French Film Theory in the 1920s

February 26th, 2010

I know I’m going a bit out of order but I really wanted to post on the French film theory. To start off, Jean Epstein makes it clear that he loves close-ups. “The close-up is the soul of the cinema”. It is interesting he says that the close-up is the soul. The soul is the spiritual being of a person. I would think that editing, putting the film together and creating a masterpiece, can be argued as the soul of cinema. Maybe the actual filming of a film can be seen as the soul, having the actors on screen conveying a story or message. I never saw the close-up as the soul. I agree that close-ups are very important and extremely needed in film to guide the audience to look at important details in a scene. But i think calling it the soul of cinema is a bit over the top.

Another point that Epstein states is that unless it can be imitated and enhanced by film reproduction, it is not worthy in the cinema art. This goes along with his idea of the importance of close-ups; anything that is significant must be enhanced thorugh film reproduction. This includes even the tiniest of details. If there were no close-ups, only large items would be important to cinema art. With close-ups, even a smile or a twitch of the hand can be important.

Breton was the founder of surrealism. He attempts to express the subconscious. That is why he discusses Freud and his dreams theory. To be honest though, reading this, I did not understand majority of it. So if anyone has an idea, please let me know.

Artaud discusses the relationship between cinema and reality. he says that cinema needs that shock value to keep the audience enthralled in the movie. This reminds me of the film I recently saw, Shutter Island. I sat in the audience watching this film and I was unable to lose interest because I was completely enthralled in the film, with it’s mental twists and scary scenes. I wonder what Artaud would of thought about horror films. Horror films are filled with shocking moments.

Dulac asks the question if cinema is an art. I automatically answered yes, of course cinema is an art. There are so many different components that are involved in creating a film. the director, producer, editor, all the mise en scene, camera angles, edit transitions… All those components take skill and artistic decisions. Everyone can take the same script and come up with million different films. It is all artistic decisions.

Any thoughts?

Editing/Montage/Soviet Film Theory

February 21st, 2010

In this weeks reading, it discusses the concept of montage. Montage is the editing of many different images or videos complied to create a whole piece of art. I love montages because there is so much to learn from why each image or video is part of the montage. Here is a montage of my personal favorite Saturday Night Live skit, Celebrity Jeopardy:


Back to the reading, I found it interesting what Pudovkin said about editing. He states that character development takes place during the editing of a film, rather than what the actors perform in front of the camera. This got me thinking that the way life is now, fans of films fall in love with celebrities because of their work. But who directed them? Who put it all together? It is the people behind the scenes, the editor, director, producer… that make a film a masterpiece. But when I think of it, the only time an editor, who according to Pudovkin, creates a character, is recognized for his work is at award shows and most people don’t even pay attention to them.

He also says that the foundation for film art is editing. Clearly he has a strong view on the editing of a film. I agree with him. Now that I’ve taken many film classes, I see films in a new light, not just watching the actors, but watching the cinematography of a film. He sees film as a real “thing”, that is built, not shot. It takes a real genius to edit something to perfection and the audience takes it for granted.

Vertov says that in order to understand the effect a film has on a viewer, we must look at the viewer and what kind effect we are discussing. That makes sense because when people discuss a film, they discuss the effect in general, when really each person is effected differently. I enjoyed this because I never thought of it like that.

According to Eisenstein, art is always a conflict because of its social mission, its nature, and its methodology. I know this is supposed to sound really deep and I feel like I would love this saying but I don’t really understand it.

Any thoughts??

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