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.

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