Dana's Film Theory Blog

a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog

the new cinema

Filed under: Uncategorized — dana318 at 11:51 am on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

After reading the article “Elegy for Film”, I at first didnt quite understand what was being said within the passage. But as I kept reading it became quite clear that it that D.N Rodowick (author) was upset with the direction cinema was heading towards. He discussed how the classic film no longer existed and that even when remastered, it still was not the same. I do agree that film has diminished in terms of value but it is also something that happens in passing of the times. As technology advances we see movies as we used to know change entirely. Although this does upset me, I cant help but to enjoy the advancements that have been made. With films such as Avatar and Clash of the Titans, we see techniques that seem almost unreal. Comparing Clash of the Titans 2010 to the 1981 version is a good way to show the difference almost 30 years makes. The visuals in present day “video” not only enhance the film but they bring the audience into a visionary world that would never be able to be accomplished with old school “film”. I do however feel these new techniques take away from the connection between the actor and audience, considering they are now focused on this visually enhanced world. It has always been said that a trip to the cinema is to take people away from their everyday problems and escape into the world of a film. The argument now is which is preferred, the visual world or the theatrical.

Race in Film

Filed under: Uncategorized — dana318 at 3:05 pm on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I know I am a little late with posting for last week but after reading the excerpt from “Black Skin, White Masks” By Frantz Fanon, I felt the need to comment. Normally with reading an excerpt such as this one I would read and try to connect with the author since it is something that I am not familiar with. However, after taking the a class that dealt with African Americans in film, I automatically understood what the author was saying. Although it is impossible for me to truly understand given that I am caucasian, I remembered what it was like viewing films such as “Sweet Sweetback” and “Daughters of the Dust”. Both films are on different sides of the spectrum but they both give you an inside view into their worlds. With this excerpt, I was immediatelty brought back to last semester. With something such as film, it is enjoyable to be taken out of the normal genres and themes we commonly look for and focus more on race and culture which this article is of a good example.

Representation of What?

Filed under: Uncategorized — dana318 at 1:38 am on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In the reading by Robert Stam and Lousie Spence- “Colonialism, Racism, and Representation” it is unclear to me what is trying to be said. The toughest time I have had with readings thus far. I spent time going over all that was said or meant to be said and the only thing that seems to stick out to me is the passage about the three women transporting the bomb into French Quarters in the film ” Battle Of Algiers”. It speaks of how they were bringing a bomb into an eatery and how we see the correlation between shots of the algerian women vs the women sitting in the cafe in France. It is said that we somehow are made to relate to the courage the Algerian women have to do such a thing. I find this rather odd. Although I do like to see a good film on perspective of races in different times of the past and present, I find it hard to relate to any race that is committing such an act. I like to be taught things about other cultures through history, not persuaded into following them. So if it  is so that the director did certain techniques on purpose to obtain a familiarality with it’s audience, it is one film I do not want to view.

Written in the Stars?

Filed under: Uncategorized — dana318 at 10:58 am on Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In Richard Dyer’s “From Stars” he discusses how the body language and expressions from an actor/actress relates to the film in which they are performing. He says that “performance” is much more than just acting out lines and actions that are given to them. It has to do with gestures concerning voice, facial expressions, posture and so on. This is something that I find extremely vital. When viewing a film, i feel that although the setting, camera movements and lighting do play an important part, if the person within all of this is not believable, it can change the overall feel of the film. For instance, characters are written with a personality on mind. This than transcends onto the screen within the relations between all of the personalities being portrayed. A good example is that of posture. If a performer is slouching, they come off as uncomfortable and maybe weak in a way. This is can alter a character if they are meant to be the strong and outgoing. Same with facial expressions. If we see facial motions that are not believable to the action taking place, we will leave the film unsatisfied saying the “acting was bad”. It could ruin a film. What Dyer says that I disagree with at points, is that he says sometimes the performance has nothing to do with a film. Using the film “Queen Christina” as an example. She is at the point of her life where everything is a mess but yet has no facial expression. The setting is what makes the scene. This could have worked in this case but for the most part I believe you need to feel what the character is feeling at that point to give the viewer a deeper connection with the film. Dyer then goes into explaining how actors such as John Wayne always had the same performance regarding whatever film they were in. This is the only exception I feel. John Wayne is hired in terms for the “westerns”. Its his star quality that landed him these roles because this is what he is most believable at. In recent times a good example is Kate Hudson. She is prone to taking bubble romantic comedies. This is what we believe her as considering this is what she appears to be in “real life”, however films such as those are not meant to get you connected. They are massly produced and for short term enjoyment. But considering she is a “performer” we see her bubbly persona transform into the calm, cool, infamous groupie Penny Lane in “Almost Famous” which makes us somehow forget her usual roles. In my opinion, it is the performance, coinciding with the type of film, which makes it something remarkable in terms of cinema.

how real is reality?

Filed under: Uncategorized — dana318 at 11:28 am on Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Between the readings from this week there is one that in particular stands out to me. This is the excerpt from Siegfried Kracauer which is entitled “Basic Concepts-The Realistic Tendency”. In the excerpt, Kracauer goes into detail about the importance of movement within a film. That then progresses into the talk of the staging of a particular event.

What I find to be so interesting is that although I do believe that raw emotion is easier seen within that of a live actor, he makes a point on how the film can create and unleash so much more from within an audience’ feeling and understandings. What he says is that the studio builds settings which are meant to portray an actual real life event. The scenery, backdrops and props are all strategically placed there to make us believe we could be a part of the atmosphere. However, as these scenes are constructed to portray something we see on a regular basis, the way they actually portray and pan out the event can create intense emotion and even fear from within a viewer. In the excerpt, a man names Erno Metzner uses the example of a picture of a mining disaster. He says that these actual candids provide nothing near to the effect a staged film would have. In film’s such as “Titanic”, we have all scene photos, heard stories and of course seen the wreckage under seas. However when the blockbuster film was released, viewers were deeply saddened and felt more remorse from the way the incident was portrayed. Myself included, I had time and time again heard the story of the shipwreck, but it wasn’t until the staged effects of ice cold water, huge ship sinking and people dying did I realize it had actually taken place and the severity of what had happened. In this excerpt Kracauer says that the staging to make us believe it could happen in reality, can not only cause realization but create a disturbed emotion. I’m going to have to agree with the mere fact that I had experienced this very argument this past weekend when viewing a recent film and thinking to myself that it stirred up feelings and compassion within me that I had not experienced in my own actual reality. I then began to appreciate yet another aspect to film’s and how they could change or alter an opinion you have toward something or someone.

 

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