I am currently reading Film: A Critical Introduction by Tom Wallis and Maria Pramaggiore. As I read each chapter, I shall write the few thoughts I have…
Chapter 1/Chapter 2: An Approach to Film Analysis
The purpose of these posts is to reflect on the chapter recently read. I think by writing my thoughts, it may just sink in deep enough to then affect my writing and criticism.
The initial two chapters attempts to focus upon film analysis from the outset. To first break down a film as a film critic would you would be expected to focus on the following facets: story coherance, technicial innovations and notable performances.
Though Film critics would analyse film in this way – this is not how we all analyse film. Our expectations of what is and is not a film is judged differently depending on our expectations. Finding meaning in a film depends on our backgrounds – our knowledge, cultural experiences, preferences, formal training and expectations.
Films use patterns to reach many expectations. Take genre– a clear example of a style of film that requires specific codes and conventions – patterns – to reach the expectations of the audience. Horror films expect a kill at the start of the film – and so the pattern is set-up. As film fans, we understand these patterns and appreciate how filmmakers either exploit these codes and conventions – Scream, Pulp Fiction – or how filmmakers deviate from these patterns to present something that is new and, potentially, innovative.
Expectations are different between narrative cinema and documentary filmmaking. Documentaries present a film whereby viewers are either shown something persuasive (Michael Moore…) or a film that observes a theme (March of the Penguins). Though these are very simplistic, it is clear that all these expectations can be combined. Documentaries can often have a narrative running through (Catfish) whilst some cinematic endeavours feature a more observant-approach. Personally, Blade Runner, is an incredible film because you can observe a detailed and fully-realised world – the story is less interesting than the context it is filmed within.
This concludes todays lesson … Feel free to comment about the issues discussed – is this what film criticism is?
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