- What was your favorite film viewed in the class this semester and why?
I would mark out Reservoir Dog by Quentin Tarantino as my favorite because I am a worshiper of his creative activity. I liked it because once one had seen it he would never forget the scenes. Tarantino supposed the scenes to be disturbing and he succeeded. I do not like violence, but I like the way the scenes in the film were organized. I believe that the film leaves no one indifferent due to black humor used and Tarantino’s unique narrative style. Also, particular attention should be paid to social context of the film meaning the relationships between black and white people. I think that Tarantino succeeded to convey deeper social meaning through unusual means. A particular attention should be paid to accidents scenes and special effects used.
One of the most discussed effects used in Citizen Kane is deep focus that gives an illusion of perspective. The importance of this effect is that it draws attention to the details with the help of close-ups. The audience can choose where focus attention, the effect called “filmic democracy”. A visual effect made by optical printer that allows cameramen to manipulate framed image adjusting the contrast of the film, add wipes, dissolves, and other optical effects. It gives an effect of nearest proximity being able to enlarge the image. For example, the scene where Susan was on the stage when camera went up and then a split screen was made. There were also many dissolves used to achieve the effect of transition from one shot to another. Utilization of images layering he reached the effect of concealing the absence of sets on the screen.
- What was so important about Italian Neorealism and how was this evidenced in the film of DeSica’s “Bicycle Thieves”?
The films made during the period of Italian Neorealism are characterized by their ability to capture reality showing the essence of filmmaking. The importance of Italian Neorealism is that it reflected socio-economic environment in post-war Italy that can be clearly seen in Bicycle Thieves by Umberto DeSica. The film is featured by showing lives of ordinary people who were forced to struggle with devastation and economic hardships. Neorealism in Italian filmmaking also showed moral ambiguity and desperation of working class people. An important feature is that conversational speech was used in the film rather than literary dialogue. The film provides true continuity and casual events described are sometimes opposed to casual like in the scene when Ricci’s son stopped to pee. There is neither happy end nor any resolution in the film. A kind of ambiguity like a box of tissues in the final scene presents in the film emphasizing dramatic effect of the situation (Hill, Gibson, Dyer, Kaplan, and Willemen 190).
- How do you explain that some films can be watched many times, but some of films cannot catch audience attention starting from the first shots?
The importance of the first words cannot be overestimated as there is only once chance to make the first impression. Thus, making a catchy heading or a phrase said can attract audience attention. Overextended beginning of a film can make audience bored. It is also important that filmmakers talk the languages of their audience. For example, success of DeSica’s Bicycle Thieves is conditioned by the fact that he used the language of common people. Another example is Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs – he succeeded to catch attention of audience starting from the first minutes by showing the picture of sweeping motion on the screen. Often success is connected with using Semiotics communication theory by Barthes. Semiotics theory explains how meaning is assigned to subjects through cultivating images in human minds (Griffin 323). Another theory that could be mentioned here is Agenda Setting Theory by McCombs and Shaw that explains how a message can be conveyed to the audience using human perception clusters and associations (Griffin 359).
- What were some stylistic features of the film Birth of a Nation by Griffith and why were they so important?
Griffith style is featured by classical framing, close-ups, and cross-cutting serving as a model for narrative of contemporary films. He succeeded to bind historical importance of the film with his typical sarcastic manner using pioneering approach in cinematography of those days to support values promoted made the film stunning. It was important for him to reflect historical events and the moods in the society of those times. Along with disarming sarcasm he used sentiments which were sincere helped him to communicate the traditions of South. However, the film contains racist motives justifying the existence of Ku Klux Klan disregard of any ethical concerns. I think that the film once being watched by millions of people should promote tolerance and reflect the opinions of both sides of a conflict rather than join up one side. It is difficult to overestimate the role of Birth of a Nation in the national cinematography, but it leaves slight aftertaste of injustice in the society that is still relevant.
- Did you like the films of Martin McDonagh or not and why?
There were two movies of McDonagh we watched in the class: Seven Psychopaths and IN Bruges. I liked watching Seven Psychopaths as an excellent sample of crime comedy. I liked Seven Psychopaths more than his previous film In Bruges because camera work is much more skilled. The tone of the film creates special mood, but the work In Bruges is better for screening. I liked the way how In Bruges was constructed by McDonagh and the way how he expressed drama with his famous Irish obscenity. The scenes showing live drama of violence were excellent. His ability to depict misery of some characters with humor is marvelous.
- How do you feel about Tarantino’s films and why?
Tarantino films are able to change the perception of the world and lead to the thought of how fragile is human life. Undoubtedly, there is too much violence in his films, but he uses these scenes to retain the audience attention and make wondering about denouement. This is what makes his films unforgettable and unique. I consider Tarantino a talented director and I like almost all films made by him. I perceive the whole story and consider scenes of violence as a part of narration. I like that Tarantino’s films can keep one feel tense till the end of the film. I also like the action in his films that conveys life dynamics.
- Which film viewed in the class is created with reviving the gangster genre in the U.S. films?
The film Reservoir Dogs by Tarantino is associated with reviving gangster genre. This film reminds of admired by Tarantino Martin Scorsese’s works. Some people consider that Trantino changed the nature of American cinematography because he attempts to say something other people do not dare to say. However, I would not assign any genre to his movies because he seems to create out of any genres.
- Which film viewed in the class had the most interesting camera work, editing or story structure in your estimation? Give an example.
Again, I want to refer to Tarantino Film Reservoir Dogs when talking about camera work. Camera movements reminded me of the works of Hitchcock. The direction slightly reminded of the techniques used in westerns. It seems that one can look into the eyes of the main characters of the film. It looks like the actor talks directly to the audience in the nearest proximity.
- Why do you think DeSeca’s Bicycle Thieves uses the plural form of “thief”?
Some critics consider that it was a mistake during translation from Italian into English. Previously, the title was translated in singular because the main hero was so desperate to become a bicycle thief. However, using plural form of the word “thief” meant that there were many people with similar destiny in Italy that time.
Griffin, Em. A First Look at Communication Theory. 7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.
Hill, John, Gibson, Pamela Church, Dyer, Richard, Kaplan, E. Ann and Willemen, Paul. Film Studies: Critical Approaches. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
Littlejohn, Stephen W. and Foss, Karen A. Theories of Human Communication. 10th ed. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc.