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Lecture1 - Week 1 Film as Medium What is film studies Like...

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Week 1. Film as Medium
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What is film studies? Like other scholarly fields, film studies involves not only an object of study (cinema), but also a particular way of studying what it does. In particular, “film” means a few things: 1) celluloid 2) experience
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The Medium Similarly, when one speaks of the medium, one refers both to the means of recording/playback and the unique aesthetic properties. In other words, film/cinema is both technology and art. One paradox of cinema is that it is both a passive recording instrument and a highly manipulated medium.
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Indexicality : having the direct imprint of external reality As opposed to Icon - having a resemblance to external reality Symbol - having only an arbitrary and codified relation to external reality Cinema is (usually) indexical representation because captures the profilmic directly. Profilmic : the thing(s)/reality in front of the camera, to be captured by the camera.
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Bazin: Ontology of the Image Ontology = “essence of being”: Bazin seeks a theory of the essence of cinema as a medium Understands photography and cinema in the development of the plastic arts (painting, etc.) What Bazin describes is the difference between indexical arts and iconic (or symbolic) media He argues that cinema should embrace its essence
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Bazin: Ontology of the Image The paradox of cinematography: On one hand, film is an indexical medium. “No matter how discolored, distorted, or fuzzy, no matter how lacking in documentary value the image may be… it shares the being of the model of which it is the reproduction” (14). “On the other hand… film is also a language” (16). Bazin sees cinema’s artistry in the exploitation of profilmic reality: “nature imitates the artist” (15)
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Indexicality and the History of Cinema The history of cinema has reflected this paradox of indexicality: - Early actuality films showed snippets of reality - Early narrative films used cinema’s indexicality to lend a sense of reality to even the most artificial premises.
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Units of a Film The most basic unit of a film is called a shot , an uninterrupted (unedited) stretch of moving image.
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