In the Mood for Love Film Scene Analysis-Dalhousie University .

FILM 2311: Film Analysis FINAL PROJECT Due date: Monday, 13 December, 11.59pm This project tests your understanding of the technical vocabulary of film and how it is used. You can do this by completing EITHER an essay OR a creative project. The essay is similar to the previous assignment but adds cinematography and editing into the mix. The other option requires you to create a film that imitates six shots from an existing film; this option is intended for students who already have some experiencing in shooting their own films. OPTION 1: ANALYSIS OF THE LANGUAGE OF FILM Length: about 1,500 words. This assignment is similar to the previous one (the Sound and Mise-en-Scène Analysis), but this time you will write about the final 3-4 minutes of your chosen film, and you will identify examples of cinematography and editing too. The assignment thus tests your ability to make an argument about the overall aim of the closing sequence of a film by showing how all four elements of the language of film work together to help achieve it. Choosing a film You must choose a film from the list below. You are very welcome to use the same film you wrote about in the previous assignment, but you are also welcome to choose a different one. All of these films are available for FREE streaming from Criterion on Demand, accessible through Dalhousie Libraries (click the link or visit the Dalhousie Libraries front page, scroll down click ‘databases’ and then search for ‘criterion’). (However, please note that Criterion-on-Demand presents the films in low-resolution video; if you would like better audio/video quality, you will need to seek out another source for the film.) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016). A gritty drama about a young woman’s journey across the American Midwest. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982). A bleak sci-fi drama about a man hunting renegade sentient android creations. Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015). A boxing movie in which aging legend Rocky is approached by the son of one of his former rivals. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008). A dark superhero movie about a man who dresses as a bat to fight criminals. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978). A poetic drama about migrant harvest workers on a farm in Texas in 1917. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014). A comical, stylized tale of the goings-on in an Eastern European hotel. Hero (Zhang Yimou, 2002). A spectacular martial arts epic about truth and lies in ancient China. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2017). The true story of the African-American women who served as ‘human computers’ for the Apollo missions. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins, 2018). A pregnant young woman tries to prove her lover’s innocence. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017). A coming-of-age drama-with-comedy that focuses on a motherdaughter relationship. My Name is Khan (Karan Johar, 2010). A Bollywood movie about an Indian Muslim with Asperger’s syndrome fighting to clear his name after being banned from a flight. The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993). A psychological drama set in 19th century New Zealand about a power struggle between a mute woman and her plantation owner husband. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019). In 18th century France, a romantic relationship develops between two women, a painter and her subject. The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987). An old man tells a comic fairy tale about a hero rescuing a princess. Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann, 2001). A stylized musical about a penniless poet who falls for a courtesan in a Parisian nightclub. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991). The surreal adventures of two male hustlers on a journey from America to Italy. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007). A violent thriller about dangerous men in the wilderness. Rhymes for Young Ghouls (Jeff Barnaby, 2013). A gritty drama about life on a Mi’kmaq reservation in the 1970s. The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017). A fantasy about a lonely lab worker who falls in love with a humanoid fish. Still Life (Jia Zhangke, 2006). A realist drama about life in the towns on the Yangtze River as they are drowned by the construction of a dam. Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951). A classic suspense thriller about strangers swapping murders to evade detection. Wadjda (Haifaa al-Mansour, 2012). A 10-year old girl in Saudi Arabia dreams of owning a bicycle. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014). A young jazz drummer gets into a toxic power struggle with a sadistic teacher. The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2016). An eerie horror film about a Puritan family in 1630s Americas encountering evil in the forest. 2046 (Wong Kar Wai, 2004). A dreamlike sequel to In the Mood for Love, following Chow’s efforts to move on from the events of the previous film. Identifying and studying the last few minutes Your essay must be about the final three or four minutes of the film only. We are restricting your focus in order to encourage careful close analysis. The ending of a film is a fascinating object of study because directors often put a lot of work into generating your final thoughts and feelings about the characters, setting, tone, and themes. You will still need to watch the entire film before you begin, because you need to understand what is happening in the final moments. The sequence you are studying should end when the credits roll. However, you will need to decide exactly how long it should be; for some movies, the final three minutes alone will give you plenty to say; for others, you might want to extend it to four minutes to include more interesting material. Don’t go further than four minutes, however. Once you’ve decided, make a note of the counter times of where you are beginning and ending your study (and explain if you are ignoring any part) and print them at the top of your essay, underneath the title. Having decided on your object of study, you should watch the sequence several times and think about the use of sound, mise-en-scène, cinematography and editing. Make notes on the most interesting things that you see and hear. I expect you to find at least 5 things to say about sound, 5 things about mise-en-scène, 5 things about cinematography and 5 things about editing. Your essay You must write an essay of approximately 1,500 words that explains what you believe to be the director’s main aim in creating the final 3-4 minutes of the film and how the sound, mise-en-scène, cinematography, and editing supports that aim. Your analysis should be in essay form, with complete sentences and paragraphs. Introduction Your introduction should briefly (in three sentences or less) summarize what happens in the closing sequence. It should also include your thesis statement, which will express your overall argument about the aims of the sequence. Most often, the aim of a director in the closing sequence of a film will be to leave you with particular thoughts and feelings about the story, characters, and themes that the film has explored. For example the thesis statement of an essay on Moonlight might say, “The closing sequence of Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016) uses the language of film to help to create a feeling of hope that Chiron will find happiness having acknowledged his feelings, while also reminding the audience of the journey that he has taken from his childhood to the present moment”. Main body The main body of your essay must prove your thesis by giving examples of the use of the language of film and explaining how they contribute to the aims of the sequence (in the example, above, how they contribute to creating a feeling of hope and reminding the audience of the journey Chiron has taken). There are different ways to structure an essay like this. You could go through the sequence chronologically. Alternatively, you could devote separate paragraphs to different kinds of film technique; either approach can work well, so it’s up to you. Feel free to contact your marker to discuss ideas if you are unsure how to structure the essay. However you stru
cture it, your essay must clearly identify at least 5 different elements of sound, at least 5 different kinds of mise-en-scène, at least 5 different cinematographic choices, and at least 5 different editing choices. I expect you to cover a variety of kinds; do not simply list 5 different camera movements, for example, but rather try to describe a range of cinematographic effects (e.g. movements, angles, framing, distances, lighting, etc.). You will be evaluated not only on your ability to identify such things, but also on your accuracy, on the range of different kinds of elements that you identify, and the precision with which you describe them. When writing about how these elements contribute to the director’s aims, you don’t necessarily have to write about each one separately, but rather group them if it makes sense to do so; for example, you could write about how the warm lighting, the lengthy take, the silence, and the calm expressions on the actors’ faces conjure an atmosphere of safety and togetherness: that could cover four different elements in one paragraph. You will not have space to be detailed about every element, so you are permitted to say more about some than others; emphasize the most important ones; just be sure you give yourself space to do justice to the main requirements of the assignment. Do not summarize the plot of the entire film. However, do explain any plot elements that are necessary to understand your argument about the aims of the scene. Conclusion The conclusion should summarize your main points about how the language of film contributes to the filmmakers’ aims in the sequence you studied. Research Research is not required for this assignment and I encourage you to come up with your own observations. However, if you do decide to read or watch analyses by other people, all any ideas not your own should be cited properly, using MLA or Chicago style. Please do not use citation systems that are designed for science or social science subjects (such as APA), as they are often not well suited to arts subjects. Writing and formatting In class 16, I spent some time giving you some advice on how to format essays in this field. You can read a reminder here. Please also read the guide entitled How to Cite Moving Images, which you can find in the ‘Guides to Writing, Research and Formatting’ folder on Brightspace. It includes information on how to refer to scenes and dialogue in films in a clear and uncluttered way, and I expect you to follow it. You are likely to lose marks if you ignore the information in this guide. Because movies can differ slightly depending on where you watch them, it is very important to include a Works Cited list that includes the film that you watched and indicates clearly where you watched it, so that I am able to identify it clearly. If you are unfamiliar with how to list films precisely, please read the guide referred to above. Grading The grading criteria are as follows: • Identification of elements of the language of film • Understanding of what they are used for • Overall argument • Grammar, clarity of structure, and formatting 30% 20% 20% 30% OPTION 2: CREATE A ‘SWEDED’ VIDEO For this option, you must create a ‘sweded’ version of 6 consecutive shots from a film of your choice. In other words, you must imitate the shots as perfectly as you can on a budget of $0.00. You must also provide a written reflection explaining the challenges that you faced and the elements that you were not able to imitate. You are permitted to work on this project as a group of up to three students, if you like. If you decide to form a group, you can divide the labour in any way you want, but please be aware that everyone in the group will receive the same grade, regardless of how much they did. One person will need to submit the assignment to Brightspace; that person should also inform me of the other participants. What is ‘sweding’? The term ‘sweding’ comes from the film Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry, 2008), in which video rental store clerks accidentally erase the VHS tapes in their store and have to replace them by remaking the movies at home. They pretend their home-made remakes are from Sweden and call them “sweded” versions of the original films. Your task is to swede six consecutive shots from a film of your choice. This may sound easy, but it is not, and I do not recommend attempting this option unless you are already comfortable with the basics of filming and editing. What you will need before you start This option is NOT intended for first-time filmmakers. I expect you to already know how to shoot a short film and edit it. I expect you to already have access to the following things: • A video camera (it doesn’t have to be high quality; the one on your phone is fine) • A tripod, or something else to stabilize your camera (your shots should not be wobbly unless the original film was). If you don’t have a tripod, you are not a serious filmmaker, in my opinion! • Friends or family to act in your film • Places where you can film without interruption • Editing software that you know how to use No help will be offered with acquiring any of the above – you’re on your own! Choose your film and a sequence from it You can choose any film you like, as long as it is an existing feature-length, live-action narrative film (i.e., not documentary, radically experimental, or animated). You will probably find your task easier if it is a film you know and love well. Choose a sequence of 6 consecutive shots from within the film (in other words six shots that follow one another, NOT six shots from different parts of the film). It does not matter how long or short in duration the shots are (but obviously you should avoid lengthy long takes!). It also doesn’t matter what the shots depict, but of course action sequences with special effects will be harder to swede than conversation scenes, so I encourage you to choose the latter. Your marker will need to watch the original sequence, so make a clip, or else describe exactly where it begins or ends. What you must do Your task is to imitate the shots as perfectly as you can, within the constraints of having no money. I expect you to take your task seriously: don’t mock the original film, try to honour it. Some things will be easier than others. During filming, you should be able to imitate camera angles, camera distance, and some camera movements without any difficulty, so focus on getting them exactly right. During editing, you should try to get each shot exactly the correct duration as the ones in the film; again, focus on getting this right. But you are not expected to achieve the impossible. You will not be able to imitate a movie set, a specific costume, or a famous actor perfectly, so if all you can do is film your flatmate in your kitchen, then so be it. Some things will be extraordinarily difficult for a zero-budget filmmaker, such as imitating the exact colour scheme, film stock, and lenses. It’s very difficult to create acceptable sound design on a zero budget. It is highly unlikely that your friends will be good enough actors. Do what you can, and do not attempt the impossible. However, you should make as much of an effort as possible. For example, if the movie’s scene takes place in a tidy room, don’t film it in an untidy one. If the scene takes place in an office, don’t film it on a beach (or vice versa). If there is an important prop, make an effort to provide an equivalent, even if you have to use a hairdryer instead of a gun. Your actors do not need to impersonate the original actors unless they genuinely want to. Computer crashes and unreliable actors do not constitute an excuse for late work. It is your responsibility to start early and ensure that the project comes together on time. The show must go on. Examples It’s not easy to find examples of true sweding. The film Be Kind Rewind is disappointing because it shows little of the sweded films themselves. Lots of YouTube videos claim to be sweded, but are not really imitating the originals closely and often compress a single film into a few
minutes. The best example I have found is Kourtney Herring’s sweded version of the dream sequence from Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957): compare the original (watch up to 1:25) with Herring’s remake. You will see that her imitation is not absolutely perfect in terms of shot length, stability, etc., but it’s not bad; you should aim to do the same but better. Safety You are not permitted to put yourself or anyone else in danger in the process of filming. If your film puts someone in danger, you will fail the assignment. You are entirely responsible for safety in the production of your video. Written report Once your sweding is complete, write a report of about 500 words, evaluating how successful your attempt was. In this report, you should explain what you successfully imitated and what you were unable to imitate, explaining why some aspects were made impossible by the limitations. Your writing should demonstrate understanding of the technical terminology that you have learned in class. Submitting your assignment You can upload your video submissions to Brightspace, but if it’s easier you can instead provide a link to a file hosted elsewhere. Your submission should include: • • • The original film clip, or a description of where it can be found in the movie Your sweded video Your written report on your work Grading The grading criteria are as follows: • Successful sweding • Written report 70% 30% LATE SUBMISSION The Final Project is due by 4pm on the due date. Work submitted at ANY point afterward will be regarded as late. Late assignments automatically lose 5% per day (including 5% for papers submitted after class on the due date). Essays over three days late will receive a grade but no comments. Essays submitted over two weeks late will automatically receive a mark of 0. 16 – Cinematography 1: Aspect ratio and film stock Formatting film essays: A few bits of advice How to format a film title and how to introduce it in the essay • Film titles should be in italics o Why? To distinguish them clearly from the rest of the text. • The first time you mention a film, also name its director and give its date. • You can give this information in any format, as long as it’s there. o Why? To clearly identify it by specifying who made it and when. • Remember, do this only the first time you mention the film. Not every time. o Why? Because you already said it once. Don’t repeat information unnecessarily. Listing the film in your ‘Works Cited’ • You should include a ‘Works Cited’ list at the end of your essay. • It must include the film(s) you are studying. The most important thing is to specify where you watched it. o Why? Films can exist in different versions, so your marker needs to know which streaming service, DVD/Blu-Ray, YouTube upload, etc., you watched it on. • On Brightspace, find the document ‘How to Cite Moving Images’, which offers a simple way of doing this (examples on the right). o For films viewed online, the information needed is: ▪ Film title ▪ Director ▪ Year of original release ▪ Where you watched it ▪ URL if possible o For DVD/BluRay, consult the document. • Note: other professors may have different preferences. Always ask if you’re not sure what is needed. • Examples for films viewed online o Fish Tank, directed by Andrea Arnold. 2009. Criterion on Demand. https://media3Criterionpic-com./006?T=MON1797 o Sense and Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee. 1995. Netflix. o Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles. 1941. iTunes. o A Trip to the Moon, directed by George Méliès, 1902. YouTube. Referring to the film within your essay • You do NOT need to use in-text citations when you describe scenes in the film or quote its dialogue. o Why? Because it should already be obvious what film you are referring to. o (In all citation systems, you don’t need a citation if it’s obvious what you are referring to.) • You do NOT need to give counter times (timecodes) when you describe or quote from a scene. Why? Because it’s incredibly hard work, and they don’t always match up across different computers. o Instead, simply make it clear to the reader (in words) which part of the film you are describing or quoting. Frequently asked questions o (You should ask these of all your professors, because they may have different preferences.) o Do I have to cite your lectures? ▪ No, because I know what I taught you. Treat the information in this course as ‘common knowledge’ that doesn’t need to be cited. o Can I use the word “I”? ▪ Yes. You are a person with individual opinions and ideas. o Do I have to cite a source for the date or cast of a movie? ▪ No, this is common knowledge. Anything in the credits of the movie doesn’t need to be cited. o • Introduction to cinematography • The effects created by the camera ‘Cinematography’ covers… • The effects created by changing: o How light is captured by the camera o The placement of the camera o The movement of the camera o How the film’s appearance is altered after filming • There are overlaps between cinematography and mise-en-scene: o Composition: the arrangement of the objects for the camera (I covered this at the end of the mise-en-scène lectures) o Lighting (I will cover this in the cinematography section) The director of photography or cinematographer • The cinematography is overseen by: o The director of photography (DoP) o Also known as the cinematographer • This is a job requiring great expertise and understanding of cameras • The DoP does not always operate the cameras themselves; they supervise a team of technicians working with the cameras • Some directors of photography have their own distinctive styles • But the director of photography works with the director to achieve the look that the director wants Aspect ratio: The shape of the film image Aspect ratio • The shape of the film is its aspect ratio • It drastically affects the director’s composition choices The Academy Ratio – 1.33:1 • Fish Tank is shot in the ‘Academy Ratio’ • An almost square rectangle, 1.33 times wider than it is high. • This was the standard ratio for all movies until the mid-1950s. • • • It remained the standard for TV sets and computer screens until the early 2000s It has gradually been superseded by ‘widescreen’ ratios But a few modern directors prefer it, including Andrea Arnold 1.66:1: ‘European widescreen’, a relatively rare widescreen ratio • • • In the Mood for Love is shot in ‘European widescreen’ It is slightly wider than the Academy Ratio, being 1.66 times wider than it is high. It is seen a lot in older European and Asian films, but less often today 1.85:1: North American widescreen, the commonest widescreen format • • • Most films are shot in ‘North American widescreen’ It is 1.85 times wider than it is high. Modern TV and computer screens are very close to this ratio, so these films will fit them perfectly 2.35:1, ‘Cinemascope’ An extreme widescreen • • • • This ratio is often casually called ‘Cinemascope’ (although technically that is just one method of achieving it). It is extremely wide, 2.35 times wider than it is high. It is very expensive and challenging to use, but some directors prefer it. Black Panther and Moonlight are both shot in this ratio. Aspect ratio and composition • The aspect ratio greatly affects the composition • To modern audiences, the Academy Ratio looks almost claustrophobic, because the objects of interest must be grouped closely together • Many directors like the extremely wide Cinemascope ratios, especially if the film features epic landscape shots • But they are challenging for composition because the shot can contain many more objects to distract from the centre of interest • It doesn’t always suit films with small, intimate settings • The standard widescreen ratios are the happy medium between these two, and hence the commonest Film stock: Celluloid, video, and digital video Cinematography is the effect
s created by the camera • A camera consists of the following: o A dark space into which light enters through a small hole o A lens overs the hole can be adjusted to change how the light is captured o The light falls onto a light-sensitive substance inside the dark space ▪ In film cameras, celluloid film o o ▪ In video and digital cameras, image sensors The light-sensitive substance preserves a series of images, one after the other. Later, the series of images can be played back on another device, creating the illusion of movement Capturing light • A camera captures light onto a light-sensitive substance • Throughout most of film history, that substance has been celluloid film (often just called film) • Long strips of a tough, flexible, transparent substance impregnated with light-sensitive chemicals • An alternative method is capturing light as electronic code stored on tapes or chips. This is called video. • Video has been used for decades to shoot television. • But until recently, the picture quality was too poor to look good on a cinema screen. • Digital video permits far better picture quality. It has revolutionized the film industry in the last fifteen years. • Today, almost all theatrically-released movies are shot digitally. • We still need to learn about celluloid film, because most films are shot on it, and some filmmakers continue to use it. • “Shooting on film” usually means shooting celluloid today. The gauge • There are different size of celluloid film, known as gauges. • The standard gauge is 35mm film; almost all mainstream movies are filmed using it o It produces images that look sharp and clear if projected onto a normal-sized cinema screen. • But there are others… o Smaller gauges 8mm, 16mm, 35mm ▪ A lower gauge of film produces… • Less detail in the image (because the image itself is smaller) • Graininess: you can see the tiny blobs of chemicals that form the image • High colour contrast (i.e. differences between colours are less subtle) ▪ This doesn’t matter when projected on small screens. ▪ But a movie theatre screen magnifies the imperfections, creating a blurry, grainy, contrasty image ▪ Thus, almost all Hollywood films were shot on 35mm film. ▪ But low budget filmmakers often used 16mm, and some realist filmmakers prefer it. ▪ Paradoxically, low resolution video can look more ‘real’ because we associate it with documentary footage. o Larger celluloid film ‘gauges’ 35mm, 70mm, IMAX ▪ 70mm film looks sharp and clear even when projected onto vast screens. • In the mid-twentieth century, a few major films were made in 70mm. • But it never became common, because few theatre screens were big enough to show off the difference. ▪ IMAX film is a variation on 70mm. ▪ Purpose-built movie theatres can showcase its amazingly large and sharp images ▪ (But most “IMAX” films that you see in theatres today are just 35mm – or its digital equivalent – digitally ‘upscaled’ ) o Few filmmakers actually shoot on real IMAX film (the major one is Christopher Nolan)