978-1457663543 Chapter 12 Part 2

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
The Film Experience: An Introduction 4th Edition
Patricia White, Timothy Corrigan
1. Count and then time the shots in the sequence. How does the rhythm of the editing in the sequence contribute to the
film’s mood or meaning?
2. How is the gag set up by editing?
Tangerine is a 2015 indie film directed by Sean Baker about a transgender woman searching for her cheating
1. Tangerine was shot on an iPhone. How does the editing in this sequence follow continuity style for
conversations? For movement? How does it diverge?
2. How is this sequence’s meaning and mood enhanced by editing?
FORM IN ACTION: Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann 2001) is a postmodern musical: it combines the plot of the opera La Boheme with pop
music and Bollywood production numbers. Early in the film Christian (Ewan McGregor) is ushered into the world of
the Moulin Rouge nightclub presided over by impresario Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent).
1. How does the editing of the film exemplify the idea of postmodernism as a pastiche of styles, periods, and genr es?
2. How does the pace of the editing support the physicality of dance and the visceral involvement of the viewer?
FILM IN FOCUS: Bonnie and Clyde
In this renowned and horrifying conclusion to Bonnie and Clyde, the editing is both subtle and complex.
1. Watch the sequence several times, concentrating on the patterns of shot/reverse shot editing. How do these
patterns complicate and enrich the meaning of the sequence?
2. How does the editing rhythm of the sequence make this more than simply the description of an ambush and a
FILM IN FOCUS: Battleship Potemkin
Describing the violent repression of the Czarist troops, the Odessa steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin is
perhaps the most famous sequence in the history of film editing. In it, the bystanders who have come to cheer on the sailors
aboard the ship are brutally massacred by Cossacks.
1. Why is the pacing of the editing and the movement within shots critical to the meaning of the sequence? How are
our perceptions of space and time shaped and altered by editing in the sequence? Pay attention to variations in angle
and shot length.
2. How is this the quintessential example of what Eisenstein calls “dialectical montage”?
VIEWING CUE: Winter's Bone
Set in an impoverished region of the Ozark mountains, Debra Granik’s Winter's Bone (2010) recounts the quest of
17-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) as she searches for her missing father, apparently a victim of his
involvement with the local manufacturing of crystal meth.
1. In what appears to be a dream sequence, two dominant sounds are orchestrated, one diegetic, the other
nondiegetic. What is their relationship and how does the distinctive soundscape of this sequence reflect it?
2. How do the montage of imagesthe squirrel, the trees, the buzzardsand the soundtrack that connects them interact?
Does this interaction allow you to understand or interpret the dream in a specific way?
VIEWING CUE: The Thin Red Line
Focused on the World War II battle in Guadalcanal, The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998) moves between the
horrors of war and, most importantly, the poetic and philosophical meditations of various soldiers about nature, love,
and family.
1. In this sequence, can you identify the five different registers of sound? Consider how they interact to create a
specific effect, atmosphere, or meaning.
2. Consider the voice-over in this sequence: "What’s the war in the heart of nature…. Is there an avenging power in
nature?" What stands out as significant in the tone, accent, and volume of this voice? How does it relate to the
disparate montage of images?
NEW VIEWING CUE: Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, James Gunn) is an entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a series of films based
on Marvel comic books. It stars Chris Pratt as the leader of a group of reluctant heroes in an irreverent space opera.
1. How does the musical choice shape audience expectations regarding setting, tone character, and genre?
2. How do images and music interact in diegetic and nondiegetic ways in this sequence?
FILM IN FOCUS: Singin' in the Rain
At the ending of Stanley Donen and Gene Kelley’s Singin’ in the Rain (1942) the proper match of sound and image
confirms the proper match between the characters played by Gene Kelley and Debbie Reynolds.
1. A source of the film’s humor, and of its version of Hollywood history, is that Lina’s speaking and singing voices are
not in harmony. Discuss how the sequence uses voice, music, and sound effects sometimes to reinforce, and sometimes to
contrast with each other.
2. How does the scene mark its sound as diegetic? How does this emphasis on the fact that this sound is “real” fit into
the film’s themes?
really is and what she really sounds like?
FILM IN FOCUS: The Conversation
Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974) is about a surveillance expert who comes to doubt about the ethics of his
profession. The filmmakers act as surveillance experts in the film’s famous 3-minute opening shot, as our attention comes
to focus on the behavior of a man in a rumpled raincoat (Gene Hackman).
1. How are sound perspective and image perspective used to create tension in this shot?
synchronized. Ask them to explain how they realize this is the case.
2. Count all the sounds you hear. How does the shot call attention to technology?
FORM IN ACTION: Saturday Night Fever
The first example of soundtrack music driving film promotion, Saturday Night Fever (1977, John Badham) and its songs
by the Bee Gees launched the global disco phenomenon. Working class Brooklyn kid Tony Manero (John Travolta)
transcends the monotony of his life every weekend at the discotheque.
1. How is the song used here for character development?
2. How would the scene unfold if the sound were mixed so that background noise was more audible?
VIEWING CUE: The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenebaums tells the tale of an oddly dysfunctional family, parented by an estranged mother and father and
three prodigy children.
1. For this opening sequence, how would you describe the different layers of its narration, including the tone of the
narrative voice over and the insertion of a visual text as "Prologue? "
2. How does the narration interact with the characters and eventsthe house, the divorce of the father and mother, the
childrenthat are introduced? What expectations does it establish for the kind of story that will follow? Does it imply a
tragedy or comedy? Or something else?
VIEWING CUE: Shutter Island
In Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigates the
disappearance a woman within the wall of a secluded mental hospital. Once there, however, the film twists and
complicates the question of who is the agent of this narrative.
1. In this disturbing sequence from Shutter Island, there are three different “time zones.” Describe them. How and why
might the ordering of these events intentionally confuse the temporal relation between them?
2. Can this sequence be described as a narrative dream sequence? If so what are the visual clues of that? Or, on the
other hand, are there indications that its is a flashback or flashfoward? Might the answer be somewhere in between?
FILM IN FOCUS: Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now reframes its perspective on the Vietnam War as an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of
Darkness, largely restricted to the point of view of US soldier Captain Willard.
1. Analyze these opening images from Apocalypse Now: a jungle wall exploding into flames, helicopters moving across
the image, an inverted close up of Captain Willard who determines the narrative perspective. How does this sequence
establish an important narrative perspective?
2. How does soundthe overlapping the sound of helicopters and the room fan, the song "The End" by the Doors
contribute to this narrative perspective?
NEW VIEWING CUE: Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 drama about the friendship between a young street hustler (Jon Voight) and a low-level
criminal (Dustin Hoffman). This scene from Midnight Cowboy comes from the opening of the film, where Voight’s
character sets out for New York City.
1. This is the opening of the film that introduces the lead character. How does the editing challenge classical
constructions of place, time, and character?
2. How does the clip invoke westerns, a more narratively traditional genre at the time of its release?
Gone Girl (2014) is David Fincher’s adaptation of the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the
screenplay for the film. This clip is from the very beginning of the film, narrated by Ben Affleck’s character, the
husband of a woman who mysteriously disappears.
1. What is the function of first-person narration in this clip? How do voice and image interact?
2. In what ways does the narrator’s gender determine the story he is telling and the way it is told? How does the
narrator’s gender interact with the central image from this clip?
looks into the camera, the violent imagery of the voiceover prepares the viewer to see femininity as a threat,
despite the innocence of her gaze.
FILM IN FOCUS: Mildred Pierce and Daughters of the Dust
Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945) opens with a framing narrativea man is shot in a deserted beach house and the
protagonist (Joan Crawford) behaves suspiciously. Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991) tells the story of a family
about to migrate from their Sea Island home to the mainland, but this story is part of a much greater narrative of African
diasporic cultural survival.
1. Film noir often separates plot order from story order. How do the opening minutes of Mildred Pierce engage us by
withholding key information?
The one constant in these opening images is the sound of the sea crashing on the shore, but even it changes
2. How does the film’s opening layer mythic and individual narratives? How does the nonlinear form work
differently than the nonlinear form of film noir?
FORM IN ACTION: Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (John Hughes, 1986) opens with the main character sick in bed.
1. How is the viewer positioned by Ferris’s direct address to the camera? How might the device work differently in a film
of a different genre?
Ferris exudes authority here, specifically on the subject of skipping school. Students will probably be keen to
The Cove is a contemporary documentary about a group of activists who overtly and covertly investigate a secret cove
in Taijii, Japan where they discover gruesome methods used to capture and kill dolphins.
1. Would you describe the structural organization of this sequence from The Cove as cumulative, contrastive, or
developmental? Or perhaps as a combination of more than one of those structures?
As experts in genre expectations, students should respond to the familiar figure of the talking head combined
2. To what extent does the sequence emphasize showing or telling? And in the movement between the two, what
seem to be its rhetorical aim? To explore, to interrogate or, to persuade? Do you find it successful? Why or why not?
NEW VIEWING CUE: He Named Me Malala
He Named Me Malala is a 2015 documentary about a young Pakistani woman and her inspiring life as an activist.
1. Describe the presiding voice or attitude with as much detail as possible. How does the dominant rhetorical
argument position the subject it addresses? Can you imagine another way of filming this subject? Explain.
2. How does this clip construct Malala as the main subject of the documentary? What aspects of the Malala’s life are
emphasized here and why?
NEW VIEWING CUE: What Happened, Miss Simone?
What Happened, Miss Simone? is a 2015 documentary about the famed singer Nina Simone that weaves together
interviews, performance footage, and historical context.
1. In this sequence from the film, scenes of violent struggle from the Civil Rights movement are intercut with
footage of a Nina Simone performance. How do the two types of footage, and the juxtaposition of Simone’s song,
tell a greater story than video or audio or just one or the other would? Are the ideas from this sequence spoken in the clip,
implied, or both?
2. How does the interview footage with Simone affect this clip? Does it make the sequence more or less powerful for
you, and why?
FILM IN FOCUS: Man of Aran
Set around 1930, Man of Aran is an early and classic documentary that describes the often difficult life of the men and
women who live on the isolated Aran islands off the coast of western Ireland.
1. This sequence depicts the common tasks needed to harvest seaweed. What about it could be described as
nonfiction and/or non-narrative? Or there moments in the sequence which seem more fictional or narrative?
2. How does the cinematography in this sequence create a specific relationship between nature and the men and
women on the islands? How would you describe that relationship?
FORM IN ACTION: Exit Through the Gift Shop
One of the more inventive contemporary documentaries, Exit through the Gift Shop begins as a film about street
artists, such as Banksy, but strangely drifts into a film about the filmmaker himself, Thierry Guetta.
1. How would you describe the style of this film? Does it align with any other documentary traditions or styles?
2. Would you describe this as a personal documentary or a mockumentary? Why?
FILM IN FOCUS: Stories We Tell
At this point in Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley has connected Harry Gulkin, the man she thinks might be her
biological father. The clip begins with Harry’s voice reading a letter, and ends with Sarah’s father Michael Polley
reading his own version of the story.
1. Notice the different kinds of footage and the different uses of the voice in the documentary. Does your attention shift
among them? Does your attitude toward the material shift as well?
2. How does the filmmaker’s presence in the film color our perception of the two men’s words?
VIEWING CUE: Gently Down the Stream
Su Friedrich’s films are both formally rigorous and intimate. In the fourteen-minute, 16mm film Gently Down the
Stream (1981) she uses fragmentary words and images to render dreams recorded in her journals.
1. Describe each kind of image and sound used in the film and consider how they work together or in counterpoint. Are
there any elements that bring to mind influences outside of film?
2. How do the themes of the film relate to the images and sounds?
FILM IN FOCUS: Ballet mécanique
Ballet mécanique (1924) by Fernand ger and Dudley Murphy experiments with everyday objects to celebrate
modernity and movement.
1. What patterns do you see in the editing or composition of the film?
2. How do recognizable imagesespecially human onesinteract with mechanical and abstract ones?
FILM IN FOCUS: Meshes in the Afternoon
Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren’s enormously influential experimental film Meshes in the Afternoon (1943)
saturates everyday objects and settings with meanings that are obscure to the viewer. In the first moments of the film,
the woman (Deren) enters a house and begins to explore.
FORM IN ACTION: Bridges-Go-Round
Shirley Clarke’s short experimental film Bridges-Go-Round allows monumental objects to take flight.
1. Follow a graphic pattern throughout the clip. How is dynamism created through juxtaposition of lines and shapes?
2. How is color used as part of the film’s transformative power?
VIEWING CUE: The Searchers
In John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) searches for years for his niece, who was
kidnapped as a child by Comanche. In this scene, he and his nephew Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter) finally find
Debbie (Natalie Wood), but she sends them away, fearful of the response of Chief Scar (Henry Brandon).
1. What iconographic elements identify this film by genre? How does this sequence use these generic elements in its
own way?
2. How are central themes of the western enacted in the struggle between Ethan and Martin? Between Ethan and
Unforgiven (1992), Clint Eastwood’s final (to date) western, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and tells the story
of a reformed gunslinger (Eastwood) emerging from retirement (and family life) to collect a bounty for the sake of his
children. In the clip below, Little Bill (Gene Hackman), the sheriff of a small town, confronts another bounty hunter
(Richard Harris).
1. How does this scene reflect values of a classical western? How might it also reflect values of a revisionist
2. What might be an audience’s expectations of this scene, based on its genre? Are those expectations met, or
changed in some way by the scene?
La La Land is a 2016 musical chronicling the relationship between a struggling musician and a struggling actor as they
both try to make it in contemporary Los Angeles.
1. How does this opening sequence move from the ordinary into the world of the musical?
2. In what ways is this a modern take on musical conventions?
FILM IN FOCUS: Chinatown
Roman Polanski’s Chinatown is a contemporary crime film set in 1930s Los Angeles.
1. In this early sequence from the film, private-eye Jake Gittis interviews a potential client. Examine the scene
carefully and identify the signs, conventions and formulas that are part of a specific subgenre of the crime film.
2. How does Jack Nicholson’s performance align Gittes with other protagonists in this genre? How does it
distinguish him from other protagonists in this genre?
Vagabond might be considered a contemporary road movie that follows its female protagonist as she hitchhikes
around the French countrysidewith no apparent direction.
1. In this clip, how does Mona’s movement and attitude suggest that she is both part of and a variation on the road movie
2. Unlike more traditional road movies, here the main character is a woman and a hitchhiker. How do these two
facts seem to confront and subvert some of the common expectations and themes of the road movie genre? In this
In these climactic clips from the two versions of True Grit, Rooster Cogburn races to find help for the severely
injured Mattie.
1. What in the first clip identifies this as a classic western?
2. Compare the lighting, cinematography, and sound in the two versions. In which ways does the Coens' version
transform the original? How and to what effect does it displace the original western formulas?
VIEWING CUE: The Wizard of Oz
In the beloved film The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1989), Dorothy (Judy Garland) and companions have
reached the end of their journey, only to be asked to perform an additional task.
1. How are the origins of the film’s story and characters in fairy tales illustrated in this sequence?
2. How does the film use cinematically specific and even self-referential elements in this scene that distinguish it from
other forms of narrative?
FILM IN FOCUS: Persepolis
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, 2007) is the autobiographical tale of coming of age as an artist and
an Iranian during the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. Marji (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) has left Iran and her
family to attend school in Europe.
1. How is the autobiographical voice established in this brief scene? Does the anecdote relate to the experience of
2. How does the departure from "realism" work in this clip? Do other formal elements become visible because of this
Birdman, which won the Oscar for Best Picture of 2014, is a comedy-drama about Riggan Thomson (Michael
Keaton) an actor who used to play a superhero (just as Keaton played Batman earlier in this career), attempting to
jumpstart a serious theatrical career. In this clip, the actor sees visions of his superhero alter ego, Birdman, who gives
him a lecture about what audiences want to see in movies.
1. What subjective claims might a writer make about this section of the film? What objective claims might a writer
2. How much background knowledge would readers of an analysis of this scene need? Should a writer assume the reader
has seen the whole film? What factors affect your answer?
checking Rotten Tomatoes scores versus reading full reviews, reading reactions on social media, and so on.
VIEWING CUE: Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (2012) tells, at first glance, a simple tale of young love in a small New England town,
yet its uniquely off beat characters and unconventional style create a charmingly unpredictable world.
1. Try to simply describe the different characters and actions in this sequence. Which are your subjective
impressions and which are objective facts? How is that description already an act of interpretation?
2. How does the visual stylethe circular pan, the point-of-view shot through the binoculars, etc.,add to the
complexity and meaning of a sequence with the little action and little dialogue? How would you explain this
Through four different perspectives, Akira Kurosawa’s complex film explores the difficulty of discovering the truth about
a heinous rape and murder.
1. This sequence represents a portion of the wife’s testimony in the film. Beyond what she says, what details in the
sequence make her claims convincing or unconvincing? What does the sequence reveal about her character?
2. There are four different shots in the sequence. Describe and analyze how they compositionally develop and work
FILM IN FOCUS: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The well-known film from the German Expressionist period describes the diabolic plotting of Dr. Caligari, the
strange figure who enters and dominates the second half of this sequence.
1. Examine this sequence in detail. How does the framing, sets, blocking, and movement of characters support the
contention that the film is about unrest and foreboding violence?
2. What kind of research might illuminate certain details or actions in this sequence? Which details seem foreign?
FILM IN FOCUS: Minority Report
Steven Spielberg's Minority Report is a futuristic look at how new technologies might anticipate and prevent
crimesand how their flaws might allow terrible injustices.
1. In this sequence, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) orchestrates the elaborate technological pursuit of a crime about to
happen. How does the editing make the activity and Anderton appear fascinating and powerful?
2. Imagine writing a short critical essay on this sequence alone. What would your thesis be?

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