Instructions How to Write

Analysis of a Movie

• Photography--Angles, shots, use of light and dark, special optical effects, use of photographic distortion, deep-focus, selective focusing.

• Color--How used, does it represent anything? Are colors bright and clear, dark, or washed out and de-saturated? Is there a "color scheme" and if so, what is its purpose in the film? Does the scheme change over time?

• * Mise-en-scène--Use of framing (tight vs. loose), frames-within-the-frame, masking, extending the frame,, composition within the frame, closed-form vs. open, proxemic patterns, wide-screen vs. conventional ratios, use of scale, movement toward or away from the camera, long shots, close-ups, use of landscape (urban or natural) and its possible meaning within the film. Movement of camera, movement effects (slo-mo, etc.), use or breaking of 180° rule, pans, dolly shots, aerial shots, use of any animation, flashbacks or flashforwards.

• Editing--Master shots, sequences in a single take, classical cutting, parallel editing, thematic montage. The compare/contrast effect of some editing.

• Sound--Naturalistic or expressionistic; sound effects, dubbing, use of silence, the role of music, asynchronous sound, overlapping dialogue, or sounds.

• * Dialogue--Natural, poetic, stylized. Accents. Highlighted or hidden dialogue; artificially sanitized to artificially crude dialogue.

• * Adaptations--Check original source and see if the film betrays its source. e.g., if based on a play, does the film seem stage-bound and excessively talky? Does it seem as if it was created for the screen? What are differences between original source and the film, and what are the effects of the differences?

• Sets, décor, costumes, make-up--Realistic, expressionistic, stylized in some way. Do sets or costumes have a highlighted role in some way? Do sets or costumes reveal character, and how does that work for the film?

* Possibly dangerous topics. Get my permission first. (Prof. DuPré)

They are listed simply to jump-start your thinking. The film you choose may have mediocre cinematography, but might excel in its use of costume and music for mood and character, for example. Or you might choose a brilliantly edited film with bad photography. You decide what elements to analyze.

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