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Film Theory

by: Abi Sommers

Film Theory CTCS 473

Abi Sommers
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About this Document

Here are the notes for Week 4's lecture, reviewing classical realism and moving into formalism.
Film Theories
Jon Wagner
Class Notes
Film, Theory, Realism, Classical, Formalism




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Abi Sommers on Friday September 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CTCS 473 at University of Southern California taught by Jon Wagner in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views.


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Date Created: 09/16/16
9/12 (continued conversation on Critical realism) The scene of the real is often constructed to appeal to us . ­ Many technological advances created not to make the world seem more real but to  compete with other studios and technologies ­ Realism almost always comes after a way of appealing audiences ­ “ The Empire of the image” , seeing is believing  Baudry ­ Not that we love cinema but that cinema loves us and understands our reality ­ Cinema brings us back to the mother’s womb, when we were separated from the real Henderson ­ The long take is a kind of myth ­ Long takes are dialogues about how the elements of the mis en scene are speaking to  us ­ Long take is an active realization about how reality is both constructed and revealed ● Critical realism says reality is an active judgement spectators must realize we have the  capacity to criticize  The Russian Ark :  ­ Yearning to see the time of imperial order as a glorious moment and ability to conquer  ­ Grows with tragic desperation and awareness ­ Has realist heart, wants cinema to rescue us and rescue history ­ The protagonist wants to be left alone to dream “go ahead and dream”, is a critical  warning,  entering into a voluntary hallucination ­ Reality is a dream, an impression, yet reality itself is a fiction/impression ­ The film questions whether reality is there or we construct it and impose it  ­ The dream of reality is reality for human beings, how we occupy the world and  history —————————————————————————————————————————— ———————————————————\ Formalism Formalism ­ Cinema finds its essence in the ability to reorder time and space and not to respec it ­ Soviet Formalism celebrates ability to re­order particularly for propaganda ­ Germany , cinema used as an accusation of reality’s own corruption    4 categories  :  1. What is the worldview? ( that underlies or informs formalism) ­ The world is neutral, all meaning is artificial ­ Our relationship to the world is alienated, meaning has to be  invented 1 What is cinema’s place/duty in this (^)  world ? ­ The medium is uniquely manipulation ­ The heart of cinema is its ability to provoke meaning ­ Cinema is there to actively intervene into time and space 1 What are the techniques that create this ? (i.e realism­long take) ­ Montage  ­ Montage is the foregrounding of editing ­ We are watching meaning be formalized           4. What is the kind of spectator ?                                          ­     The spectator is analytical                   ­     Spectator is provoked Historical context:  Russian Tzar overthrown march 17 Krowinsky responsible for moving cinema along Communist party overthrew Krowinsky and re­installed lennin Cinema became an active revolutionary principle What was available after the revolution was put under regulation of education committee ­ 1st film school in the world established in 1919 ­ Bastard art receiving recognition during revolutionary time ­ State film school in soviet union were primarily training students to make news reels, as  “agiattional propaganda” Agit­Prop     “Kinoglaz” ­ The gaze of cinema  ­ Cinema reality transformed into propaganda  ­ Kino pravda ­ Cinema truth , the truth cinema saw, not the the truth that was there Vertov ­ The Man with the moving camera ­ Self­reflexive cinema ­ For cinema to reflect its own, muscle, operation ­ Part of larger Marxist doctrine called “Materialism”  ­ Agit­prop documentary, reflecting its own making  ● Vertov ­ one of the great fathers of soviet cinema Leb  Kuleshov ­ Given a workshop to work with most radical students ( Eisenstein) ­ Smuggled in films including D.W Griffith film “intolerance” and eventually “Birth of a  nation” ­ Kuleshov effect , taking one shot and following by another and creating a  certain effect  for the audience, a synthesis of meaning ­ The cinematic shot or unity of meaning has two values ­ Blunt meaning  ­ A synthesized meaning in the eyes of the spectator, initiated by the director and  completed by the spectator           Pudovkin ­ Meaning is never not propaganda ­ Pudovkin highly influenced by Griffin ­ The ideal spectatoral eye ­  sewing of spectator into identification of characters and  narrative more effective than alienating ­ Film actor has to learn to underplay, emotion will be constructed in editing ­ Editing is at the heart of cinema, the actor has no say Eisenstein ­ Theories of montage drawn from vertov and personal studies ­ Learned to trust traditional ideas of narrative and character, never focus on one  character ­ Favored montage of collision, “shock”, the “dialectic”, the combining of shots that shocks a spectator, history is based on shocks and collisions ­ Thesis  :already has elements within that are destructive ­ Within every shot there are elements that can bring thesis into  “antithesis”, overturning of itself. Forming constant analytical synthesis ­ Synthesis­ immediately tries to set up new thesis and attempt to control  opposition within itself, and produce new collision, ­ Both montage and history ­ and endless overturning of events ­ Can create conflict rhythmically, within the shots and between the shots, collage  and montage always happening ­ Tonal montage, can create montage by creating emotional instability ­ Intellectual montage , two terms of visual metaphor forced together in mind of  spectator


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