Viewing A Film Critically

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Before watching The Outsiders movie, I show this PowerPoint to get the kids ready to view a film with a critical eye.

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  • This is great. Any chance you could provide updated movie clips? Or at least when they occur in the films or the names of the scenes?
    Thanks!
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  • I had YouTube clips embedded in the presentation. I don't know why they're not showing up here.
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  • How did you show the film clips?
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Viewing A Film Critically

  1. 1. Watching movies with a critical eye<br />
  2. 2. You’ve all seen movies. Some of you have seen lots of them, animated movies, action films, comedies. But you’ve probably never thought of movies as things to be studied or viewed with a critical eye. <br /> <br />
  3. 3. In the best films, every moment is intentional. This means that every aspect of the film has been thought out and ends up looking and sounding a certain way on purpose. Good movies, truly well-made movies, stay with us because the people involved in making these films make deliberate choices about all you see on the screen.<br />
  4. 4. Understanding those choices can make the film-going experience more fun and more engaging.<br />
  5. 5. Here are some basic elements to be aware of when critically viewing a film:<br />
  6. 6. 1)  Direction. When watching a film, think about the choices that the director has made. Why is a close-up shot used here? Why does a certain color dominate a scene? Why is this angle being used here? The great director Alfred Hitchcock once said: “At times, I have the feeling I&apos;m an orchestra conductor… At other times, by using colors and lights in front of beautiful landscapes, I feel I am a painter.”<br /> Alfred Hitchcock<br />
  7. 7. Watch the following scene from the movie “Vertigo” and think about the choices that the director made to make the scene more interesting and meaningful.<br />
  8. 8.
  9. 9. 2) Screenplay.  All movies start out on paper. The screenplay is an essential element of film. It should effectively communicate the story through dramatic action and dialogue. Every scene should make sense and should have importance to the story. <br />
  10. 10. The screenplay for “Dead Poet’s Society” is a good example of how a well-written scene can engage the viewer in the film.<br />
  11. 11.
  12. 12. 3) Cinematography. Movies are primarily visual experiences. Great cinematographers, the people behind the cameras, understand the relationship between the camera and the human eye. Maybe more importantly, they realize the camera is an extension of the human eye. So, viewers should watch for cinematography where the camera transforms itself into the eyes of the viewer.<br />
  13. 13. In the following scene from “Signs” notice how the cinematographer uses the camera to follow Mel Gibson’s character. The scene unfolds to the viewer as it unfolds to him. <br />
  14. 14.
  15. 15. 4) Editing. Good directors shoot much more film than they can possibly use. Editing involves looking at all of the available film and putting together the best shots, the best scenes. The best directors are intimately involved in the editing process to assure the smooth flow of the film and to ensure that their film creates a seamless whole. <br />
  16. 16. The fast-paced editing of this scene from one of the early “Star Wars” movies makes the space battle more exciting.<br />
  17. 17.
  18. 18. 5) Acting. What we know about many exceptional performers is that they do not “act.” They return to us film after film, completely submerged in their characterizations. This intensity allows the best actors to hide themselves in their characters. Watch and identify the elements that constitute a great performance.<br />
  19. 19. Watch the amazing acting in the following scene from “A Few Good Men.” How does good acting add to your enjoyment of a film?<br />
  20. 20.
  21. 21. 6) Lighting and Sets. The entire mood of a film can be determined by lighting, the way shadows fall, the type of sets used, or the actual location where the film is shot. The amount and style of lighting depends on the type of film being made.<br />Lighting and set of “Psycho”<br />
  22. 22. Here is a scene from “The Natural” in which the lighting is key. How does the lighting make Roy Hobbes seem more heroic?<br />
  23. 23.
  24. 24. 7) Soundtrack/Score. Sometimes the best soundtrack is none at all. At other times, the right musical accent in a scene elevates the film and allows the viewer to relate to the characters or story on a deeper level. While a good soundtrack should never be overwhelming, many classic films would be far less memorable without their scores. <br />
  25. 25. Listen to how the music in this scene from “Jaws” makes the approaching shark seem even more menacing. <br />
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Putting it all together…<br /> Direction<br /> Screenplay<br /> Cinematography<br /> Editing<br /> Acting<br /> Lighting and Sets<br /> Soundtrack<br />Here is a scene from “The Godfather” which brings together all of the elements beautifully. Do you notice aspects of the scene now that you wouldn’t have noticed before? <br />
  28. 28.
  29. 29. Adapted from: How to Watch a Movie: Fully appreciating the magic of cinema is a responsibility <br /> by John W. Whitehead | Published September 29, 2003<br />http://www.moviemaker.com/directing/article/how_to_watch_a_movie_2988/<br />

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