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Film Analysis

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Textual Analysis in Film

Camera Analysis ← Composition ← Framing ← Camera Height ← Angle of view ← Depth of field ← Choice of lens

Mise en Scene Film Analysis questions

← Dominant: Where is our eye attracted first? Why? ← ← Lighting Key: High Key? Low Key? High Contrast? Some combination of these?

← ← Shot and Camera Proxemics: What Type of shot? How Far away is the camera from the action? ← ← Angle:Are we ( and the camera) looking up or down on the subject? or is the camera neutral (eye level)?

← ← Color values: What is the dominant color? Are there contrasting foils? Is there color symbolism? ← ← Lens/ Filter/ Stock: How do there distort or comment on the photographed materials?

← ← Subsidiary contrasts: What are the main eye-stops after taking in the dominant? ← ← Density: How much visual information is packed into the image? Is the texture stark, moderate, or highly detailed? ← Composition: How is the two dimensional space segmented and organized? What is the underlying design? ← ← Form: Open or closed? does the image suggest a window that arbirarily isolatees a fragment of the scene? or a proscenium arch, in the visual elements are carefully arranged and held in balance?

← ← Framing: Tight or loose? Do the characters have no room to move around, or can they move freely without impediments?

Editing Analysis-

← How much cutting is there and why?

← Are the shoots highly fragmented or relatively lengthy?

← What is the point of the cutting in each scene? To clarify? TO stimulate? To lyricize? To create suspense? To explore an idea or emotion in depth? ← ← Does the cutting seem manipulative or are we left to interpret the images on our own?

← What kind of rhythm does the editing establish with each scene?

← Is the personality of the filmmaker apparent in the cutting or is the presentation of shots relatively objective and functional?

← Is editing a major language system of the movie or does the film artist relegate cutting to a relatively minor fraction? ← What style of editing does the clip represent and why?

← Sequence shot / Cutting to continuity / Classical Cutting /Thematic Montage/ Abstract

Motion Analysis

← Does the director keep the camera close to the action thus emphasizing motion? Or does he or she deemphasize movement through the use of longer shots, high angles, and slow-paced action? ← ← ← Are the movements in a scene naturalistic or stylized? Lyrical or disorienting?

← ← What are the symbolic implications of such mechanical distortions as fast and slow motion, freeze frames, and animation?

← The director has dozens of ways to convey motion, and what differentiates a great director from a merely competent one is not so much a matter of what happens, but how things happen- how suggestive and resonant are the movements in a given dramatic context? Or, how effectively does the form of the movement embody its content?

Sound Analysis ← How is sound orchestrated in each scene? ← ← Is the sound distorted? Why?

← ← Is the edited down and simplified or dense and complex? ← ← Is there ant symbolism in the use of sound?

← ← Does the film employ repeated motifs? ← ← How is silence used?

← ← What type of musical score does the film feature? ← ← Is the score original or derived from outside sources?

← ← What types of instruments are used? How many? A full Orchestra? A small combo? A solo instrument? Or was it all Synthesized? ← ← Is music used to underline speech or is it employed only for action scenes? Or not at all?

← ← How is language used? Is the dialogue spare and functional? Or “literary” and richly textured? ← ← Does everyone speak the standard dialect or are there regional accents?

← ← How does dialogue correlate with class?

← What about the subtext, the emotional implications beneath the dialogue? ← ← How do we know what characters want if they don’t talk about it?

← ← What about the language choice? Any fancy words? Swearing or coarse expressions? ← ← Is there a voice-over narrator? Why was he or she chosen to narrate the story? Why not another character?

Acting Analysis

← What type of actors are featured and why- amateurs, professionals, or popular stars? ← ← How are actors treated by the directors- as camera material or as artistic collaborators?

← ← How manipulative is the editing? Or are the actors allowed to recite their dialogue without lots of cuts? ← ← Does the film highlight the stars or does the director encourage ensemble playing?

← ← What about the star’s iconography? Does he or she embody certain cultural values or does the star change radically from film to film, thus preventing iconographic buildup? ← ← If the star is highly iconographic, what does he or she embody?

← ← How does the cultural information function within the world of the movie?

← What style of acting predominates? How realistic or stylized is the acting style? ← ← Why were these actors cast? What do they bring to them to enhance their characters?

Costume Analysis ← Period. What era does the costume fall into? Is it accurate reconstruction? If not, why? ← ← Class. What apparent income level of the person wearing the costume?

← ← Sex. Does a woman’s costume emphasize her femininity or is it neutral or masculine? Does a man’s costume emphasize his virility or is it fussy or effeminate? ← ← Age. Is the costume appropriate to the character’s age or is it deliberately too youthful, dowdy, or old-fashioned?

← ← Silhouette. Is the costume formfitting or loose and baggy? ← ← ← Fabric. Is the material coarse, sturdy, and plain or sheer and delicate?

← ← Accessories. Does the costume include jewelry, hats, canes, and other accessories? What kind of shoes?

← Color. What are the symbolic implications of the colors? Are they “hot” or “cool”? Subdued or bright? Solids or patterns?

← Body exposure. How much of the body is revealed or concealed? The more body revealed the more erotic the costume.

← Function. Is the costume meant for leisure or work? Is it meant to impress by its beauty and splendor, or is it merely utilitarian?

← Body Attitude. What about the wearer’s posture? Proud and tall? Or caved in and embarrassed? ← ← ← Image. What is the over all impression that the costume creates- sexy, constricting, boring, gaudy, conventional, eccentric, prim, cheap looking, elegant? ← Story Analysis ← - Narration. Who’s telling the story? Is it a voice-over narrator? Why him or her? Or does the story “tell itself,” like most plays? ← ← - Who’s the implied narrator of such stories, the guiding hand in the arrangement of the narrative’s separate parts?

← ← - What do the spectators supply to the story? ← ← - What information do we provide in order to fill the narrative gaps?

← ← - How is time presented- chronologically or subjectively rearranged through flashback ad other narrative disjunctions? Is it realistic, classical, or formalistic? ← ← - What genre, if any? What phase of the genre’s evolution?

← ← - What does the movie say about the social context and period that it was made in? ← ← - What does the narrative embody mythical concepts or universal human traits?


Writing Analysis

← How “literary” is the film? ← ← Is there emphasis on lengthy speeches, verbal wit or adroitness, talky scenes?

← ← How articulate are the characters? If not how do we get to know what’s bothering them? ← ← Who contributed what to the screenplay?

← ← Is the dialogue stylized or does it aim to sound like realistic speech? ← ← ← Does the movie contain any figurative tropes: motifs, symbols, or metaphors? How do these how does these deepen and enrich the movie? Or, do they?

← ← Who’s point of view is this film told from?

← What kind of rapport does the narrator establish with us? Is the movie is a literary adaptation, is it loose, faithful or literal?

Ideology- ← 1.In analyzing a film’s ideology, we need to determine its degree of explicitness. If the values are implicit, how do we differentiate the good guys from the bad?

← Do the stars embody ideological values or were the actors cast precisely because they don’t convey a ready-made set of moral assumptions?

← ← Are the cinematic techniques ideologically weighted – the mise en scene, the editing, costumes, décor, dialects? ← ← Is the protagonist a spokesperson for the filmmaker? How do you know?

← ← Is the protagonist primarily a leftist, centrist, or rightist? ← ← What cultural values are embodied in the film?

← ← What role – if any – does religion play? ← ← Are there any ethnic values present?

← ← What about sexual politics? How are women portrayed? ← ← Are there any gay characters?

← ← Does the movie adhere to the genre’s usual conventions or are they subverted?

← What is the film’s tone?

← Does the tone reinforce or mock the values of the characters?

BACKGROUND

Who is the writer of the film? Has the screenplay been adapted from another work?

Who is the director?

When was the film made?

STRUCTURE / FORM

What does the title mean in relation to the film as a whole?

How are the opening credits presented? Do they relate to meaning?

Why does the film start in the way that it does?

Are there any motifs (scenes, images) of dialogue which are repeated? What purpose do they serve?

What three or four sequences are most important in the film? Why?

Is sound used in any vivid ways either to enhance the film? (i.e. Enhance drama, heighten tension, disorient the viewer, etc.)

How does the film use color or light/dark to suggest tone and mood in different scenes?

Are there any striking uses of perspective (seeing through a character's eyes, camera angle, etc.) How does this relate to the meaning of the scene?

How and when are scenes cut? Are there any patterns in the way the cuts function?

What specific scene constitutes the film's climax? How does this scene resolve the central issue of the film?

Does the film leave any disunities (loose ends) at the end? If so, what does it suggest?

Why does the film conclude on this particular image?

THEME

How does this film relate to the issues and questions evoked by your topic?

Does the film present a clear point-of-view on your topic? How?

Are there any aspects of theme which are left ambiguous at the end? Why?

How does this film relate to the other literary texts you have read on your topic (or in class this year or on your own)?

Film Review Guidelines

Paragraph 1: Offer your overall impression of the film while mentioning the movie's title, director, and key actors.

Paragraph 2: Summarize the plot of the film

Paragraph 3: How did the actors portray key character roles? Did they fulfill your expectations given your knowledge of the original novel or play (if one exists)?

Paragraph 4: Were any particular film techniques used in key scenes? How did the film techniques anmd music enhance the setting and themes of the film? You may need two paragraphs to explain this information.

Paragraph 5: Address how well the film represents the novel or play. Offer evidence for your opinion. Remember to mention use of symbols and literary devices. Do they "transfer" from the novel/play into the movie well?

Paragraph 6: Ending paragraph--your last opportunity to guide the reader. Offer a clincher that tells the reader to attend the film or not.

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