Basics Film-Making 04: The Language of Film
John Marland, Robert Edgar-Hunt, Steven Rawle
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Basics Film-Making: The Language of Film explores the means by which film communicates meaning to its audience. Despite the fact that most films are a mosaic of fractured images and fragmented narratives, we have little problem piecing them together into a complete, meaningful sequence. The average audience is capable of following the most labyrinthine plots, feeling genuine emotion for the most improbable characters, and believing that their worlds continue to exist even after the film has ended.
This book examines how films communicate by considering the stories they tell, the sign systems they deploy, the interpretive contexts the viewer is invited to place them in, and the range of aesthetic elements that contribute to the cinematic image. Each chapter concludes with a case study in which key ideas are seen in context within a particular film, or a specific scene.
Basics Film-Making: The Language of Film presents complex ideas in a clear and straightforward style, enabling you to apply these ideas to your own analysis or film-making.
Other titles included in the Basics Film-Making series include: Producing, Screenwriting and Directing Fiction.
element of ‘text’ he identified how meaning is not down to the decision-making faculties of an audience. This is not directly the same as the ideology identified and discussed in Chapter 4, instead this is the buried and subsumed meaning that is generated from the structure of the specific narrative form. 54–55 Story Story is the primary level of any narrative. This is the section that the inexperienced film-maker starts and finishes with. The inexperienced critic does the same. This is where
impact of one text on another. It cannot be reduced entirely to a simple matter of original sources. Nor are we always referring to direct influence and conscious imitation. Of course, ideas do get copied or recycled for obvious commercial reasons. One successful comic book movie will spawn another, and then another, until the novelty wears off and the profits diminish. But this is in part a natural consequence of the social contexts from which movies arise. The ever-vigilant and mysterious
text we call ‘culture’. In the Die Hard films, Bruce Willis’s wry-smiling, no-nonsense character protects everything he loves from a host of international villains. The character both reflects and reinforces the idea of the lone all-American hero that has been a part of US culture since the days of the The Lone Ranger in the 1930s. Text > Quotation Die Hard (dir: John McTiernan 1988) Quotation Recommended reading Robert Stam, New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics (1992) – this theoretical book
and complex story but to cement our nostalgic attachment to the children’s younger selves. The same comforting air of familiarity is a central appeal of sequels in general. Refashioning Select a favourite film moment that you could imagine recreating in your own movie. Ask yourself how you would refashion it to fit your purpose. This may reveal a lot about the general tone and style you should be adopting throughout. 78–79 Association Tip Other allusions are far less explicit, like those
• Dirty realism: where stories are reduced to the barest elements. This often leads to a bleak quality. Established as a literary movement in America, this has spread to cinema, particularly in the UK with films such as Red Road (dir: Andrea Arnold 2006). • Gritty realism: a critical term assigned to a number of films that tend towards the bleak but also try to capture the nature of everyday life. This extends to the work of people such as Ken Loach, but also to films like 28 Days Later (dir: