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History & Esthetics of Cinema Lecture Notes (ALL)

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Film Studies
Gary Evans

CIN 2190 September 19, 2013 Chapter 3: Production Design Creating a Unified Design  interplay of all design elements within a shot o Layout of sets o Architectural styles and building materials o Coloring and texture of buildings o Costumes Sets  Interior  Exterior  Miniature  Large Set o Ken Adam Difital Effects  Digital components of prod. Design o Previsualization o Digital grading o Green screen soundstage o CGI environments  Zodiac Safety Last! (1923)  Harold Lloyd represents typical American man  straw hats and glasses  Downtown LA  Crowds form to see the Human Fly climb a building, make $500, Harold L. gets another $500 to marry the woman he loves  Slapstick (needs a stunt/gags every 30 sec.)  For building climbing scene: Set built 18 feet high, mattresses around for safety  Harold L. hanging from clock = iconic still shot of 1920s  First person in Hollywood to use idea of preview audiences  Also trick shots with composite photography The General (1926)  Buster Keaton: Deadpan actor. An absurdist who uses quantification (lots of actors) to magnify his comedy. Mainly focused on mechanics of the gag and comedic timing.  Automatism  comedy through manipulation of objects (adaptable to machinery and motion)  Didn’t enlist in the army, girlfriend disappointedShe gets kidnapped, saves the day, rescues the girl, gets the train back  Besides giving a take on Birth of a Nation, he also gives a take on the futility of war and the instability of our lives and our illusions The Gold Rush (1925)  With Charlie Chaplin there is a philosophical bend, inhumanity of modern reality (ex. Alone in a crowd)  He writes his own music greatly understood the effects of music  Uses a lot of close-up shots, looks at the camera a lot. Generally medium shots for shooting the comedic scenes  He would usually do 30 takes (at the time 3-4 was normal)  Charlie grew up in a vaudevillian atmosphere  Some people view the Tramp as his biography  Charlie is hapless and always unaware, has to overcome his own loneliness  Sequence of pathos: around dinner scene (the oceana roll)  2 key lights on face, no shadow  A lot of repetition in comedic acts  Received very positive response at the time. Chaplin says it’s the greatest film he ever made Modern Times (1932)  Critique of American culture, the industrial society and what it does to people  Charlie in pursuit of happiness, but unable to achieve the kind he wants. A comment on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis  Minimal use of talking Chaplin doesn’t speak, reluctant to use voice  Critique: so many ppl alienated from their work, work=whole life, but it is mindless  Scene getting slapped by food: man dominated by machine  Chaplins movements are balletic, often asexual Some Like it Hot (1959)  2 musicians who witnessed a murder and are being hunted down, stow away on a train dressed as women  Shows humour changing from physical slapstick to more intellectual humour  a lot about irony  Strong key light on Monroe’s blonde hair  Jack Lemon  great comedic actor of his time, uses his body a lot, great timing Reification  Shows the human being transformed into a machine. Comment about modern world both barbaric and advanced. September 26, 2013 Chapter 4: Acting Acting in Film  Lack of rehearsal o Budgetary factors create shortage of times o Director attitudes  Shooting out of continuity o Economies of time and cost determining shooting order of scenes o Shooting close-ups and coverage  Amplification of gesture and expressions o Camera and microphone magnify performance o Encouraged restrained style of performance  Minimalist styles  Lighting. Lenses and effects work o Hitting the mark  Performer should know how camera reads scene  Depth of field  Lens angle of view  Contrast range-lighting falloff  Camera movemet o Greenscreening  Playing to nonexistant set and characters  Scene fully assembled during postproduction composting  Lack of a live audience o Cant calibrate performance according to audience vibes o Chaplin: pathos and sympathy, the Tramps as outsider. Modern society is barbaric o Harold Llyod: physical stunts every minute o Buster Keaton: Automatism (Overcome objects that block the heros goals) Stanislavsky, the Methd&3 types of acts o The Medthod: Anchor the emotional reality of the script, story, characters and situation o Stanislavsky defines 3 types of actors  Creative=method actor (Meryl Streep)  Imitative=conventional studio actor (Sandra bullock)  Stage hack=character actor (Johnny Depp) o The use of psychological and social realism to convey… Stars  The star Persona o Composite personality established across many films o Greater than the performance in any single film  Personality stars and Character stars  Marlon Brando, James Dean, Paul Newman Technical Acting  Dominant style of screen performance during the 1930-50s  Lack of introspection  Creation of character from the ‘outside’ o James Cagney and White Heat (1949)  Imitating the sounds rather than feeling emotions Method  Method Acting  Internalized richly psychological performance style  Formal training at NY’s Actor’s Studio  Emotional memory and sense recall exercises The Actor as an Element of Visual Design  Unique body lang. of performer  Choreographing performance Performance, Emotion and Audience Response  Interpretive Response Elia Kazan: Popularized method acting, discovered Brando, launched James Dean’s career Marlong Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “On the Waterfront” Dustin Hoffman (Ratso Riso) and John Voight (Joe Buck) “Midnight Cowboy”  Good opening scene Last Tango in Paris (Marlon Brando)  Film is a study in masculine sexuality Sophie’s Choice rd October 3 , 2013 Chapter 5: Editing or Making the Cut Linear/Nonlinear Systems  Linear: Editors work directly on celluloid film, must search sequentially for shots  Nonlinear: performed on digital video using computer and keyboard, provides instant access to footage Types of Visual Transitions (between shots)  Cut: most commonly used (Hitchcock describes the Kuleshov technique)  Fade (to black or white): Signals change of time and place  Dissolve (lap dissolve from 1 place to another): Signals change of time and place Editing Codes  Editing helps create: continuity, dramatic focus, tempo/rhythm/mood, narration and p.o.v of director Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein (1925)  USSR enlists directors for (communist) propaganda, to recreate feelings of this time to show revolution was good and needed to overthrow existing regime  Sequence: Odessa Steps sequence o Flight of stairs = flight of the people o Shadows of soldiers loom over woman and injured child o Cutaway technique o Uses collision technique (makes clips collide w/one another) relational/associational editing o Using formal tension by accelerating/shortening the shot o Historically, there never was a fight sequence at Odessa steps. Fictionalized history o Justified revolt Dziga Vertov, Man with a Movie Camera (1929)  Example of self-conscious film making. Audience aware this is a film being made. (self-reflexive film)  A day in the life of a city (shot in 3 russian cities: Moscow, Kiev& Odessa)  Experimental movie at the time  First shot: Composite shot  Associational editing> mannequins and still city, city being cleaned while people wash up, camera eye and human eye  Freeze-frame: audience becomes aware of the illusion of movement  Avant-garde for time Rules of Continuity Editing  Matching to the master shot establishing shot  Eyeline matching (eyes of actor A match eyes of actor B)  Shot-reverse shot series (includes OTS- over the shoulder shots)  The 180-degree rule (Don’t cross the axis) keep camera on one side of The Line Cont. Editing: The Predominant Practice  Continuity editing: facilitates the viewer’s perception of an edited sequence  Errors of continuity: mismatched elements in a series of shots  Subverting continuity editing: See the works of Jean-Luc Godard Psycho Shower Sequence (1960)  78 pieces of film for 45 seconds  Blood in drap lap dissolve to eye  Nudity wasn’t allowed yet in Hollywood. 5 censors (3 saw nudity in scene, 2 didn’t  aired again, Hitchcock changed nothing vote was then 2 to 3 and it passed) Cont. Editing  Jump Cuts: Bonnie and Clyde (1967) by Arthur Penn  Montage: Build a scene out of many brief shorts o The Soviet tradition Battleship Potemkin uses fragmented action o Contemporary montage in Psycho o Bonnie and Clyde (1967)  Got away with so much for the time (Nudity, violence)  Imprisoned in boring western life (scene of Bonnie trying to escape bars of bedframe)  Bullet (1968)  Editing can increase tension as the scene unfolds  Best car chase of the time  sets standard of future chase scenes The Godfather (1972) – F.F Coppola  Replaced Citizen Cane as best movie of all time Apocalypse Now (1979)- F.F Coppola  Romantic choreography of war Saving Private Ryan (1998) Spielberg  Colour washed out – depressing  Much more realistic than A.Now October 24, 2013 Citizen Kane -contains both objective realism and subjective visions (each sees him differently) -Mise en scene: staging an action/scene (everything that goes into the frame)  ie. Note objects, Note camera work (moving camera), Long takes, deep focus (both foreground and background in focus as seen in real life), and Proxemic patterns (positioning of the characters we watch in the frame) Movie starts: -No Trespassing, fence, focus on foreground -dissolve transitions -zooms into room, light goes out (Kane died)  death -Kane whispers “Rosebud” (who/what is it?) -slide transitions -Kane owned paper mills, news services, radio services, gold mines -described as a communist, a facist. Self-describes as American -innovative use of lighting and camera work (ie. El rancho transition to Susan, thru sign and window) -Bernstein (former manager), Susan (ex-wife), Mr.Leeland interview -Flashback to Mr.Kane’s childhood (can use Freud theory) and Mr.Thacher -breaking forth wall by looking into camera -Shadow over kane as he announces he’ll represent common man (shadow of doubt) -objective realism because of overlapped talking in conversation -showing the marriage: they start out close together, get further apart (proxemic Pattern) -Kane wanted to be loved  relationship with mother (frozen in time, snow) -when Kane is busted for his affair, political career ruined, upshot from floor shows Kane as larger than life -mirror reflections: who is he, what does he stand for, the many faces of kane -reverse crane shot, zooms to show all of Kanes stuff  crane shot in -material goods, wealth, means nothing -Rosebud was the childhood sled October 31, 2013 Chapter 7: The Nature of the Narrative Elements of Narrative  The fictive stance – suspension of disbelief  Structure: story and plot o Plot: the way events are sequenced o Story: everything that makes up the narrative The Viewer’s Contribution to Narrative  Search for pattern  Stories activate the viewers desire to know what happens next  Viewers infer connections among story events to complete the pattern  “meaning is not in the film  viewers help create it The Western th  Genre pre-exists cinema emerging in late 19 century o Dime novels o Puritan captivity narratives o Paintings (ethnographic studies, action scenes) o Theatre Why the Western?  Complete and self-contained drama  Conveyes sense of completeness in a society where other art forms are complex, uncertain and ill-defined  It has predictable certainty The Western  Defined by period, setting and theme Gary Cooper in The Virginian (1929)  Classical plot  Cooper becomes a Hollywood star Stagecoach (1939) John Wayne and Claire Trevor Western’s Transition them (c1952)  The members of society are unfair and cruel; society is strong and bad  Thus the hero is alienated from society  His is the outsider who is forced into a confrontation  He becomes a gunfighter  Roel of women? They end up fighting w
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