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...

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Figure 12.6 Scream Casey answers the phone (Miramax, courtesy Kobal) calling initially polite, pleasant but perhaps already just a little unsettling. Why is he calling What does he want Is it important These are all HER code questions. After another phone call (which involves the SEM code to continue to establish the caller as threatening), the camera zooms in to and lingers for a moment on the window. . . we (more or less unconsciously) recognize this as significant REF and continue to wonder...

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...

Freeze Frame

One final technique remains to be mentioned that is achieved at the editing stage. The freeze frame for obvious reasons creates a discontinuity - the moving image suddenly comes to a standstill. It is not a common technique but can be a useful device. In Jules etJim (Truffaut, 1962), at one point Catherine is pretending to pose like a model. Truffaut momentarily freeze frames the shots of her poses to create the impression of a photograph. At the beginning of Trainspotting (1996) several freeze...

German Expressionism

Although the first German Expressionist film, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Wiene, 1920) (Figure 14.1), was a startling success, it did not come as such a surprise. The reason for this was that Expressionism had been an important current in theatre and painting (and, indeed, in literature) since around 1906. Nevertheless Wiene's film was clearly different from anything that had been seen before, and was the first of a cycle of commercially successful and critically praised German Expressionist...

Shot Reverse Shot Editing

Editing also helps to clarify situations by joining together shots from different angles to provide us with different perspectives, thereby creating a fuller understanding. This is common during conversations where a shot reverse shot edit is frequently used. The shots themselves are often 'over the shoulder shots' in which we see part of the back of one person's head and shoulders and the front of the other person talking to them. The editing provides an understanding of the spatial...

More Ways Of Describing A Film Semiology

Both spoken and written languages are made up of signs. The social science of linguistics developed in the late nineteenth century as a means of studying language systems. Methods were developed for studying the sounds (phonetics) of a language, its grammar, its vocabulary, its historical development, and its relation to other languages. What was new was the systematic nature of the subject, which many writers treated as a kind of science. But if language is a system of signs, then what about...

The Multiplex Multiscreen and Megaplex

By the mid-1980s British cinema appeared to be in terminal decline as video rentals, combined with dingy cinemas, poor audio-visual quality and high ticket prices, kept potential cinemagoers at home. The average Briton visited the cinema approximately once a year. As audiences dwindled, profits were affected, and the major US distributors recognized the need to revitalize the European exhibition sector. In the 1960s the major studios, such as Universal, Warners and Paramount, had begun to...

Third Cinema

We have given some attention in Chapter 14 above to the cinema of what used to be called the 'Third World' (is the term 'Developing Countries' any less patronising ). The label 'Third Cinema' has been applied to films produced principally in South America, Asia and Africa, but also to some extent in Europe, which promote indigenous and or ethnic minority cultures but which stand in opposition to western imperialism. The best known of these cinemas is perhaps the South American 'Cinema Novo'...

Why do we watch

The type of film available to us is determined by a number of factors where we live, how much we can afford to spend, what is on TV, whether we have pay TV, a VCR or DVD player, and what Who goes to the Cinema UK cinema screens and admissions, 1960-98 Table 3.2 Table 3.3 Frequency of UK cinema-going 1998 Table 3.3 Frequency of UK cinema-going 1998 Source Screen Finance X25 Partnership CAVIAR Notes A upper middle class, successful business, higher management or professional B middle class,...

The French New Wave

This term (nouvelle vague in French) is used to describe the French films made between 1959 and the mid-1960s by two slightly different groups of film-makers. One was a group of enthusiastic young men with little experience of making films the other was a slightly older group of men and women, sometimes referred to as the 'Left Bank' (Rive gauche), committed to 'art' but not exclusively to the cinema, who had made films before and whose reputations were enhanced by the nouvelle vague. The...

DW Griffith as Auteur

Nevertheless, the contribution of David Wark Griffith to film history was an important one. If he was in some way a 'genius', this was because his talents were ideally suited to the early industrial context of film-making the early studio system which provided a tight production structure but in which innovation (especially technical) was vital and would benefit all concerned the audience with the excitement of a developing entertainment art form, the studio bosses owners with increasing...

Media Conglomerate Strategies

There are particular reasons for the trend towards amalgamating companies into multinational conglomerates. The ultimate purpose of such companies, as business enterprises, is of course to make a profit, to be commercially successful. Large companies have the advantage of being able to provide the financial resources necessary for further expansion, developing new products or marketing existing products. Smaller companies can find it hard to compete with the economic power of large...

Representation and Meaning Conclusion Summary

In this chapter we shall examine the functions and meanings of stars within the film industry and Film Studies. Stars have not always been deemed essential to the production of films. The avant-garde aside, it was not until the 1920s in Hollywood that the value of the star was widely acknowledged. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s Hollywood stars were placed at the centre of the film industry, but by the 1950s their role had changed somewhat. In recent times, certain star actors have held far...

Film Genre Industry And Audience

Cinema, like all industries, is about the production of goods and services. The vast majority of films are produced as commodities to be consumed, for profit. Films are big business, subject to the 'laws' of commercial supply and demand. The industry will make films as long as people want them. As with other industries, profits are maximized through efficient production methods, accurately matching supply to demand, and effective marketing. From an industry perspective, genres have several uses...

Exercise

Look at sequences from Rocky, The Shining and or Breaking the Waves (von Trier, 1996) and any other films of your choice. Try to identify the types of camera movement used. Advances in camera mobility seem to have been derived principally from aesthetic rather than commercial choices, the impetus being from the individual film-maker who desired to create a certain effect. Indeed, where camera mobility conflicted with commercial considerations like the introduction of sound, it was readily...

Film Genre Image And Sound

Genre categorization can also be problematic, however. On one level, understanding genres is simple we can identify recurring elements with regard to narrative themes, characters, plots and visual content such as location, props and costume sound can also be a recurring element, particularly in terms of music appropriate to a particular genre. However, we soon come up against the problem of films that don't quite fit a genre, films which seem to cover several genres and films that appear to be...

Brief History of British and American Exhibition

We shall look at the history of exhibition until the end of the First World War in Chapter 7 on Early Cinema and Film Form. Here we shall look briefly at the history of exhibition in Britain and the United States after 1918. Following the war, the Hollywood studios dominated US exhibition through a system of vertical integration and continued to do so until divorcement in 1948 (see the section on the Hollywood Studio System in Chapter 1). In Britain, the Cinematograph Act of 1927 attempted to...

The Auteur Concept in Britain

The auteur concept was taken up in different ways in Britain and in the USA. British films have often been described in terms of their more 'realist' traditions and indeed a preference for 'uncinematic' cinema there is a long history of disparagement of British cinema (rather like its cricket team really. . .). One quote may stand in for many others 'I do not think the British are temperamentally equipped to make the best use of the movie camera.' (Ray, 1976, p. 144.) Put another way, British...

African Cinema

It is clearly not technically correct to treat African cinema as a 'national' cinema, as Africa comprises over 50 nation-states. Yet with the exception of the Mediterranean countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, and to some extent South Africa (the relative prosperity and contact with Europe of these countries having enabled the development of some film-making - indeed, Egypt has a rich and varied film history), almost no indigenous filmmaking took place in the continent for...

Postmodernism and Postmodernity

There is no space here to consider the postmodern in any detail. Even the (obvious ) idea that it follows the modern (see p. 188) has been disputed, and the writing of postmodern theorists is notoriously hard to understand. The distinction between postmodernism and postmodernity needs to be made, however. Postmodernism refers to art (painting, architecture, films, writing) which is part of an explicit rejection of or alternative to modernism there have been few (if any - Blade Runner may be a...

Length of Take

If shot sizes tend to be large at the beginnings of films and scenes, an equivalent characteristic can be noted for shot duration or the length of a take. The average duration of a shot is approximately 6 seconds, but introductory shots are often at least twice this length. Again, the pace tends to be slower in order to allow the viewer more time to become acquainted with characters and locations. If we look at 2 minutes from near the beginning of Cinema Paradiso (1989) we find only five shots....

Ownership Of The Major Studios

The major studios are well known to us already and have been referred to in Chapter 1. The names have been with us for more than 80 years Columbia, Disney, MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, United Artists, Universal, Warner Brothers. However, while the economic function of these companies essentially remains the same, their structure and conditions of ownership have changed dramatically. The above studios are, quite rightly, identified as large production companies in their own right however,...

Contemporary Film Genres And Postmodernism

It will be noticed from the last example in the previous section, Blade Runner, that several genres have been identified in the film. Just as we have seen how genres are flexible as they change over time, it can perhaps also be claimed that flexibility and change can be introduced into genres by combining them. Although multi-genre films are nothing new (Casablanca contains at least three), it has been claimed that more recent films aim increasingly consciously for genre cross-over. Rick Altman...

Film Genre And Narrative

However, film noir is more than just the iconography mentioned above. Its narratives contain particular themes, characters and plots, and these can indicate genre too. The seductress is a central character in fi Im noir narratives the femme fatale is a deadly woman whose function is to tempt the lead male into committing a heinous crime, usually a murder, from which she will benefit. However, the femme fatale is usually outwitted, caught and punished in some way. The male lead tends to be a...

Soviet Montage cinema

If German Expressionism was to influence the mise en sc ne of later Hollywood films, the other major European film movement of the 1920s set itself up in opposition to Hollywood. The aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution saw years of struggle before the noble aims of communism were extinguished under the tyranny of Stalin in the 1930s. What is of interest here is the political and intellectual struggle of the 1920s over the forms and uses of 'art' (including cinema). By 1934 Stalin's support...

Art Cinema

Outside and in parallel with the industry of commercial cinema, art cinema has always been concerned less with entertainment and more with artistic experimentation and expression. Art cinema (like its cousins avant-garde and independent cinema) has been closely linked with the idea of film as an expression of the vision of an individual director-artist. Working outside industrial structures, some directors have made films entirely alone Steve Dwoskin, for example, made films in the 1970s partly...

Surrealism

Like German Expressionism, Surrealism was an artistic tendency which developed in the early years of the twentieth century. It inspired a small number of film-makers to make 'surrealist' films, and the surrealist influence still echoes strongly in the films of Terry Gilliam and David Lynch, for example. Surrealism developed from dada into an art form which valued the spontaneous and the unconscious. Very influenced by Freudian ideas (though in a way which disgusted Freud himself), the...

Lighting and colour

Lighting illuminates the above-mentioned elements in a shot while itself also becoming an element within the shot. It has long been suggested that the human eye is drawn towards movement and towards the brightest area in a shot. A memorable shot from Citizen Kane (1941) illustrates the importance of movement and light. In the first flashback to Kane's early life, we see his mother and Thatcher in the foreground discussing his future. In the distant background we see Kane playing with his...

The Major National Cinema Movements

Before going further we should note a difficulty with the word 'movement'. Though we use it here in a loose sense to indicate a coherent group of films (and film-makers), strictly speaking, the term should only be used where the film-makers defined themselves as a 'movement'. While some of the groups of films which we shall discuss certainly can be said to be part of a 'movement', others cannot, and are linked by style rather than by any agreed programme or aims. Nevertheless for the sake of...

Video Pay TV DVD

The advent of video in the mid-1970s revolutionized access to films and may also have kept cinemagoers at home. Rather than depending on the local cinema or BBC and ITV, people could choose a wide range of films to be viewed in the comfort of their own homes. Video viewing is suited to family life as it is cheaper than multiple cinema tickets, parking public transport and the obligatory refreshments, and can cater for the whole family's tastes and preferences. Video can also compensate for the...

From Comedy to Horror

Ealing Studios continued to be a source of popular films, with 1949 seeing the release of Passport to Pimlico Henry Cornelius , Kind Hearts and Coronets Robert Hamer and Whisky Galore Alexander MacKendrick . Further successes followed, including The Lavender Hill Mob Charles Crichton, 1951 and The Ladykillers MacKendrick, 1955 . These films and others like them became known as 'Ealing comedies'. Actors who came to prominence through these films included Stanley Holloway and Alec Guinness. The...

The British Studio System

The dominance of American cinema in Britain has steadily grown since the First World War, despite intermittent attempts to hold back the power of American production, distribution and exhibition. The British government passed the Quota Act in 1927, decreeing that exhibitors had to ensure that at least 5 per cent of films screened were British and that this figure should rise to 20 per cent by 1936 Murphy, in Barr, 1986, p. 52 . In fact, the quota percentages were often exceeded, but many of the...

Discontinuity Editing

If most editing can be described as continuity editing, then it is equally true that a minority of films use discontinuity editing. As the name implies, there is no smooth flow to the shots that are edited together there is a disruption between one shot and the next. However, discontinuity editing can be used to good effect. If continuity editing principally supports the meanings residing within the shots that represent the narrative, then discontinuity editing can be regarded as producing...

Independent American Film

Independent American film is not a new phenomenon. It has existed since the early days of Hollywood indeed, many of the major studios began life as independent production companies. During the height of the studio system independent film companies known as 'poverty row', such as Disney, Republic, Monogram and Tiffany, supplied B-features for double bills. Divorcement in 1948 boosted independent film production and companies like Allied Artists and American International Pictures began to supply...

Further Resources

This is a basic list of websites and a few addresses which will be of use to both student and teacher alike. It is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive and website addresses and the information contained in them are subject to change. Ain't It Cool News http www.aint-it-cool-news.com For reviews and gossip relating to films only recently, or not yet, released. Alfred Hitchcock Scholars MacGuffin' Site http www.labyrinth.net.au muffin Dedicated to the work of Hitchcock. Includes a list of the...

Understanding Audiences

Academics, governmental agencies and pressure groups, while interested in the audience, are particularly concerned with the effects of film consumption and the uses to which it is put, and a range of theories have been developed which seek to explain these processes. Some of these models are looked at in Chapter 12 on spectatorship however, below we list those that have sought to understand how audiences read and use films. Opinion leaders and two-step flow early research suggested that...

Georges Mlis

In Journey to the Moon 1902 M li s used a static camera and extreme long shots. It would be easy to believe that the events we see take place on a stage, as characters walk on from and off to the sides of the frame and the action takes place against what is obviously a backdrop. The film is typical of much of M li s' work it is a mix of comedy and fantasy and could be claimed as the first science fiction film a group of scientists travel in a rocket to the moon Figure 7.4 . The Impossible...

Lvi Strauss and Binary Oppositions

Though anthropologist Claude L vi-Strauss did not work on or write about film, his studies of myth and meaning-making in a variety of cultures have been widely used in narrative studies. L vi-Strauss proposed that myths and by extension narratives are structured around binary oppositions which are significant for the particular society or culture. While L vi-Strauss studied oppositions such as light and dark, sun and moon and raw and cooked in South American and other cultures, his ideas and...

Alfred Hitchcock

The British director Alfred Hitchcock made some 57 films in a career spanning over 50 years his first film as director was The Pleasure Garden 1925 and his last was Family Plot 1976 , completed at the age of 76. Having established himself as a 'master of suspense' in Britain by 1938, and at a peak in terms of reputation, Hitchcock then gave in to the lure of Hollywood. After some hits and some misses in the 1940s, he then entered his most successful phase working at Warner Brothers, Paramount...

Form and Ideology

Films have a deep sensory appeal and have often been compared with dreams. It is this unconscious aspect of the film experience which has provoked much suspicion and criticism of classical narrative film form - and which has also inspired the use of film as propaganda. In this section we shall look at some of the criticisms levelled at mainstream narrative entertainment films and at some examples of alternative film forms films which demonstrate a refusal of the kind of narrative described thus...

The Contract System

As mentioned above, the American film industry was rationalized and subject to scientific management techniques. This included a highly specialized division of labour designed to facilitate mass production of films. Accordingly, during the years 1930 to 1949 the studios employed all personnel, even their stars, on long-term or permanent contracts. The stars, directors and crew were contracted to a particular studio and even those who had established a reputation in the industry were employed on...

Movement and Speed of Editing

To ensure such 'transparent' editing, it is necessary that the locations, props, actors and movement in one shot are consistent with what has gone before. The speed at which something happens and the space within which it occurs should be consistent across the relevant shots. In effect, continuity editing supports the meanings produced by the audio visual interpretations of the narrative. This principle can be illustrated by reference to a scene mentioned previously, the climactic moment in...

Roland Barthes and Narrative Codes

A second approach which has been called structuralist is that developed by Roland Barthes, a French writer and cultural theorist who wrote widely from the 1950s until his death in 1980. Once again though Barthes did also write about film some of his influential ideas originally concerned narrative in literature, but have been extensively applied to film. In a book entitled S Z, Barthes outlined the workings of five narrative codes while some of the names he chose are Greek and may be difficult,...

Genre As Repetition And Difference

Genre is a French word meaning 'type', and film genres have existed since the early days of cinema. Films were frequently categorized as being crime, romance, comedy, fantasy or actuality. It is to be noted though that the descriptions given to particular types of films have frequently changed, along with the identification of new genres. Edwin Porter's The Great Train Robbery 1903 was initially described as a crime chase movie but is now regarded as a western. Similarly, M li s' Journey to the...

Camera Movement

As has already been mentioned in the above example, long takes usually involve camera movement of some sort, as it would be difficult to justify a long take in which the camera was static unless the action within the frame was sufficiently interesting to be able to hold our attention one of the characteristics of early films was long takes with static cameras see Chapter 7 on Early Cinema and Film Form . There are four main types of camera movement in a pan shot the camera rotates horizontally...

Alternative Form And Art Cinema

After his French New Wave films of the 1960s, Godard gained fame and notoriety with his Maoist Marxist-Leninist-inspired 'difficult' period of 1968-72, corresponding to the 'counter-cinema' described above. He was not alone in his politicized rejection of the status quo, but not all film-makers were so dogmatic in their politics. A contrast is provided, for example, by the work of Marguerite Duras, a French writer who turned to film-making in 1971 and proceeded to make some 20 films see p. 163...

Formalism And Realism

Two perspectives that are closely linked to the topic of film form are formalism and realism. Each has a particular view of what film should be for and how it can achieve its purpose. Formalism began to take on coherence in the 1920s in the Soviet Union, and its two key theorists were Sergei Eisenstein and Rudolf Arnheim. The theorization behind realism gained strength during the 1930s and its later proponents included Andr Bazin and Siegfried Kra-cauer. Although the debate between these...

The Auteur Theory

By comparison with the sometimes obscurely theoretical turn of events in film culture in Britain, the influence of the Cahiers politique in the United States was no less important. It was writer critic Andrew Sarris who, between 1962 and 1968, elaborated the 'auteur theory' which has so often been confused with the original politique. His championing of the auteur idea involved a rejection of the then-dominant 'social realism' writing of most American critics, and was related to the growing...

Cahiers du Cinma the Politique des Auteurs and Auteur Theory

The seeds for a reappraisal of the director's role were sown in an article written in 1948 by Alexandre Astruc for Cahiers du cin ma entitled 'The Birth of a New Avant-garde la cam ra-stylo camera-pen '. This established the idea that film-making was analogous to writing, so it was not long before filmic equivalents for the literary author were sought. The moment which sparked a major shift in assessment of a director's contribution to the film-text was an article by Francois Truffaut entitled...

Shot Size and Editing

This particular scene also serves to illustrate another common principle behind editing, the use of a variety of shot sizes. On one level a variety of shot sizes helps maintain our interest visually through avoiding repetition, but it also serves another function. We have already noted the various meanings that shot sizes can produce, and through editing a logical progression is created out of shot size. In the scene from the above example we are provided with an extreme long shot of the...

Conclusion

We have seen in this chapter how Hollywood has changed over time. The American film industry has developed from a highly structured, centralized, factory-style studio system to a more fragmented package unit system in which individual films are pitched by independent producers to competing studios. The result has been a shift from assembly-line production, with its formulaic use of genres, studio styles and stars, to a system in which directors, stars and others have more creative freedom to...

Widescreen

Widescreen refers to any film screening for which the ratio of the width of the projected image to its height called the aspect ratio is greater than 4 3 or 1.33 1 - the standard ratio used in the industry from silent film until the early 1950s, also called the Academy format. During the 1920s there were experiments with several different widescreen systems in Hollywood, such as Magnascope, Fox Grandeur, Vitascope and 70mm Wide Film, but these processes were expensive and did not provide high...

Analysis of Individual Films

The most important and productive use of psychoanalytic theory has been in the analysis of individual films and the ways in which they prompt the production of meaning. This has often meant the application of fairly standard psychoanalytic concepts, but these have been adapted to gain insight into specific films. The so-called Oedipus complex is one example. According to classical Freudian theory, in order to become fully socialized heterosexual adults, male and female infants have to...

Sex Pop and Realism

While the Carry On films were light-hearted, cheeky entertainment, a new type of film emerged the following year which took a very different form. Social realist cinema, or 'kitchen sink cinema' as it came to be known to reflect the common use of domestic locations such as kitchens in the films, presented a gritty, raw interpretation of everyday life. Typical themes were alienation, frustration, fighting the system, and ambition for a better life away from the drudgery of everyday life. As John...

Assembly Line Production

During the 'Golden Age' of Hollywood, the studios produced one film each per week per year. At its height, the studio system released 350 films in a single year. The studios were able to achieve such remarkable production figures through rationalization of working practices. Adopting a 'scientific management' approach to film production, the studios began to model themselves on factories, employing assembly-line techniques, hierarchical structures, and a strict division of labour the 1920s also...

Parallel and Contrapuntal Sound

Usually the sound we hear in a film directly accompanies what we see on the screen it is appropriate sound, it is the sound we expect. The music in Trainspotting matches what we see in the film and seems relevant to the characters, their lifestyles, and the pace of the film. In other words, the music works in parallel with the visual content of the film. However, this is not always the case. In both A Clockwork Orange 1971 and GoodFellas, horrific acts of violence are accompanied by bright,...

Pststructuralism And Recent Developments

Subsequent poststructuralist and postmodern theoretical developments see Chapter 12 have posed further difficult questions about the concept of authorship. Is the 'author' the real person called Quentin Tarantino, is it an effect of the film-text the 'Quentin Tarantino' of Pulp Fiction, say , or is it something that lives in the reader viewer's head Figure 9.3 Indeed, after Roland Barthes, are we not all 'authors' who 'write' our own films in our heads as we watch them And apart from the...

Mainstream and Alternative Film Form

Mainstream Narrative and Film Form 132 Alternative Narratives and Film Form 143 Alternative Form and Art Cinema 149 Conclusion 150 Summary 150 By the 1920s particular conventions had become well established for making films. Mainstream techniques such as the organization of time and space through 'invisible' continuity editing and the verisimilitude resulting from particular uses of mise en sc ne and from cause and effect structures and character motivation began to dominate film-making, as...

Vertical Integration

Vertical integration meant that the major studios dominated film production, distribution and exhibition. They made, released and marketed their films, even owning the cinemas in which they were shown exhibition was the most profitable sector of the film industry. In the days before television and VCRs, box-office sales were the source of income for recouping budgets spent on making films. The heads of the major studios wanted to ensure that there was a constant outlet for their product, and...

Shot Size

Shot size in turn is determined by the framing. There are many possible choices of shot but we can think in terms of five basic shot sizes with intermediate shots in between see Figure 6.3 . Shot sizes can be closely tied to narrative development, notably to the progression of scenes. Typically a film, and often a scene, will begin with an extreme long shot ELS . Just as narratives tend to begin slowly in order to acquaint us with characters and locations, so films visually use an ELS sometimes...

Some Aspects of Style

Narratives can be considered in terms of content and structure. They consist of events which are organized in a particular way. The process of presenting a narrative is called narration, and the way in which a narrative is presented can be identified as its style. The principal components of film style mise en scene, cinematography, editing and sound have been described in Chapter 6 above and much of their relevance to narrative has been considered here we shall briefly consider how a few...

The Nosographic Approach

There has been some writing which attempts more or less to psychoanalyse a film director the director's films can be treated as 'symptoms' which can be used to analyse, for example, the director's repressed sexuality or mother-fixation. Such an approach has been used, for instance, in writing about Alfred Hitchcock and about Howard Hawks. You will often find this attitude underlying film reviews and biographies, but it has not generally been considered a very useful approach in academic work.

Ambient Sound

Ambient sound is also recorded at the end of filming in a location it is what is heard when there is no dialogue or movement. This background sound can be added at the editing stage if it is judged that there is too much silence. A lack of sound can be just as noticeable as the presence of sound, and it is rare that we experience complete silence in a film. A soundtrack is usually essential for a film it creates mood and strengthens meaning. A classic example of incidental music supplementing...

Godard and Counterc i ne m a

While there was no shortage of critics and theorists engaging in these arguments, a number of film-makers - predictably outside Hollywood - put theory into practice and made films which deliberately rejected conventional narrative forms. Among these was Jean-Luc Godard see also pp. 264-5 , particularly in the films he made between 1967 and 1972. In an influential article written in 1972, Peter Wollen advanced the term counter-cinema to describe Godard's and others' anti-narrative films. He...

Apparatus Theory

As we have already hinted, it is possible to see the mechanism of watching a film at least at a cinema as somehow dreamlike, engaging unconscious processes. Indeed, the illusory nature of film viewing was foreshadowed over two thousand years ago by the Greek philosopher Plato in a 'thought experiment' which is now referred to as 'Plato's cave'. Plato imagined a situation in which spectators who can be taken to represent humanity in general sit in an enclosure facing a wall and in front of...