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,...

Cinematography

If mise en sc ne refers to what is placed in front of the camera, then cinematography is concerned with recording the elements within the shot. While photography is the recording of a static image, cinematography is the recording of a moving image. In order to obtain the desired images, the cinematographer must attend to two areas control of lighting and operation of the camera. The images consist of reflected light and the camera records light. Indeed, in Britain a cinematographer (the person...

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...

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...

Contents

2 Production, Distribution and Exhibition 27 3 Cinema, Audiences and Society 46 4 Cinema, the Media and Globalization 62 7 Early Cinema and Film Form 117 8 Mainstream and Alternative Film Form 132 3 Critical Approaches to Film 153 12 Meaning and Spectatorship 206 4 Film Movements and National Cinema 231 14 World Cinema and National Film Movements 253 15 Alternative Cinema and Other Film Styles 276

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

New Technologies

Since the Studio System era, Hollywood has continued to see new technologies developed which played a significant part in the success of the industry. This happened in two ways. First, improvements in camera, sound, colour, viewing and computer digital technologies have led to the creation of more technologically sophisticated films which have helped attract audiences back into the cinemas (see Chapter 5 on Film Technology). Second, the major studios sought to maximize the potential of the...

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,...

Setting

The setting provides the space in which all the other elements of mise en sc ne are situated. The setting, like props and costume, sets up expectations for the viewer and can instantly produce meanings it signifies certain things. This is especially the case with genre films (see Chapter 10 for more detail). A shot of a relatively barren landscape with a small town consisting of wooden buildings including a saloon bar and sheriff's office will immediately indicate a western. Setting can be...

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...

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,...

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 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 Language of Film

Film Techniques, Film Form and Narrative There have been at least nine different TV and feature films made about the sinking of the Titanic. These range from a silent version made within months of the disaster (Saved from the Titanic, 1912), to the dryly titled A Night to Remember (1958), to S.O.S. Titanic (1979), to two films imaginatively called Titanic (1953 and 1997). The reason for mentioning these films is not to indicate the long history of the disaster movie genre but to highlight the...

The Lumire Brothers

Travel was also a theme for other film-makers. One of the Lumi res' first films was L'Arriv e d'un train en gare (1895). A static camera framed a station platform and an arriving train with an extreme long shot to record the passengers disembarking. The film was most memorable for its depiction of diagonal movement towards the camera by the train. Most early films lacked a sense of perspective and emphasized two dimensions only. The Lumi res' very first film from 1895 was Workers Leaving the...

The Package Unit System

In place of the studio system and its mass production of films, a new 'package unit system' developed in the 1950s whereby individual productions were wholly or partially financed by a studio. Under the studio system ideas were developed almost entirely within the studio, but now 'packages' were developed outside the major studios, which then became sources of labour and materials for film production. In the absence of mass production, major companies had to compete for projects initiated...

The producer

It is the job of the producer to secure finance for the film and then to supervise its expenditure. The producer is involved in every stage of a film's development from conception to exhibition and is engaged in the film longer than any other person this continuity is essential for effective production. The producer deals with the idea, which may originate from a writer, director, producer, book or play, and must clear the screen rights for the material and then secure finance by assembling a...

The Production Code

In 1930 a more formal set of rules called the Motion Picture Production Code was introduced in Hollywood but this was not enforced until 1934. During those four years, censorship was lenient and film-makers took full advantage, with the result that sex and violence routinely found their way onto the screen. In 1934, however, the studios were under intense pressure to 'clean up' or face government legislation and they agreed to self-regulation through the Code. The studios were feeling the...

The Real Person

How much does the 'real' person behind the star really matter When we watch a film we know that a real person called Keanu Reeves (if that is actually his real name) undoubtedly exists, but does it impact upon our understanding of the film In some cases, where we know that the star uses a stage name (Winona Ryder Horowitz), the gap between the real person and the star is evident. Sometimes films can confuse these identities. In two recent British films, Final Cut (1999) and Love, Honour and...

The United States

By 1900 the three key companies in the United States were American Mutoscope and Biograph, Vitagraph and Edison's company (Figure 7.2). They had a large domestic market to satisfy, though that market was at the time also being fed by European film companies. In the United States the battle was soon on for supremacy within the industry. The Edison company took legal action to prevent other American companies from using cameras and projectors for which Edison claimed the patents. American...

What does Looking Mean

It is significant that in the cinema this drive to look remains largely private although there may be hundreds of spectators looking at the same screen, each individual ('subject') sits in the dark and enjoys an intimate scopophilic relationship with the screen. A significant step in the use of psychoanalytic theory in Film Studies was taken in 1975 when Laura Mulvey used the ideas of Jacques Lacan (an influential analyst who effectively rewrote Freud for the late twentieth century) to argue...

What Is British Cinema

There are two principal approaches to defining British cinema the first approach emphasizes the role of the film industry, while the second is concerned with the films' representations of British cultural life. The British film industry has existed in one form or another since the beginning of the twentieth century and as such can be regarded as an institution - it is well established, even though it goes through periodic changes. When we talk of British cinema as an institution, we are...

What is British Cinema An Overview of British Cinema Summary

British cinema has existed since 1895, and many of its innovative and memorable films have attracted international acclaim. It has covered many different themes, styles and genres and produced numerous stars, from Charlie Chaplin to Kate Winslet, and auteurs from Alfred Hitchcock to Ridley Scott who have gone on to work in Hollywood and elsewhere. This chapter aims to identify what exactly is meant by the term 'British cinema' and to trace its history in terms of the films, the industry and the...

Italian Neorealism

The warning about 'movements' at the beginning of this chapter is particularly relevant to Italian neorealism a group of films and film-makers was identified and celebrated by critics in the middle and late 1940s, but there was (at the time at least) no 'programme', no explicit statement of shared purpose. The Italian neorealist films of 1945-51 were a stark contrast to the bland entertainment films of the fascist period, sometimes referred to as 'white telephone films' because of their...

Deep Field Photography

Just as there was for sound and colour technologies, there was a gap between the technological possibility of deep field photography and its acceptance and use. Deep field photography had always been possible in sunlight and even the Lumi re brothers had used it, but Hollywood cinematographers resisted departures from the established style of soft tonal qualities and shallow depth of field. The emergence of deep focus cinematography as an acknowledged visual style is usually dated to Gregg...

Alternative Narratives And Film Form

The vast majority of films, whether American, British, Brazilian or Japanese, have been structured around the kind of mainstream narrative described above. Such narratives tell stories about characters who are 'believable' (either because they are 'realistic' or because they correspond to accepted genre stereotypes) as they experience a series of events within a relatively coherent time and space. It may be worth repeating that such films, as part of the commercial film industry, are made with...

Diegetic and Nondiegetic Sound

Sound originating from the world within the film is known as 'diegetic'. Typically this consists of dialogue and sounds emanating from action within the shot, including background or ambient noise. Non-diegetic sound has a source outside the film's narrative. Most obviously this includes incidental music but it also refers to voice-overs. Non-diegetic sound is added at the editing stage and can hold great importance for the edited images. However, diegetic sound may also be modified or added...

The Camera

The camera is the device with which the cinematographer captures a series of progressive images on a strip of film. Early pioneers in cinematography struggled with the problem of capturing clear, sharp moving images and were indebted to a combination of three constituent technologies, two of which were not particularly new. Lens manufacture, for example, had already become a healthy industry in the years since 1827, when photography was invented. The technology for rapidly repeated exposure of...

Film Techniques Film Form And Narrative

The question was posed at the beginning of this chapter of how several film versions of the Titanic story could have been made, each different from the others. Having looked at the language of film and how film techniques are combined with narratives, we are now in a position to look again at this question. We have noted that form is the result of the interaction between content and style, and is determined by the narrative and the way in which it is presented to us. This is what gives a film...