Dead Poet Society
From the moment we first start watching a film, we begin to get involved. The first few minutes of a film (the opening sequence) are very important to us as they give us lots of clues about the film: 1) what will the film be about (conflicts/themes); 2) who are the most important characters (hero, villain, love interest); 3); what is the setting of the film (time and place); 4) the genre; and finally, 5) what sort of film language characterizes the film? We look at all these elements and begin to put them into context.
Based on their environment, how they look, what they say and what we see them do, we make assumptions about the characters, their roles in the film and their relationship to each other. We also recognize so-called genre markers (things we associate with one particular genre) which tell us if we are watching a Western or a Sc-Fi film and, thus, form specific expectations about what is going to happen during the rest of the film. At the same time, we listen to the sounds and the music of the film and establish its general mood.
Without realizing it, we have actually begun to decode the film language; to create meaning from the films audio-visual elements: the images we see and the sounds we hear. What we often do not realize, however, is that these audio-visual elements are never chosen randomly. From the first until the last moment of a film, the filmmakers define and control our experience of a movie, all the way down to the last detail. In the words of famous director, Martin Scorsese: ”Making films is about making the audience see what you want them to see. ” Assignments a. What does Martin Scorsese mean by this statement?
How can the filmmakers control the audience, and make them see things in a particular way (name as many examples as possible)? c. Look at the opening sequence. Characterize conflict/theme, main characters, time and place and genre. (You must give examples of ways in which the audio-visual elements of the opening sequence help you characterize these elements.Make a note of scenes it would be interesting to analyze in detail (do this individually).
Pick a scene a. Each study group must pick a scene to analyze (2-3 minutes). b. Only one group per scene (first come, first serve) – if the scene you have chosen has already been picked by another group, you must choose another. c. An audio-visual analysis of the scene must be presented to the rest of the class by two members of the group. Presentation (5-10 minutes) Your presentation must include the following elements (in any order you see fit): a. Introductory remarks about the structure of your presentation b. Comments on your scene in relation to The Hollywood Model c.
A detailed audio-visual analysis of the scene (use your analysis sheet for guidance) d. Comments on the scene in relation to the rest of the film, including the opening sequence. e. Each of these elements must be followed by partial conclusions and you must also include a final, overall conclusion to you presentation. You will be able to show your audience the movie while doing the presentation, stopping the images when you find it necessary. Alternatively you may use a PowerPoint with stills from your scene. Handouts 1) FILM ANALYSIS 2) The Hollywood Model (Berettermodellen)
Bilag 2 Uddrag fra Engelsk A STX 2010 – Vejledning/Rad og vink, s. 13 + en del tilfojelser FILM ANALYSIS Storytelling (Plot) Cinematic technique (Shot) Theatrical elements (Set) Characterization Point-of-view Narrative technique Distrubution of Knowledge Who knows what, when (audience, characters, narrator) Time aspect Symbols Theme Message Framing • Close-up: captures the emotions of the character or draws attention to a specific thing • Long shot: the whole setting, may be used to make characters appear small. Also often used as establishing shot.
Medium shot: often used in dialogue so that you can see the body language of the characters Set design (da. scenografi) Most times, the surroundings say a lot about the characters’ inner emotions (how is the character placed in his or her surroundings) Costumes Give us a clear image of what type of person we are looking at Props May have specific relevance in a particular film or clear-cut cultural connotations, helping us to decode their meaning as symbols and the character’s relation to them Acting style The ways the actor captures the essence of a character Angles
Low-angle: makes a person seem big and powerful • High-angle: makes a person seem small and weak • Eye-level: makes us feel on the same level as a character Lines • Horizontal lines: calm • Vertical lines: power, grandiosity • Diagonal lines: disorder, action Composition • Foreground, Middle-ground, Background: the relation between these three levels is often important in a shot • Position of characters: says something about their relation to each other (e. g. two shot, triangular comp. ) Camera movement • Pan (-) or Tilt (¦) • Steady-cam: calm, dreamy camera movement • Hand-held: chaotic, disorderly, subjective
Editing • Parallel editing (=)vs. cross-cutting (X) • Point of View (+ subjective use of camera): what we see seems as if we are seeing it through the eyes of a specific character • Long takes: slow-paced editing signaling calm • Short takes : fast-paced editing in intense and/or hectic sequences • Transistions: dissolve (da. overbl? nding), fade to black Sound • Diegetic sound (from the film’s location): dialogue, real sound and music that the characters can hear • Non-diegetic sound (not from the film’s location): voice over, sound effect/music that the characters cannot hear • No sound
Contrapuntal sound: stands in direct opposition to the images of the film (a happy tune while watching a murder) Lighting, Color and Filters • Low-key lighting: dark, contrast-filled (negative mood) • High-key lighting: brightly lit sets (light, positive mood) • Color symbolism: all colors have both positive and negative symbolic meanings, it all depends on how they are used in a particular film Bilag 3a Short film: ”Happy Now” (Frederikke Aspock, DK/USA, 2004) – 18 min. 1. Give a brief summary of the film. Then use The Plot Point Model to illustrate the narrative structure of the film: Where are the two plot points?
Give a characterization of the woman and the way she develops through the film. Use examples from the film to support your characterization. 3. Describe the relationship between husband and wife. How does the music support the action that takes place? 4. Analyse the significance of the storm. 5. The parasol is present in many of the scenes – what does it symbolise? 6. Discuss the ending: is it a happy ending? Why/why not? 7. What are the main themes of the short film? Written work: 8. In many of the scenes the woman doesn’t speak but her expression tells us a lot about her thoughts and feelings.
What is the film about? Give a brief summary and state the main theme of the film 2 What genre is the film? 3 Structure: Important turning points in the film The Hollywood Model, http://notatwiki. dk/images/0/0e/Berettermodel. gif i WORD LIST: (For the Hollywood model) DANISH TERM ENGLISH TERM Anslag Opening Sequence (Prelude) Pr? sentation Presentation Uddybning Clarification Point of no return Point of no return Konfliktoptrapning Escalation Konfliktlosning Climax Udtoning Resolution The Plot Point Model, http://www. cod. edu/people/faculty/pruter/film/threeact.
The roles of the characters in the film and the way they interact: i Actantial Model: http://1menga. wikispaces. com/The+Actantial+Model 4 Characters and Setting characterize the setting and the central characters of the film 5 What is the main conflict and theme of the film? 6 Choose one significant scene that shows us what the film is all about. Present an analysis of this scene and link it to the over-all message of the film Your analysis must include observations about editing, sound, composition, light/shadow, perspective etc. TOOL BOX: Search for information, reviews and articles: http://www. imdb.
Take notes while you watch the film: 1. Structure: (Use a separate piece of paper): Give every scene a headline and/or write a few words to help you remember what it was about. 2. Characters: Take notes 1. John Keating 2. Neil 3. Neil’s parents 4. Todd 5. Knox Neil’s relationship to: Take notes 6. his father 7. his teacher John Keating 8. Todd POINTS FOR DISCUSSION: Who is guilty of Neil’s death? (His father, his mother, the school, Mr. Keating, others? ) Cameron: “You can’t save Keating, but you can save yourselves” – What would you have done? The ending – what are they reading? Why do the students stand on the tables?