Film Studies University of Lethbridge, Calgary Campus,Winter 2007 Lori Shyba www.sundialmedia.com E-mail: lori.shyba@shaw.ca
What is this course about? The history and development of cinematic structure and aesthetics through analysis of  film sty...
What is Film Theory? Theory is the handmaiden of art, not vice versa. Louis Giannetti Film  practice  is art/beauty/glimps...
Various theoretical takes. Here are eight different ways of looking at  Francis Ford Coppola’s  Apocalypse Now. <ul><li>An...
What is the Auteur Theory? French directors François Truffault, Jean-Luc Godard and their  Cahiers du cinema  associates i...
Styles and Types (Modes) of Films REALISM  CLASSICISM  FORMALISM  Documentary  F I C T I O N  Avant-Garde Manufactured Lan...
What are Characteristics of Realism? Realist filmmakers attempt to reproduce the surface of reality with a minimum of dist...
What are Characteristics of Formalism? Formalist directors are concerned with expressing their own unabashedly subjective ...
What About the Classical”Style? Called “Classical” because of its Artistotelian narrative style that is derived from live ...
What About Genre? Back to our French directors François Truffault, Jean-Luc Godard and their  Cahiers du cinema  associate...
Watching Movies in Class Develop a “film memory” so you can notice certain aspects of film structure or aesthetics. This t...
8 1/2 ( Federico Fellini, 1963) Running Time: 138 Minutes (2 hours and 18 minutes.)  “ Otto e mezzo”  was Fellini’s 8th an...
Federico Fellini quote From  Rolling Stone Magazine  Interview, 1984. “ Films are to society what dreams are to individual...
Tips for viewing 8 1/2 8 1/2 was inspired by the forms and techniques of 20th century literary modernism ie  foregrounding...
Questions to Discuss or Ponder <ul><li>What kinds of things would you say obsessed Federico Fellini? </li></ul><ul><li>Wha...
For next class Print out the course guide off  www.sundialmedia.com/3030 .  Follow instructions for  READINGS  (Barsam Ch ...
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01film Studies

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This slideshow is being used by Film Studies 3030 at the University of Lethbridge, Calgary campus. The slide information is largely derived as commentary for the Giannetti and Leach textbook, Understanding Movies, and Richard Barsam's Looking at Movies.

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  • Lesson Plan, September 8, 2007 1:00 B: Who are you? Objectives: Course Outline and Assignments, Resources -- Textbook, Facebook, Website. 1:30 Powerpoints. 2:00 - 2:20 Break 2:20 - 4:40 Film screening. 4:40 - 4:45 Writings.
  • 01film Studies

    1. 1. Film Studies University of Lethbridge, Calgary Campus,Winter 2007 Lori Shyba www.sundialmedia.com E-mail: lori.shyba@shaw.ca
    2. 2. What is this course about? The history and development of cinematic structure and aesthetics through analysis of film style and genre, and with a focus on creative contributions of the director/auteur. These are the central aims of this course, to discuss film theory and film practice in relation to these particular theoretical perspectives and methodologies of inquiry.
    3. 3. What is Film Theory? Theory is the handmaiden of art, not vice versa. Louis Giannetti Film practice is art/beauty/glimpses of truth but … Movies, (and theatre art and literature and dance …) can be explored from a variety of theoretic perspectives. A theory is an intellectual grid and each theoretical grid charts a different cinematic topography. For example here are eight different ways of looking at Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola).
    4. 4. Various theoretical takes. Here are eight different ways of looking at Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. <ul><li>An auteur critic might regard it as a typical FFC film. </li></ul><ul><li>It could also be looked at as a Marlon Brando star vehicle. </li></ul><ul><li>An industry historian might look at the commercial content and the money it made for the studio and the investors. </li></ul><ul><li>A genre critic might find it an example of a war (anti-war) drama, popular in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. </li></ul><ul><li>A theorist interested in the relationship of movies to literature might focus on the script, based on Joseph Conrad’s celebrated novel, Heart of Darkness. </li></ul><ul><li>A stylistic critic might analyse the picture within a classical paradigm because of its dramatic unity. </li></ul><ul><li>A Marxist theorist might condemn the movie as a parable of greed and capitalism. </li></ul><ul><li>A semiotic theoretician might use cultural codes to analyse the binary opposites of traditional and modern values to analyse a deep ideological structure. </li></ul>
    5. 5. What is the Auteur Theory? French directors François Truffault, Jean-Luc Godard and their Cahiers du cinema associates in the mid-50s proposed that the greatest movies are dominated by the personal vision of the filmmaker whose “signature” is characterized by a unity of style and ideas and recurring motifs. What makes a good film is not “what” but “how” and what mades a good film is not the subject matter as such but its stylistic treatment including mise en scene, editing and other formal devices. The auteur theory establishes the director as the key figure in the art of the cinema (if not always the “industry”). By the 1970s all serious film criticism was at least partly couched in terms of the director’s personal vision.
    6. 6. Styles and Types (Modes) of Films REALISM CLASSICISM FORMALISM Documentary F I C T I O N Avant-Garde Manufactured Landscapes godzilla versus disco lando Hard Core Logo DieHard Fellini’s 8 1/2 NB. These are not airtight categories and often overlap. styles Types (modes)
    7. 7. What are Characteristics of Realism? Realist filmmakers attempt to reproduce the surface of reality with a minimum of distortion. We rarely notice the “style” in a realistic movie — concerned with what is being shown rather than how it is being manipulated. Realists try to preserve the illusion that their film worlds are objective mirrors of the actual world. The camera is used as a “recording mechanism” to reproduce the surface of tangible objects with as little commentary as possible. It is a style that excels in making us feel the humanity of others as beauty of film is sacrificed to capture the authentic texture of reality. Tends toward documentary.
    8. 8. What are Characteristics of Formalism? Formalist directors are concerned with expressing their own unabashedly subjective experience of reality — stylistically flamboyant. “ Expressionists” because of concern with spiritual and psychological truths, conveyed by distorting the surface of the material world. Formalist cinema excels in dealing with ideas — political religious, philosophical. Emphasis on technique and expression moves formalism toward the “avant garde” or total abstraction.
    9. 9. What About the Classical”Style? Called “Classical” because of its Artistotelian narrative style that is derived from live theatre and is by far the most popular story organization. Classical cinema avoids the extremes of realism and formalism in favour of a style of presentation that has a surface believability. Often handsomely mounted, story oriented, high premium placed on the the entertainment value of the story which conforms to popular genre. Characters often played by “stars” and roles are often tailored to their personal charms. Audience is encouraged to identify with their goals/values. We’ll discuss more about the “Classical Paradigm” next class based on questions at the end of the screenings.)
    10. 10. What About Genre? Back to our French directors François Truffault, Jean-Luc Godard and their Cahiers du cinema associates in the mid-50s. Simultaneously with their Auteur Theory, they also developed the theory of film genre. Believed that the genius of American cinema was its repository of ready-made forms saying “The tradition of genres in a base of operations for creative freedom.” Definition: A recognizable type of movie, characterized by certain pre-established conventions. Common genres are Westerns, Drama (Romance, War, Action etc.), Thrillers, Sci-Fi, Comedy, etc. A ready-made narrative form.
    11. 11. Watching Movies in Class Develop a “film memory” so you can notice certain aspects of film structure or aesthetics. This takes concentration. Notetaking during film: Feel free to write the worst junk in the world. Be brave and exercise your “Wild Mind.” That’s where you’ll find the energy. At end of film: 3 minutes starting with “The thing that I most liked about this film was...” Then 3 minutes of “The thing I found most challenging was...” Try to catch the poetry of the whole picture at the same time as focusing on the specifics. In-class discussion groups, try to share the “small elegant impressions” — gems or nuggets of insight.
    12. 12. 8 1/2 ( Federico Fellini, 1963) Running Time: 138 Minutes (2 hours and 18 minutes.) “ Otto e mezzo” was Fellini’s 8th and a half film. Logline: A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies. User Comments: “One of the best movies made about filmmaking.” (imdb) Other movies about filmmaking? Cast overview: Marcello Mastroianni .... Guido Anselmi Claudia Cardinale .... Claudia Anouk Aimée .... Luisa Anselmi
    13. 13. Federico Fellini quote From Rolling Stone Magazine Interview, 1984. “ Films are to society what dreams are to individuals.” Then interpreted by Patricia Rozema,in the Foreword to Understanding Movies. “ Talking about dreams is like talking about movies, since the cinema uses the language of dreams, years can pass in a second and you can hop from one place to another. It’s a language made of image. And in the real cinema, every object and every light means something, as in a dream.”
    14. 14. Tips for viewing 8 1/2 8 1/2 was inspired by the forms and techniques of 20th century literary modernism ie foregrounding the subjectivity of the narrator . James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein among others claimed art can only mirror the external world as filtered through the mind. 8 1/2 is is a “stream of consciousness” narration. There is no easy to follow linear, rational causal strong events to follow. Storytelling is fluid – everything is happening at the same time.
    15. 15. Questions to Discuss or Ponder <ul><li>What kinds of things would you say obsessed Federico Fellini? </li></ul><ul><li>What scenes are dreams and what scenes are reality? </li></ul><ul><li>What scenes represent the past and present struggling against each other? </li></ul><ul><li>How does this film exemplify the “Formalist” style of filmmaking? What about Genre? </li></ul><ul><li>What kinds of devices does Fellini use to change the location of the scene? </li></ul><ul><li>Any comments about how this film has informed other more recent films you have seen? </li></ul>
    16. 16. For next class Print out the course guide off www.sundialmedia.com/3030 . Follow instructions for READINGS (Barsam Ch 2 + Defs). Join Facebook group Film Studies 3030. Post a one-paragraph response to discussion Topic #1. More interactive the better, that is, make sure you build on the flow. Follow the Facebook link to “Looking at Movies,” do the chapter 2 quiz, and download and print the file “Screening Checklist, Narrative.” Think of your favourite movie and its practical story structure.

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