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Fantasy vs. Reality in (500) Days of Summer

Examining film rhetoric and how visual cues enable the audience to identify fantasy and reality.

Carter Dick

on 27 April 2010

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Transcript of Fantasy vs. Reality in (500) Days of Summer

Fantasy vs. Reality in "Approaching film as a language suggests the
possibility that there is a grammar of visual signs
that operates predictably and that can be used to
generate an infinite variety of meanings."

~ David Blakesley, Defining Film Rhetoric, p. 114
"The elements of film language include but
not limited to its visual elements -- camera
movement, mise-en-scene, color, proxemic patterning,
point-of-view, special visual effects, visual editing, visual
repetition, etc."

~ David Blakesley (500) Days of Summer
"This is a story of boy meets girl... but you should know up front -- this is not a love story."

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel)
Defining Film Rhetoric
1. Film Language
2. Film Ideology
3. Film Interpretation
4. Film Identification

( David Blakesley) Tom
Once an aspiring architect, now works as a writer for a greeting card company
Appears to have no goals until he meets Summer Summer
New employee
Casual approach to romance -- young, wants to have fun

"Even when we are absorbed in a story we retain full
consciousness that we are helping construct the artifact
we read or watch."
~ Karl Kroeber, Make Believe in Film and Fiction: Visual vs. Verbal Storytelling, p. 47

We, the audience, identify with and root for Tom because we see his fantasy and he believes it so strongly. However, we also see Summer's reality.
*Focus: How film language or "grammar" and film identification is used to contrast the fantasy and the reality of the relationship between Tom and Summer Split-Screen: Ideal vs. Real

Ideal - "idealized or generalized essence of the
information, hence also as its, ostensibly, most
salient part"

Real- "opposed to this [ideal] in that it presents more specific information (e.g. details), more 'down-to-earth' information (e.g. photographs as documentary evidence, or maps or charts), or more practical information (e.g. practical consequences, directions for action)"

(Kress & van Leeuwen, Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, p. 186-187) ..."the film functions both like a language , but
also rhetorically, as an appeal to or assertion of identity
in the audience."
~ Blakesley, Defining Visual Rhetorics, p. 114 Things to note about the visuals
visual repetition - Day (488), elevator, transitions
split screen - rooftop party
montage - Days (456-476)
color - blue in the fantasy music sequence and Summer wearing blue, bright colors not prevalent
monochromatic color palette
production design (i.e. costumes, props, etc.)
architecture as an underlying theme
Full transcript