Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01 How Do We Analyse a Film?IntroductionThere are different ways to analyse a movie. You can compare the movie to other films oryou can generally just research into the film. Liking or disliking a film is a personal choicebut when critiquing a film you have to look deeper into whether the story was told well ornot, if it was original/unique or didn’t even try to be different, if camera shots where good orbad and the sound effective - Did the film achieve its objective? There are different ways toanalyse this and I will be looking into Genre Analysis and Auteur Theory methods andexplaining the difference.Genre analysis is when you view a film placing it into a category and seeing how well thefilm fits in. A film can be assessed over many categories but the usual starting point is themewhere a film such as ‘I am legend’ (Francis Lawrence – Warner Bros Pictures, 2007) wouldbe classed as a disaster movie. Most films are a blend a different stories which cross genres.The popularity of genres changes, a creating a film in the correct genre can make a bigdifference to its audience appeal.Auteur Theory looks at how typical of thedirector, as author, the film is. This can bea recognisable type of film, a style offilming or the role of sound within thefilm. These films are distinctive as thoughthey have the director’s stamp. Typicalexamples are the Alfred Hitchcock filmsalthough in the more general crime genrethey are instantly recognisable in the waythey are filmed, etc. to build on suspenseHitchcock becoming known as the masterof suspense. http://classicfilm.about.com/od/actorsanddirectors/a/HitchProfile.htm
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Genre AnalysisThe Internet Movie Database defines the following Film Genres;Action Adventure Animation BiographyComedy Crime Documentary DramaFamily Fantasy Film-Noir Game-ShowHistory Horror Music MusicalMystery News Reality-TV RomanceSci-Fi Sport Talk-Show ThrillerWar WesternThesegenres are words which help us define the type of production made.Genre analysis looks at how well the film fits into genre we measure this using seven keyareas which are; Character Codes and Conventions Iconography Narrative Setting Themes Ideological MessageCharacter – The character isn’t always just a person acting in a film/story, they can bepresented in a way to display something such as powerful or weak, a character may representsomething in real life, such as James Bond (Casino Royale, Martin Campbell – ColumbiaPictures, 2006; etc) where he is displaying the dominance of England.
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01The use of a character and their dresswithin a given location can also add to afilm for example in Crocodile Dundee II(John Cornell – Paramount Pictures,1982) Dundee‟s presence in New Yorkbrought humour to the film. However,generally the audience will expect to seea character fit into the genre of the film,seeing a cowboy in a Western film.Codes and Conventions - The codes and conventions of a movie are like a way of saying‘the typical things’ that happen in a movie of that genre. The sets, costumes and props allform the mise en scene. For example, Saw (James Wan - Evolution Entertainment,2004), a Horror movie.The codes of the horror genre are to usethe mise en scene to create tensioncaused by anticipation before climaxingas a monster/villain jumps out, etc.Some horror films are gruesome andshow blood and guts others are morepsychological but all specific close-upcamera shots to show the villain and usescary music to help set the scene.Iconography – Iconography is used infilms quite a lot of the time, this is used tosort of symbolise the film genre out, like ina western audience expect to seerevolvers, rifles, stetsons, horses,stirrups, leathers, etc. and in horror filmsaudience expects to see maybe previousvictims, young girls and lots of blood andgore.
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Narrative – The film narrative is the series of events that happen that cause to effect therelationship of the film. For example in a action film, the hero always starts off powerful andthen at some point there is a downfall then at the end of the film there is a resolution andeverything resolves back to normal and usually falls in love with a girl. It’s the way the filmis structured.Occasionally a vocal narrative is used toadd more emphasis and keep the filmmoving this is the case in TheShawshank Redemption (FrankDarabont – Castle Rock Entertainment,1984) where Morgan Freeman providedthe voiceover.Setting – The setting or location of a film is always important as towards the film genre,some locations just cannot not fit the genre as each type requires its own specific setting.For example a horror movie may be set ina deserted area or an abandoned house,like in The Shining (Stanley Kubrick –Warner Bros. Pictures, 1980) where afamily become the caretakers of anisolated hotel.Action films usually in urban areas, bigcities and so on. They can use theconfined spaces for car chases and gunfights like in The Transporter (LouisLeterrier and Corey Yuen –Europa Corp., 2002).
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Theme - Themes in film is the conflictbetween the narratives. Revenge and loveare two themes that are used a lot but itvaries on the genre of the film, as in anaction film you may see love and revengetogether but in a horror film see onlyrevenge. Several film franchises havebeen setup based on films of reoccurringthemes such as Indian Jones with thetheme of long lost treasures and the raceto retrieve it first.Ideological Message – All files have a message although some are difficult to read ormean different things to different people. This is used quite often in films to represent torelate something or someone to one another or just in real life genuinely, for example inJames Bond films he drives a really fast car which is armoured with gadgets, you could relatethis to him because bond is yet powerful and really fast and together the car and him make aperfect combination, and depending on which country the car is from, it shows the power ofthat country too.An ideological message can also showdreams, power, determination and a willto overcome adversity as in the filmApollo 13 (Ron Howard – UniversalPictures, 1995) where the fate of theastronauts is determined in a near fatalmission to the moon. The message hereis to „Never give up‟.
Jonathan Ward Extended Diploma In Creative Media Production Task - Unit 26 Film Studies L01 In order to conform to a genre certain aspects are expected: In a Western genre film, the story is usually set in the wild west of America and shows the time in the 1800s when the population started to spread into vast open spaces. Wide angle shots are used to film panoramic scenes that show the setting as a lonely and sometimes dangerous place. Topics vary such as but can be life on a ranch, cattle drives, cavalry fighting Red Indians, robberies from banks, trains or stage coaches etc. Films in this genre include, Cowboys and Aliens (Jon Favreau - Universal Pictures,2011), The Magnificent Seven (John Sturges - The Mirisch Company, 1960), Shanghai Noon (Tom Dey - Touchstone Pictures, 2000) and True Grit (Ethan and Joel Coen - Paramount Pictures, 1969).Area of Example Technical featureAnalysisCodes and Horses Close up shots to make these conventionsconventions Cowboy Hats recognisable. Echoing sounds when guns are Revolvers firedSetting Old buildings Panoramic shots of the desert, Tumble weed Desert rolling around the main street and cacti growing small town in desertsCharacter Hero- Marshall Low shots to make them seem powerful and Villains – Former convicts strong. Over the shoulder shots when talking Thieves Beautiful womanThemes Revenge During a love scene, always light hearted music. Hate LoveNarrative Revenge on marshal because of N/a prison sentence to a convict
Jonathan Ward Extended Diploma In Creative Media Production Task - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Iconography Tough man – representing power Always starts and ends with a wide shot of the Horses – a big part of the cowboy location, with some kind of soundtrack. way of life. Steam Train – because everybody is leaving on it, it also shows that steam trains have become a huge downfall in the cowboy lifestyle.Ideological Can symbolise the power ofmessage Americans and how living in America is a dream with all the success. In a Science-Fiction genre film the setting is usually away from Earth in outer space but when on Earth is either set in the future or is about an alien invasion. Costumes and make-up play a big part in this genre as well as special effect showing space ships, laser weapons and explosions: Alien (Ridley Scott - Twentieth Century Fox Productions, 1979), Predator (John McTieran - Amercent Films, 1987), StarTrek: The Motion Picture (Franklin J. Schaffner - Paramount Picture, 1979) and Star Wars.: Episode IV A New Hope (George Lucas - Lucasfilm, 1977) are all examples of Science Fiction.Area of Example Technical featureAnalysisCodes and Space suits Close up shots to make these conventionsconventions Laser guns recognisable. Beeps, and radar sounds. Laser Explosions noises.Setting Space ship When spaceships usually arrive, there is high Strange Planet lighting and smoke.Character Hero – usually human Slowly reveals the alien, maybe by not showing Alien the face until later on in the film. Over the robot shoulder shots.
Jonathan Ward Extended Diploma In Creative Media Production Task - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Themes Revenge Hate LoveNarrative To save Earth or a planet and Shots shown from different perspectives overcome the aliensIconography Tough man – representing is Low angle shots to show toughness of power characters UFO – alien transport or cityIdeological That we as a species are strong Wide angle shot showing aliens defeated andmessage and overcome anything retreating fast In a War genre film, the aim is usually to depicts an event where an impossible situation was overcome by the skill and heroics of a totally outnumbered group of soldiers for English speaking countries these are normally American or British, settings such as the first and second world wars have been used repeatedly but more recent films show the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Examples in this genre include: Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg - Amblin Entertainment, 1998), Apocalypse Now (Fancis Ford Coppola - Zoetrope Studios, 1979), Rambo:First Blood(Ted Kotcheff – Anabasis N.V., 1982) and Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott - Revolution Studios, 2001).Area of Example Technical featureAnalysisCodes and Tanks Bomb noises coming from the distanceconventions Uniforms shows a wide shot of an army marching, Rifles gunand other weapon sounds.Setting Partly blown up town Lots of fire and smoke shots. Desert POV shots Bridge
Jonathan Ward Extended Diploma In Creative Media Production Task - Unit 26 Film Studies L01 Trenches ShipsCharacter Hero - Low angle shots to display power Villains – opposition guns Beautiful womanThemes Revenge Hate LoveNarrative Seemly impossible objective Impenetrable situation with only one small needs to be accomplished. weaknessIconography Tough man – representing is Close-up shot showing sweat, concentration power and determination no matter what Flags – to display the country dominance Normal man – making a difference of an impossible situation.Ideological Shows country power. Usually American or British anthem played at themessage end.
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01An Analysis of Quantum of SolaceQuantum of Solace (dir. Marc Forster 2008) is anaction thriller coming from the tried and testedBond studio. The use of action, mystery,adventure within the story, the camera shots ininteresting and unusual locations plus thedrama and excitement caused by the build upof music is always a winning combination.Quantum of Solace is no different from otherBond films where the initial scenes aim tograb your attention from the start. A genreanalysis of the opening sequence is in the tablebelow. The opening sequence is has all thetypical action thriller conventions in it and hasmany similarities to Leon, as both openingscenes open with a reveal of the location it isset, both main characters are dressed smartlyin suits. There is also a lot of gun fire andpeople that are hurt or killed. I think MarcForster is influenced by Luc Besson’s Leonquite a lot throughout the rest of Quantum ofSolace.
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Area of Analysis Example Technical feature Conforms Breaks (Camera/sound/mise to genre? conformity? Y/N en scene/ editing) Y/N If yes, how?Codes and Fast cars Fast editing, close-ups Y Nconventions guns shooting noisesSetting Glamorous locations Wide shot Y N Urban, beach, mountainous quarry holiday resorts, locationCharacter Hero - Bond Big built secret agent, Y N Enemies Victim Car chase Lots of shots of the car Y NThemesNarrative Bond is trying to Shots of cars rolling Y N escape down mountains in dangerIconography Bond – powerful - Y N man representing English dominance.Masculini tyIdeological message English dominance - Y N
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01An Analysis of LeonLeon (1994) directed by Luc Bessoncontrast is another action thriller but unlikethe Bond films is uses a lot of closecamera shots and dark scenes to bring anintensity to the action. The film also usesthe relationship between Leon andMathilda to appeal to the viewer. The filmcomes across as more realistic being muchless glamorous than a Bond in terms of thelocation, actors and general storyline. Theopening sequence is like any otherwhere Leon starts off as a villain typecharacter to the audience but as filmcarries on you realise that Luc Bessonbreaks the general action thrillerconventions as Leon is an assassin andin the normal action thriller an assassinis not usually the protagonist.This makes a more realistic scenariobecause in reality, in the world peoplearen‟t genuinely evil or good, peopletend to have a mixture of good and badin them which Leon shows because heshows his evil bad side by doing his jobof murdering individuals and he showshis heart and good side by taking inMathilda and showing her his ways.
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Area of Analysis Example Technical feature Conforms Breaks (Camera/sound/mise to genre? conformity? Y/N en scene/ editing) Y/N If yes, how?Codes and Guns, suits, cqc Slow editing, Y Y, becauseconventions combat scene shooting noises action scenes usually include fast editing with lots of gunfire as for leon this is different to aoriginal action movie such as James BondSetting Glamorous Wide shot Y N locations Urban, mountainous quarry beach, holiday location resorts,Character Hero - Leon big built, assassin Y Y, unlike most Enemies – action movies Stansfield the hero is Victim – Mathilda portrayed as good, but as leon is an assassin, it is quite unusual to see somebody who is bad and good be the hero.Themes Car chase Lots of shots of the Y N, There is no car chase scenes in Leon, this is strange as an action thriller usually has.Narrative Leon is trying to Out of the building Y N escape that is being raided by policeIconography Leon – powerful - Y N man representing masculinityIdeological message Tells us that - Y N sometimes one life can change another life by just adding a bit of good to yourself no matter how bad you are.
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Similarities and DifferencesBoth Quantum of Solace and Leon are similar; The main characters are both male and female A relationship is formed between the two main characters Both male characters do similar jobs The male characters both have and use guns Both Bond and Leon dress smart and look dominant Both films have an opening scene which displays the power of both males Each of the films opens with an aerial tracking shotBoth films also have many differences; Quantum of Solace does not turn into a drama The editing in Leon isn‟t as fast as in Quantum of Solace The picture overall is darker in Leon The background music isn‟t as extreme and have the impact in Leon that it has in Quantum of Solace The locations used aren‟t as glamorous in Leon
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Auteur TheoryAn auteur film is used to describe a film where the director‟s personal view and creativevision has made a distinct and recognisable impression on the film. When the directorhas made several films in this way they maybecome known as an Auteur Director. Filmscan be of different genres but must have the director‟s influence of style and consistencyas a recognisable signature.Andrew Sarris originated the term Auteur theory in the essay, "Notes on the AuteurTheory in 1962". According to Sarris to be classified as an auteur, “a director mustaccomplish technical competence in their technique, personal style in terms of how themovie looks and feels, and interior meaning”. http://www.fadedrequiem.com/zoetrope/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/andrew_sarris_notes_auteur_theory.pdfRecognition as an Auteur director can elevate the director into one of the greats in theindustry.Quentin Tarantino is one of todays wellknown Auteur Directors, his films suchas Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction(1994), Kill Bill (2003), etc. arerecognisable through their style ofchapters, language and humour all partof Tarantino‟ signature.‘Cowboys and Aliens’ (Jon Favreau – Universal Pictures, 2011) is as its name suggests acombination of the Western and Science Fiction Genres but other elements are touched uponsuch as romance and crime in order to make the film more appealing to a larger targetaudience. Mainstream actors have also been used to help guarantee that the film is acommercial success by drawing in the audience to see stars such as Daniel Craig andHarrison Ford.
Jonathan WardExtended Diploma In Creative Media ProductionTask - Unit 26 Film Studies L01Jon Faveau directed the film but with five screenplay and three screen story writers and giventhe story is based on a Marvel comic story at first glance you wouldn’t say that he was anAuteur. But of the films he has directed many have a theme in that they are based on comiccharacters and stories. As well as ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ he has produced ‘The Avengers’ andthe ‘Iron Man’ films and ‘Zathura’. ‘Zathura’ in particular, is similar to ‘Cowboys and Aliens’because it brings together humans in their family home with an alien environment. JonFaveau seems to like making this genre of film and is successful in making them. Thewestern/science fiction theme isn’t original, films like The Time Machine and Back to theFuture have touched on this in the past. The film was enjoyable reminding me of an IndianaJones type adventure but I do not think that it had its own style. The film had its moments butI do not think it involved outstanding technical excellence or had any special artistic merit.His use of so many star names to me makes this much more of a commercial moneymaking scheme rather than a directional masterpiece. In my opinion the film isn’t originalor unique enough to class Jon Faveau as Auteur however his recent interest in this genreshould continue since it was entertaining. The location used was typically western with anacceptable code convention featuring the usual cowboy/sheriff characters until thescience fiction of the aliens arrived. Again their code convention was correct featuringflying craft and laser weapons but somehow the mixture of the two mise on scene genresmade the film less realistic.I particularly enjoyed the camera work when the cowboys onhorseback attacked the alien spacecraft. The mixture of wide shots with close-ups reallycaptured the speed and danger of the moment.ConclusionBy reviewing the films using the different methods of Genre Analysis and Auteur Theory weare able to look into the inspiration behind the direction and creation of the film. The methodscontrast but together give a fuller and better understanding.