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Types of Movies
Transcript of Types of Movies
*Explain how and why movies are classified
*Define narrative, documentary, and experimental movies
*Understand the approaches to documenting actual events employed by filmmakers
*Discuss the characteristics that most experimental films share
*Understand where animation fits into the discussion
Barsam, Richard, and Dave Monahan. "Looking at Movies, Third Edition". New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010. Types of Movies A narrative is a story - we use stories to arrange and understand our world and lives. We incorporate narrative into the ways we frame and present information.
The narrative of a film is the story that it tells, whether that movie is a science-fiction film or a documentary about science. Narrative Films are categorized by how they are distributed, financed, rated, running time, subject matter, nation or era of origin, and so forth.
For our purposes, we will define them by filmmaker's intent and relationship with viewer.
*Narrative, Documentary, Experimental Types of Movies Flexibility of film form has blurred the once distinct borders among the three main film types. Hybrid Movies Animation should not be considered a singular type of movie.
"Storytelling is storytelling no matter what your medium is. And the language of film is the same. You're still using close ups and medium shots and long shots. You're still trying to introduce the audience to a character and get them to care." Brad Bird Animation:
A Different Form of Moviemaking Narrative is a type of movie - categorical term for movies devoted to conveying a story, whether it be pure fiction or a fictionalized version of actual events. Narrative is a way of structuring stories presented in narrative films - this structure includes exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement. Filmmakers manipulate the experience by selectively conforming or diverging from audience expectations. Narrative is a broader concept that both includes and goes beyond these applications. This broader conceptual context includes any cinematic structure in which content is selected and arranged in a cause-and-effect sequence of events happening over time.
*Passengers (2002) Movies do not need to arrange events sequentially in order to employ narrative organization. Filmmakers may choose causality rather than chronology (e.g. 21 Grams, Pulp Fiction). This approach demands a much higher engagement from the audience to recognize the connections and reassemble events into chronological order. Nonfiction filmmakers can't control the unstaged events they record, but they can utilize narrative in how they choose to order and present it, most generally utilizing cause-and-effect. Experimental or avant-garde films endeavor to break mainstream formulas and conventions, but they too employ narrative according to our general definition.
*The Strip Mall Trilogy (2001) The linear nature of film lends itself to structures that develop according to some form of progression.
Nearly every movie, regardless of category, employs at least a loose interpretation of narrative. Narrative Primary relationship with the viewer is that of storyteller. These films are directed toward fiction, even those that claim to tell a true story. The events are often adjusted to better serve the principles of narrative structure used to entertain and engage the audience. Events are added, removed or rearranged, characters are composited, actors add their own elements, etc. Very few "true stories" can deliver the narrative clarity and effect audiences have come to expect. Film strives for verisimilitude, includes standard lighting design and camera movement, with scenes performed in a logical chronological sequence. Its main goal is ENTERTAINMENT. Genres...
(for another day) Documentary Experimental Do these always reflect objective truth? These filmmakers use storytelling and dramatization to some degree to shape their material. Furthermore, the simple act of filming a subject removes the possibility of objective truth - no one behaves exactly the same knowing they are being filmed. Filmmakers have a personal perspective on the subject matter. Informed documentary viewers must thoughtfully consider these factors when considering the "truth" presented on the screen. Factual Films
Usually present people, places, or processes in straightforward ways meant to entertain and instruct without unduly influencing audiences.
Early films, such as the Lumiere brothers were making, fell into this category.
"Nanook of the North" (1922) is a classic example. Instructional Films
Seek to educate viewers about common interests.
These would include movies to teach viewers basic skills like cooking, yoga, or golf swings. Persuasive Films
The founding purpose was to address social injustice. Today, any film concerned with presenting a particular perspective on social issues or with corporate and governmental injustice could be considered persuasive
Modern examples include "An Inconvenient Truth" (2006), "Bowling for Columbine" (2002), and "Fahrenheit 9/11" (2004). Propaganda Films
Persuasive films produced by governments and carrying their messages. These usually systematically disseminate deceptive or distorted information.
The most famous example is "Triumph of the Will" (1935) The distinction between these four types
is often blurred. Most modern documentary
films are considered hybrids that combine
elements from two or more styles.
DIRECT CINEMA eschews interviewers
and voice-over narration. This encourages
the audience to fully comprehend the
subject matter being shown. The most difficult of all types of movies to define, as the category defines itself by actively defying categorization and convention. The term "avant-garde" originates from the French term for scouts who explored ahead of an advancing army. These artists, then, lead rather than follow. Fred Camper's Six Criteria:
1. Experimental films are not commercial - small crew, small budget, and little or no expectation of financial gain.
2. Experimental films are personal - creative vision of one artist who typically conceives, writes, directs, shoots, and edits the movie.
3. Experimental films do not conform to conventional expectations of story and narrative cause-and-effect.
4. Experimental films exploit the possibilities of the cinema - often reveal the tactile and mechanical qualities that conventional films seek to hide. They embrace innovative techniques.
5. Experimental films critique culture and media - often comment on viewer expectations of what a movie should be.
6. Experimental films invite individual interpretation - they resist the accessible and universal meaning found in conventional narrative and documentary films. These films demonstrate
the medium as an art
capable of a motion-picture
equivalent of poetry.
They remind us that film -
like painting, sculpture, music,
or architecture - can be made
in as many ways as there are
artists. Rearranged Footage
Image as Shock "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
Parks and Recreation
"The Blair Witch Project"
"Paranormal Activity" These films and shows borrow heavily from the documentary style in presenting their fictional "real life" narratives, Animation can be used to tell any story, in any genre, utilizing conventions from any of the three main types of film. Three Basic Types:
1. Hand-drawn. "Gertie the Dinosaur" (1914), Disney films
2. Stop-motion. "The Dinosaur and the Missing Link" (1915), "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)
3. Digital. "Toy Story" (1995), and subsequent Pixar films Hybrids featuring live action and animation/CGI sharing the screen have been around since the 1920s.