Bazin, A., Brazin, H.G., Gray, A., Truffaut, H., Andrew, F., and Dawsonera, D. (2005) The Evolution of the Language of Cinema. In: Bazin, A., Brazin, H.G., Gray, A., Truffaut, H., Andrew, F., and Dawsonera, D. (eds.) What is cinema? Berkley: University of California Press, pp. 23-39
In this chapter, Bazin, Bazin, Gray, Truffaut, Andrew, and Dawsonera (2005) trace the history of cinema or the cinematic language in the last two years of the post-world war period. In summary, the main argument of the authors in that the evolution of cinema may be traced by looking at two distinct historical periods in which cinema was developed by film directors who emphasized on the resources of montage and those who focused on the plastics of the image. The authors have distinguished between two major opposing trends which marked the evolution of cinema and the language used in it between 1928 and 1930. According to Bazin et al. (2005), between these two periods, there were directors of films who believed in the image and those who believed in reality. The question that the authors are asking in this chapter is whether a new cinema was born within this period in history or whether there was an aesthetic evolution in the way films are directed and produced. In terms of montage and its usage in cinema during the early years of its evolution, the authors indicate that the purpose of the use of invisible editing of films was to ensure that episodes could only be analyzed based on the dramatic logic and material of the scenes. The main forms of montage that were applied in cinemas during its early evolutionary stages included montage by attraction, accelerated montage, and parallel montage. It is the montage and plastics image rather than the sound that played a key role in the development of cinema and the silent film. In the post-war period, the sound film had matured such that the quality of cinema was assessed in terms of its content and form. The relevance of this source is that it helps us understand some of the historical actions which shaped cinema as it is today and hence it is possible to see how the use of images in films in the contemporary movies derives from this early history. The quality of this chapter is that the author uses several examples on the usage of images in films and draws his observations from various sources.
Fuller, S, and Driscoll, C. (2015) HBO's Girls: gender, generation, and quality television.Continuum, 29(2): 253-262
In their article, Sean Fuller and Catherine Driscoll analyze the controversy that producers and filmmaker of the HBO series Girls anticipate regarding the independence of modern-day young women together with the feminist and non-feminist reactions to the gender narrative or politics as portrayed in this series. Their main argument is that to understand Girls, one has to situate the series within the controversial but stable original programming by HBO on feminist issues such as girlhood, insecurity, and socioeconomic privilege. According to the authors, the portrayal of feminism or contemporary feminist and postfeminist expectations by the filmmaker of Girls is important in the understanding of other feminist ideas that shape most conversations about girlhood. The HBO series Girls represent an accurate depiction of postfeminist girl power in that it shows how the lives of most contemporary young women are full of both dissatisfaction and comfort. Modern day women as portrayed in Girls are free, successful, and independent beings who have the power to determine their own lives. The girl culture evident in the filmmaking of Girls helps to understand the feminist ideas and attitudes of many young women today. The relevance and quality of this source are that it shows how film or cinema may be used to depict various gender or feminist issues and ideas including girl power, girl culture, or gender relations and how television helps bring out these issues.
Gillespie, M.B. (2016) We Insist The idea of Black film. In: Gillespie, M.B. (ed.) Film blackness: American cinema and the idea of Black film. North Carolina: Duke University Press, pp. 1-16
In this chapter, Michael Boyce Gillespie talks about the black film and the manner in which Blacks are portrayed in these pieces of art. The author's primary argument is that being a discourse and an art, the black film is a form of visual tension between race and art. According to the author, race is a part of cultural fiction and black films bring out this idea. However, Gillespie maintains that it is important to understand black film as an art rather than a prescription and considering it as a practice whose origin is black expressive and visual culture of the black man. Moreover, when analyzing black film as an art, one must consider how issues of culture and race are engendered by filmmakers through the narrative, affinity, materiality, aesthetics, and style or genre. Using the Clockers as an example, Gillespie (2016) shows how these features are present or absent in the cinematic representation of blacks and their culture. According to this author, despite the richness of Film Blackness and is the possibility of illuminating black culture, some movie producers in their films present unbalanced images of African-American men and women. He points out that black film should, in essence, be used as a vehicle for analyzing the socioeconomic, ideological, and cultural aspects of black culture and lives. That is, with black film, it is possible for filmmakers to conceive race in creative ways that bring out the uniqueness of black culture. It is thus imperative to resist all attempts to use black film to further any other end apart from an accurate portrayal of various aspects of black lives and norms. The quality and relevance of this source are that it reveals that the role of film blackness should be to enact black visual and expressive culture rather than to engage in other endeavors that do not portray the true idea, image, and identity of Black film.
Orpen, V. (2003) Editing-doing the washing up. In: Orpen, V. (ed.) Film editing; The art of theexpressive. London and New York: Wallflower, pp. 1-17
This chapter of Valerie Orpen's book looks at editing in the filmmaking process and its importance in silent cinema. The central argument that Orpen makes is that image and sound editing have significantly changed the manner in which film makers express emotions or ideas over and above what is seen on the screen and portray the true meaning of cinema. According to Orpen (2003), film editing is akin to washing-up, shooting, or cooking since it connects the line between art and craft. The main stages of the editing process as point out by Orpen (2003) include shots, sequences or scenes timing and arrangement, selection of takes, and the combination of these elements with the soundtrack. Hence, film editing may be taken to be a connective process through which different shots are joined to make one whole film. In different parts of the world, editing is known by different linguistic nuances including "bring together" or "join/spice" in the UK and Australia and "recorder" or "decoupage" in France. The author also makes references to David Bordwell's On the History of Film Style in which the French term "decoupage" is clearly defined and explained due to its value in understanding editing as a fragmented process in which several pieces are put together to produce a whole film. The French term suggests that editing entails the notion of joining, removing, rejecting, curtailing, pruning or adding. Furthermore, Orpen (2003) describes editing as both an expressive and connective process in which different ideas and parts of a film are spatially, temporally, graphically, seamlessly, or invisibly c. connected and expressed as a whole concept. This source is of relevance in that it comprehensively explores the process and practice of sound and image editing in film production and underscores the important role that editing plays in the overall quality of cinema.
Watkins, G. (2014) Black looks Race and representation. In: Watkins, G. (ed.) Is Paris burning? New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 220-237
The chapter represents an analytical analysis of Jennie Livingstone's film Paris Is Burning and how this movie depicts the culture of black gay drag ball in which there is a total personification of feminity and womanness by whiteness. In this film, black men are shown and visualized as not only as individuals willing to become like real black women or to impersonate them but also as those who are obsessed with an idealized fetishized white feminity. Watkin's (2014) primary argument is that the gaze of men appearing dressed as women in films is a symbol of these men who are mostly gay wanting to enter into the realm of powerlessness. According to the author, appearing as a female in a film when one is a male is often interpreted as a sign of weakness or as a loss which should be ridiculed in the patriarchal balance. Scenes of black male comedians appearing in movies as black women is in most cases depicted as worthy of hatred, scorn, and ridicule. The act of men appearing as women in films may be due to the sexual stereotyping of black men as being rapists, manly, or sexual. It is this racial or cultural portrayal of masculinity among blacks that may have pushed these black males to defy gender norms and cross from being powerful to powerless. According to the author, the image of drug balls, drag queens, and black gay men in documentaries such as Paris Is Burning to evoke images of the actual Paris being ablaze and of the end, destruction, and death of the oppressive white supremacy and the dominating culture and civilization of the Western world. The film Paris Is Burning thus represents a celebration of the end of the patriarchal whiteness and ruling class capitalist form of life which is often presented as the only way of life. It portrays awakened marginalized black folks who are ready to do what it takes to stage a revolutionary black liberation to fight victimization, colonization, and exploitation. Blackness in Livingstone's film seems to have been commoditized and portrayed as a tool for fighting various ills that exist in the western society. This source is relevant and of quality, because it demonstrates how film can be utilized to portray how culture can be used as a tool for challenging social ills in the community.
Weiss, E., and Belton, J. (1985) Fundamental aesthetics of sound in the cinema.In: Bordwell,D. and Thompson, K. (eds.) Film sound: Theory and practice. Columbia: ColumbiaUniversity Press, pp. 181-199
In this chapter, Elizabeth Weis and John Belton discuss the powers of sound in cinema and argue that contrary to assumptions to the contrary, sound plays an important role in films in that it engages the viewer's visual attention or sense mode, directs the viewers' attention specifically within the image, and actively shapes the way the audience interprets images in films. In other words, sound provides a useful guide for the audience since it helps point to the things being watched. The chapter also discusses the fundamentals of film sound such as the acoustic properties of sound including loudness, pitch, timbre and selection and the combination of sound. In cinema, sound normally takes the form of noise, music, or speech and hence the selection of the desired sound enables a filmmaker to filter sounds in such a way that only the relevant sound is used in cinematography. Combing different sounds to create an aesthetic effect is also a necessary norm in film production since it helps to not only to entertain the audience but also convey different messages such as romance, anger, disappointment, or sadness, disapproval, o...
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