Film Criticism Film Terms Power Point Sources: http://classes.yale.edu/film-analysis/ http://study guide.org/filmterms.htm
General Terms• Shot• Scene• Storyboard• Montage
SHOT• A single stream of images, uninterrupted by editing.• In contemporary cinema, with the use of computer graphics and other devices (eg. The Matrix), the boundaries of the shot are increasingly being challenged.
Scene• A scene is series of shots that form a complete episode or unit of the narrative.• A scene usually takes place in a single time and place, often with the same characters.• The terms “scene” and “sequence” can usually be used interchangeably, though the latter term can also refer to a longer segment of film that does not obey the spatial and temporal unities of a single scene. For example, a montage sequence that shows in a few shots a process that occurs over a period of time.
Storyboard• Plans AV text and shows how each shot relates to the sound track. This is similar to a comic book adaptation of the film.• This is used to plan shots, angles, scenes, and dialogue.
Montage• An approach to editing developed by the Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s such as Pudovkin, Vertov and Eisenstein that focuses on editing together a large number of shots to emphasize dynamic, often discontinuous, relationships between shots and images. There is no intention of creating a continuous reality.• A montage is used to compress time.• Montage shots are linked together through a unified sound - either a voiceover or a piece of music is used to link shots together.
Montage• This sequence from October (Oktyabr, USSR, 1927) is an example ofEisensteins intellectual montage.• The increasingly primitive icons from various world religions are linkedby patterns of duration, screen direction and shot scale to produce theconcept of religion as a degenerate practice used to legitimate corruptstates.
The Godfather Montage• Pudovkin’s montage influenced Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather(1973).• In a famous montage, shots of Michael attending his sons baptism areintercut with the brutal killings of his rivals. Rather than stressing the temporalsimultaneity of the events (it is highly unlikely that all of the New York Mafiaheads can be caught off guard at exactly the same time!), the montagesuggests Michaels dual nature and committement to both his "families", as wellas his ability to gain acceptance into both on their own terms -- through religionand violence.
SHOTS• Long shot• Medium (mid) shot• Close Up• Reverse Shot• Subjective (P.O.V.) Shot
Long Shot• Overall view from a distance of whole scene often used as an ESTABLISHING SHOT—to set scene.• Person- will show whole body.
Long ShotPeking Opera Blues (Do Ma Daan, Honk Kong,1986)
Medium (Mid) Shot• Middle distance shot• Can give background information while still focusing on subject• Person—usually shows waist to head.
Medium(mid) ShotEyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999) A Summer Tale (Conte dÉté) France Eric Rohmer, 199
Medium shotEyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999) A Summer Tale (Conte dÉté, Eric Rohmer, 1996)
Close Up• Focuses on detail/expression/reaction.• Person—shows either head or head and shoulders.
CLOSE UP Eyes Wide Shut A Summer TaleThe Color of Paradise
Reverse Shot• Two or more shots edited together that alternate characters, typically in a conversation situation.• The Stendhal Syndrome (La Sindrome di Stendhal, Italy,1996). Director Dario Argento has his protagonist Anna looking at Botticellis The Birth of Venus (c1485)... ...but with the use of successive shot/ reverse shots, eyeline matches and matching framings, it soons begins to look as if Venus herself is looking at Anna!
Subjective Shot (P.O.V. shot)• A shot taken with the camera placed approximately where the characters eyes would be, showing what the character would see. The audience sees what the character sees.Peking Opera Blues (Do Ma Daan, Tsui Hark, Hong Kong, 1986) the femaleimpersonators fear of the soldier who attempts to procure him for his general isrendered comic by the cut to POV and wide angle.
Pan• Camera moves from side to side from a stationaryposition.• In a film like Traffic (Steven Soderbergh, 2000) panssuggest that characters have no time to waste, and thatdecisions must be taken fast, therefore contributing to thesense of imminent danger and moral urgency that thefilms tries to communicate.
360° Pan• This clip from The Stendhal Syndrome (La Sindrome di Stendhal, Dario Argento,1996), illustrates what we could call a 360° pan.
Tilt• Movement up or down from a stationary position• In the following clip from Besieged (LAssedio, Italy, 1998), Bernardo Bertolucci uses a tilt to establish the social (and even racial) distance between an African housemaid and her wealthy English employer.
Tracking Shot - Tracking• A tracking shot usually follows a character or object as it moves along the screen. Contrary to the pan, which mimics a turning head, a tracking shot physically accompanies the entire range of movement. It therefore creates a closer affinity with the character or object moving, since the spectator is not just watching him/her moving, but moving with him/her.• A standard tracking shot places the camera on a wheeled support called a dolly.• As cameras become lighter and steadier, tracking shots become more flexible and creative: bicycles, wheelchairs, roller skates, and many ingenious wheeled artifacts augmented the range of movement of tracking shots.• In the following clip from Central Station (Central do Brasil, Walter Salles, Brazil, 1998), one uninterrupted movement is rendered with two different tracking shots.
Tracking Shot• The first is a classic tracking shot, with the camera on railssideways to the character that is moving, following the child as thetrains departs.• The second uses the train as a dolly, as it moves away from therunning child.
Camera AnglesCamera angle is often used tosuggest either vulnerability or power.
Low Angle camera (upward angle)• The camera shoots up at the subject to show an increase in size, power, or status.• In The Color of Paradise (Rang-e Khoda,1999) the father, who rules absolute overhis family, is often portrayed from a low angle, therefore aggrandizing his figure.
High Angle Camera• The camera shoots down at the subject to increase the vulnerability, powerlessness, or size.• On the other hand, his blind son Mohammad and his elderly grandmother are often shot from a high angle, emphasizing their dependence and smallness.
Editing• Cut• Fade In or Out• Dissolve• Superimposition
Cut• The editing of a shot.• In Lars Von Triers Dancer in the Dark ( Denmark, 2000) Selma and Bill havea dramatic conversation in Bills car that is framed by a cut-in and a cut-away.
Cut• In this extended clip from Edward Yangs Yi Yi (Taiwan, 2000), father and daughter go out on dates at presumably the same time, and go through the same motions, even if the father is in Japan and the daughter in Taipei.• To further stress the similarities, the father is actually reliving his first date with his first girlfriend (whom he has just met again after 20 years), while his daughter is actually on her first date! Yang uses parallel editing across space and time to suggest that history repeats itself, generation after generation
Cut• In this sequence from Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minelli, 1944) the editing sacrifices actual physical space for dramatic space. As we can see in the first shot, there is a wall behind the telephone.• However, that wall magically disappears in the third shot in order to show both the telephone and the family seated around the dining table (an important element in the film) from an angle that would had been impossible in an actual room. Cheat cuts were also often used to disguise the relatively short stature of leading men in relation to their statuesque female co-stars.
Jump Cut• If the cut seems inconsistent with the next shot, it is called a jump cut. More recently, jump cuts are more commonly associated with music videos, video or alternative filmmaking, like Lars Von Triers Dogma films. Here is an example from Dancer in the Dark (Denmark, 2000).• Jump cuts are a clear signifier of rupture with mainstream film storytelling. Rather than presenting a film as a perfectly self-contained story that seamlessly unfolds in front of us, jump cuts reveal the difficulties of telling such a story.
Fade In & Fade OutThe image appears or disappears gradually, often used as a divisionbetween scenes.
Dissolve• One image fades in while another fades out so that for a fewseconds, the two are superimposed.• In this series of shots from The Stendhal Syndrome (LaSindrome di Stendhal, Dario Argento, 1996), a young womanbecomes so absorbed by Brueghels The Fall of Icarus that sheactually dives into the paintings sea! (at least in her imagination,in "real life" she faints).
Superimposition• Unlike a dissolve, a superimposition does not signify atransition from one scene to another. The technique was oftenused to allow the same performer to appear simultaneously astwo characters on the screen.• In this clip from Neighbors (Buster Keaton, 1920), the resentfulfather of the bride looks at the wedding ring and immediatelyassociates in his mind with a five and dime store. The subjectiveshot gives us a clear indication of his opinion of his soon to beson-in-law.
Sound effects• All sounds that are neither dialogue nor music.
Voice-over• Spoken words placed over the other tracks to commentupon the narrative or to narrate.• The voice-over is often used to give a sense of acharacters subjectivity or to narrate an event told inflashback.• It is overwhelmingly associated with genres such as filmnoir and obsessive characters with a dark past. It is alsofrequently used in memoir or biographical films.