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Palgrave Macmillan

The Critical Practice of Film

An Introduction

ISBN 9780230229754
Publication Date September 2011
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The Critical Practice of Film introduces film studies and production through the integration of criticism, theory and practice. Its approach is that of critical practice, a process that explores the integration and intersection between the critical analysis of films and the practical aspects of filmmaking. In other words, this book is both an introduction to the ways in which we watch films,
as well as an introduction to how films are created − the more you know about how films are made, the more you can appreciate the artistry involved in a film.

Author Elspeth kydd combines explorations of basic technical and aesthetic principles with extended analyses drawn from both classic and contemporary Hollywood and other world cinemas, including Battleship Potemkin (1927), Un Chien andalou (1929), Stagecoach (1939), Mildred Pierce (1945), Notorious (1946), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Breathless (1959), Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), Star Wars (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), The Matrix (1999), Amores Perros (2000), Gosford Park (2001) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–3). Also included is a range of exercises designed to stimulate critical and analytical thought and help to demystify the process of creative mediamaking. Assignments range in scale from simple storyboarding and narrative development exercises that may be explored with minimal technology, to more complex video projects that can be adapted to suit varying levels of technical skill.
 
The Critical Practice of Film provides an accessible introduction to the theory and practice of film studies, integrating creative practice with critical and theoretical engagement to guide students towards an engaged form of creative expression and an active role as reviewer and critic. Beautifully presented, this ground-breaking text offers all students an integrated understanding of film criticism and production.

Elspeth kydd is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and Video Production at the University of the West of England. She has taught, researched and published in film and television studies for nearly twenty years, as well as being an active documentary videomaker. This book developed from teaching integrated theory-practice film courses at universities in the US and UK.

ELSPETH KYDD is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and Video Production at the University of the West of England. She has taught, researched and published in film and television studies for nearly twenty years, as well as being an active documentary videomaker. This book developed from teaching integrated theory-practice film courses at universities in the US and UK.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART 1 CRITICAL PRACTICE

Chapter 1 The Critical Practice of Film
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
CRITICAL PRACTICE
TYPES OF FILM
THE CONVENTIONS OF CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD
THE STAGES OF MAKING A FILM
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 2 Motion Pictures
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
A DARKENED ROOM
FILM AND DIGITAL VIDEO
ANIMATION
Cameraless Animation
Cel Animation
Figure Animation
Computer Animation
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?


PART 2 FILM FORM

Chapter 3 Narrative Film
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
TELLING STORIES
NARRATIVE STRUCTURE
The Three Act Structure
Characters
Narrative Structure in Star Wars
Alternatives to the Three Act Structure
DEVELOPING A SCRIPT
STORY AND PLOT
The World of the Narrative
NARRATIVE TIME
Shifts in Time
NARRATION
The Narrator as a Character
The Narrator in the Plot
The Narrator in the Story
Reliable and Unreliable Narrators
THE NARRATION OF CINEMATIC TECHNIQUES
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 4 Documentary Film
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
CRITICAL PRACTICE DOCUMENTARY
STRUCTURE
Rhetorical Structure
Observational Documentary
Lyrical Documentary
MODES OF ADDRESS
Direct Address
Indirect Address
DOCUMENTARY'S PARTICIPANTS
Interviews and Encounters
First Person Voice
EVIDENCE
Visual Evidence
Current Evidence
Archival evidence
Constructed evidence
Aural Evidence
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 5 Experimental Film
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
WHAT IS EXPERIMENTAL FILM?
FILM AND MODERN ART: THE FIRST AVANT-GARDE
Context and Themes of Modern Art
Cubism and Ballet Mechanique
Surrealism and Un Chien Andalou
PERSONAL FILM
Meshes of the Afternoon
Stan Brakhage
STRUCTURALIST/MATERIALIST FILM
EXPANDED CINEMA: VIDEO ART AND THE BLURRING OF THE BOUNDARIES
Critique of Television and the Media
Video and Performance
Video Installation
Available Media
New Media
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

PART 3 TECHNIQUES OF FILM

Chapter 6 Cinematography
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
INTRODUCING CINEMATOGRAPHY
THE CAMERA
Speed of Motion
Lenses
Focus
Exposure
LIGHTING
Exterior Lighting
Available Light
Properties of Light
Intensity
Quality
Colour Temperature
Direction
The Conventions of Three Point Lighting
An Example of the Use of Light: Mildred Pierce
THE FRAME
Aspect Ratio
Camera Positions and Angles
The Camera and Point of View
The Ideological Use of the Camera
COMPOSITION WITHIN THE FRAME
The Position of Graphic Elements
Closure
Balance
Lines
Drawing Attention to Parts of the Frame
Composing in Depth
Frame within the Frame
The Composition of Offscreen Space
MOVEMENT
Zoom Movement
Types of Camera Movement
Tripod Movement
Vehicle Movement
Operator Movement
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 7 Mise-en-Scene
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
WHAT IS MISE-EN-SCENE?
THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN
Setting
Studio Sets
On Location
Costume Design
Costume and Authenticity
Narrative and Thematic Use of Costumes
Aesthetic Use of Costumes
Ideological Use of Costumes
Make Up
Props
DIRECTION
Continuity Staging
Alternatives to Continuity Staging
PERFORMANCE AS AN ELEMENT OF MISE-EN-SCENE
Acting Styles
How an Actor Develops a Role
Performance in Stage Beauty
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 8 Sound
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
SOUND IN FILM
THE CIRCLE OF SOUND
TYPES OF SOUND
Listening Well
Where is that Sound Coming From?
Voice
Sound Effects
Ambiance
Sound Recording
Sound Mixing
An Example Of Sound Types: 'Truck Stop'
NARRATIVE SOUND
Sound in the World of the Narrative
Sound and the Narrative Order
An Example of Sound in Narrative: Distant Voices, Still Lives
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 9 Editing
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
THE FINAL STAGES
TRANSITIONS
THE CONTINUITY SYSTEM
180° Space
Shot Selection
30° Rule and Jump Cuts
Adding Complexity to the Scene
Ideological Significance of Continuity Editing
THE AESTHETIC TECHNIQUES OF EDITING
Graphic Matching
Cutting on Movement
Pace and Rhythm
Pacing within the Scene and within the Film
Pacing for Different Types of Screen Action
EDITING AND THE WORLD OF THE NARRATIVE
Time Manipulation through Editing
Linking Spaces
Inserts
MONTAGE
Eisenstein and The Montage of Conflict
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 10 Music
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
LISTENING TO A FILM
SOURCES OF FILM MUSIC
ADDING MUSIC TO A FILM
Adding Music to Your Own Film or Video
MUSIC IN THE WORLD OF THE NARRATIVE
MUSICAL THEMES
MUSIC AND MEANING
THE IDEOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF FILM MUSIC
MUSIC IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

PART 4 ANALYSIS AND CRITICAL PRACTICE

Chapter 11 Interpretation and Analysis of Film
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
WRITING ABOUT FILM
METHODS OF WRITING ABOUT FILM
The Film Review
Historical Research Essay
Critical Analysis of Film
Theoretical Interpretation of Film
ANALYZING A FILM
The Need for Description
Identifying the Cinematic Techniques
Examining How the Cinematic Techniques Tell the Story
Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Storytelling Techniques
INTERPRETING A FILM
Interpretation of Gender Identities
Women in Film
Gender in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
The Ideologies of Race
Analyzing Race
Race in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Relating a Film to its Context of Creation
Autuer Analysis
Genre Analysis
National Cinemas
ANALYZING YOUR OWN CREATIVE PRACTICE
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Chapter 12 Critical Practice in Action
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
CRITICAL PRACTITIONERS
THE CRITICAL PRACTICE OF THE SOVIET MONTAGE THEORISTS
The Context of Montage
The Kuleshov Experiments
Eisenstein and Pudovkin
Montage in Practice: The End of St. Petersburg
THE CRITICAL PRACTICE OF THE FRENCH NEW WAVE
The Context of the French New Wave
The Theory of the French New Wave
An Example of the French New Wave: Breathless
THE CRITICAL PRACTICE OF THIRD CINEMA
The Context of Third Cinema
Theories of Third Cinema
An Example of Third Cinema Memories of Underdevelopment
CRITICAL PRACTICE IN FEMINIST FILM
Feminist Alternatives to Mainstream Cinema
The Films of Agnes Varda
CRITICAL PRACTICE AND THE NEW QUEER CINEMA
The Context of New Queer Cinema
Queer Theory and New Queer Cinema
New Queer Cinema in Action
CRITICAL PRACTICE IN POPULAR CULT FILM
Critical Practice in The Matrix
SUMMARY AND KEY QUESTIONS
WANT TO LEARN MORE?

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