The Classical Film.doc

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Innis College Courses
Corinn Columpar

The Classical Film Review + Outline for Second Semester • narrative or non narrative system ◦ narrative, rhetorical, categorical, associational, abstract • stylistic system ◦ describe film's overall form, determine primary techniques & interactions, identify patterns, propose functions • Formal analysis demands a focus on films as self-sufficient entities and thus an exclusive privileging of the textual ◦ demands that we view the film as a text w/ an internal system, disregarding exte- rior ◦ not the only way to study film or find meaning bc there is always external context ◦ for 2nd semester: going beyond the textual • EXTRATEXTUAL ◦ things that surround the film discursively and materially, that help us to make meanings out of the text ◦ examples: ■ publicity - how a film advertises itself ■ reviews - pertinent to film scholars and critiques, very often used in pub- licity ■ DVD bonus materials - commentary, deleted scenes, etc.; informs our in- teractions with film ■ academic analyses - also influence the meaning we make from films ■ social reality - ex. Zero Dark Thirty, about the capture of Osama Bin Laden - impossible to watch without thinking about the larger social reality that it is apart of ◦ documentary film - contract btwn filmmaker and spectator thru publicity, testimo- ny, commentary, etc. • INTERTEXTUAL ◦ the relationship between film texts ◦ some films demand to be read intertextually; ex. Zero Dark Thirty is associated with Catherine Bigelow's previous film, The Hurt Locker, which deals with similar matter; critics also relate it to Homeland ◦ intertextual reference is in general a reference to another work of art ◦ in film, it may be an implicit or explicit reference to another film, work of art, or text ◦ ex. Quentin Tarantino makes many intertextual references; referring to Django (spaghetti westerns), blaxploitation films ◦ avant garde - "critical cinema" responding to dominant cinema (Very Nice, Very Nice was a collage of other clips, recontextualized) The Classical Film • The classical film derives from classical Hollywood cinema ◦ produced by Hollywood from late teens through 50s ◦ "Golden Age" of Hollywood: 1930s-1950s; when the classical film was perfected and prevailed ◦ keep in mind other national cinemas also produced classical films; Hollywood has been most dominant • The Big Five Studios ◦ MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, RKO ◦ 3 noteworthy things: The Classical Film ■ vertically integrated - not only produced but owned and operated distribu- tion and exhibition; in control of all stages of film circulation ■ had labour under contract - would draw on fixed pool of labour to assem- ble cast and crew ■ each studio had its own identity based on leading actors on contract and other factors ■ MGM - musicals, high production ■ Paramount - European, urbane, expressionistic lighting, more so- phisticated humour ◦ SERIAL MANUFACTURING ■ the Hollywood was less defined by its desire to make individual films, but to sustain ongoing slate of films to ensure repeat customers, provide fa- miliarity ■ have to make films quickly and systematically, thus adopt: ◦ THE PRODUCER-UNIT SYSTEM ■ one producer would be responsible for preproduction, production, post- production - would hire cast and crew from contracted pool of labour ■ lead to formation of classical system ■ result of this: constant circulation of labour within any given studio, thus
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