monetary goals and perhaps happiness was only a façade.
ii. Prop - Citizen Kane: the snowstorm paperweight that shatters at the beginning → has symbolically signifies the normal childhood he was denied.
iii. Setting - Whiplash: Most of the story is set in the practice room with occasional scenes outdoors when Andrew meets with Nicole. The interiors are darkened with minimal musical instruments as props. This helps to increase the psychological intensity of the rehearsal studio as a battlefield.
3) Lighting: lighter & darker areas within the frame help create the overall composition of each shot and guide our attention to certain objects and actions.
i. highlight & shadows: A brightly illuminated patch may draw our eye to a key gesture, while a shadow may conceal a detail or build up suspense about what may be present.
ii. quality: hard vs soft light - hard creates clearly defined shadows, crisp textures and sharp edges whereas soft creates a diffused illumination (day vs night e.g.)
iii. direction: frontal, side, back, under, top - frontal eliminates shadows, sidelight sculpts the character's features, backlight comes from behind the subject positioned at many angles which tends to create silhouettes, under tends to distort features and create dramatic horror effects but can also be realistic like flashlight or fireplace, top creates glamorous image
iv. source: available light, key light, fill light, catch light/eye light
1. key light: primary source, provides the brightest illumination and casts the strongest shadows. Most directional light and usually suggested by a light source in the setting
2. Fill light: less intense illumination that fills in, softening or eliminating shadows cast by the key light.
v. color of light
vi. For example, in Citizen Kane, the "faceless" Thompson is never really revealed. He is usually shown from the back, or partial views, or over-the shoulder, and is constantly hidden by dimmed lighting, shadows, or total darkness. This helps to suggest that Thompson has no identity, he is a surrogate representative of all viewers (the public), searching along with Kane for the truth of his life.
vii. In Whiplash, the majority of the lighting that is used is low-key lighting. The lighting is used to highlight only the certain items of focus, which is the center of the drama. Varying directions of lights are focused around the band, specifically the drums. High-key lighting is used when the character is playing the drums, or when Fletcher is speaking in an almost upper spotlight manner, highlighting their skills and talents as Andrew plays the drums and Fletcher is teaching.
4) Costume & makeup:
i. help to establish character
ii. contribute to visual look of film
iii. can radically alter appearance
iv. Citizen Kane: costumes were typical for that time, represented high-class society. Make up was used to show the age of each character.
v. Whiplash: plain clothing used in general to represent students.
5) Figure behavior - staging:
i. Movement of actors & figures
ii. Creation of "realistic" feel
iii. Individualization or stylization of performance
iv. Acting as a graphic/visual element
6) Screen Space:
i. Distribution of elements in the frame
1. Mise en scene in Whiplash reflects the focus on music. Andrew's room is bare with white walls and blue tacked peeling posters. He even moves the bed out of his room to make space for his drum set.
ii. Visual balance
iii. Contrast of color/ dark and light
iv. Staging in depth/depth cues
1) Genres: Types of films that audiences and filmmakers recognize by their narrative conventions. Common genres are musical, gangster, and science fiction films.
2) Utilities of genre categories:
i. Help producers decide what films to make. E.g. Science-fiction and action films are currently popular, and executives would be likelier to green-light projects perceived to fit into those genres. E.g. Harry Potter crystalized success of young-adult fantasy fiction, led many studios to finance expensive ventures such as The Golden Compass.
ii. Advertising tends to pinpoint a film's genre. E.g. Twilight: Eclipse: poster's film genre is "Vampires. Werewolves. Humans"
iii. For viewers, genre categories are a part of their taste. Fans may try to see everything in a genre they love and to learn as much as possible about their favorites.
3) How do genres develop overtime?
i. Genre conventions often center on plot patterns.
ii. Some genres share themes or subjects. E.g. gangster film centers on urban organized crime. Science-fiction film features a technology beyond the reach of contemporary science.
iii. Musicals are recognizable chiefly by their manner of presentation: singing, dancing, or both. Detective film is partly defined by the plot pattern of an investigation.
iv. Distinctive emotional effects: amusement in comedies, tension in suspense films.
v. Many film genres begin by borrowing conventions from other media. Yet the film medium always reshapes an adopted drama.
vi. Over history, genres rise and falli n prestige and popularity. (cycles)
vii. A genre may also change by mixing its conventions with those of another genre.
4) Example: Citizen Kane
i. The early "News on the March" sequence suggests that the film may be a fictional biography, and this hint is confirmed once the reporter, Thompson, begins his inquiry into Kane's life. Fictional biographies typically trace an individual's life and dramatize certain episodes.
ii. The viewer can also spot the conventions of the newspaper reporter genre, where action usually depends on a reporter's pursuit of a story against great odds. We therefore expect not only Thompson's investigation but also his triumphant exposure of the truth.
iii. The film also conforms to the detective genre, since Thompson is aiming to solve a mystery, and his interviews resemble those of a detective questioning suspects. We can thus summarize the film as being a blend of several genres.
iv. BUT unlike many biographical films, Kane is more concerned with psychological states and relationships with the hero's public deeds or adventure. As a newspaper film, Kane is unusual in that the reporter fails to get his story. Kane is also not exactly standard mystery, since it answers some questions but leaves others unanswered. The film epitomizes a film that relies on genre conventions, but thwarts the expectations they arouse.
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
• Main characters: Kane, Thompson (reporter), Thatcher (friend), Bernstein (manager), Leland (best friend w/ access to personal life e.g. first marriage), Susan (second wife, knew him in middle ages), Raymond (butler, managed Kane's affairs during last years)
• Genres: fictional biography, newspaper reporter, detective. Relies on genre conventions but thwarts expectations they arouse.
• Narrative & Narration:
o Plot vs Story:
• Unusual relation of plot to story
• Story: about Kane
• Plot: two lines of actions - second line of action (reporter's investigation of Kane's life
• Plot is provided not chronologically. Kane's life is traced through flashbacks, recalled by most people who knew him. These flashbacks are motivated by Thompson's seeking of the meaning of Kane's dying word, "Rosebud", which generates a second line of action - Thompson's investigation of Kane's life.
• Plot segmentation:
• Credit title → Kane dies → News on the March, Reporters discuss Rosebud → Thompson tries to interview Susan
• 5 flashbacks (Thatcher library, Bernstein's office, Nursing home, Nightclub, Xanadu -idealized place of great magnificence/beauty)
• End credits
o Time, space, causality:
• Time is motivated by plot necessity
• Duration: covers roughly 65 years of his life (earliest scene is age 10 and he dies around 75 years), plus week of Thompson's investigation. This is presented in 120 minutes.
• Uses ellipses: skips over years of story. Plot duration compresses time through montage sequences.
• Temporal frequency: Both Leland and Susan describe her debut in the Chicago premiere. In Leland's account, we see the performance from the front, and we see the audience reacting with distaste. In Susan's version, performance is shown from behind and on stage, emphasizing humiliation.
• Repetition makes vivid the pain that Kane forces her to go through.
• Flashbacks which weave in and out of chronological order. Gradually becomes more linear for understanding. Non-chronological cues anticipations (e.g. about Rosebud) and creates suspense.
• Chain of causality in each plot of action is somewhat unusual.
• Investigation is not conducted by detectives but reporters
• Newsreel about Kane fails to satisfy boss and so Thompson is assigned to digging into Kane' past
• Thompson's mission is straightforward: who or what was Rosebud? (explicit) but he is also looking for a set of character traits (implicit).
• Narrative leaves much of his character traits uncertain
• Thompson and Kane BOTH have a goal. But Kane's is less well defined (fame, friendship, social justice, woman's love are examples, but the film shows that his real goals are uncertain). Characters speculate that rosebud was something Kane could never get.
• Kane's life is challenged by conflicts posed by other characters but these characters provide information to Thompson
• Parallelism in 2 major lines of actions. Both Kane and Thompson are searching for Rosebud.
• Parallelism in Kane's campaign for the governorship and his attempt to build Susan's career as an opera star. Both illustrate his attempt at influencing public opinion. To help Susan, he forces newspaper employees to write favorable reviews of her performance, which is paralleled when he loses the election and the Inquirer proclaims a fraud at the polls.
• Parallels show that Kane caontinues to make the same kind of mistakes throughout his life.
o Restriction of narration: Mix of restricted and unrestricted
• Employs 5 character narrators
• Plot motivates a series of views on Kane that are more or less restricted in their range of knowledge
• Plot uses narrators both to furnish story information and to conceal information. Narration motivate gaps in knowledge about Kane by appealing to the fact that nobody can know everything about anyone else.
• Multiple narration arouses curiosity and suspense.
o Depth of Narration: Mostly objective.
• Although each narrator's account is restricted to his or her knowledge, the plot doesn't treat each flashback in subjective depth but renders it objectively. Some use voice-over commentary to lead us into flashbacks.
• Omniscient: withholds key pieces of story information at the outset, teases us with hints, and finally reveals at least part of the answer to the initial question.
o Classical Hollywood Narration:
• Draws on Hollywood narrative conventions, but also violates some of the expectations.
• As an American studio product of 1941, we expect it to follow the classical Hollywood narration, which it does in most ways. Characters' desires propel the narrative, causality is defined around traits and goals, conflicts lead to consequences. Time is motivated by plot necessity, and narration is mostly objective and mixes restricted and unrestricted passages.
• Follows tradition in motivating the causes and effects that push story forward.
• BUT: it is more ambiguous. Desires, traits and goals are not always spelled out; the conflicts sometimes have an uncertain outcome; at the end, the narration's omniscience is emphasized to a rare degree. Character's personalities are ambiguous. It also does not have the degree of closure in a classical film.
• No closure:
• Thompson fails to resolve the question of Rosebud for himself by saying that it would not have explained Kane's life.
• Kane doesn't reach his goal, and film doesn't specify what the goal is to begin with.
• BUT audience still discovers what Rosebud was (some closure)
No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen 2007)
• Summary: In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh, on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money. As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sherrif Ed Tom Bell blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart.
• Distribution & Exhibition: Large scale (Paramount - one of the major ones)
• Main characters: Llewlyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell
• Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
• Narrator & narration:
o Voice over narration: Sheriff Bell describing his work in law enforcement, encounters with violence and his struggle with reality. While he speaks, a montage of desert images and a few shots representing the arrest of the central evil character of the film requires the viewers to imagine and visualize the relation between the visual and aural tracks. (unsynchronized) - asks audience to create connection. Creates tension and ominous atmosphere because it is monotone.
o Story: 122 mins
o Setting: rural and wilderness areas in Texas, drug wars of 1980s
• Establishing shot is a long shot that shows that the area is desolate, remote and isolated. We can see one building that seems to be a petrol garage and there is a single car parked outside. This helps the reader realize that there is not much help available if anything happens. Connotations of a western film are conjured.
• Low-key lighting, shadows
• Mood (threatening atmosphere/harsh lighting)
• Contrast of light and dark
• Color: yellow or orange filter used on the exterior daytime shots giving the whole mise-en-scene a luscious rich glow. Deep blue is used after sunset for night shots and green filter is used for even later in the night.
• Sense of foreboding developed from the hotel room lit only by the bedside lamp when Moss finds a transmitter in the satchel of money.
o Depth of focus:
• Establishing shot: Wide-angle-focus shot landscape
• Following the establishing shot, a low angle shot of the two men with the police car hints that one of the men will take the archetype "villain" character.
o Camera movement:
• Slow pan ups before showing any gore gives the viewer a moment to think about the brutality in which men are killed, which is more effective than mere shooting.
o Length of takes: deliberate slowness and self-reflexive manner to stress the visual qualities
o Continuity editing: hollywood standard
• Eye-line matches used so that audience can come close to what character is experiencing: when Llewelyn looks at man's face, and then at the gun as he picks it up.
• match on action
• Parallel editing
o Combines POV shots from the perspective of the character, reverse shots looking into the landscape and finally shots of the camera tracking him, which creates narrative suspense.
o Mid-shots, close-ups
o Lack of music to contrast with violence plays down death
o Diegetic sound: gun shots etc
o Offscreen sound
o No dialogue
o Sound perspective
o Sonic texture (intensity of silence): creates a forceful and terrorizing film
o Non-diegetic music used in the establishing shot, with the wind blowing to emphasize the isolation of the setting.
o Does not include any sound track, mainly built from atmospheric noise such as wind or traffic. Wind creates an uneasy and eerie feeling, develops uncertainty. Beeping of tracking device creates tension as the hitman nears his prey.
• Summary: 19 year old Andrew Nieman wants to be the greatest jazz drummer in the world. He is starting his first year at Shaffer Conservatory of Music, the best music school in the United States. At Shaffer, being the best means being accepted to study under Terence Fletcher and being asked to play in his studio band, which represents the school at jazz competitions. Based on their less than positive first meeting, Andrew is surprised that Fletcher asks him to join the band, albeit in the alternate drummer position which he is more than happy to do initially. Andrew quickly learns that Fletcher operates on fear and intimidation, never settling for what he considers less than the best each and every time. His modus operandi creates an atmosphere of fear and of every man or woman for him/herself within the band. Regardless, Andrew works hard to be the best.
• Distribution: Submitted for 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Worldwide later acquired international distribution rights
• Main characters: Andrew Neiman, Terence Fletcher, Nicole (girlfriend)
• Genres: Music, Drama
• Narrator & Narration: Voice over narration
o Plot: Chronological
o Story time: 107 mins
o Depth of focus: Film opens with the sound of snare drum hits under a black scene. It's building a "march" reminiscent of antiquated military drum corps keeping soldiers in time, except this beat gets faster increasingly. As the beat concludes, the first shot is revealed. A long shot dollies through a hallway toward Andrew. He's alone practicing
o Camera movement: Scene where they break up
• Nicole → dolly in → tells audience to relate with Nicole
• Dolly out shows Andrew's distance between Andrew and Nicole
• Close up to show Nicole's movement, followed by back shot→ audience is now literally and figuratively behind Nicole's POV
• Final shot is same as first date shot angle to show that they're back to beginning
o Camera movement: scene where Terence talks about student who commits suicide
• Dolly in to show Andrew's emotions, as if Terence is talking about him
o Traditional style: scenes outside of music practice room
o Rhythmic editing: boxing style during music (intense, fast pace)
• Cameras are intentionally moving
• Rhythms of shots are changing constantly to build little tension arcs in the scene. From slow to fast and back to slow etc.
• E.g. scene of tension between Terence and Andrew when they first meet
• At first uses low angle shot to show confident Andrew walking in for being able to join the band
• Still steady camera shots, editing not connected to rhythm of music yet until hand of Terence (weapon) stops music and shot is cut
• Counter shots between Andrew and Terence
• Slowly Terence comes closer to Andrew (camera) to intensify tensions
• Music starts, the shot goes to Andrew and when the music stops
• Shots of Terence are from slightly below (authority) and close up of hands
• Counter shots according to the timing of the music
• Long shot of Andrew and Terence (no quick shot) in order to put the audience on the track to think he's doing it right
• Wide angle shot where he throws something in anger. Camera starts to shake to show anger
• Slaps sounds with cut. Andrew moves from confident to upset
o Graphic editing: Shots follow the emotion. Alters between medium and close-ups to emphasize the emotions and actions in the film.
• Cuts are introduced when Fletcher enters the room and thus Andrew's life. Andrew's life on screen did not necessitate a single edit until he met Fletcher (shows Fletcher's control).
• First meeting between Andrew and Nicole: medium shots to show the initial distance between the two. Close up to show Andrew and Nicole's interest towards each other and for audience to pay close attention. Difference is revealed regarding career goals, and then back to medium shots, and then back to shot from same angle in the beginning (back to where they started).