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Film: A Critical Introduction

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Now in full color, this Second Edition of Film: A Critical

Introduction continues to provide students with a comprehensive and contemporary introduction to film studies.

• Techniques in Practice sections offer analyses discussing how

one or two films exhibit the techniques under consideration. • Case Study essays and analyses of influential films develop

With an emphasis on critical thinking and effective writing about

effective writing skills and provide professors with a wide

film, this new edition includes updated coverage of techniques

range of examples to use in the class, including post-studio

and terminology used in film production and film criticism.

Hollywood films and avant-garde films. • Over 450 captivating illustrations including 215 color stills

Organized in three parts, the text focuses on the fundamentals

provide students with a vivid introduction to the medium

of film analysis before moving on to more complex topics.

of film.

• Part I introduces readers to the importance of film analysis

and provides strategies for discerning the ways in which films produce meaning. • Part II gives readers the tools to enhance their enjoyment and

understanding of film by helping them recognize how the various elements of a film-narrative, mise en scene, cinematography, editing, and sound-work together to produce meaning. • Part III introduces readers to the theoretical frameworks and

contemporary debates about film as a historical, cultural, and

NEW TO THIS EDITION • New full-color presentation highlights the thoroughly updated

and illustrated examples of contemporary and classic titles. • Updated discussion of the current state of the industry and

technological trends provides students with insights into careers in film. • Reorganized coverage and updated readings throughout keep

students up-to-date on contemporary approaches to film analysis and writing. • Expanded coverage of important historical periods (including

economic institution. Individual chapters move beyond textual

silent cinema and the French New Wave), and film genres

analysis to consider the relationship between film and society,

including the musical, film noir, action, and horror.

exploring subjects such as stardom, genre, ideology, and the contemporary film industry.

Maria Pramaggiore is a Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University. She has published books and articles

SPECIAL FEATURES

on Irish film, and on gender and sexuality in cinema.

• Strong emphasis on critical thinking skills and rhetorical

strategies for writing about film encourages students to

Tom Wallis is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at North Carolina

improve their writing and to incorporate film scholarship in

State University.

their written analysis. IS B N 978-0-20-551869-2

90000 Printed in China.

For related titles and support materials, visit our online catalog at www.ablongman.com

9 11,8020511518 692

Fi

m

A Critical Introduction SECOND EDITION

Editorial Director: Jason Jordan Editor-in-Chief: Karon Bowers Series Editor: Jeanne Zalesky Assistant Editor: Jenny Lupica Marketing Manager: Suzan Czajkowski For related titles and support materials, visit our online catalog at www.ablongman.com Copyright ©

2008, 2005

Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner. To obtain permission(s) to use material from this work, please submit a written request to Allyn and Bacon, Permissions Department, fax your request to

617-848-7320.

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Arlington Street, Boston, MA

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or

Cataloguing-in-Publication Date unavailable at press time. ISBN-lO: ISBN-13:

0-205-51869-9 978-0-205-51869-2

Printed in China

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 I

12 11 10 09 08

T his book was designed and produced by Laurence King Publishing Ltd

361-373 City Road, London LAURENCE KLNG

www.laurenceking.co.uk

Every effort has been made to contact the copyright holders, but should there be any errors or omissions, Laurence King Publishing Ltd would be pleased to insert the appropriate acknowledgement in any subsequent printing of this publication. Editor: Richard Mason Designer: Newton Harris Design Partnership Picture Researcher: T im Nicholson Front cover: Clive Owen in

Inside Man (Spike

Lee

2006).

Courtesy of Universal Studios

Licensing LLLP. Frontispiece: Keira Knightley in Studios Licensing LLLP.

Pride and Prejudice

(Joe Wright

2005).

Courtesy of Universal

Preface

Contents

XII

Picture Credits

XV

Part One Introduction to Film Analysis

1

Introduction

3

Cinema: A Confluence of Artistry, Industry, and Technology How This Book Is Organized

8

Technical Tips

2

An Approach to Film Analysis

9

Understanding Audience Expectations

10

Expectations and Modes of Organization

11

Expectations about Genres, Stars, and Directors The Orchestration of Detail Motifs

13

75

15

Parallels

16

Details and Structure

19

Parallels in Openings and Closings Structure and Turning Points

19

19

Repetition and Non-chronological Structure

20

Creating Meaning Through the World Beyond Film Historical Events and Cultural Attitudes Stars as References Intertextual References

22 23

23

Avant-garde and Documentary References Meaningful References with Objects

25

25

The Goal of Film Analysis: Articulating Meaning

26

The Importance of Developing Interpretive Claims

30

30

Film Analysis: Reading Significant Details

31

Historical References in Devil in a Blue Dress

3

21

21

Public Figures and Celebrities as References

Summary

4

6

Writing About Film

Getting Started

31

33

34

Keeping a Film Journal Formulating a Thesis

34 35

v

Four Types of Writing About Film

35

35

The Scene Analysis Paper

"The Divided Human Spirit in Fritz Lang's

T he Big Heat"

36

39

The Film Analysis

The Anxieties of Modernity in

Steamboat Bill Jr.

39

43

The Research Paper

The Evolution of an Idea: The Changing Hollywood Aesthetic in

45

T he Conversation and Enemy of the State 57

Works Cited (in the research paper) Conducting Archival Research

52

53

The Popular Review

Part Two Film Analysis

4

59

Narrative Form

67 62

Defining Narrative

Framing the Fictional World: Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Elements Narrative Structure

68

Techniques in Practice: Narrative Structure in Stagecoach Alternatives to Conventional Narrative Structure Perspective and Meaning

76

Character Subjectivity

79

Techniques in Practice: Noticing Shifts in Perspective

75

87

83

Summary

84

Film Analysis: Analyzing Narrative Structure T he Narrative Complexity of Rashomon Mise en Scene

Setting

84

87

89

Describing Setting: Visual and Spatial Attributes The Functions of Setting

97

92 93

Techniques in Practice: Same Film, Different Settings Techniques in Practice: Same Setting, Different Film Casting

94

97

The Human Figure

97

Acting Style

98

Acting Brechtian: Distancing the Audience Actors' Bodies: Figure Placement

99

700

Techniques in Practice: Figure Placement in Citizen Kane Actors' Bodies: Costumes and Props Actors' Bodies: Makeup

VI

700

702

704

Techniques in Practice: Physicality in Raging Bull and Ali Lighting

70

72

Variations on Narrative Conventions: Beyond Structure

5

63

65

Within the Diegesis: Selecting and Organizing Events

706

707

Contents

Composition

112

Balance and Symmetry Lines and Diagonals Framing

112 113

115

Foreground and Background Light and Dark Color

116

116

116

Two Approaches to

Mise en Scene

The Frame in Two Dimensions: Combining

119

Mise en Scene in German Expressionism

Dimensions in French Poetic Realism Summary

121

124

Film Analysis: The Functions of Space

124

Spatial Oppositions in Thelma and Louise

6

Cinematography

124

129

Camerawork: The Camera in Time and Space Creating Meaning in Time: The Shot

134

134

Altering Time: Slow and Fast Motion

137

The Camera and Space: Height, Angle, and Shot Distance Camera Height Camera Angle Camera Distance

139

140 140 143

Camera Movement: Exploring Space

146

Horizontal and Vertical Movement Movement in Three Dimensions

146 147

Techniques in Practice: Patterns of Camera Placement and Movement Lenses and Filters: The Frame in Depth The Zoom Lens

152

155

Combining Camera Movement and Lens Movement Through the Lens: Filters and Diffusers

156

157

Techniques in Practice: Lenses and the Creation of Space

159

164

Characteristics of Film Stock Light and Exposure Film Stock and Color

164

165 166

W ide Film and Widescreen Formats Processing Film Stock Special Visual Effects

170

171 173

Manipulating the Image on the Set

174

Creating Scene Transitions, Titles, and Credits: The Optical Printer Optical and Digital Compositing: Assembling the Elements of the Shot Computer-Generated Images Adding and Subtracting Frames Digital Cinema: Post-Production

177 178

179 180 180

Digital C inematography and Film Style

Contents

150

151

The Visual Characteristics of Lenses: Depth of Field and Focal Length

Film Stock

119

Mise en Scene and Camerawork: The Frame in Three

182

VII

Summary

183 184

Film Analysis: Cinematography in Documentary Films 184

Cinematography in Two Documentaries

7

Editing

191

The Attributes of Editing: Creating Meaning Through Collage, Tempo,

193

and Timing

193

Joining Images: A Collage of Graphic Qualities Tempo

196 196

Shot Length

197

Shot Transitions

199

Adjusting the Timing of Shot Transitions

Techniques in Practice: Using Contrasting Imagery and T iming to 201

Romanticize the Outlaws in Bonnie and Clyde

203

Story-Centered Editing and the Construction of Meaning

203

Editing and Time

203

Condensing and Expanding T ime

Suggesting the Simultaneity of Events Arranging the Order of Events

Editing and Space

207 208

Shot/Reverse Shot Eyeline Match

210

Cutting to Emphasize Group Dynamics Cutaways

205

206

211

212

Beyond Narrative: Creating Meaning Outside the Story

212 213

Continuity Editing: Conventional Patterns and "Bending the Rules"

213

Continuity and Space

Continuity and Chronology

215

"Breaking the Rules": The French New Wave and its Influence Associational Editing: Editing and Metaphor Soviet Montage

217

221

221

Techniques in Practice: Soviet Montage Aesthetics in The Godfather Summary

228

Film Analysis: Classical Editing Editing in Notorious

8

Sound

226

228

229

233 234

Film Sound: A Brief History

Critical Debates over Film Sound Freeing Sound from Image

236

239

The Relationship Between Sound and Image

241

Emphasizing the Contrast Between Onscreen and Offscreen Space

242

Emphasizing the Difference Between Objective Images and Subjective Sounds

242

Emphasizing the Difference Between Diegetic Details and Non-diegetic Sound

243

Emphasizing the Difference Between Image Time and Sound Time

VII I

244

Contents

Emphasizing Differences in Image Mood and Sound Mood

246

Dialogue

246

Text and Subtext

247

Volume Pitch

245

245

Three Components of Film Sound

248 248

Speech Characteristics

250

Acoustic Qualities

252

Add ressing the Audience: the Voice-Over

253

Sound Effects

254

Functions of Sound Effects

256

Characteristics of Sound Effects

Techniques in Practice: Sound Effects and the Construction of Class 259

in Days of Heaven Music

260 261

Functions of Film Music

264

Five Characteristics of Film Music

Techniques in Practice: Bernard Herrmann's Score and Travis Bickle's 271

Troubled Masculinity in Taxi Driver Summary

273

Film Analysis: Sound and Language

274

Language, Nationality, and Class in The Grand Illusion

9

275

Alternatives to Narrative Fiction Film: Documentary and Avant-garde Films

279

Three Modes of Filmmaking: A Comparison

280

Documentary Film: "The Creative Treatment of Actuality"

286

Documentary Form

287

Voice of Authority

Talking Heads and Director-Participant

287

289

Direct Cinema

Self-reflexive Documentary

290

291

The Mockumentary

291

Ethics and Ethnography

293

Avant-garde Film

294

Surrealist Cinema Abstract Film

296

Techniques in Practice: Interpreting Abstract Films

297

298

The City Symphony Structuralist Film

283

285

Narrative Documentaries

301

The Compilation Film

301

Conducting Research on Documentary and Avant-garde Films: Locating Sources Summary

302 303

Film Analysis: Interpreting Avant-garde Films Analyzing Meshes of the Afternoon Contents

304

304

IX

Part Thre e Cinema and Culture

10

308

Social Context and Film Style

311 312

Hollywood's Industrial Context: The Studio System as Dream Factory

312

Classical Style

314

Economic Practice and Hollywood Convention

315

Censorship and Hollywood Convention

317

American Ideology and Entertainment

318

Reaffirming or Resisting Dominant Ideology

321

International Art Cinema

323

The Ideology of "Art"

325

Italian Neorealism

327

Third Cinema

11

Film and Ideology

331 333

Ideology and Film Analysis

335

Ideology and Film Spectatorship

Anti-Communist W itch Hunts and Hollywood Cinema Racial Ideology and American Cinema

343

Gender and Cinema

346

Sexuality and Cinema

348

D isability and Cinema

12

Film Stardom as a Cultural Phenomenon 359

361

The Star Persona

Stardom and Ideology

366

Stars and Subcultures

368

371

Fan Culture

Genre

373 374

What Makes a Genre? Major American Genres The Western

379

379

Film Noir and the Hard-boiled Detective Film

382

383

The Action Film

The Science Fiction Film The Musical

355

358

Stars and the Movie Industry The Dynamics of Performance

13

337

339

386

389

Genre, Film Production, and Audiences

391

Genre Film and Aesthetic Appeal: Cliche or Strategic Repetition? Genre and the Status Quo

Genres as Culturally Responsive Artifacts Genre and Film Authorship

x

392

393 393

394

Contents

14

Film Authorship

The Idea of the

397

Auteur: From Cahiers du Cinema to the Sarris-Kael

398

Debate

Auteur as Marketing Strategy: Old and New Hollywood Studio-era Auteurs: Welles and Hitchcock 402 Blockbuster Auteurs: Spielberg and Lucas Using the

405

Auteur Approach to Interpret and Evaluate Films

Readings in

407 408

Kathryn Bigelow

409

Ang Lee

411

Wong Kar Wai

412

Jafar Panahi

Cinema as Industry: Economics and Technology

The Changing Structure of the Film Industry From Oligopolies to Conglomerates Horizontal Integration and Synergy Globalization Outsourcing

419

420

Runaway Productions

The Blockbuster

416 418

419

420

Creative Centralization

Films as Products

421 421 422

The High Concept Film Saturation Marketing

422

Independent Film Culture

423

Two Independent Institutions: Sundance and Miramax Film and the New Technology The Rise of the DVD

424

425

426

Film and Digital Technologies

427

432

Glossary Bibliography

Contents

415

416

418

Industry Labor Practices

Index

406

407

Auteur Criticism

Ousmane Sembene

1S

401

439

444

XI

• Film: A Critical Introduction proposes that film is an art form and a cultural insti­

tution worthy of serious intellectual consideration. I t demystifies the process of academic inquiry for students who love movies but may not possess the tools for creating interpretive arguments. Teaching film studies i s more exciting and challenging than ever. New tech­ nologies that make films-and information about films-readily available have produced a flurry of interest in the medium. Viewers can watch DVDs with

Preface

special features and commentary tracks, and they can find information on the Web ranging from official studio sites to reviews by individual fans. The I nter­ net has made even some of the most esoteric, hard-to-find experimental films available to the general public. M oreover, viewer upload sites like YouTube now provide exhibition outlets for every budding filmmaker. Even casual film enthu­ siasts now want to learn how to describe the cinematic techniques used by their favorite directors. Not surprisingly, fil m studies instruction is growing at every educational level. This textbook is designed for students who possess a broad range of infor­ mation but don't have the framework for understanding cinema as an aesthetic and cultural institution. The book provides that framework by focusing on the skills of analysis and argument that are critical t o a n intellectual engagement with the medium. The material helps readers master film techniques and termin­ ology. It highlights research skills and rhetorical strategies, enabling students to build comprehensive, thoughtful interpretations of films. And rather than limit­ ing a discussion of writing to a single chapter, it encourages readers t o build their interpretive skills at the same time that they enhance their knowledge of form, visual style, and sound.

I�� The St ructu re of Th is Book In this Second Edition, the authors have reorganized the chapters in order to foreground and better integrate the book's emphasis on writing instructio n . The book i s divided into three parts. Part One introduces readers to the importance of film analysis, offering helpful strategies for discerning the ways i n w hich films produce meaning. The final chapter i n Part One formally establishes a key aspect of the book's overall focus: the importance of developing interpretive and evalu­ ative skills by constructing written arguments. In Part Two, individual chapters examine the fundamental elements of fil m , including narrative form, mise e n scene, cinematography, editing, sound, a n d alter­ natives to narrative cinema. Each chapter introduces basic terms, techniques, and concepts, then goes much further, showing readers how this information can be used to interpret films. In Chapters 4-9, Techniques in Practice sections model the way that specific details (for example, the choice o f a lens) can be used as the basis for interpreting a scene or film. In addition, end-of-chapter film analyses address one of that chapter's larger topics in relation to a specific film, such as The Grand Illusion, Notorious, Triumph of the Will, and Meshes of the A fternoon .

Part Three introduces readers to critical frameworks that foregrou n d t h e way in which cinema functions as a cultural institution. I n dividual chapters move

XII

beyond textual analysis to consider the relationship between film and society, exploring subjects such as stardom, genre, ideology, and the contemporary film industry. Part Three offers readers access to current theoretical debates about film in cultural, historical, and economic contexts.

S peci al Featu res Techniques in Practice sections in Chapters 4-9 use key concepts and film tech­

niques to analyze and interpret a scene, a film, or several films. These sections reinforce the idea that the ultimate goal of mastering definitions and concepts, and paying close attention to details, is to formulate rich interpretations. Inset boxes in Chapters 4-8 help students u nderstand the filmmaking process,

including industry personnel and trades. Film A nalysis end-of-chapter essays in Chapters 2 and 4-9 address a broad topic

area of the chapter (for example, setting) in a carefully developed analysis of one or two films. Sidebars draw attention to rhetorical strategies, demystifying the process by which writers move from gathering details to generating ideas and organizing an argument. Samples of published film scholarship and criticism throughout Part Three illus­

trate important modes of inquiry in film studies (for example, genre criticism) and familiarize readers with the conceptual and rhetorical diversity of writing about film. Works Consulted lists at the ends o f chapters point students to possibilities for

further researc h . Relevant examples from a wide variety of films engage the reader's interest

without sacrificing intellectual rigor. While the book focuses on narrative film­ making, it also offers in-depth discussions and analyses of avant-garde and documentary films, and features a nu mber of important narrative films made outside Hollywood. A n extensive glossary defines the terms discussed in each chapter. An expanded selection of color stills throughout the text. Expanded coverage of film history and film genres, including the musical, film nair, action, and horror. Updated coverage of technology and industry issues.

S u p plements I nstructor's Manual and Test Bank

by Maria T. Pramaggiore, North Carolina State

University, Tom Wallis, North Carolina State University, and Nancy McVittie, North Carolina State University

This detailed I nstructor's Manual contains learning objectives for each chapter, chapter outlines, discussion questions, and skills development activities that illustrate the concepts and principles of the main text. I n addition, the Test Bank

Preface

XIII

portion of the manual contains n umerou s multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the blank, and essay questions. TestGen

EQ: Computerized Test Bank

The printed Test Bank is also available in a computerized format. The u s er­ friendly interface enables instructors to view, edit, and add questions, trans fer questions into tests, and print tests in a variety o f fonts. Search and sort features allow instructors to locate questions quickly and arrange them in preferred order. Available for download through our I nstructor's Resource Center, at www.ablongman.com/irc. PowerPoint Presentation Package

by Maria T. Pramaggiore, North Carolina

State University, and Tom Wallis, North Carolina State University

This text-specific package consists of a collection of lecture o u tl ines and graphic images keyed to every chapter in the text. Available o n the Web at www.ablong man. com/irc. A&B Film Study Site, accessed at www.abfilmstudies.com

This website features film study materials for students, including flashcards and a complete set of practice tests for all major topics. Students will also find web links to valuable sites for further exploration of major topics.

�ID Acknowledgments Writing this book would have been impossible without the support, input, and energy of many, many other people. We are grateful for the insights offered by film studies col­ leagues at North Carolina State University and elsewhere, and especially Joe Gomez, Jim Morrison, Andrea Mensch, Marsha and Devin Orgeron, Jans Wager, Diane Negra, Krin Gabbard, and Nancy McVittie. We were lucky to work with knowledgeable and supportive editors at Laurence King Publishing and Allyn and Bacon, especially Lee Greenfield, Richard Mason, Karon Bowers, Jenny Lupica, and Jeanne Zalesky. Thanks again to Karen Dubno, Matthew Taylor, Molly Taylor, Michael Kish, and Suzanne Stradley for helping to usher in the first edition of this project. We were amazed by T im Nicholson's feats of image acquisition and his unflap­ pable good humor as he managed to turn the process of obtaining picture permissions into an art form in itself. We also thank Nick Newton and Randell Harris for transforming our prosaic text and hard-won images into an aesthetically pleasing whole. To Todd Platt: Thank you for sharing your seemingly boundless DV D library. To Beth Hardin and Chris Barrett: T hank you for all of your tech (and emotional) support. To our adopted family-the entire cast of characters at the Player's Retreat, including Todd Morgan, Deborah Wyrick, Andrea Gomez, Leila May, Don Palmer, Robert McMillan, Steve Luyendyk, Dave Luyendyk, and Steve Edelstein-we couldn't have done it without you. Thanks especially to Millie and Frank Wallis, and to Alfred Pramaggiore, whose love of cinema and unflagging courage remained undiminished in the last year of his life. Finally, we would like to thank the readers whose constructive feedback was invalu­ able as we revised this book: Anthony Bleach, East Carolina University; Brad Chisholm, St. Cloud State University; Roberta Jill Craven, Millenville University; Sharon Johnson, Wake Technical Community College; Robert Jordan, San Diego City College; Michael Donaghe, Eastern New Mexico University; Kristine Trever, Wayne State University; and Bryan Vescio, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. Maria Pramaggiore and Tom Wallis

XIV

January 2007

Preface

Picture Credits Grateful acknowledgment is extended for use of the following

Century Fox & Miramax Films; 6.6, 6.7 c 1981 Viscount Associ·

Contemporary Films Limited; 7.62. 7.63 CI Paramount Pictures

images. Every effort has been made to trace and contact all film

ates. All Rights Reserved: 6.8 10 2000 DreamWorks LLC & Univer­

Corporation. AU Rights Reserved; 7.64-7.67 c ABC, Inc. All Rights

studios and copyright holders. The publishers apologize for any

sal Studios Licensing LLLP; 6.9 CO Univers.11 Pictures Company,

Reserved; 8.1 10 2006 Universal City SlUdios, Inc. Courtesy of Uni­

Inc.: 6.10. 6.11 Courtesy of Miramax Films & Initial Entertainment

versal Studios licenSing LLP; 8.2 Courtesy of Python Monty Pic·

Disney Enterprises, Inc.; 6.14 C 2001 'I\vellli­

tures Limited; 8.7 () 1960 Shamley Productions, Inc.. & Universal

unintentional omissions or errors and will be pleased to insert the .1ppropriate acknowledgmcllI in any subsequent edition of this book.

Group. [nc.: 6.13

I!)

eth Century Fox; 6.1610 1940 Turner Entertainment Co. A Warner

Studios Licensing LLLP; 8.8 Courtes�' of Lions Gate Entertain· ment; 8.9 Courtesy of Tar