Monday, January 23, 2012

Genre Study Chart

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Typical plots: 2 characters begin to interact with one another very frequently. They develop a sense of intimacy, but their own personal faults deter them from forming a traditional relationship. However, typically, the characters learn to love each other's faults and do partake in a relationship.
Typical characters: The female character is usually the dominant figure. She controls when and how the relationship forms, and usually she is characterized as being both beautiful and quirky. She is the ideal woman in American culture. The male is characterized as being more awkward, and more vulnerable as well. He must earn the woman's respect and love, and if he doesn't, then the two's relationship will crumble.
Typical dialogue: The dialoge is very witty and in more contemporary films carries several sexual innuendos. The dialogue exemplifies how the characters are both awkward and intimate with one another. Eventually, the intimacy takes over which allows the audience to empathize with the characters more. Also, the dialogue is original and cliches are avoided at all costs. In this genre of films cliches would heavily deter the audience from the central meaning.
Typical setting: Urban cities filled with glamour and a busy life
Typical look or style: The color palette is vibrant and bright. The camera is intimate whenever both characters are on screen.

Genre: Drug Addiction Dramas

Typical plots: Young characters begin to experiment which drugs give them the best "high". As these characters become more dependent on their drugs, their personalities begin to change. They lose focus of their goals in life and remains fixated on achieving their high daily. The characters around them begin to perceive these protagonists in different light. The protagonist becomes isolated and eventually their downfall becomes eminent.
Typical situations: At the start of their addiction the addict appears to have control of their life. However, their fixation on their drug eventually begins to overwhelm them which causes the protagonist to experiment with new and more potent drugs. These drugs become lethal and highly addicted. They ultimately lead to the downfall of the addict.
Typical characters: The characters are usually young adults who first started their journey with cannabis. However, their curiosity typically leads them to use more potent drugs. An addiction develops. That addiction becomes malignant because either the character loses a sense of reality, or the character has to change their entire moral compass if they can no longer afford their drugs [ie the character would steal or kill for their drugs]
Typical setting (place): The setting is not confined whatsoever. The purpose of this is to demonstrate that no one is invulnerable to the malignant effects of drugs.
Typical look or style (lighting or camera): At the start of the film vibrant colors parallel the intoxicating feeling that the protagonists feel. However, as their addiction worsens the colors become more gritty. The lighting also becomes dark, and the camera usually begins to distance itself to illustrate how isolated the character has become. In some films, the camera will actually become more intimate in order to show how vile the addicts have become.

Genre: Gangster

Typical plots: Typically and underling, or a soldier, performs various acts that gets them promoted in the "family". They climb the ranks by continuously performing certain nefarious acts that earn them an increased reputation. Their power elevates dramatically and continuously. Usually, that power consumes the protagonist's life which can lead to their downfall.
Typical situations: A young man looks into the gang/mafia lifestyle with amazement. The power and respect that comes along with it becomes highly alluring which causes the protagonist to chase after it.
Typical characters: Typically the protagonists are young, Italian males. They are competent and ready to do whatever it takes in order to please their superior.
Typical dress: Suits with tie. Their attire is very formal and usually becomes more elegant as the protagonist becomes more and more powerful. Also, they usually smoke cigars which also conveys a sense of power and respect.
Typical historical setting: Usually the film takes place during the second half of the 20th century. The location is typically in New York or Florida. Areas that are well known for housing several mafia families.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ideology In Film

What is ideology and how can it be implicit vs. explicit?
Ideology is a set of beliefs. It can be implicit when it is an underlying theme that must be analyzed in order to be extracted. An explicit ideology requires no analysis as it is blatantly expressed by either the film's plot, the characters, or even the director himself.

Ideology and Expectations:
Actors like Christian Bale embody a strong male who is fully capable of dominating any critical situation that is thrown at them. His persona reoccurs in films like Batman, Reign of Fire, and Public Enemies. In all, he is an intelligent and highly respected man who's rough character is a desirable trait for all men. His appeal causes several men to watch his action films because they want to become the man that Christian Bale represents. Additionally, women expect to see that rugged and strong male which is what attracts them to his films. In The Dark Knight Rises Christian Bale will be a both mentally and physically powerful protagonist. He will face several obstacles that will push his character to its limits; however, he will triumph because he is such a strong male. The studio directing the movie will encourage several action sequences that demonstrate how intense and godlike Christian Bale's character is. This will attract more male audience members because they expect to see a strong and powerful male figure who they wish they could become.

Personal Ideologies and the Enjoyment of Film:
Jack Skellington from "Nightmare Before Christmas" is a character that I heavily adore. He is a skeleton which would usually instill fear into children, but by making him animated he carries a more friendly complexion. His characterization portrays him as being a lonely man who seeks love. I, like many others, have related to this feeling which causes me to further empathize with the character. In a sense, I became the character and wanted him to triumph and find love at the end of the film. All of the prior experiences that he faced I shared as well. As a result, I felt a sense of resolution and jubilance when he did find love. That was only because I was able to sympathize with him when he articulated his feelings in his monologues. The film maker manipulated his character in order to attract me to him, and it worked.

Changing Ideologies:
As time passes societies develop new beliefs in what is moral and what is normal. As this occurs films have to adjust in order to be accepted by movie goers. Otherwise, a film that is too radical may cause its audience to feel a sense of discomfort and awkwardness when viewing the film. For example, romance films have heavily shifted over the last decade. In Titanic the romance between the actors was by no means solely sexual or promiscuous. It was more intimate and the audience could truly connect with the characters. In more recent romance films such as Friends with Benefits the overall story remains the same. However, the performance between the actors is not as intimate. Instead, the actors are more provocative and freely sexual. Their sexual intimacy correlates with contemporary society's growing acceptance of sex as being normal and typical. Additionally, their romance is more comedic and carries a more realistic approach. Contrastingly, the actors in Titanic appeared to be more romantic and less realistic. This illustrates society's shift from enjoying fairy tale like films to enjoying more realistic films.

Ideology and Realism:
Suspension of disbelief is when an audience ignores a sense of realism in film. Instead, they openly accept what is going on screen despite how unrealistic it may be. Avatar is an example of a film that uses this tactic. The characters live on an outer world planet which we know does not exist. However, our disbelief is suspended so that we can enjoy the stories and the characters. We do not care about how unrealistic the film is, we simply want to enjoy what is presented in front of us. Even if we are forced to acknowledge the unrealism in the film like in Avatar, we do not demean the film. Instead, we become at awe with it and appreciate it even more. After all, films are our forms of escaping reality in order to enjoy something that we can never experience.
Define Suspension of disbelief and give an example from a recent film you have watched.

Ideology & ownership:
The financial support does play a role because money is what finances the directors and his/her cast. If the financial institution is displeased then the director will lose their funds, thus they must meet the institution's demands or risk abandoning the film.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Writing About Film

A formal analysis is a form of film writing in which the film is analyzed part by part. For example, one may look at sound, then editing, and lastly acting. However, all of the analyses will be woven together to create one final analysis which is the student's overall analysis. This analysis details the purpose of the aforementioned sections, and relates them to one another. A film analysis based on film history can look at the film's socio-cultural context. That is, how the film reflects the society or culture that it is based upon. Additionally, the film may reflect its own production history. Most likely, this analysis looks at how the film's budget or studio company affected the final overall product that the audience is presented with. Ideological papers capture another form of film writing. They focus on the human themes that a film presents either consciously or subconsciously. A film may bluntly condemn a nation's beliefs, or it may extol them by creating characters that uphold a certain moral custom. The American film "Never Back Down" illustrates the belief that men must never back down from a dilemma or problem.
This creed reflects American culture although it is not explicitly stated in the film. An ideological paper would look at this aspect of the film. Film papers can also look at the auteur, or the people who have created the film. This includes the director, producer, script writer and so forth. Their roles in the film would be analyzed and even research into their previous works may be looked at in an attempt to find patterns. These patterns would be deemed as style and they would be analyzed in that film paper.

When viewing a film the article implores film students to annotate a film sequence. This consists of breaking apart an individual scene to every single shot that makes that scene a scene. The purpose of this is to develop an enhanced understanding of the scene itself which would be done by understanding how every shot creates meaning. Additionally, by looking at every shot individually one can notice special details that would otherwise escape our attention. These details may be critical to the film or may further illustrate a stylistic device that the director has used. All of these details will be annotated by the students. Afterwards, the student will have a comprehensive list of every shot in the scene with annotations that will allow for an easier analysis.

The final point that the article makes is that film students must "think beyond the frame". This includes looking at all of the previously mentioned comments. However, the article also recommends students to look at published reviews and critics' own interpretations of the film. This can enhance our own analysis, and it can also provide us with new insight that we may have otherwise not noticed.