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GSU / OTHER / FLME 2700 / What are the categories of films that share some common qualities?

What are the categories of films that share some common qualities?

What are the categories of films that share some common qualities?

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Film Genre and Studio Systems  


What are the categories of films that share some common qualities?



- Genre, categories of films that share some common qualities. A way of organizing films according to  types. Standardization (assembly line-like production) in film industry created room for the emergence  of genres. The movies that belong to the same genre have common formal and dramatic qualities but  also they introduce slight differences.

- Economical Background of Genre  

• MPPC (Motion Picture Patents Company) 1908 - 1918  

- Signed by 9 different film companies  

- Kind of agreement/partnership  

- 20th century, patents, always refers back to Edison.  

- Forced partnership, Edison exploited his rights.  

- New Jersey was the home base of Edison.  


What is the economical background of the genre?



- In 1912, a film studio, Inceville, established in LA, by Thomas Harper Ince. Edison could not put  the MPPC Patent Law on this because of the distance between them.  

• Factory line production,  

• Assembly line production, a way of making standardized products, but with some differences  so that there is differences between your product and the rival product.  

• Hollywood studio systems wanted to control all the faces of production.  

• Creating standardized products with minor differences.  

• Vertical Integration, studios began to control all the phases of distribution and production of  movies. Vertical Integration was one of the major reasons that paved the way for the  domination of world film markets by Hollywood.  


What does mppc stand for in a film?



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• WWI also contributed to the process of Hollywood domination, since Europe’s attention was  on war not film. Furthermore, because of the political-economic climate in Europe during the  years of WWI, many European filmmakers, especially film directors and cinematographers,  began to immigrate to the US and they started working in the film industry, which, in turn,  support the advancement of Hollywood Studio System.

• Hollywood Studios set themselves up like factories; they embraced the logic of assembly line like production.

- Film Noir, Universal Horro  

- Two significant Genre  

• 1920s, Slapstick. Mack Sennet. He worked with Thomas Harper Ince.  

- Silent Slapstick comedy, the dominant genre of the 1910s-1920s until the coming of sound. It is  influenced by pantomime.

- Made Keystone film studio, started making short films in 1913.  

- He set the standards for this genre.  Don't forget about the age old question of What is a heavy metal poison called?

- A little shallow.  

- Silent comedy movies.  

• Based on exaggerated comical physical actions.  

• Cartoonish violence  

• Human tension between human beings and X.  

• Imitation  

- Two different humorous contradictory interpretation of the same event.  

- Charlie Chaplin (director and actor) learned from Mack Sennet.

• He added characterization.  

• He introduced psychological adapt to slapstick.  

• He was the first internationally acclaimed movie star.  

• Important Films  

- The Kid (1921)  

- Goldrush (1925)  

- Modern Times (1936)  

- Buster Keaton, combining it with social criticism and psychology adapt.  

• Sherlock Jr. (1924)  

• The General (1926)  

• Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)  Don't forget about the age old question of What is receiving in listening process?

• In contemporary film studies, Keaton is considered as one of the masters of slapstick genre  who is as important as Chaplin in terms of his contribution to the film language of comedy  movies.

• Keaton vs. Chaplin  

- One significant difference is the facial features. Charlie Chaplin used lots of facial expression  while Buster Keaton had absolutely no facial expression, they were frozen the entire time. But  Buster Keaton used lots of lower body movement compared to Charlie Chaplin.  

• Screwball Comedy (1930s), most popular in the states. After the introduction of sound.  - The source of the comedy is verbal.  

• Tension between genders.  

- During Great Depression, (aftermath of WWI) women started working at factories. The men were  afraid women would take their social roles so it caused them social anxiety.  

- 1930s, had a lot of horror films in cause of the Great Depression.  

- Frank Capra  We also discuss several other topics like What is the function of the axonemal?

• It Happened one Night (1934)  

- Shows that men is superior to women.  

- George Cukor  

• Philadelphia (1940)  

- Man tries to act superior. But women is superior  

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––  Sound and Morality - First sound film  If you want to learn more check out Can mutations in sex cells be inherited?

• (1927) Jazz Singer  

- Director Alan Crosland  

- Al Jolson, main character  

- Two genres with sound  

• Musicals  

• Screwball Comedies  

- The film makers were amazed they could synchronize sound with the images.  - Recorded sound on wax cylinders  

- 1895 Edison was able to record sound and image simultaneously but on two separate materials.  - In the short run the introduction of sound had both regressive and progressive influences over the film  grammar of narrative cinema.  

• Regression effects of sound.

- Microphones are too big and their range of perception is limited. Thus, actors/actresses were  positioned close to the microphones, which, in return, limited their movements.  - Synchronization, had trouble synchronizing sound with lips synch.  

- The range of perception of microphones were limited. They were not sensitive to particular sound  (specific sound sensitivity) In order to prevent the microphones from recording the noise of  camera, camera was put into soundproof boxes. Because of that the amount of cuts decreased and  the camera became static (the lack of camera movements was arisen from the necessity of using  soundproof boxes that avoid mobility of camera).  

- There occurred gaps between the screen persona of the actors/actresses and the quality of their  voices.  

- Amplifiers were not technically sufficient either for getting the sound to the whole theater with  avoiding sonic noises.  

• Progressive effects of sound.  

- Dialogues, increases the psychological depth of characters and make the qualities of the  relationships between them more explicit.  

- Sensory experience of the film— Before the introduction of sound, movies were not address to  the five senses of the audience, since “sound” was the missing part of the sensuousness of the  film. After the introduction of sound, movies began to address to all senses. This situation  increases the illusion/impression of reality on the part of audiences.  

- Sonic sphere— the sonic connection between the filmic world and the world of the audiences in  the theater. This means that after the introduction of sound films began to offer more immersive  film viewing experiences.  

- During the 1930s Parents began to think that films were not ethically good for their children.  • They were concerned with what the movies were showing and implying.  

• Because of public concerns the government tried to control the content in the movies.  • Studios tried to prevent government from controlling their films. So they hired Will H. Hayes.  • Studios told government that they would control the content of their movies and guaranteed that  

their would be no more moral problems. Government gave them a time limit to achieve the publics  support.  

• Will H. Hayes  

- (1930 - 1934) Established Hayes Codes, not legally binding rules and codes. Self regulation.  - Official name, PCA (Production Code Associations).  

- During 1960s this code declined, because of the introduction of television, hollywood studios lost  many audiences.  

- Prohibitions of this codes, no violence and no sex were allowed to be shown,  • Only violent villains were allowed, but at the end you need to show another violent scene  where the hero punishes the villain.  

• (1960s - Present) MPAA  

- You can show anything you want.  

- Not prohibiting anything, but giving the choice the the audience. If they want to watch you can.  - But they give information about the moral content of the film to the audience and parents. (PG, G,  R, 17+, etc.)  

• Major hollywood scandals that triggered moral concerns.  

- Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle  

• Slapstick actor

• Made movies for keystone studio  

• Made movies with Buster Keaton  

• Rumor was that one night he raped a girl named Virginia Rappe  

- Law decided he raped a girl.  

- He was prisoned.  

- William Desmond  

• He was found dead in his apartment.  

• Police said he had a stroke.  

• Later found out he had 5 bullet holes in his back.  

• Rumored that he had a connection with mafia.  

• Wasn’t able to capture the murderer.  

- Charlie Chaplin did not want to make a sound film because of his charismatic voice.  ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––  Classical Hollywood Cinema (mid 1920s - 1960s)  

- Constructed by D.W.Griffith  

- Invisible Hollywood Style, idea behind Invisible Hollywood Style is to create coherent and continuous  visual story telling, which, in turn, makes the audiences forget that they are watching a film. This style  creates the illusion that “life/reality” is unfolding on the screen.

• Editing.  

- Continuity Editing, gives the view the impression that action unfolds with spatiotemporal  consistency. Smooth. Flawless. Should be done in such a way that it won’t be noticeable.  - Eye Line Matching, the audience should be able to see whatever the character is seeing.  - 180 Rule, two characters in a scene should stay on the same side of the invisible line.  - Establishing Shot, a wide shot.  

- Cutting in between dialogue. You need to cut at logical points. Wait for character to stop speaking,  cut, then let them recontinue.  

• Framing, characters occupy central position in the the frame. Especially main character.  - Eye Level Angles, as if there is an invisible observer in the film. Makes the process of immersion  easier. Human like vision.  

• Camera angles predominantly eye level in order to create the impression that the audiences are in the  film would as invisible observers.  

- Camera angles are anthropomorphic, tilt, pan, and tracking shots initiate the movements of human  being in order to create the impression that the audiences are in the film as invisible observers.  • Sound, is in the service of narration.Sound synchronized to the image.  

- Logical source of sound.  

- Two Types of Sound  

• Diegetic, both character and audience can hear the sound.  

• Non - Diegetic, only audience can hear the sound.  

• Lighting is unobtrusive, it is narratively motivated, it is used so as to not draw attention to itself.  - 3 Point Lighting  

• Key light, strongest light, main source of light, at a 45 degree angle in front of the subject.  • Fill light, fills in darkness and shadows of the key light. 50% less stronger.  

• Back light, behind the subject, makes a halo effect around the subject.

• Cuts occur at logical point in action and dialogue. Like all other stylistic elements editing is  invisible.

- Directors did not put their signatures on the films, since they utilize standardized film form.  • Howard Hawks, most famous classical hollywood cinema director.  

- The Big Sleep (1946)  

• Micheal Curtiz  

- Casablanca (1962)  

• John Huston  

- Maltese Falcon (1941)  

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––  Alfred Hitchcock  

- Elements he used to put his signature, without abandoning invisible hollywood film styles.  • Suspense, master of suspense. Must let the audience see information that the characters can’t see.  - Ex. Two characters sitting at a table talking about ordinary topics. Camera zooms into character  1’s face, then into character 2’s face, then to a bomb that is under the table. Scenes cut between  the 3 images. Creating a type of suspense, because the audience knows there is a bomb but the  characters don’t.  

• Voyeurism, getting pleasure from spying on people. Watching a movie creates an illusion of  voyeurism. He uses many “peeping tom” scenes in his films.  

- Voyeurism in cinema (and in real life) produces the illusion of mastery over the image displayed  on the screen (or over the people that voyeur is spying on). However, this illusion is undermined  if the characters directly looked into the camera (or the people that voyeur is spying on recognizes  that someone is watching them secretly).

- Voyeurism in cinema creates a paradoxical oscillation between the sense of mastery over the  image and the sense of impotence that is arisen as the audiences recognize that they are not able  control the events displayed on the screen. In Hitchcock’s films both the sense of mastery and  impotence is produced by means of the voyeuristic acts of the characters.  

• Objective yet subjective shots, in Hitchcock films sometimes it is not possible to decide whether a  shot is subjective or objective. Sometimes it turns out that apparently subjective shots are indeed  objective or vice versa

- MacGuffin: It is a desired object, person or a goal that the main character peruses. It functions as an  excuse for furthering the story and does not have any significance other than that.  - Styles  

• Camera Appearance  

• Draws us in with facial features.  

• by zooming in he shows character is showing emotions.  

• Used wide shots/general shot/establishing shot for intensity.  

• Story must be told visually not with dialogue.  

- Films  

• Vertigo (1958)  

• Notorious (1954)  

• Rear Window (1965)  

• Psycho (1960)  

• Birds (1963)

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––  Orson Welles (1915 - 1985)  

- At odds with Classical Hollywood Cinema (CHC)

- Changed story and style

- Makes film style visible

- Thought Film director was the most important person as far as film credits

- Undermines film style to place his signature

- Really critical regarding the American Dream

• He was an American

• Wanted to undermine the American Dream (Ex. American Dream was rich guy ends up with poor  girl)

• CHC has (x) which represents the problem → resolved/cancels (at end)

- Orson’s Take

- X (the problem) = mad scientists trying to destroy the world

- Resolution = at end, no mad scientists  

- Basically he says there’s (x) in the beginning, then he says there’s no (x) at the end - Films  

• Citizen Kane (1941)

• Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

• Lady from Shanghai (1947) 

• Touch of Evil (1958)

- Stylistic Qualities  

• Deep Focus 

- Background, foreground, meet ground in focus

- Visual Hierarchy

- Everything in focus

• Long single mobile shots (unity)  

- Minor or NO cuts at all (continuity, harmony; no problems)

- Cut (suddenly there is a cut → creates rupture → impression American Dream is an Illusion) =  Undermines Unity

• Sound Bridge  

- Sound belongs to previous scene and continues in the next scene

- Are used for making comments about particular events

• Ex. Charles Foster Kane is rich → wife wants to be a singer → uses money to make her a star • One day he hears her sing and starts applauding. Applause continues to him running as a  politician. Celebration is fake. Commentary (applause is example of created commentary) • Mystery (there is no mystery)  

- You watched the film for nothing because there’s no mystery

- Paradoxical: Fact that there’s no mystery turn into a mystery

• Extreme Low Angles  

- Not a way of saying character is superior (low angle usually makes person superior), now says  character is inferior

- As if ceiling going to collapse on person

- Usually show someone as strong and rich which means he’s going to die because of the property  he possesses

• Flashback  

- Multiple versions of past

- Memory is not reliable

- Truth is inaccessible or does not exist

- Undermines voyeuristic position of audience; can’t know the truth

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––  ITALIAN NEO-REALISM (1943 - early 1950s) 

- Famous Directors  

• Luchino Visconti (Obsession, 1943)  

• Vittiorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, 1948)  

• Robert Rossellini (Rome Open City, 1945)  

- Background  

• WWII and post WWII Italy  

• During the war Italy was ruled by a fascist dictator: Benito Mussolini  

• Italy lost the war

• War trauma and the economic problems during the post-WWII Italy influenced the aesthetic  characteristics of Italian Neo-Realist movies  

• Poverty became the major socio-economic problem after the war 

• They recognized that classical hollywood films did nothing to show an ordinary daily life or  struggles. They decided to create a film style that was at odds with classical hollywood cinema.  • Classical hollywood cinema is not realistic even though its claim of being realistic.  - Italian Neo-Realism Directors used these to make things realistic  

• Imperfect images, very controlled environment, there was no room for improvisation  • Used natural lighting  

• Had shootings at real life location.  

• Based their film on ordinary life with stories of ordinary people  

• Had real daily problems. (ex. poverty)  

• They told open ended stories, because classical hollywood movies made an illusion that all the film  ended a story (ex. a poor man became rich at the end of the film and the problem was solved) Italian  directors opinions the film does not solve the problem it self. The problem itself is bigger than film  itself and it can not be solved with the context of the film. The duty of the film is to show the  problem not to solve it. The story keeps going even though the film is over. There is no solution in  the film.  

- Humanistic Concern, these people are still facing social problems outside of the film.  • Natural Sound Recording,  

• Hand Held Camera,  

• Documentary Like Texture/Aesthetics (They only made fiction films)  

• Editing, discontinuous editing. Intentionally leaves out continuity to show that the film is imperfect/ distorted.  

• Loose scripts.  

- No written dialogues.  

- Director would just ask them to start talking.  

- Improvisation

• Actors, non professional actors. Could not improvise with professional actors.  • Did not omit any unnecessary times and events in order to make the film closer to our daily  experiences.  

- Classical Hollywood Cinema Directors used to make things realistic.  

• Perfect images

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