Economic C A P I T A L C O M M O D I T Y

Film stars have not always been with us. Prior to 1910 actors' names did not appear in film credits or publicity as it was felt that they might demand higher fees. Instead, the spectacle, technology and story of the film were promoted. It soon became clear, however, that films which named the 'featured players' were more successful with audiences, and during the period from 1915 to 1920 the importance of the actor was more widely appreciated. The Famous Players Company and the introduction of...

Censorship in the United Kingdom

At present, film and video are regulated (and in some cases censored) by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) - an independent, non-governmental body, funded by charging for the service it provides to the film industry. Although the BBFC gives the certificate for a film, any local authority has statutory power to overrule its decisions. Local authorities generally accept the Board's decisions, except on rare occasions such as when Westminster Council, for example, refused to allow...

Japanese Cinema

The history of Japanese cinema is in fact longer than that of Hollywood. The first studios were built in 1905 and soon led to a studio system very similar to that in the United States. While from the 1920s Hollywood had its 'Big 5', in Japan the two biggest studios (Nikkatsu and Shochiku) were joined in the 1930s by Toho to create the 'Big 3'. As in the USA, from a very early stage the industry was vertically integrated. While in the USA early films portrayed vaudeville acts and began to...

Exercise

Discuss how far an actor's performance alone generates meaning. You may wish to consider the roles of the director and the casting director as well as the actor's acting ability. Although stars belong to the raw material from which films are made and are part of the labour force that produces a film, they are distinguished from the rest of the crew by their image. The image of a star is vitally important to the film industry, as the star is used to market and publicize a film as an enticement...

Brief History of UK Cinemagoing

In 40 years UK cinema attendance has changed dramatically (see Table 3.1). The peak point of cinema attendance was 1946 when there were 1,635 million admissions, representing 31.5m people going once a week. By 1984, however, cinema attendance had sunk to a post-war low of 54m (over 70 per cent of the population had not been to see a film once that year ). What happened over these years to change a nation's leisure habits Those who went to the cinema in 1946 were mostly working-class, urban and...

Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick UK

2001 is a film that celebrates space, science and technology while also warning of what could happen if we lose control of such technology. In the film, HAL, the spaceship's central computer, takes over control of the spaceship from the crew. The space technology ends up inadvertently enabling the surviving astronaut to gain an insight into the nature of existence after an encounter with a form of extra-terrestrial. The film, like its source book, speculates on the origins of life, on the...

Alternative Cinema and Other Film Styles

Avant-garde and Structural-materialist film 286 We looked in Chapter 8 at how some films, such as those of counter-cinema, stand apart from mainstream entertainment cinema in their partial or total refusal of narrative conventions and commercial film techniques. In this final chapter we shall briefly consider some other groups of films - some bigger than others - which in their different ways have challenged dominant film conventions.

Alternatives to Cutting

Other techniques can be used at the editing stage to create a seamless unity for the film, whose narrative will usually contain many scenes within the overall story. If scenes were edited straight up against each other, then the transition from one to another could be confusing. The usual convention is to use a fade to black and a fade from black to end and begin a scene. Fades are introduced during the editing stage. Dissolves and wipes are often used too one shot gradually gives way to...

An Overview Of British Cinema

One of Britain's first film-makers was Birt Acres, who began by making actuality films, one of which was Rough Sea at Dover (1895). G.A. Smith tended more towards short stories such as Grandma's Reading Glass (1900). Experimentation was an important element in early British films and both Cecil Hepworth (Explosion of a Motor Car, 1900) and James Williamson (The Big Swallow, 1901) developed a range of special effects for their early films, which tended to be comedies (see Chapter 7 on Early...

Avantgarde And Structuralmaterialist Film

The avant-garde of any art form, be it literature, painting or film, is concerned with stretching the limits of the medium. In theoretical terms, this perhaps places such artists close to the formalists (among them Eisenstein and Arnheim) who felt that film could only be 'art' if it made maximum use of its possibilities to use sequences of photographic images to manipulate space and time rather than to try to reflect 'reality'. Many early avant-garde film-makers were thus concerned with film as...

Barthes Codes and the Opening Minutes of Scream

The credit sequence of any film already activates the codes and influences the viewer's understanding of the narrative, and Scream is no exception. The lurid lettering of the title, the scream, metallic (knife) sounds and heartbeat on the soundtrack instantly appeal to cultural knowledge of the horror genre REF code . We may also (unconsciously ) register the colours used in the title lettering red, white and blue the colours of the US flag REF and SYM codes . As with most titles, there are...

Blade Runner Ridley Scott USA

Blade Runner is set in Los Angeles in 2019. Replicants (robots androids that look human but have superhuman abilities) have escaped and are to be hunted down by Deckard (Harrison Ford). There are points in the film when we are encouraged to wonder whether in fact the replicants are more humane than the humans. The replicants are denied the right to live as long as humans through a built-in life expectancy of four years however, at the end of the film the last replicant, Roy, catches Deckard but...

British Culture

The institutional approach to British cinema clearly leads us towards some important observations about Britain's film industry in terms of finance and ownership, but the cultural approach is also useful in providing an understanding of British cinema, although the emphasis is on the films themselves rather than the industry. The British Film Institute's annual review of the film industry provides five categories of British films, all of which refer to elements of finance and production...

Camera and Projection Systems

In 1893 Thomas Edison had unveiled his Kinetoscope moving image system, as developed by W.K.L. Dickson. Edison is also believed to have built the first film studio (called the 'Black Maria'), with sections in the roof to let in light and with the whole building revolving in order to be able to follow the sun. Edison's method of screening films only catered for individual viewers, though, and as such was not a projection system. Other equipment designs were developed in 1896 in Britain and the...

Camera Angle

Camera angle provides another means of producing different meanings. Normally the camera angle is horizontal and at eye level we usually communicate with each other at something approximating eye level and subconsciously expect to relate to the characters in films in the same way. However, high and low camera angles can be used too. A high camera angle can be useful for providing a general overview of a situation. A low camera angle may be required because of the position of a character in...

Censorship in Hollywood

In the United States, the Constitution and the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech, protect film. However, individual states can censor films if they are 'obscene' and classify them if it is felt they may harm children. Initially, the National Board of Censorship was set up in 1909 to pass films as suitable for exhibition, whether censored or uncut. Unlike the BBFC it did not classify films as suitable for particular audiences. In 1922, however, following growing public concern about...

Certification Classification

Before a film can be screened to a paying audience in Britain it is a legal requirement that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) classifies it. In the United States there is a similar rating system which, although not a legal requirement, makes it unlikely that a film will be screened without a certificate (for more on this process see the section on Regulation and Censorship below). Certification is important when targeting an audience since it will determine the age of the...

Cgi

It was not until the 1980s, however, that computer technology had advanced sufficiently to allow film-makers to incorporate wholly computer-generated imagery into their films. Disney's Tron (1982) was the first film to combine live-action footage with 3D CGI, which took up a total of five minutes of screen time. The film both used and reflected upon this use of CGI, as its protagonist was a computer whizz-kid trapped inside his computer. Although the film's mise en sc ne was relatively...

Characters and Actions

While the events within a narrative may well catch our attention, action on its own is unlikely to be enough to carry us all the way through a film. The number of films based primarily on action may have increased in recent years, but characters are usually required to involve us fully in a film. This is partly because most actions are initiated by characters anyway, but also because as human beings we tend to link into a film much more easily through the representation of other human beings...

Choosing Films

According to the Film Policy Review Group (FPRG, 1998), 'Film is regarded by the audience as the most complete story-telling medium watching an enjoyable film is still one of the most satisfying, absorbing and appealing forms of entertainment' but how do audiences decide what films to see A survey of UK cinema-going habits conducted by the FRPG in the 1990s showed that cinemagoers were rather cautious when choosing films, tending to avoid those they might not like. As there is a large choice of...

Cinema Audiences and Society

The relationship between films and their viewers is central to Film Studies. ' I t is through the existence of an audience that film acquires social and cultural importance' (Jostein Gripsrud, quoted in Hill and Church Gibson (1999), p. 203). It is precisely because of this powerful relationship that the film industry has been subject to censorship and regulation from its earliest days. Similarly, there has been an interest in the impact that a film has upon its audience from the turn of the...

Cinema the Media and Globalization

Ownership of the Major Studios 62 Media Conglomerate Strategies 65 As a study of film, this book focuses on films as texts that communicate meanings, audiences as consumers of films, and cinema as an industry that produces films. This chapter is concerned with issues of ownership and power within cinema, while also placing the latter in the wider context of the media as a global phenomenon. What has become known as 'the media' consists of a number of industries including television, radio,...

Cognitive Approaches

Since around 1990 a number of writers (principally North American and most notably David Bordwell and Noel Carroll) have contested the apparent dominance of so-called 'Screen Theory' (named after the British film journal), of which semiology, psychoanalysis and ideology were important components. Indeed, the hostility of many of the critiques of 1970s theory has led some to refer to the new approaches as 'Anti-theory'. The title of the book edited by Bordwell and Carroll, Post Theory (1996), is...

Composition

Having selected all the above elements for inclusion in a shot, the director then has to place them as required. The arrangement of elements within a shot is known as composition. Symmetrical composition places elements of a similar shape and size in similar positions on either side of the shot. Asymmetrical composition achieves an overall balance by having each side of the shot generally equate with the other in terms of areas of visual significance. A balanced composition is usually regarded...

Computer And Digital Technology

Unlike most of the technologies considered in this chapter, computer and digital processes are relatively new developments. But as for the other technologies, their adoption by the film industry has involved a combination of commercial and aesthetic considerations. Digital technologies have provided the means for creating new and different special effects images through computer generated imagery (CGI) (it should be noted that the initials are also used to refer to 'computer graphic interface'...

Concentration Of Ownership

Continued horizontal integration would ultimately result in one company monopolizing a particular industry. However, it is unlikely that this will happen in the film industry, if only because anti-monopoly legislation should prevent such a development - though it is worth bearing in mind that, as we have seen, legislation preventing vertical integration was eventually repealed. Although the film industry is not monopolised by one company, it can certainly be described as an oligopoly, an...

Conclusion

It can certainly be argued that the distinctions drawn here between Classical Hollywood Narrative and alternative forms are less clear than they once were. According to Richard Maltby, following the collapse of the classical Hollywood Studio System and the need for innovation during the spread of television in the 1950s, the following two decades (from 1960 to 1980) saw a considerable loosening of the Classical Narrative conventions as they have been outlined in the above pages, a loosening...

Conclusion Summary

Mhe cinema is the work of a single man, the director A film is what you write on the screen. (Orson Welles, quoted in Wollen, 1969, p. 26) This chapter will examine the role of the director in relation to the complex structure of finance, production, genre and stars. In particular, it will look at the influence of the Cahiers du cin ma articles in which Jean-Luc Godard, Fran ois Truffaut and others developed their 'politique des auteurs' and the subsequent application of these ideas to...

Context

What must not be ignored in explaining the success of the studio system is the context within which the films were made and consumed. It must be remembered that between the years 1929 and 1949 the United States underwent a series of traumas the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. In 1929 the Stock Market crashed, plunging millions of Americans into poverty. Banks were closed, farms were ruined, and many lost their jobs in the subsequent depression, the...

Crosscutting

Cross-cutting is an invaluable editing technique and is commonly used for building suspense. It consists of editing together shots of events in different locations which are expected eventually to coincide with each other. We shall look in Chapter 10 at the way omniscient narration can build suspense by providing an overview of different areas of action, and cross-cutting is the realization of such a narrative approach. At the end of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) we are aware that...

Crossing the line see degree rule

Cut This has two related meanings it describes the end of a filmed take (as when a director calls out 'cut '). It also describes a simple transition between two shots which have been edited together. cutaway shot A shot inserted between other shots in a scene which is not directly related to the scene. deep focus Everything within a shot is in focus, from foreground to background (compare with shallow focus). denotation The direct and literal meaning of an image, sound or word, depth of field...

Cult Films

Finally, and at the very last to stray a little from the beaten path, there is a body of films (ill-defined to be sure) which has recently become a focus for study, perhaps partly because the significance of these films rests less in their own qualities than in the ways they have been used by their audiences. Cult films may be defined by the passionate devotion they inspire, by fans' obsessive and encyclopaedic knowledge of such films and of their plots, by ritualistic viewings sometimes...

Cultural Studies

If uses and gratifications approaches were not so evident in Film Studies, this was due partly to the continuing sway of so-called 'Screen Theory', but also to the emergence in the 1980s of Cultural Studies, an approach which sought to transform 'Screen Theory' in combining it with more sociological methods, for example those emerging from the work of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham. The first issue of the journal Cultural Studies in 1987 thus carried the following...

D

3D, whereby the three-dimensional illusion of depth is created by making the foreground stand out in relation to the other planes of the image, was experimented with as early as the 1920s. It did not take off, however, until the 1950s, when Hollywood used the technology as a further ploy to draw audiences away from their TV sets and back into the cinemas. In 1952, 3D projection called Natural Vision was introduced with Arch Obeler's Bwana Devil, and 69 Natural Vision films were made by the end...

Decline Of The Studio System

In 1949, the studio system began to decline as a result of a number of interrelated factors Divorcement in 1948 effectively ended vertical integration as the US courts required the 'Big Five' studios to divorce production and distribution from exhibition because the practice broke anti-trust laws this brought to an end the oligopoly of the studio era. In the 1940s the studios had already agreed to end other restrictive practices such as block booking and blind selling. The huge demand for films...

Director of photography see cinematographer

Dissolve A transition from one shot to another by fading out the first shot as the second shot fades in. DVD Digital versatile disc. A method of storing audio, video and computer data which is now replacing the use of magnetic tape. dystopia A future world that would be an unpleasant place to live in the opposite of a Utopia. editing Selecting the required takes from the filmed shots, arranging them in the required order and joining them together. ellipsis A narrative jump in time. The time not...

Documentary Film

When we think of film we usually have in mind works of fiction, which indeed account for the vast majority of films yet the birth of cinema was heralded by documentary, a form which has been with us ever since. The simplest definition of documentary, as film of unmanipu-lated reality, can easily be picked apart, but here we propose to simply provide brief snapshots of some important documentary moments. There are many types of documentary film and they serve different functions. The Lumi re...

Dogme

A small but important recent example of 'alternative' film-making emerged in 1995 when a small group of Danish directors launched a manifesto entitled 'Dogme 95'. The group's self-imposed 'vows of chastity' are given in Figure 15.7. Though the 'manifesto' was clearly at least partly a publicity stunt, it did result in a number of films which generated a great deal of debate and which have led some other film-makers to reconsider their methods. In addition to making the cult-destined Kingdom...

Early British Films

Britain also had its share of film pioneers and experimenters. One of the earliest British films was Rough Sea at Dover, made by Birt Acres in 1895. It contained a static long shot of Dover harbour during a storm and was impressive for its primitive recording of movement. G.A. Smith's Grandma's Reading Glass (1900) broke new ground in the techniques used. The film shows a boy borrowing his grandma's magnifying glass and looking at various objects. The film was interesting in that the action was...

Early Cinema and Film Form

When film emerged in 1895 as a new form of communication, there was little idea of what its future might hold. It was unclear how it might be used, what its purpose should be and how people would react to it. In effect, film production was an experiment. Audiences were certainly amazed by the new phenomenon but film-makers wondered how long its novelty value would last. We now know, of course, that film has become a global industry. Cinema is a central part of our lives and over time a range of...

Edwin S Porter

To return to the United States, another film that broke new ground in the methods used to tell a narrative was Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery (1903). A gang of outlaws rob a train a telegraph operator alerts the sheriff, who rounds up a posse to track down the outlaws. The innovation was in the use of cross-cutting when the film shows the outlaws robbing the train but then cuts to the telegraph operator sending a message. We assume he is trying to alert someone to the robbery. At...

Effects of the Politique

The discovery of common strands - both thematic and stylistic - in a director's work is rather more complex than it may seem here. In the 1970s and beyond, psychoanalytic theory and semiology were used to carry out many detailed analyses of the work of Hitchcock and many other directors (see Further Reading for this chapter and for Chapter 12) and to explore their contributions as auteurs. By contrast, other directors were praised for their mastery of the filmic art of storytelling, but were...

Experimentation

Early cinema had no conventions it was all about experimentation. Once the obvious visual possibilities of film had been recognized, some film-makers began to realize the further potential of the medium. The emphasis on recording the real world gradually gave way to attempts at creating the impossible on film. We have already seen examples of this in Melies' work he was a professional magician and was already skilled in creating illusions. As noted above, Melies used stop motion, using editing...

Eyeline Match

Conversations, and for that matter any interaction between characters, will usually also require an eye-line match in order to maintain continuity between edits. If character A is in a chair looking up at character B who is standing, when we cut to a close up of character A s he should still be looking up, even if character B is out of shot - and vice versa for a close up of character B. In other words, the direction of a character's gaze needs to be matched to the position of the object they...

Feminist Film

Throughout the history of film, as of the other arts, the vast majority of those associated with the medium have been men. In part this is simply a reflection of a patriarchal culture which guards male privilege and allows women into film only as objects of the gaze (see pp. 213-14 above) perhaps, though, the technical complexity of film (and indeed of more recent developments via video, CGI and DVD) has also reinforced the idea of 'toys for boys'. The vast majority of computer enthusiasts are...

Film Consumption

We know that people watch films and that films have audiences. An audience is essential to the continuing production of films, as that is where profits are made and initial investments are recouped. But what is an audience and what do we actually know about audiences First, a warning the concept of the audience is slippery, shapeless, evasive, and rather hard to define, but we can distinguish the audience from the spectator. Where the spectator is an individual, the audience is a collection of...

Film Finance

Using this approach to determine the national characteristics of a film results in The Full Monty being classified as only partly British as its finance was supplied by 20th Century Fox. Similarly, Chariots of Fire, despite looking every inch a British film, was in fact mainly financed from the USA and Egypt. We might also imagine that the Bond films are British because of the nationality of their hero, the nationality of much of the production staff and the location of many of the storylines,...

Film Technology

Technology, Industry and Audience 75 The Camera 76 Sound 78 Colour 80 Deep Field Photography 81 Projection Technologies 82 Computer and Digital Technology 85 The Future 89 Summary 90 In this chapter we shall focus on the ways in which film as a specific form of communication requires technology. In Chapter 7 on Early Cinema and Film Form, we shall examine the emergence of photography, the development of the zoetrope and its provision of the first moving images. Here we shall trace the main...

Filmmakers and Psychoanalysis

A perhaps surprisingly large number of films have been 'touched' by psychoanalytic ideas these can be identified principally in three historical periods. First, some European 'art' and avant-garde films of the 1920s and 1930s were made within or influenced by the 'Surrealist movement', for which techniques for exposing the unconscious directly in art were central. The most important films - which are still remarkable to behold - were The Andalusian Dog (Un chien andalou, Luis Bunuel and...

Films for Victory

The Second World War was soon to have a huge impact on the British film industry, on both feature and documentary cinema. The GPO Film Unit came under the control of the Ministry of Information and the Unit made documentaries that aimed to strengthen the war effort and maintain morale. London Can Take It (Watt, 1940) documented London during the Blitz and illustrated how Londoners coped with the nightly bombing raids by German planes. The Ministry of Information also co-financed some feature...

Free Agents

The ending of studio contracts for creative personnel in the early 1950s meant that important stars, directors, writers and other talent could now negotiate their own deals with the production companies. Increasingly, agents negotiated deals with studios on behalf of individuals, thus ending the restrictive contracts of the studio system. The most powerful talent agencies today are the Creative Artists Agency, the William Morris Agency, International Creative Management and MCA. The end of the...

Genre

Genre as Repetition and Difference 174 Film Genre, Image and Sound 177 Film Genre, Industry and Audience 183 Film Genre, Society and History 184 Contemporary Film Genres and Postmodernism 187 The use of genres within the film industry is so common that we usually do not question their function. We tend to use genre categorizations without being aware of them. Video stores physically divide up space through classifying videos by genre, and film promotional campaigns, whether trailers in cinemas,...

Globalization

The concept of globalization is not new, and was foreseen by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s when he referred to the 'global village' in which communication from one part of the world to another effectively eliminated physical distances, as if we were all living in the same community. The 1960s saw international communications networks expanding, a high point being satellite communication with its possibility of instantaneous mass communication between different countries via satellite and...

Glossary

180 degree rule The camera should normally stay on the same side of the line of action for successive shots. The imaginary line of action passes between characters or objects if shots are taken from opposite sides of the line (this is called crossing the line) then the spatial relationship between the characters or objects is reversed. 30 degree rule If shot size and content remain similar for successive shots, then the camera should move position by at least 30 degrees failure to do so results...

Hollywood Cinema

The studio system 7 Decline of the studio system 15 Hollywood from 1948 to the present 16 Independent American film 23 Conclusion 25 Summary 25 In this opening chapter we shall focus on the American film industry which goes by the name of Hollywood. The precursors to and origins of Hollywood are examined elsewhere, in Chapter 7 on Early Cinema and Film Form here we shall be examining Hollywood from its heyday, the 'mature' Studio System between the years 1930 and 1949, through to what has...

Hollywood From To The Present

Divorcement and the newly established television networks led to increased competition and decreased integration in the film industry. As a result, film production became more and more fragmented as independent film production was boosted and new smaller companies began to supply low-budget films (see the section below on 'Independent American Film' for more detail). The majors increasingly subcontracted production and were eager to lease studio space to these companies, which further...

Ideology And Postmodernism What is Ideology

We have already come across the idea that films have an ideological function. But what is this stuff called ideology When the word was first introduced by Antoine Destutt Tracey in 1812 in the aftermath of the French Revolution, it referred to 'the study of ideas'. Before long, however (in Destutt Tracey's own lifetime - he was imprisoned for his writing), it became clear that those in power generally did not like the 'ideas' underlying their power being analysed. Given the different interests...

Illustrations and Tables

1.2 Casablanca the star system at work 1.3 The Ten Commandments an early blockbuster 1.4 Jaws consolidated the blockbuster mentality 1.5 Apocalypse Now Coppola directs Brando 1.6 Do the Right Thing independent or major studio project 2.1 Bond films have typically relied on product placement to recoup production costs 2.2 Director and camera operator at work on Apocalypse Now 2.3 Monty Python, swearing and certification 2.4 Free publicity is essential to film promotion 4.1 Columbia an old...

Image Not Available

Casablanca the star system at work (BFI Stills, Posters and Designs) Figure 1.2 Production Warners' mode of production was highly centralized. As Executive in Charge of Production, Hal B. Wallis had first pick of story properties, directors, performers, and any other contract talent. The Head of the Studio, Jack Warner, also agreed to hire any additional talent that Wallis felt was fundamental to the production. Finally, Wallis had total control to edit the film. As producer, therefore, Wallis...

IMAX and Omnimax

The above widescreen processes have, however, been improved upon and surpassed by the advent of IMAX 3D technology, which premiered in 1970 in Japan, and the first IMAX cinema opened at Ontario Place's Cinesphere in Toronto the following year. 'IMAX' stands for 'image maximization' or 'maximum image', as it fills the field of human vision by producing an image as large as 20 metres high and 26 metres wide. IMAX uses a 15-perforation 70mm film format, which is not only supposedly the largest in...

Introduction

Why study film Shouldn't films be enjoyed rather than studied Doesn't studying films destroy their entertainment value Arguably film was the major art form and entertainment of the twentieth century and shows no sign of giving up this status as we enter the twenty-first. Most of us have been watching films since childhood and have consequently developed an informal literacy in the language, grammar and syntax of film. Studying film can help to formalize and deepen this informal cineliteracy, as...

Jan Udris

(Middlesex University and Birkbeck College) A member of the Hodder Headline Group Co-published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press Inc., New York First published in Great Britain in 2001 by Arnold, a member of the Hodder Headline Group, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH Co-published in the United States of America by 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY10016 2001 Nathan Abrams, Ian Bell and Jan Udris All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or...

Kate Winslet

Co-star of Titanic (Cameron, 1997), Kate Winslet was thrust into stardom but what kind of a star is she Many Hollywood stars of the studio period did not go by their original names John Wayne was born Marion Morrison, Marilyn Monroe started life as Norma Jean Mortenson. Cary Grant's original name, Archibald Leach, was deliberately used for the Archie Leach character in the British comedy A Fish Called Wanda (Crichton, 1988) played by John Cleese, whose name would have been John Cheese if his...

Key Production Roles

The following list is by no means comprehensive and does not cover all of the roles on a film. Some of the most important roles in production, however, are The line producer is responsible for the daily running of the production, in particular the day-to-day budget. The scriptwriter develops the original script screenplay. Some films may employ more than one writer as the script is written and rewritten even as the film is being shot (see the section on Casablanca, p. 14). The director is the...

Marketing

Once a film is finished it becomes a product - something that needs to be sold. The aim of marketing is to raise awareness of the product. Audiences must be informed that a film exists, their interest in it must be aroused and they must be persuaded to go and see something they neither necessarily need nor want. This is the job of the distributor. Marketing a film often begins months before a film is released, creating anticipation in audiences that it is coming to a nearby cinema soon. The...

Meaning and Spectatorship

Watching a Film 206 Early Models 207 Psychoanalytic Models of the Viewer and of the Viewing Activity 209 More Ways of Describing a Film Semiology 216 Structuralist Approaches to Narrative 218 Ideology and Postmodernism 222 Cognitive Approaches 225 New Forms of Spectatorship 226 Summary 228 In this chapter we shall examine the major critical approaches towards understanding film. We shall try to understand the complex relationships between film as text, cinema as institution, and the spectator....

Mise En Scne

This term originally developed in relation to theatre and literally translates as 'putting on the stage'. For our purposes it refers to 'placing within the shot'. A significant part of the meaning produced by a film comes from the visual content - this is to a large extent how the story is told. What a shot consists of is therefore crucially important. As James Monaco writes, ' blecause we read the shot, we are actively involved with it. The codes of mise en sc ne are the tools with which the...

Montage

The best known example of discontinuity editing is montage, which was much used by Eisenstein, most famously in Battleship Potemkin (1925) in the Odessa Steps sequence (see also Chapter 14). Here the shots that are edited together do not flow smoothly instead they clash they conflict with each other. The sequence switches, in a spatially disorientating way, between views of the Tsar's advancing troops and views of the fleeing citizens. The troops are armed, menacing and inhuman the citizens are...

Movement and the Moving Image

The first five years of cinema produced few films with identifiable narratives. Films tended not to contain stories in which events were clearly explained and linked together. Shots often seemed to exist in isolation and there was a lack of logical progression in the actions on the screen. None of this should surprise us since the initial fascination with film resulted from its ability to record movement that it could do this at all was often enough to impress an audience. The first task for...

Multiplexes and M u I ti s c re en s

When the first UK multiplex opened in Milton Keynes in 1985, it was during what was labelled 'British Film Year'. Since then cinema-going has changed irrevocably and cinema attendance has risen, seemingly as a direct result of the increase in the number of cinema screens. In 1998 the attendance figure reached 135.5m, totalling 507m in box-office takings. The Full Monty lifted British cinema attendance to a record 139.5 m in 1997, but this fell in the following 12 months with the top British...

National Cinema

If it is rare to find the term 'American Cinema' used, this is largely because the dominant modes of cinema are American as we have seen, this is reflected in the influence of Hollywood on film-making practices and on 'film language', in the way films are marketed and consumed and in film financing and media ownership. When we speak of 'British cinema', 'Indian cinema', 'Finnish cinema' or any other national cinema, part of its meaning is thus in some kind of opposition to the dominance of the...

Oligopoly

By 1930 eight studios dominated the Hollywood film industry in the form of an oligopoly a situation where the market is completely dominated by a small number of companies, resulting in limited competition. These companies were divided into the 'Majors' or 'Big Five', which were Warner Brothers, Loew's-MGM, Fox, Paramount and Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) (see Figure 1.1), and the 'Minors' or 'Little Three' Columbia, Universal and United Artists (UA). The major studios were vertically integrated,...

P i x a r

Animation in particular has benefited from the advances in computer and digital technology as the new processes are less expensive, speedier and more versatile than traditional methods. In 1986 Pixar released its first fully realized digitally animated short film, Luxo Jr. The landmark in digital animation, however, arrived in 1995 when Disney's Toy Story was the first ever feature-length film to rely exclusively on 3D CGI. Using Pixar technology, Toy Story was made entirely on computer with...

Performance

What an actor does within a shot obviously contributes significantly to the meanings produced. The way an actor moves could indicate confidence, uncertainty, panic, friendliness. The actor's facial expressions may show fear, anger, happiness, sadness. In addition to these examples of body language or non-verbal communication, and to the clear differences in the speech patterns of different actors, a performance may have a particular effect because of what the actor has previously done in other...

Possible Authors in Film

All of this is relevant to film because cinema was born at the end of the nineteenth century into a set of developed capitalist economies in France, Britain and the United States. The new medium (see Chapter 7 for more detail) was almost immediately developed along capitalist lines as a commodified entertainment. The initial attraction of film was as a novelty, and film-makers (the distinction between director, producer, company, etc. only becomes useful after about 1907 with the development of...

Postproduction

The final part of the overall production process is postproduction. Once approved, the rushes (film shot that day) will be sent to the editor, who will begin to put together a rough cut of the film. Once filming is complete, the shots are selected and put together to form the completed film. All recorded material is logged shot and take numbers are indicated with times, descriptions of each shot and appropriate comments on the quality of each take. The completion of the log sheet is followed by...

Preproduction Preparation

Once the funding has been secured, the film can enter the next stage of its life preproduc-tion. Research and planning for production can begin and development money is used to develop the outline script. The producer then assembles a complete package, overseeing and assisting in the hiring of the director and technical crew, in casting and in choosing locations. It is now the task of the producer to steer the film into production, and his her role can be summarized as the conduit between the...

Production

This section will trace the process by which an idea is transformed into a celluloid reality. The process of production itself is subdivided into four further stages finance, preproduction, production and postproduction. Film is a blend of creativity and commercialism. It must always be remembered that most film production is an 'industry', a business designed to make money through entertainment. The profit motive of the industry cannot be stressed enough. America's film industry, for example,...

Projection Technologies

Since the earliest days of film, film entrepreneurs have struggled with different ways of exhibiting films. Projection refers to the process whereby photographed images are projected on a screen (and thus enlarged) so that their rapid consecutive appearance creates the illusion of movement through persistence of vision (and or via the phi-phenomenon). It was the Lumi re brothers - whose ownership of a factory manufacturing photographic materials was no doubt a great help - who developed the...

Regulation And Censorship

Censorship - erasing or blocking parts of or whole publications, correspondence or theatrical performances - has a long history stretching back to ancient times. Every society has had customs, taboos or laws by which speech, play, dress, religious observance and sexual expression were regulated, and laws have evolved concerned with restricting the expression, publication and dissemination of information, particularly in wartime. Public complaints often accompanied the emergent medium in the...

Representation And Meaning

Why are certain stars popular at certain times It is hard to pinpoint exactly why an actor actress becomes a star, but there can be a measure of luck in simply appearing in the right film at the right time. Stars are people the audience can identify with, relate to and admire. They allow us the vicarious pleasure of identification they are there to do the things that we can never do and to live the lives we can never lead. As James Monaco has put it, ' s tars were - and still are - the creation...

Role Character And Performance

In this section we will consider the following question what specific meanings do stars bring with them to the roles they play A key part of the star is her his performance. Figure movement and expression within the mise en sc ne is another way in which actors 'signify' - convey or express meaning. The star, like the director, may be considered an 'auteur' in his her performances in that s he may bring qualities to a film independent of the script and generic conventions. For the audience,...

Small Films Big Movies

Channel 4's successes continued into the nineties with its involvement in a range of films. The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992) tells an unusual story which deals with the politics of Northern Ireland and with transvestism. In the Name of the Father (Jim Sheridan, 1993) also addresses the politics of Northern Ireland, in relation to the British state, the security services and the legal system. It tells the story of the Guildford Four, falsely imprisoned for fourteen years having been found...

Some General Reflections On Authorship

In common usage the idea of an author seems unproblematic it is the person who writes usually the word is used to refer to the writer of a published work, be it a book, an article or a letter. Yet even this is perhaps not as straightforward as it may seem. Many books are listed under the person who has 'edited' a series of chapters or articles by different writers clearly the writers of the separate chapters articles are the collective authors, but the person credited for the book is the...

Something from Nothing

After a range of successful work for television, Mike Leigh firmly established himself in the 1980s with High Hopes (1988), which contained his usual mix of simple storyline, everyday situations, social comment and amusing, if somewhat stereotyped, characters. The 1980s also saw success for British cinema as a whole, which is ironic given that the Conservative government elected in 1979 had made things even tougher for the industry by abolishing the Eady Levy and the National Film Finance...

Sound Editing

The dubbing mixer, much like the editor, assembles a single soundtrack from the multiple soundtracks recorded during production such as dialogue, music and sound effects (all sounds that are neither music nor dialogue). During film production sound is recorded separately from the film, and the two must then fit together so that the sounds match the images on screen. The soundtracks must also be mixed together at appropriate volumes. This may involve additional alterations to the tone of...

Sound Effects

The use of sound effects is common in films such effects usually function as diegetic sound in that they appear to originate from elements within the film, even though such sound is often added during post-production. Sounds can be regarded as signs that produce meanings, just as visual elements are signs. The sound of a creaking door or the gradual approach of footsteps can create suspense and fear of the unknown just as can low key lighting. We wonder what is opening the door and fear its...

Special Effects

The desire to create artificial yet plausible worlds for their films has occupied film-makers since the beginning. This led to photorealism, the attempt to produce images of photographic appearance and quality. Melies developed 'trick film' or special effects for his films during the first years of cinema, but though special effects were attempted, often they were not very photorealistic. Even 60 years on during the 1950s, for example, the science fiction genre, which relied heavily on special...

Stars

Audiences were thus initially attracted to the cinema by the novelty of experiencing moving images, and soon after by the provision of entertaining stories on film. A further attraction was added by the rise of film stars when audiences began to identify particular actors and admire their performances. By 1909 two stars were already established Florence Lawrence the 'Biograph Girl' (Figure 7.3) and Florence Turner the 'Vitagraph Girl'. Whereas previously audiences tended to identify films by...

Structure Of The Book

The book is divided into four main sections covering Cinema as Institution, Film as Text, Critical Approaches to Film, and Film Movements and National Cinemas. Part 1 (Cinema as Institution) examines cinema in relation to the social context within which it operates, in particular the interaction between the cinema as an industry and the audience. It considers the determining factors behind film form, paying particular attention to the industrial and economic basis of commercial cinema,...

Style

It was during this period that the studios developed a set of film techniques known as the 'continuity system'. Films of the studio system were constructed in a particular way to ensure that everything was made clear to the viewer. Techniques included psychologically rounded characters with clear goals, character-driven action, the removal of 'dead time', a cause-and-effect, chronological linear narrative, a sense of closure, continuity editing and verisimilitude. This enabled the viewer to...

Summary

Most of this book has been concerned with Hollywood cinema and its influence, which is a reflection of Hollywood and US dominance since the 1920s. Nevertheless, there have been moments when other national cinemas have attracted the interest of film theorists, critics and historians (and indeed of audiences), and in this chapter we shall explore some such moments, both historical and more recent. First, however, we should reconsider the meaning of 'national cinema' (see also Chapter 13).

Symbolic Insert Edit

As the name implies, this term describes a shot which is edited in between other shots and which indirectly represents something else. Godard used this device in Weekend. Rather than show the murder of Corrine's mother, Godard inserts a shot of a dead rabbit covered in blood. The edit breaks the film's continuity as it makes no obvious sense in the context of the accompanying shots - it comes from outside the world of the film. However, throughout the film the editing frequently lacks...

The Audience

The beginnings of cinema were characterized by uncertainty, as several camera and projection systems existed and film techniques were little more than experimental. It did not take long, however, for those concerned to realize that there was a potentially huge audience for the new form of communication. Cinema audiences were perhaps initially more interested in what the technology could do than in how it was used, since moving images were such a novelty - they could surprise and shock, they...

The Author and the Hollywood Studio System

We thus return to the world of commercial entertainment cinema with its publicity and its marketing an 'image industry' in that it produces filmic images, but also in the sense that it produces 'star images', usually of star actors but also sometimes of directors (think of Quentin Tarantino). As we have seen, then, film production in the Hollywood Studio System which dominated world cinema from the 1920s until around 1950 was a highly organized and collaborative enterprise, and we have also...

The Degree Rule

There are a couple of important 'rules' associated with editing. The 180 degree rule specifies that the camera should not have 'crossed the line' of action when two shots are edited together. This is particularly important during a scene where two characters are interacting with each other in some way. We will have subconsciously noted that one character is on one side of the screen while the other is on the opposite side. The line of action is an imaginary line passing through the two...

The Director As Author

This brings us, finally, to the person most commonly accorded film 'author' status the director. In the remainder of this chapter we shall trace the way in which the idea of directorial authorship developed, and particularly the debate which followed a series of articles about the auteur in the French journal Cahiers du cin ma and which had a widespread effect on theories of authorship. It is not generally wise to overvalue the importance of single individuals. Whatever influence the individual...

The Future of Cinema Summary

How does a film eventually reach the screen In this chapter we shall examine the process of making and showing a film, from original idea to screening. We trace the life of a film from its earliest stages of finance, preproduction, production and postproduction while explaining key roles in the film industry. The process by which films are distributed, classified, promoted and marketed to the audience will then be explored. Finally, we shall look at where and how films are exhibited as well as...

The Independents

Nonetheless a thriving independent sector managed to grow within the United States, prompting the MPPC to respond by forming the General Film Company to release exclusively all MPPC films. However, 1912 saw the beginning of the end for the MPPC when a court ruling rejected its claim to exclusive rights to the camera and projection equipment designs. The final blow for the MPPC came three years later in 1915, when it was declared to be undermining competition within the industry and was required...

The Industry

Inventions are rarely realized in isolation. Developments in the recording and projection of moving images were being pursued in several countries at the same time, but just as important were the inventions that pre-dated cinema. The means to view moving images had been developed by 1834 by William Horner with the zoetrope, but the images were a series of drawings which mimicked the various stages of motion of a moving object, typically someone running. The ability to produce images that...