FMS 100 Midterm Review You should be familiar with the plots of all the films we watched in class. You should also be familiar with the main ideas from The Cutting Edge documentary. Moreover, anything discussed in class in the lectures could be on exam. You will have to answer 50 multiple choice items. Review Chapter 1: Looking at Movies Cinematic Language: The accepted systems, methods, or customs by which movies communicate. Cinematic conventions are flexible; they are not “rules”.
Difference between movie, film, cinema: Film is applied to a motion picture that is considered by critics and scholars to be more serious or challenging. Movies entertain the masses at the multiplex. Cinemas are considered to be works of art Shot: One uninterrupted run of the camera. Editing: The process by which the editor combines and coordinates individual shots into a cinematic whole; the basic creative force of cinema. Cut: A direct change from one shot to another. Close-up: A shot that often shows a part of the body filling the frame---traditionally a face, but possibly a hand, eye, or mouth.
Define: Fadeout/fade in, when is it used? Transitional devices in which a shot fades in from a black field on black-and-white film or from a color field on color film, or fades out to a black field. These are used to convey a passage of time between scenes. Define: Low-angle shot, when is it used? A shot that is made with the camera below the action and that typically places the observer in a position of inferiority. Why is cutting on action important? Cutting on action is important because it hides the instantaneous and potentially jarring shift from one camera viewpoint to another.
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What is cultural invisibility? Is it always calculated? Cultural Invisibility is used by a filmmaker to make the movie more appealing by implying certain shared beliefs with the viewers without them knowing. What is the difference between implicit and explicit meaning? Implicit meaning: An inference that a viewer makes on the basis of the given (explicit) meaning conveyed by the story and form of a film. Explicit meaning: Everything that a movie presents on its surface. How do viewer expectations relate to viewership of a film? What is formal analysis?
Define: theme (motif), dollies in, duration, point of view What type of “alternative approaches” to formal analysis does the book highlight? Comparative cultural analysis. Chapter 2: Principles of Film Form What are elements that make up film form? Mise-en-scene, sound, narrative, editing, shots, sequences and scenes. What is the difference between form and content? Form: the means by which that subject is expressed and experienced. Content: the subject of an artwork. How do expectations play into film form? What is a MacGuffin?
Which director came up with the term? MacGuffin: refers to an object, document, or secret within a story that is of vital importance to the characters. Alfred Hitchcock came up with the term What are patterns? Why are important? How is editing used to create patterns? Three fundamental principles of film form? Movies depend on light, movies provide an illusion of movement, and movies manipulate space and time in unique ways Persistence of vision: The process by which the human brain retains an image for a fraction of a second longer than the eye records it.
Phi phenomenon: the illusion of movement created by events that succeed each other rapidly, as when two adjacent lights flash on and off alternately and we seem to see a single light shifting back and forth. Critical flicker fusion: Occurs when a single light flickers on and off with such speed that the individual pulses of light fuse together to give the illusion of continuous light. Mediation: The process by which an agent, structure, or other formal element, whether human or technological, transfers something from one place to another.
Freeze frame: When a still image is shown on-screen for a period of time Realism: An interest in or concern for the actual or real. Anti-Realism: an interest in or concern for the abstract, speculative, or fantastic. Verisimilitude: A convincing appearance of truth. Chapter 3: Types of Movies What is narrative? Narrative is a story, narrative is a type of movie, narrative is a way of structuring fictional or fictionalized stories presented in narrative films, narrative is a broader concept that both includes and goes beyond any of these applications.
Types of Movies: Narrative Movies (tell stories), Documentary Movies (record the real), Experimental Movies Documentary Movies: Key types – factual films (present people, places, or processes in straightforward ways meant to entertain and instruct without influencing audiences), instructional films (educate viewers about common interests, rather than persuading them to accept particular ideas), persuasive films (addresses social injustices), propaganda films (systematically disseminate deceptive or distorted information), direct cinema (eschew interviews and even limit the use of narrators).
Experimental films – what are they? What are some of their common qualities? What are Hybrid Movies? The cross-pollination among experimental, documentary, and narrative movies. An example of this is Borat, which is a documentary/narrative fusion. What is definition of genre? The categorization of narrative films by the stories they tell and the ways they tell them. How are films categorized? They are characterized by the form and content. What are genre conventions? Aspects of storytelling such as recurring themes and situations, setting, character types, and story formula, as well as aspects of presentation and visual style.
Story formulas (the way a movie’s story is structured---its plot), character types, setting (where a movie’s action is located and how that environment is portrayed), presentation, stars Six Major American Genres: Gangster (striving for the American dream), Film Noir (classic detective movie), Science Fiction, Horror (frightening), The Western, The Musical Evolution and transformation of genre: Writers and directors, recognizing genre’s narrative, thematic, and aesthetic potential, blend ingredients gleaned from multiple styles in an attempt to invent exciting new hybrids.
What is generic transformation? The process by which a particular genre is adapted to meet the expectations of a changing society. Can you identify how a genre has transformed over time? Comic-book movies have grown darker and more effects-laden since the modern genre’s birth. Mixed genre: Blending seemingly incompatible genres. Chapter 4: Elements of Narrative What is narrative? The Story What is narration? The act of telling the story What is narrator? Who or what tells the story Who/what is the primary narrator in all films? The camera is the primary narrator in every movie.
First person narrator: A character in the narrative who typically imparts information in the form of voice-over narration. Voice over narration: When we hear a character’s voice over the picture without actually seeing the character speak the words. Direct-address: A form of narration in which an on-screen character looks and speaks directly to the audience. Third-person narrator: Narration delivered by a narrator who is not a character in the movie. Omniscient narration: provides any character’s experiences and perceptions, as well as information that no character knows.
Restricted narration: Limits the information it provides the audience to things known only to a single character. What two essential elements does virtually every film narrative depend on? A character pursuing a goal. Round Character: A complex character possessing numerous, subtle, repressed, or contradictory traits. Flat Character: Exhibit few distinct traits and do not change significantly Protagonists, anti-heroes, antagonists Three Act Structure What is the normal world? Narrative Structure Schematic: Can you identify the elements within the three acts?
What are the purposes of the three acts? What does a screenwriter do? Do you understand the differences and similarities between story and plot? (Use Fig. 4. 2 to help you) Diegesis/diegetic elements versus non diegetic elements – Can you identify examples? Backstory Story order versus plot order. Which one of these can be manipulated? Why? Two categories of Events Duration: Story duration, plot duration, screen duration; do you know the difference between these? Relationship between plot duration and story duration – is it stable or unstable? Why?
Relationship between screen duration and plot duration: Summary relationship vs. real time vs. stretch relationship What is Cinematic time? Suspense versus Surprise – define the difference, example? Define: Repetition, familiar image – why are they used? Define: Setting, scope Chapter 8: Editing Define: Editing, what is it? Why is it important? Cutting and Splicing definition – manual process vs. digital process Lev Kuleshov and the Kuleshov effect – what is it? Who is he? Why is it important? What is job description and goals of the Film Editor?
What are the editor’s responsibilities? 3 items, do you understand what these mean? Define: flashback, flash-forward – when are they used? Define: Ellipsis – Why is it used? Define: montage – why is it used? Why is rhythm important? Define: content curve Define: Continuity and Discontinuity editing – When are they used? Which is more common? Why? Why is continuity editing used? Master Scene Technique – Define coverage, master shot, why are these important for editing? Screen Direction – define screen direction, 180-degree system, axis of action Is 180 degree a rule or a convention?
Is it ever broken? Define: Reverse-Angle Shot Continuity Editing Techniques: shot/reverse shot, match cuts, match-on-action cut, graphical match cut, eye-line match cut, parallel editing (crosscutting), intercutting, point-of-view editing Transitions between shots – Define jump cut, fade-in fade-out, dissolve, wipe, iris shot (iris in, iris out), freeze-frame, split screen, (make sure you understand why they are used) Chapter 5: Mise-en-Scene What is mise-en-scene in reference to movies? The two visual components of mise-en-scene. Design and Composition – define them.
Understand why they are important to mise-en-scene. Is Mise-en-scene planned or unplanned? Why? What is the purpose of design? Who is the production designer? What does he or she do? Who is the art director? When was it common to have an “art director”? Why did it change? Describe the importance of previsualization done by the director and production designer Elements of Design – setting, decor, and properties; lighting; costume, makeup, hairstyle Define: setting, on location, decor, props (properties), and soundstage In early Hollywood, did they prefer to shot on location or on a set?
Why? What do production designers do with regard to lighting? Define: chiaroscuro Costumes – why are they important? Are they always accurate to the historical setting and period? Makeup – Why have stars have a contemporary look even during historical films? Who is Max Factor? Hairstyles and historical accuracy International Styles of Design – What is German Expressionism? What is the first great German Expressionist film? Which genres has it influenced?
British Films, Italian Neorealism, Japanese Films – basic characteristics of design Define: Composition; why is it important? Define: figures, framing, reframing, moving frame, point of view Define: viewfinder Define: off-screen space and on-screen space; can you describe their relationship? Define: open and closed framing; when and why are they used? What is Kinesis? When do we perceive movement (2 ways) Define: figure Define: Blocking
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