Chapter Epilogue

Wesley Morris, review of Sordid Lives, The San Francisco Chronicle, June 15, 2001. 2. Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (Cambridge, Mass. The MIT Press, 2001), 199-204. 3. At Timecode's premiere it was projected on a digital video projector, but since most theaters do not yet have digital projectors, it had to be transferred onto 35mm film for release in theaters. Figgis had the clout to make such an experimental film because of the enormous success of his Leaving Las Vegas (1995). 4. In...

Characteristic Themes In Hitchcocks Thrillers

Once Hitchcock began creating suspenseful thrillers the obsessive themes for which he is most famous began to appear. These include the Figure 41. Madame Sebastian (Leopoldine Konstantin) in Notorious. (Notorious, 1946, American Broadcasting Companies Inc.) Figure 41. Madame Sebastian (Leopoldine Konstantin) in Notorious. (Notorious, 1946, American Broadcasting Companies Inc.) Figure 42. Mrs. Bates (Tony Perkins) in Psycho. (Psycho, 1960, Universal City Studios.) Figure 42. Mrs. Bates (Tony...

The Artful Artlessness Of Charles Chaplin And Andr Bazins Realist Aesthetic

Charles Chaplin was a very different kind of director from F. W. Murnau or Sergei Eisenstein, and his films make an instructive contrast with theirs. In the twelve films Chaplin made for the Mutual Film Corporation between 1916 and 1917, which include The Rink, Easy Street, The Adventurer, The Pawnshop, and One a.m., there are little or no photographic or editing pyrotechnics. The majority of the shots are static long shots or medium shots with only occasional close-ups for dramatic emphasis....

Hitchcocks Style Pure Cinema

I have emphasized the complex emotional undercurrents of Notorious because I want to illustrate why Hitchcock's films are regarded as serious moral and psychological explorations. I will now turn to a consideration of Hitchcock's style, of how he compels his audience to identify with his precariously situated characters through virtuoso passages of pure cinema. Pure cinema is a term dating back to the theoretical and aesthetic debates of French critics in the 1920s, some of whom believed that...

Introduction

How do films work How do they tell a story How do they move us and make us think This book argues that shot-by-shot analysis is the best way for film students to learn about and appreciate the filmmaker's art. Having taught film studies for many years, I have learned that viewers trained in close analysis of single film sequences are better able to see and appreciate the rich visual and aural complexity of the film medium. Close analysis unlocks the secrets of how film images, combined with...

Sequence Analysis Of A Longtake Deepfocus Shot

Early in the film Charles Kane's mother (Agnes Moorehead) signs the papers handing over her eight-year-old son (Buddy Swan) to Mr. Thatcher, a Wall Street banker. There is something chilling in Kane's mother's willingness to send her young child off into the world in the hands of a stranger, but evidence later in the film suggests that Kane's father is abusive and that the mother gives her son away, at great personal cost, in order to protect him. The mother's feelings about handing over her...

Editing

MATCHES, OR TECHNIQUES OF CONTINUITY EDITING Continuity editing is a system of joining shots together to create the illusion of a continuous and clear narrative action. When a scene is broken up into a sequence of shots for the purpose of achieving greater dramatic emphasis in mainstream narrative films, the shots are usually reconnected smoothly so that viewers do not notice the cut or lose their orientation in screen space. This is often achieved by using matches or match cuts. Some of the...

New Wave Theory In Practice

The New Wave theorists eventually succeeded in becoming filmmakers for a number of reasons. First of all, as was not the case in America, where the film industry was almost totally dominated by Hollywood, in France there were encouraging precedents for independent film production. Renoir, for example, was successful enough to form his own production company in the late thirties. The turning point for the New Wave came when Roger Vadim's independent production And God Created Woman became a huge...

Early Versus Modern Sound Theory

By the end of 1929, the conversion of the motion picture industry to sound was all but complete in the United States. Nearly every theater had installed sound equipment. So much did the public love the novelty of the sound film that the best-made silent film could not compete at the box office with the worst, most clumsily crafted talkie. But many film directors, film theorists, and aestheticians believed that the image defined the essence of cinema and was the feature that distinguished it...

The Double Mirror Construction Of

Although Guido Anselmi is by no means an exact copy of Federico Fellini, there is little doubt that through the creation of Guido, Fellini examines many of the internal conflicts that block his own creativity. It is well known that Fellini suffered a creative block similar to Guido's when he was in the midst of working on the film that later became 8 1I2. As he relates the story, actors had been cast and sets had been constructed, but he no longer wanted to make the film. As he was in the midst...

Sequence Analyses Sound And Image In His Girl Friday

The first shot of the film is a lateral tracking shot nearly encompassing the length of the entire newsroom that is reminiscent of the unchained camera movement that opened The Last Laugh. The rapidly moving camera, combined with the rapid overlapping dialogue of men and women purposefully, if somewhat frantically, at work, perfectly expresses the excitement of this world, the thrill of living life in the fast lane. An almost imperceptible dissolve11 takes us to shot 2, a medium-close shot of...

Sequence Analysis Of The Saraghina Sequence

The Saraghina sequence is triggered by Guido's consultation on the insistence of his producer with a cardinal of the Catholic Church about the Catholic themes of his film. During the interview, the cardinal questions Guido not about his film but about his personal life, questions that make the director clearly uncomfortable. Is Guido married he answers yes does he have children he answers yes and then no what is his age forty-three . The cardinal then directs Guido to listen to the cry of a...

Hitchcock As Auteur

As I discussed in chapter 7, the New Wave theorists distinguished between those directors they considered auteurs, whose unique style and vision marked their films, and those directors who were merely faithful adapters of their literary sources or of other writers' screenplays. The Hollywood directors the French critics praised as auteurs include Howard Hawks, John Ford, Anthony Mann, Nicholas Ray, George Cukor, Orson Welles, and above all, Alfred Hitchcock. The French auteur theorists and...

Dialectical Form

The film is structured throughout as a constant play of opposite modalities clashing against one another. In Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee returns to the dialectical methods of Sergei Eisenstein in the 1920s, who, inspired by the writings of Hegel and Marx, created a cinema that involves a constant juxtaposition or clash of opposites a thesis and an antithesis , the goal being the creation of a new synthesis or higher consciousness in the mind of the viewer. Spike Lee's method was the same as...

Defining Postmodernism

Postmodernism is such a notoriously slippery term that the word has become almost meaningless. This is ironically appropriate, because mean-inglessness is a core concern of postmodernism. On the Internet, I came across the following quotation, which nicely sums up the indeterminacy of the term To some it's an excuse to pile together oodles of wild and crazy d cor, to others it's another example of the weakness of standards and values, to others a transgressive resistance to the sureness of...

The Role Of The Film Medium In Chaplins Realist Film

Although Chaplin's films look artless in the sense that they do not call attention to the film medium, the film medium does in fact play a large role in the success of Chaplin's comic art. Chaplin, Bazin observes, was a clown of great genius, as evident from his fame as a music-hall performer, but he needed the medium of the cinema to free comedy completely from the limits of space and time imposed by the stage or the circus arena.20 In order to appreciate the role of the cinematic medium in...

Spike Lees Refusal Of Melodrama

Photos Police Strangling Radio Raheem

Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, like Do the Right Thing, was also a political film which intended to justify the use of violence. Griffith sought to justify the Ku Klux Klan's violence against blacks who came to power during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. The rioting black soldiers whom the Klan rides in to subdue are melodramatically presented as purely evil in their single-minded determination to sexually possess white women. The Klansmen who demolish the power of the...

Epilogue

Linear Frame Narrative

Digital Video and New Forms of Narrative in Mike Figgis's Timecode As I conclude this book on the art of narrative film techniques, I am aware that the medium I have been writing about may well be on the verge of becoming extinct, a casualty of a new technology which threatens to replace it digital video. Since we are only at the beginning of a new technological age, the question of how new electronic ways of creating moving images will ultimately affect our moviegoing experience and the form...

Modernist Aspects Of Fellinis Style

Federico Fellini's 8 1I2 1963 is a radical departure in style and content from mainstream cinema. Unlike the typical Hollywood film, which has its roots in the clearly defined characters and unified, coherent plots of nineteenth-century popular fiction, 8 1I2 is a European art film, inspired by the forms and techniques of twentieth-century literary modernism.1 Modernist novelists such as Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, William Faulkner, and James Joyce adopted complex and often difficult new...

Sequence Analysis Stealing The

A close analysis of the sequence in which Alicia, under Devlin's orders, steals the key off Sebastian's key ring just before a reception to celebrate their recent marriage illustrates how Hitchcock's deft manipulation of film techniques induces the spectator to identify with Alicia as she undertakes her risky mission. Hitchcock could easily have captured the action of Alicia's stealing the key in one shot, but chooses instead to break up this action into twelve separate shots. Of the twelve...

Expressive Miseenscene In The Last Laugh

While I have been primarily emphasizing the way Murnau uses photographic effects, that is, cinema-specific means, to project the subjectivity Figure 18. The grandeur of the city created through special effects the use of model shots and forced perspective. The Last Laugh, 1924, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung. of his character, no assessment of the visual power of The Last Laugh would be complete without a discussion of the film's mise-en-scene. The look of The Last Laugh set a new standard...

Dw Griffiths Background And Early Career

Griffith, arguably the most influential pioneer in the art of the narrative film, was born on a farm near La Grange, Kentucky in 1875, ten years after the Civil War. He came from a family of wealth on his mother's side. His father, known as Roaring Jake and Thunder Jake for his oratory skills, achieved glory on the battlefield as a colonel in the Civil War. But Griffith's father was also a wanderer and a gambler who left his family in debt when he died. Hence, after Griffith's mother...

Orson Welless Early Career

In August of 1939, at age twenty-four, Orson Welles signed a contract with RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. to make three films, one a year. His pay would be 25 percent of the gross profits of each film with an advance of 150,000. At his own choosing, he could be producer, director, writer, actor, or all of the above.1 It was unprecedented in Hollywood for a director to have so much control over all aspects of his film. Welles entered Hollywood with such power because of his success as a theater...

Camera Movement

Pan, or panorama shot The camera rotates from a fixed position along a horizontal plane The camera can pan right, pan left, or all the way around in a circle, in a 360-degree pan. swish pan A very fast pan that makes action appear blurred. tilt The camera rotates from a fixed position through a vertical plane. The camera can tilt up or down. TRaveling shot As opposed to the fixed position of the pan, in a tracking or traveling shot, the camera and whatever it is mounted on a dolly, a track, an...

Sequence Analysis Bazins Influence On Truffaut

Since many of the New Wave directors Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Roh-mer, and Rivette wrote for Cahiers du Cin ma, a journal founded and edited by Andr Bazin, the style of their films was influenced by Bazin's realist aesthetic, though each of the above-mentioned directors adapted the style in distinctly individual ways. Two sequences from near the end of The 400 Blows demonstrate Truffaut's adaptation of Bazin's realist aesthetic for his own artistic ends. The first is a forty-five-second-long...

Cinemaspecific Approaches To Women In Film

Naked Women Shower

Thus far we have been discussing the way meaning is constructed through narrative strategies that undermine or qualify seemingly progressive images of women in film. But, since this kind of analysis can apply not only to film but to literature and drama as well, academic feminist film critics went beyond considerations of the ways female characters appear within film plots to address the way women's inferior secondary position in culture was inscribed in the use of the film medium itself....

Feminist Film Criticism

Most feminist approaches to film share a common assumption the ways women are represented in mainstream commercial films reflect, justify, reinforce, and naturalize what Molly Haskell in her pioneering book From Reverence to Rape calls The Big Lie of patriarchy, that women are inferior to men and rightly occupy a subordinate place in culture. Feminist film critics work to raise our consciousness about the negative images of women in film in order to denaturalize these images, to expose them as...

Chapter The Conversion To Sound And The Classical Hollywood Film

B la Balazs, Theory of the Film Character and Growth of a New Art New York Dover Publications, 1970 , 44. 2. Rudolph Arnheim, Film as Art Berkeley University of California Press, 1969 , 227. 3. Ren Clair, Cinema Yesterday and Today, trans. Stanley Appelbaum New York Dover Publications, 1972 , 139. 4. This manifesto, titled Statement, is reprinted in Elisabeth Weis and John Belton, eds., Film Sound Theory and Practice New York Columbia University Press, 1985 , 83-5. 5. V. I. Pudovkin, Film...

Innovations In Sound Editing

The visual inventiveness of Kane was by no means the only reason for its success. It is just as groundbreaking in its use of sound. Welles's experience in radio made him understand that there is much more to film dialogue than the meanings the words convey. The loudness of a voice, its pitch, timber, or accent, all convey worlds of information about the speaker. The voices of the actors in Welles's film, his own included, are thus richly textured for added emotional expressiveness. Just a few...

Chapter Hollywood Auteur

Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, Hitchcock, trans. Stanley Hochman New York Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1979 , 152. 2. Fran ois Truffaut with Helen G. Scott, Hitchcock, rev. ed. New York Simon and Schuster, 1984 , 20. 3. Easy Virtue is available in DVD format Los Angeles, Calif. Delta Entertainment Corp., 1999 . 4. Strictly speaking this is a title, not a line of dialogue, because Easy Virtue is a silent film. 6. For Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, The Wrong Man confirms the Catholic...

His Girl Friday As A Classical Hollywood Film

While a large part of His Girl Friday's charm resides in its synthesis of witty, fast-paced dialogue with rapid editing and quick camera movements, another way of understanding why the film is so enjoyable and engaging is to see it as a quintessential example of a classical Hollywood film. According to Andr Bazin, what makes Hollywood so much better than anything else in the world is not only the quality of certain directors, but also the vitality and, in a certain sense, the excellence of a...

Deviations From Stylistic Realism

Medium Angle Shot

Welles does not confine himself to a realist style in Citizen Kane. In one notable instance, he adds dramatic power to a scene by using a standard Hollywood shot reverse shot technique. In the scene in which Susan Alexander and Charles Kane first meet, Welles alternates between long takes of Kane and Susan talking together in a medium two shot Figure 24. Close-up of Susan Alexander, the night she meets Kane. Citizen Kane, 1941, Turner Entertainment. Figure 24. Close-up of Susan Alexander, the...

Camera Lens

Lenses can alter the perceived magnification, depth, perspective, and scale of objects in the shot. normal lens Produces an image with perspective that seems comparable to that seen by the human eye. wide-angle lens Gives a wider angle of vision than a normal lens. Also skews a scene's perspective, by distorting straight lines near the edges of the frame, and by exaggerating the distance between the foreground and background planes of the shot. The movement of objects coming toward the camera...

Chapter Auteur Theory And The French New Wave

The term new wave today connotes liberal or progressive politics, especially because of the association of the French New Wave with Jean-Luc Godard's leftist political films. However, the moniker nouvelle vague, which translates as new wave, was originally given to the generation of apolitical young people in France in the late 1950s whose values and way of life contrasted with the politically engaged, idealistic youth of the immediate postwar years. See Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell,...

Ive Heard The Mermaids Singing As Countercinema

Heard The Mermaids Singing Movie

The title I've Heard the Mermaids Singing is a quotation from T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. In the poem, Prufrock is an alienated, painfully self-conscious Do I dare to eat a peach , middle-aged bachelor who senses beauty in the world but can never capture or create it. In the poem he laments, I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each I do not think that they will sing to me.9 He is an outsider in the realms of love and art. Despite the gender, age, and class...

Deepfocus Photography

The cinematic style of Citizen Kane, especially its use of extreme deep-focus photography in many crucial scenes, was as innovative and groundbreaking as the film's narrative technique. Working in collaboration with his cinematographer Gregg Toland, Welles shot scenes in which we can see objects a few inches from the lens just as clearly and sharply as objects 200 feet away.10 This practice was counter to the prevailing Hollywood style in 1941, which was characterized by diffuse lighting and...

Psychological Themes

While The Bicycle Thief is clearly a film with a powerful political subtext, one that needs to be understood in the context of the very real difficulty of survival in postwar Italy, it also has a fascinating psychological dimension. Ricci's troubles are shown to be internal as well as external. From the film's very first shot, Ricci is isolated from the men around him. While his fellow unemployed crowd the steps leading up to the unemployment bureau hoping their names will be called for a job,...

Classical Hollywood Elements

Despite its flawed hero and depressing plot, The Bicycle Thief, from start to finish, is a dramatically powerful, highly entertaining, and utterly compelling film. This is owing, in large part, to De Sica's synthesis of neorealist style and content with the style and content of the classical Hollywood film. The Bicycle Thief most strikingly resembles Hollywood films in the device used to set the plot in motion the main character's lack. As I pointed out in chapter 4, in most classical film...

Art And Ideology Racist Representation In The Birth Of A Nation

Few moviegoers, I suspect, would openly acknowledge a kinship with Gus. In fact, as the analysis of the above shots has demonstrated, everything about the way Griffith has portrayed Gus cinematically makes us disavow any association with him. His animal-like gestures and the symbolic suggestiveness of the mise-en-sc ne make him an image of pure evil, reflecting Dixon's racist view that African Americans are less than human.12 In contrast, Griffith portrays Flora's brother Ben Cameron who tries...

Realist Technique In Charles Chaplins The Adventurer

A close look at one shot in Chaplin's popular short film The Adventurer 1917 demonstrates the virtues of a self-effacing realist style. The shot under analysis is photographed in one long take that lasts forty-seven seconds with no cuts. In The Adventurer Chaplin plays an escaped convict whom I will subsequently refer to as Charlie . After escaping prison guards by jumping into the ocean and swimming away, Charlie rescues a lovely young girl Edna Purviance , her mother Marta Golden , and the...

Wakeup Call

Spike Lee's 1989 film Do the Right Thing seems a contradiction in terms an entertaining Hollywood film with a disturbing political message. Intended by Lee as a wake-up call to America the film's narrative begins with Se or Love Daddy Samuel Jackson , a radio DJ, urging his listeners to Waaaake up , the film implies that underneath a thin surface of affability between blacks and whites in America lurks a mutual hatred, resentment, and distrust that makes outbreaks of violence between them...

Howard Hawks An Individual Talent In A Rich Tradition

Although Howard Hawks has directed films in almost every Hollywood genre, Peter Wollen has pointed out that one can divide his work into two basic kinds action-dramas such as Rio Bravo 1959 , Only Angels Have Wings 1939 , Dawn Patrol 1930 , Red River 1948 , Air Force 1943 , and crazy or screwball comedies such as Twentieth Century 1934 , Bringing Up Baby 1938 , Ball of Fire 1941 , I Was a Male War Bride 1949 , and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953 .22 His Girl Friday is a fascinating synthesis of...

Sequence Analysis Gus Stalks Flora In The Birth Of A Nation

Gus Birth Nation

Shot 1 of the sequence is a fade-in to a long shot of Flora, who has left the safety of her home to fetch water from the spring for her mother. She enters from screen left into a small clearing in a heavily forested landscape. Although the spring water she seeks would supposedly be within walking distance from her house, in this shot she seems suddenly transported to a very remote place.9 As far as the eye can see, there are no signs of civilization, only huge towering trees. The landscape...

Sequence Analysis Ricci Becomes A Bicycle Thief

Bicycle Thieves Deep Focus

The sequence begins immediately after Ricci has lost his last best hope of finding his stolen bicycle. He has found and confronted the thief, but it is too late. The thief has already disposed of the bicycle and Ricci cannot prove that he has taken it. Not only can we infer that Ricci has lost all hope of being able to keep his job and hence his faith and hope for a better future, we can also intuit his pain at being mocked and humiliated in front of his young son, who, he must fear, has lost...

Internal Diegetic Sound Film

The sound in film can be divided into three categories speech, noise, and music. Each of these elements can be related to the image track in the following ways diegetic sound In a narrative film, the diegesis of the film refers to the world of a film's story. Thus, diegetic sound is sound whose source comes from within the imaginary world of the fiction. nondiegetic sound Sound coming from the space outside the narrative whose source is neither visible on the screen nor implied by the present...

Expressionism And Film Art Fw Murnau

Expressionism

At the same time that Eisenstein was experimenting with the capacity of editing or montage to give heightened emotional and political impact to his filmed narratives, the German filmmaker F.W. Murnau was concentrating on the potentials of the enframed image, the way specific photographic effects could add psychological expressiveness to the profilmic action. As discussed in chapter 1, the term profilmic refers to the characters, settings, props and other aspects of the film's mise-en-sc ne...

Chapter Film And Postmodernism

Jon Mattox, Post Modernism or post-Post Modernism 1995, http accessed August 17, 2003 . The quotation is attributed to multimedia artist and author Barbara Krieger. 2. By having a black prostitute refer to her black hole, reducing herself to her race and sexual anatomy, the joke also has a racist and sexist subtext. 3. Allen uses some of the modernist techniques associated with Fellini in Stardust Memories, but Stardust Memories is a parody of 8 1 2. 4. Nancy Pogel, Woody Allen Boston, Mass....

Chapter The Art Of Montage

Eisenstein New York A. A. Wyn, 1952 , 2. For background on Eisenstein I have drawn on Yon Barna's biography Eisenstein, trans. Lise Hunter Bloomington Indiana University Press, 1973 . 3. Quoted in Barna, Eisenstein, 36. 4. Quoted in Barna, Eisenstein, 74. 5. V. I. Pudovkin, Film Technique and Film Acting, ed. and trans. Ivor Montagu New York Grove Press, 1958 , 168. 6. Quoted in Jay Leyda, Kino A History of the Russian and Soviet Film New York Collier Books,...

Influence Of The Russian Revolution On Soviet Film

Despite the severe shortage of food, shelter, and money, the postwar period of the 1920s was a time of intense creative activity in the new Soviet Union. The revolution had killed the past, and artists were seeking radical new means of creative expression. The innovations Eisenstein brought to cinematic art were very much a product of his being an artist in the heady, idealistic first days of the revolution when the Soviet Union, for a short time, encouraged its artists to create original and...

Dialectical Cinematography

Dutch Angle Shot The Right Thing

Spike Lee also creates conflicts in Do the Right Thing through selfconsciously expressionistic cinematographic effects. These heighten the visual excitement of the action and add intensity to the slowly building plot tensions in a way that is reminiscent of, if not directly influenced by, techniques Eisenstein discussed nearly seventy years earlier in his essays on film form. Eisenstein wrote Absolute realism is by no means the correct form of perception.13 By this he means that the...

Griffiths Refinement Of Narrative Film Techniques

The term mise-en-sc ne denotes all the elements of film direction that overlap with the art of theater. Thus a film's mise-en-sc ne involves the director's choice of actors and how they are directed, the way the scene is lit, the choice of setting or set design, props, costumes, and make-up. Since Griffith was an actor before he came to film, it is not surprising that he carried over his experience from the stage to the screen. Griffith, more than other contemporary filmmakers, took the time to...

Expressionism In Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane High Angle Shot

Andr Bazin puts Welles in his pantheon of realist directors, along with Renoir, Rossellini, De Sica, Stroheim, Flaherty, and even Murnau whom he praises for choosing the moving camera over editing in the construction of many of his filmic scenes . Yet Citizen Kane is also a film in the tradition of German Expressionism. Like Murnau, Welles externalized the subjectivity of his characters and especially of Kane by means of psychologically charged settings, acute camera angles, distorting lenses,...

Expressionist Techniques In The Last Laugh

Superimposition Expressionist Film

In his groundbreaking film The Last Laugh Der letzte Mann 1924 , Murnau achieved expressionistic distortions of the cinematic world not by photographing painted expressionist sets, but by capitalizing on the expressive capacities of the cinematic apparatus extreme camera angles, special optical effects, and exuberant camera movements.4 The film vividly portrays the emotional deterioration of an aging doorman Emil Jannings at a luxury hotel in a big city when he is demoted from his proud station...

Chapter The European Art Film

For an excellent extended discussion of art-film narration, see David Bord-well's chapter Art Cinema Narration in Narration in the Fiction Film Madison The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985 , 205-33 . I have applied many of Bordwell's insights about art-film narration to my discussion of 8 1 2. 2. This quote by Horst Ruthrof appears in Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film, 208. 3. Fellini is quoted in Peter Bondanella, The Cinema of Federico Fellini Princeton Princeton University Press,...

Chapter Expressive Realism

Fowler, Citizen Kane Background and a Critique, in Focus on Citizen Kane, ed. Ronald Gottesman Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice Hall, 1971 , 78. 2. Quoted in Fowler, Citizen Kane, 79. 3. In a two-part New Yorker article entitled Raising Kane February 20 and 27, 1971 , reprinted in The Citizen Kane Book Boston, Mass. Little, Brown and Company, 1971 , 1-84 , Pauline Kael argues that Herman Mankiewicz, upon whose script Citizen Kane was based, should be considered the real author of...

Chapter Expressionism And Realism In Film Form

Like Griffith and Eisenstein, Murnau worked in the theater before he came to the cinema. He began as an actor in Max Reinhardt's theater school, but eventually became more interested in directing. After serving as a flyer in World War I, he came to Berlin and founded a film company. For detailed background on Murnau's early life, theatrical career, and the films he made prior to The Last Laugh, see Lotte Eisner's Murnau Berkeley University of California Press, 1973 . 2. Lotte H. Eisner, The...

Chapter Feminism And Film Form

Since I've Heard the Mermaids Singing Rozema has made four more feature films The White Room 1990 , When Night Is Falling 1994 , Mansfield Park 1999 , and Happy Days 2002 . A collection of Patricia Rozema's works is available on DVD from Alliance Atlantis Home Video, 2003. 2. Marjorie Rosen, Popcorn Venus Women, Movies and the American Dream New York Avon Books, 1973 , 105. 3. These issues are discussed in The Passion for Perceiving, in Christian Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, trans. Celia...

Franois Truffauts The Blows

The 400 Blows is the autobiographical first feature film by Fran ois Truf-faut, who was twenty-seven years old when he made it in 1959. Aside from its intrinsic value as a moving, psychologically acute portrait of the artist as a young man, The 400 Blows is historically important because its instant commercial and critical success helped launch a national film movement known as the French New Wave. The New Wave flourished for a relatively short period, between 1959 and 1963, when certain...

New Wave Selfreflexivity

In fact, the unique visual language of cinema is foregrounded not only in this final shot but throughout The 400 Blows in the flamboyance of the tracking and panning shots, high-angle shots, swish pans, lap dissolves, jump cuts, and freeze-frames all of which draw attention to the filmmaking process. The use of the swish pan in the shot where Antoine escapes is typically New Wave because even as it allows Truffaut to adhere to Bazin's realist aesthetic by maintaining spatial unity within the...

Chapter The Beginnings Of Film Narrative

For details of Griffith's early life and career as an actor, I have drawn from Richard Schickel, D. W. Griffith An American Life New York Simon and Schuster, 1984 , 15-93. 2. Griffith's play, The Fool and the Girl, based upon his experience in California picking hops when he could not get steady work as an actor, played briefly in Washington in 1907 to mixed but mostly scathing reviews. See Schickel, Griffith, 85-7. Griffith's one published poem, The Wild Duck, appeared in a weekly magazine...

The Death Of The Author In Annie Hall

Wickedqueen

At the beginning of Annie Hall, after the credits fade out, we are stunned to see an image of Woody Allen himself in a medium close-up, speaking directly to the camera and by implication to us, the spectators sitting in the film audience. He is wearing clothing familiar to audiences who have seen him in his stand-up comedy routines or on late night talk shows a tweedy sports jacket, a shirt but no tie, and his trademark horn-rimmed Figure 60. Woody Allen seems to be speaking as himself directly...

Neorealist Aesthetic The Bicycle Thief

The Bicycle Thief,4 made in 1948, appeared at a time when the Italian economy was improving and the neorealist movement was on the wane, but, even so, to quote Andr Bazin, it reaffirm ed anew the entire aesthetic of neorealism.5 More than any other film of the period, The Bicycle Thiefexemplifies traits associated with Italian neorealism. Set right after the end of World War II, it depicts an Italy of poverty and desperation. Unemployment is soaring and the paltry amount of the welfare checks...

Critical Reception Of Citizen Kane

In spite of or perhaps because of Hearst's threat to destroy the picture, Citizen Kane opened to extraordinary critical acclaim. According to Pauline Kael, it was more highly praised by the American press than any other movie in history.4 Bosley Crowther's review for the New York Times is representative. Citizen Kane he writes, is far and away the most surprising and cinematically exciting motion picture to be seen here in many a moon it comes close to being the most sensational film ever made...

Beyond Realism

Film Potemkin 1925

A stunning illustration of Eisenstein's willingness to forego realistic representation in order to heighten the emotional and visual impact of an event occurs in the sequence in which another mother carries her wounded child up the steps to confront the armed soldiers. Eisenstein shoots the scene from behind the mother as she gets dangerously close to the soldiers, who appear at the top of the frame. The steps are dissected by a path of bright light on either side of which are strewn the bodies...

New Wave Theory

A major inspiration for the New Wave critics-turned-filmmakers came from the writings of the French film critic Alexandre Astruc, who published an influential article in 1948 called Camera Stylo Camera-Pen . Astruc argued that cinema was potentially a means of expression as subtle and complex as written language. He argued that cinema too was a language, a form in which and by which an artist can express his thoughts, however abstract they may be, or translate his obsessions exactly as he does...

The Famous Freezeframe

Antoine's exuberant run from the repressive reformatory to the boundless realm of the sea culminates in the famous freeze-frame and zoom shot which bring the film and Antoine's hope of escape to an abrupt halt. This film-ending technique, which subsequently became something of a cinematic clich , came as a shock to audiences in 1959 and maintains its power to unsettle audiences. The use of the freeze-frame and zoom shot here epitomizes another aspect of New Wave style that distinguishes it from...

Chapter Italian Neorealism

For the following summary of the history and style of Italian neorealism I have drawn upon a number of sources, including Peter Bondanella, Italian Cinema From Neorealism to the Present New York Ungar, 1983 , Bert Cardullo, What is Neorealism A Critical English Language Bibliography of Italian Cinematic Neorealism Lanham, Md. University Press of America, 1991 , David A. Cook, A History of Narrative Film New York W. W. Norton, 1996 , Pam Cook, ed., The Cinema Book A Complete Guide to...

Defining Italian Neorealism

In my history of film courses I have at various times taught three films defined in film histories as quintessential examples of Italian neorealism Open City Roberto Rossellini, 1945 , The Bicycle Thief Vittorio De Sica, 1948 , and Umberto D Vittorio De Sica, 1952 . Open City is famous for launching the movement, The Bicycle Thief for reaffirming the neorealist aesthetic, and Umberto D for being the last real or genuine neorealist film. Before showing the film, I try to define Italian...

Chapter Political Cinema

Michael Stewart was apprehended by police for writing graffiti in a New York subway station and then killed when police used a choke hold to restrain him, similar to the one that causes Radio Raheem's death in the film. Eleanor Bumpers was a mentally deranged black woman whom police were called in to subdue. They kept firing bullets at her until she was dead, even after they had already disarmed her by shooting at her hand which held a knife. Among other sources, this information appears in...

Bibliography

Four Films of Woody Allen. New York Random House, 1982. Althusser, Louis. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. In Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, trans. Ben Brewster. New York Monthly Review Press, 1970. Altman, Rick. Deep-Focus Sound Citizen Kane and the Radio Aesthetic. In Perspectives on Citizen Kane, ed. Ronald Gottesman, 94-121. New York G. K. Hall amp Co., 1996. Arnheim, Rudolph. Film as Art. Berkeley University of California Press, 1969. Balazs, B la. Theory...

Sequence Analysis The Odessa Steps In The Battleship Potemkin

Potemkin Steps

In the Odessa Steps sequence a crowd of friendly citizens has gathered on the steps leading down to the port of Odessa to celebrate the victory of the mutinous sailors over the Czarist officers on the battleship Potemkin, which is now waving the red flag of revolution offshore. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, lines of government soldiers appear at the top of the steps, and begin firing into the crowd. The action of this scene alone is an attraction or spectacle. As filmmakers have always known,...

Postmodern Themes In Woody Allens Films

The first film in which Woody Allen overtly reflected on the predicament of human beings in a postsacred world is Love and Death 1975 . Here, the main character and by implication the audience is given hope that there is a God and hence a meaningful, coherent moral world order, only to have the illusion rudely exploded. The night before Boris Woody Allen is to be executed for the attempted assassination of Napoleon, an angel of God appears in his cell to reassure him that at the very last...

Narrative Innovations In Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane Glass

Most Hollywood films of Welles's time, like His Girl Friday, were narrated primarily from an omniscient or unrestricted point of view by an invisible narrator. Because of our omniscient perspective, our ability to see and know more than the characters on the screen, and our illusion that we are looking with impunity into a world which is unaware of our gaze, Hollywood movies give us a feeling of power. Citizen Kane begins by luring us into the pleasure of being the all-knowing spectator. At the...

Virtues And Limitations Of Auteur Theory

The public and many academic critics embraced auteur theory for the simple reason that this approach to understanding and categorizing films was and still is so compelling. General audiences and film specialists alike have strong feelings about certain favorite directors and continue to think about what makes a particular director's work individual and distinct. This book is itself a testament to the ongoing popularity and influence of auteur theory in academia, because its chapters are...