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Movie Lessons. Lists Used for Rankings. American Film Institute: AFI Determined by 1,500 leaders of the industry Time Magazine All-Time 100 Movies Two film critics’ opinions, not ranked though Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time Written by Ty Burr in 1999

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lists used for rankings
Lists Used for Rankings
  • American Film Institute: AFI
    • Determined by 1,500 leaders of the industry
  • Time Magazine All-Time 100 Movies
    • Two film critics’ opinions, not ranked though
  • Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
    • Written by Ty Burr in 1999
  • They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They: TSPDT
    • Based on 1,320 critics’ and filmmakers top-10 lists
    • Also factors in over 300 magazine polls, film institute polls, and many others of interest
  • Internet Database or
    • Based entirely on popularity with the fans
    • Fans rate films online and it gets averaged
i analyzing film
I. Analyzing Film
  • To analyze, we must be totally immersed in the experience of the film, but also keep a high level of objectivity and critical detachment.
  • A. Film is a collaborative effort.
  • B. We must let go of our prejudices and misconceptions.
    • Don’t dismiss certain genres.
    • Be willing to venture outside the norm.
    • Be flexible on what a movie is supposed to be.
    • Don’t be too rigid when setting up criteria for a good film.
    • Don’t over-respond to individual elements or certain ones pertaining to the film.
      • Ex. I love all Harrison Ford movies. Sex and Violence
    • Don’t expect too much from a film.
  • Ebert, “It’s not what the move is about that makes it good or bad, but how it is about it.”
  • C. What is the proper environment to view films?
    • Consider keeping a movie journal.
ii theme
II. Theme
  • What is the unifying central idea of the film?
  • A. Focus on Plot
    • Action and adventure films focus on what happens (Gladiator, Spider Man, and Star Wars)
  • B. Focus on Emotional Effect or Mood
    • Create feelings for the viewer.
    • Horror, Drama, Comedy, and Romance (The Shining, Shawshank Redemption, Borat, and The Notebook)
  • C. Focus on Character
    • Developing the main figures of the film. (Ray, Raging Bull, and Walk the Line)
  • D. Focus on Style, Texture, or Structure
    • Films that go for a unique look, feel, rhythm, atmosphere, tone, or organization. (Pulp Fiction, Raising Arizona, Fargo, Natural Born Killers)
ii theme cont
II. Theme cont.
  • E. Focus on Ideas
    • Films that clarify some aspect of life, experience, or the human condition.
    • 1. Moral Implications (Crash)
    • 2. The Truth of Human Nature (Groundhog Day, Shane, Deliverance)
    • 3. Social Problems (Do the Right Thing)
    • 4. The Struggle of Human Dignity ( On the Waterfront, Schindler’s List, Rocky)
    • 5. The Complexity of Human Relationships (When Harry Met Sally, Brokeback Mountain)
    • 6. Coming of Age/Loss of Innocence/Growing Awareness (Almost Famous, Finding Nemo, Sixteen Candles)
    • 7. A Moral or Philosophical Riddle (Fight Club and Being John Malkovich)
  • Some Films have more than one theme
  • Some contain less important points of emphasis: motifs.
  • Is the Theme universal?
citizen kane 1941
Citizen Kane, 1941
  • Written, produced, and directed by Orson Welles (age 26)
  • Also starring Welles
    • His 1st feature film
    • War of the Worlds radio broadcast
  • Portrayed Charles Foster Kane with flashbacks and narration
    • Loosely based on William Randolph Hearst
  • The movie is shown in fragmented scenes of Kane’s life
    • Like a puzzle, trying to figure out Kane
    • What or Who was “rosebud?”
  • Innovations in the film
    • Most of the film was made in deep focus.
      • Everything in the scenes is in focus
    • Use of low-angle shots
citizen kane 19411
Citizen Kane, 1941
  • The film was not a box office hit.
    • Hearst tried to stop its release.
    • Some claim he had Welles blacklisted from Hollywood
  • Nominated for 9 Oscars, it only won one for Best Screenplay.
  • #1 film on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies list in 1997 and 2007.
  • “Rosebud” was the #17 on AFI’s 100 Movies…100 Quotes list.
  • Orson Welles was named the #16 Greatest Film Legend by AFI.
  • TSPDT List: #1
  • EW List: #2
  • Time Magazine Top 100 Film
  • List: #24
citizen kane response questions
Citizen Kane Response Questions
  • 1. What is the theme or themes of the film?
  • 2. Did you enjoy the film? Why or why not?
  • 3. Do you think this is a great movie? Why or why not?
  • 4. Should this be rated #1 all time? Why or why not?
  • Welles in later life
iii fictional and dramatic elements
III. Fictional and Dramatic Elements
  • A. The Elements of a Good Story
    • It has a unified plot
    • The story is credible
      • Externally Observable Truths: It shows the way things really are.
      • Internal Truths of Human Nature: It shows the way things are supposed to be.
      • Artistic Semblance of Truth: The way things never were and never will be.
  • B. A Good Story is Interesting
    • Suspense and Action
  • C. A Good Story is Both Simple and Complex
  • D. A Good Story Handles Emotional Material with Restraint
iii fictional and dramatic elements cont
III. Fictional and Dramatic Elements cont.
  • E. The Significance of the Title
  • F. Dramatic Structure
    • Linear, or Chronological Structure
      • Exposition, complication, climax, and resolvement (denouement)
    • Nonlinear Structure
      • In medias res, flashbacks, and flash forwards
    • Endings: Fine-Tuning the Denouement
  • G. Conflict
    • External or internal
  • H. Characterization
    • Static or Dynamic Characters
  • I. Allegory
  • J. Symbolism
  • K. Irony
iv analyzing visual design
IV. Analyzing Visual Design
  • A. On Color Versus Black and White
    • How does it affect the mood? Is it the correct choice for the story? The Wizard of Oz vs. Schindler’s List
    • Are there any special color effects used to achieve a unique look? Minority Report
      • Smooth or rough-grain film stock
  • B. On Screen Format (Aspect Ratio)
    • Was the film originally shot for standard screens or widescreen?
      • Standard, widescreen, Cinemascope, and Panavision
    • Would the film be the same in the other aspect ratio?
iv analyzing visual design cont
IV. Analyzing Visual Design cont.
  • C. On Production Design/Art Direction
    • How important is the set or location?
    • Was the film made mainly on a set or on location?
    • Do the settings enhance or underscore the film?
    • Is the setting too powerful? (The Last Samurai)
    • Is the setting convincing enough for a period piece, a fantasy, or a science fiction?
    • Could this story take place somewhere else?
    • Why did the filmmaker choose one particular location?
    • Is the setting symbolic?
  • D. On Costume and Makeup Design
    • Do these help actors get into character?
    • Does makeup enhance the natural appearance or significantly transform it?
  • E. On Lighting
    • Is the lighting (1) direct, harsh, and hard; (2) medium and balanced; (3) soft and diffused?
    • Does the lighting seem natural or artificial?
    • Does the lighting contribute to the overall emotional attitude or tone of a film?
v cinematography and special visual effects
V. Cinematography and Special Visual Effects
  • A. The Importance of the Visual Image
    • Visual elements are the primary and most powerful means of communication
  • B. The Cinematic Film
    • 1. Is the film cinematic?
      • Keep the image alive and in motion
      • Sets up clear, crisp, and aural rhythms
      • Gives an illusion of depth
      • Uses other special properties of the medium
    • 2. Does the cinematography create clear, power, and effective images?
  • C. Cinematic Points of View
    • 1. Objective: camera as a sideline observer
    • 2. Subjective: camera as a participant in the action (direct involvement of the audience)
    • 3. Indirect-subjective: not a participant’s point of view, but it’s really close to the action
    • 4. Director’s interpretive: viewers are consciously aware of the director’s desire to show action in an unusual way
v cinematography and special visual effects cont
V. Cinematography and Special Visual Effects cont.
  • D. Elements of Cinematic Composition
    • 1. Draw attention to central objects
      • Size, closeness, sharpness, movement, and camera angles
      • Close-ups, arrangements, framing, lighting, and color
    • 2. Keep images in motion
      • Fixed-frame movement, panning and tilting, zoom lens, rack focus, deep focus, three-dimensional arrangement of people/objects, foreground framing, special lighting, and the use of reflections
v cinematography and special visual effects cont1
V. Cinematography and Special Visual Effects cont.
  • E. Specialized Cinematic Techniques
    • 1. Handheld Camera
    • 2. Camera Angles
    • 3. Color, Diffusion, and Soft focus
    • 4. Special Lenses
    • 5. Fast and Slow Motion
    • 6. Special Lighting Effects
  • F. Movie Magic: Special Visual Effects in the Modern Film
    • 1. Matte and glass shots from old movies
    • 2. Blue-screen process
    • 3. Computer-generated imaging (CGI)
    • 4. Stop-motion animation
  • G. The F/X of Animated Feature Films
    • 1. From hand drawn frames to computer animation
vi editing
VI. Editing
  • “The film is not shot, but built…” (Boggs and Petrie, 2008).
  • Editing guides our thoughts, associations, and emotional responses from one image to another.
  • Editing should be smooth, natural, and unobtrusive. Sometimes it is tricky or self-conscious.
    • Transitions: Wipe, Flip Frame, Fade-Out/ Fade-In, or Dissolve
      • Most film editors no longer use these.
      • Form Cut: the shape of an object is matched to a similarly shaped object in the next scene.
    • Time Control: jump cut, parallel cuts (show two scenes of action back and forth), slow motion,
    • Freeze frame (Butch Cassidy), Thawed Frame, and Stills (pictures shot with camera movement).
  • Editing cutting and transitions set the pace of the film.
    • Creative Juxtaposition: Montage
    • Ironic Montages (The Godfather)
    • Mise-en-scene: emphasizes the content from a single frame, opposite of a montage