Lecture2 - Week 2 Thematic Reading from viewing to thematic...

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Unformatted text preview: Week 2. Thematic Reading from viewing to thematic analysis paper What is film analysis? Analysis gives a reading, or interpretation , of a film. This interpretation makes an argument that certain details of the work carry a larger meaning that is not immediately apparent. Since these readings look in detail, they are often called close readings . Any of the three main types of film can be analyzed: narrative, documentary, and experimental. The way they are analyzed may vary, though. Why should one do film analysis? • Analysis expands one’s insight into films, their meaning, and their role in our culture • Certain films can only be appreciated with an analytical eye • Filmmakers can use the same skills from breaking down films in creating new work • Filmmakers should be able to recognize the film style of others’ work in close detail • Writing strong interpretations is a valuable writing skill, applicable to other fields Content vs. form Another way of thinking about what a reading does is to note that interpretations argue that a film’s content is at least partly dependent on its form: • Content : The subject matter of art and communication. (What is said.) • Form : The basic qualities of artistic and communicative expression of a medium or work of art. (How it is said.) Content in Film (What is said/told) FICTION FILM narrative events (the “plot”) characters settings themes or messages DOCUMENTARY real events (e.g. battles) activities historical personages everyday people abstract ideas Basic Elements of Film Form (How it is said/told) • Narrative (or documentary) Structure • Cinematography • Mise-en-scène (the staging) • Editing • Sound Which do we analyze? • Both content and form are part of understanding a film • Form will tend to be the less immediate, so special attention must be paid to it. • The two are interrelated: form is how the content is presented. How something is said can affect, even determine, what is said. Content v. Form Rule of Thumb If you cannot tell from papers, essays, or journal entries whether the work being discussed is a film or a literary work (novel, short story, or play), then the discussion is of content, not form. Surface-Depth Reading Nonetheless, we can read content beyond the obvious. Some scholars talk of manifest and latent meaning. Another way to think of it is as layers of meaning, from the obvious to the implied to the arguable: The plot is the most obvious, the theme is implied, and motifs, subtexts and other meanings lie further beneath the surface. Surface-Depth Model of Reading surface Plot Theme Motif Subtext Against the grain meaning depth Narrative events and their interrelation The implied, even stated, message of a film A secondary meaning created by repetition of ideas A meaning based on connotation A meaning present in the film, yet which departs from the theme Reading Narrative Content Theme : • Narrative films usually have messages, sometimes stated, often implied...
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Lecture2 - Week 2 Thematic Reading from viewing to thematic...

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