Generic Conventions of Short Films

Topics: Feature film, Short film, Low-angle shot Pages: 5 (1867 words) Published: October 12, 2011
The history of cinema began with short films which were made before the appearance of feature films. Since then, short films experienced a difficult period surviving along with feature films until the mid 40s when double feature films became popular. In the 1950s short films had found a new place thanks to a rise of television. In the modern era, short films refer to “short subjects” and are made by independent film-makers with abundant themes. . “The furniture” is an Independent Lens Online Shorts Festival winner made by filmmaker Tyler Measom. The short is a “dark comedy” of “a disturbed man who confronts the demons of loneliness and the universal fear of ... furniture”. “In the name of God” is made by Hamed Nobari was selected as one of the Depict!-"The UK's most important short film festival"(The Guardian) 2008 winners. This short film is about a pupil's belief in religion in the Middle East. “The Gravitation” is one of the Depict! 2009 winners made by Michael Lockshin which is about the problems of men in modern society. As well as “The Gravitation”, “The Sleepy Astronaut” is also one of the winners which was made by filmmaker William Westaway. The short film tells a story of a careful and hark-working wife and her lazy husband. Short films can not be classified based on common elements such as iconography (recognisable common images or icons), style( camera angles and editing), setting (locations and time periods), mode of address and characters ( heroes and villains). The short film makers come from different places in the world therefore they have different cultural competencies. Short films are made by independent filmmakers and are low-budget so the production values will be different. For example, low key lighting can be considered a common style but it is caused by the low-budgets, therefore style can not be applied. The significant locations and time periods can also not be found because of different cultural competencies. The filmmakers try to express different ideologies so the mode of address will be different. For example in “The Gravitation” the mode of address would be direct when the woman speaks to the audiences in the end while other shorts use indirect modes of address. The length of short films is too short so the character functions and their relationships can not be constructed. Neither heroes nor villains can be found in “The furniture”, “The Gravitation” and “The sleepy astronaut”. However, modern short films use recognizable narrative structures to explore several subjects relevant to society. Short films raise a lot of enigmas. The enigmas in short film raise curiosity from the audiences, making them question the narrative so that they will focus on the main values and messages. In “The furniture”, the audiences would be curious about “what is the man scared of?” or “how will they kill him?”. They know that the furniture can not kill the patient so they will focus on his state of mind hence his loneliness will be strengthened. In “In the name of god”, the enigma is raised:“what is inside the pupil's hand?”. The audiences then will focus on the pupil's hand since they were curious. When it is revealed later, the audiences will be surprised by the phrase “In the name of God” because it is unusual, therefore the ideologies of believing in God is expressed more effectively. In “Gravitation”, the audiences would like to know “what will happen to the men?” or “why are they being put next to each other?”. The audiences can question and compare the men in the short so in the end, the consequences of using alcohol, drugs or sex will be represented. There are also enigmas in “The sleepy astronaut”: “who does the wife cook for?”; “why does she have to be so careful?”. Through narrative codes, the enigmas represent the personalities of the wife and the laziness of the husband. It can be seen that that enigmas play an important role in the narrative of these shorts, they “work together to suggest what...
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