ds106 - Saying Things

Do I Call It A Film or A Movie? – I read about film analysis

As someone who has watched a good amount of movies and is very opinionated, film analysis and critique is something I enjoy a lot. That being said, I get frustrated with how subjective movies can be. It is hard to separate how we felt about a movie from the movie’s technical aspects, especially because a lot of movies are made to be experienced emotionally and not analytically. These articles showed me what to focus on when trying to make an objective comment on a movie. Sorry, a film.

The main takeaway I had from the reading and watching this week is the different types of film analysis. Here is my brief understanding of them:

  • Iconic: This method focuses on how pictorial/visual elements of a film convey its meaning. It is especially useful for older movies where the image was the main aspect of a film and modern narrative films that try to disguise the technical visual choices.
  • Semiotic analysis: this focuses on the meaning of the story by interpreting symbols, signs, and other themes. It is heavy on analogy, metaphor, and symbolism, especially when it comes to visuals.
  • Psychoanalytical: this method emphasizes a film’s aesthetic and the meanings and effects of that aesthetic on the story and how it relates to the audience.
  • Shot by shot or Mise-en-scéne: this is a technical look at the given sequence of shots in a film, using techniques to break down each image.
  • Narrative: this method focuses on the story of a film, including analysis of the narrative structure, characters, and plot.
  • Cultural/historical: this method places a film in a broader historical context. It looks at how a film fits into history, comments on its time, or otherwise represents the culture in which it was made.

Each of these methods is a unique lens that can be applied to a movie. But to get a full view and understanding, all of them are needed. Some may be more valuable than others depending on the film, especially since the movie itself may focus more heavily on one aspect than the other, but all of them interact to create the final product. They do not exist in a vacuum.

I am ready to take these techniques into the world and start overthinking every movie I watch – which isn’t all that different from what I already do, but this time I will at least have evidence to back me up.

2 Comments on “Do I Call It A Film or A Movie? – I read about film analysis

  1. This an excellent summary of what we learned this week from watching the clips and videos assigned. I will look for the video essay that you did!

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