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Engaging Cinema: an Introduction to Film Studies

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by

Alexandra DeSanto

on 13 November 2014

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Transcript of Engaging Cinema: an Introduction to Film Studies


1. Film-oriented institutions and organizations

2. The film industry

3. Technology

4. The nation-state
4 social contexts for film
2. The Film Industry
Studios (e.g. Paramount, Universal)
Management Companies
Exhibitors
Technology
1. Film-oriented institutions/organizations
Opportunities
By: Alex DeSanto
Noe Corado
Kirsten Pierre

Engaging Cinema: an Introduction to Film Studies - Ch 6 & 7
Constraints
Examples include:
Library of Congress
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Academy Awards, Oscars)
IDA (International Documentary Association)
MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America)
Each organization has a specific goal/mission, limiting what they support.
All support the development and production of films
Constraints
Opportunities
Rags to Riches -- actors able to move from the bottom up (e.g. Mark Wahlberg)
Financial interests have significant control over what gets made
Make popular films that entertain sizable audiences
Genre films
packaging -- makes film more marketable to studio
Product placement
Enormous amount of competition
Creativity is suppressed because studios won't take the risk on something that will not be commercially successful
The need of the studio to satisfy financial and artistic needs
Concentration on a few event-films per year
Product Placement
Cameras
Lenses
Sound recording
Post-production sound
Special effects
Opportunities
Constraints
Visually appealing
Can help a viewer be more invested in the films
More realistic
More visual/audible possibilities
The learning curve
Expensive
Aesthetically unsatisfying
Requires specialized training/crew
The Nation-State
The national framework within all contexts function
The cultural and political attitudes adopted towards film
Opportunities
Constraints
Funding
Film industry as a means of providing:
employment
cultural capital
The Production Code
Prior censorship/prior restraint
The Ratings System (MPAA)
Lack of government support for artisanal filmmaking
Internalized conventions
Genre films
Genres address many of the most significant issues in society (personal & social)
Genres typically follow a specific set of conventions and tap into widely shared feelings, desires, values, and beliefs
Film genres include:
Science fiction
Western
Gangster
Mystery
Thriller
Horror

Musical
Film Noir
Melodrama
Comedy
Adult
Science Fiction
We enter a world...
altered by time, technology, or aliens
Emotions activated:
awe, wonder, fascination, fear, dread
Conflicts addressed:
human values vs. technology
civilization vs. aliens
Western
We enter a world...
where law and community must be created by rugged, individual men
the land is both precious and dangerous
Emotions activated
respect or admiration for tough men and expansive landscape
awe at natural beauty
Conflicts addresses
civilization vs. wilderness
fronier rules vs. rule of law (e.g. vigilantism vs. due process)
community vs. individual
Film Noir
We enter a world...
Emotions
activated
Conflicts
addressed
Where trust and honesty prove rare
seduction and betrayal abound
no one can be trusted
darkness engulfs people
Suspicion
worry
anxiety
fascination
admiration
attraction
wariness
caution
distrust
distrust and instability vs. trust and a stable social order
a secure masculinity vs. threats to male identity
Chapter 6
Underlying question:
How do social forces and historical conflicts find representation in films?

** all contexts have opportunities and constraints
Chapter 7
** similarities and differences exist among the genres
2 Basic types of Genre Films
1. Social order + public sphere: politics and social policy
Conflict:
law, order, justice, authority, power, hierarchy
controlled violence/sacrifice, knowledge, governance
Themes:
charismatic heroes secure public sphere
male independence & pursuit of self-interest secure cultural ideals
2. Domestic order + private sphere: interpersonal relationships
Conflict:
trust, suspicion, fear, paranoia, anxiety, love
Themes:
love secures domestic sphere
family values secure cultural ties
Genre as exploring tensions between the
individual
and
society
Raise questions of power, hierarchy, authority, and justice
Urban vs. Rural
Lower vs. upper class
Individual vs. community
National autonomy vs. external domination
2 methods of relating a story to viewers
Condensation
Displacement
forcefully concentrates tension, conflict, and emotional energy into a simple figure
Provide symbols, icons, archetypes, stereotypes, and heroes who stand for larger collectives and issues
Antagonists/protagonists become super-concentrated representations of certain ideals or conventions
genre films often deal with difficult social issues by shifting the focus to less troubling meaning
shift widespread problems to a person’s specific struggle (collective -> personal)
shift a political issue to a character’s conflict of “doing the right thing” (political issues -> moral issues)
addresses political issues through leader’s personal authority (political power -> personal authority)
Full transcript