You are previewing Film Studies For Dummies.
O'Reilly logo
Film Studies For Dummies

Book Description

Make sense of the world of cinema

Want to pull back the curtain on film? This hands-on, friendly guide unravels the complexities of film and helps you put cinema into a cultural context. You'll get an easy-to-follow introduction to different film genres and styles, learn about the history of cinema, get to know who makes up a filmmaking team, explore global cinema from Hollywood to Bollywood and much more.

Film Studies For Dummies will open your mind to how the film industry works and help you to discover the impact of film on popular culture. You'll get easy-to-read information on analyzing and critiquing film from a range of theoretical, historical and critical perspectives, and learn how people communicate ideas in film. You'll also be able to shine a light on how stories are developed in movies, understand how a storyline is related to broader issues in society and become a well-versed and insightful film student.

  • Covers the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic and political implications of cinema

  • Provides conceptual frameworks for understanding a film's relationship to reality

  • Explores how people tell stories and communicate ideas in film

  • Helps you excel as a student of film

  • Whether you're planning to study film, a humanities student with a forthcoming module on film or a film enthusiast wondering if this might be the future for you, Film Studies For Dummies has you covered.

    Table of Contents

      1. Introduction
        1. About This Book
        2. Foolish Assumptions
        3. Icons Used in This Book
        4. Beyond the Book
        5. Where to Go from Here
      2. Part I: Getting Started with Film Studies
        1. Chapter 1: Becoming a Fantastic Film Student
          1. Upping Your Cinematic Game
            1. Going beyond merely watching films
            2. Connecting film studies to other stuff you can study
            3. Focusing on creativity, industry and technology
            4. Writing about films: Reviews, criticism and academic style
          2. Studying Pictures, Moving and Otherwise
            1. Reading a painting or drawing
            2. Reading a photograph
            3. Capturing movement in film
          3. Expressing Why Film Matters to the World
            1. Probing into politics
            2. Reviewing race and nationality
            3. Exploring gender
        2. Chapter 2: Putting Words and Pictures into Motion: The Film-Making Team
          1. Helming a Film: Directors and Their Collaborators
          2. Thickening the Plot: Screenwriters
            1. ‘Authoring’ a film
            2. Studying screenwriting
            3. Writing action
            4. Writing dialogue
          3. Showing Them the Money: Film Producers
            1. Giving producers their due
            2. Producing the studio goods
            3. Going it alone: Independent producers
          4. Painting with Light: Cinematographers
            1. Directing the photography
            2. Achieving ‘the look’
            3. Harnessing technology
          5. Getting the Film in the Can: Production
            1. Setting the scene: Art directors
            2. Turning the creative vision into a reality: Technical crew
          6. Putting the Footage on the Screen: Post-Production
            1. Cutting and constructing: Editors
            2. Amplifying the images: Sound designers and composers
            3. Visualising the impossible: Special-effects artists
        3. Chapter 3: Watching the Stars Come Out: Film Stars, and Why We Love Them
          1. Surveying Stars, in All Their Extraordinary Ordinariness
            1. Distinguishing stars from actors
            2. Analysing star image
            3. Seeing stars as commodities
            4. Identifying with stars
            5. Sexing up the screen
            6. Working like a star: Acting, performing, inhabiting
          2. Exploring a World of Stars
            1. Pondering European stardom
            2. Seeing the new Hollywood in Bollywood
          3. Separating Stardom and Celebrity
            1. Living private lives in the public gaze
            2. Star-making in the 21st century
        4. Chapter 4: Building Movie Stories
          1. Uncovering Mise-en-Scène
            1. Analysing a scene
            2. Looking deeply at all that stuff
            3. Presenting the world as you know it (sort of)
            4. Creating emotional pictures: Melodramatic mise-en-scène
          2. Speaking the Language and Grammar of Film
            1. Making a scene (and a sequence)
            2. Selecting shots
          3. Solving the Puzzle: Editing Film
            1. Getting the story moving
            2. Piecing together a film: Continuity editing
            3. Considering alternatives to the classical model
          4. Charting the Roles of Characters in Narrative
            1. Causing an effect with an event
            2. Characterising heroes and villains
            3. Meeting sidekicks and helpers
          5. Listening and Understanding Film Sound
            1. Playing with emotions
            2. Distinguishing between diegetic and non-diegetic sound
            3. Listening to unheard melodies: Film music
      3. Part II: Taking All Types: Genres, Modes and Style
        1. Chapter 5: Distinguishing Films by Type: Genres and Style
          1. Defining Genre
            1. Banking on genre: The Hollywood Machine
            2. Enjoying repetition – up to a point
            3. Bending genres
          2. Appreciating What a Man’s Got to Do: Westerns
            1. Linking westerns and the birth of Hollywood
            2. Seeing why westerns are westerns
            3. Pitting two sides against each other
          3. Letting Yourself Go: Musicals
            1. Showcasing fantastic performers
            2. Integrating numbers with plot
            3. Feeling better through musicals
          4. Lurking in the Shadows: Horror
            1. Drawing first blood
            2. Facing your inner demons
            3. Having nightmares on Elm Street and elsewhere
          5. Voyaging Beyond: Sci-Fi
            1. Rocketing to the moon
            2. Exploring imaginary worlds
            3. Dreaming of electric sheep and mechanical men
          6. Peering Through the Darkness: Film Noir
            1. Testing the limits of genre
            2. Seeing noir as a style
            3. Detecting spider women and their prey
          7. Watching Boy Meet Girl, Time and Again: Romantic Comedy
            1. Romancing the same old story
            2. Digging deeper into chick flicks
            3. Feeling bromantic
        2. Chapter 6: Getting Animated about Animation
          1. Considering Much More than Kids’ Stuff
            1. Bringing images to life
            2. Making kids (and grown-ups) laugh
            3. Animating counterculture
            4. Going full circle: Cinema gets animated
          2. Touring the Great Cartoon Factories
            1. Disney: The mouse shall inherit the Earth
            2. The Fleischer brothers: Betty pops out of the inkwell
            3. Warner Bros.: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and related anarchists
            4. Pixar: Not just a Toy Story
          3. Spanning the Globe: A World of Cartoons
            1. Taking over, one toon at a time
            2. Playing it straight? European animation
            3. Drawing a history of violence: Animation from the Middle East
        3. Chapter 7: Leading from the Front: Avant-Garde Film
          1. Advance! Attempting to Pin Down the Avant-Garde
            1. Standing against the mainstream
            2. Sampling the many facets of the avant-garde
            3. Determining when a cartoon isn’t just a cartoon
          2. Exploring Three Important Avant-Garde Ideas
            1. Playing around with time
            2. Not worrying about the story
            3. Embracing abstract images
          3. Drifting Off into a World of Dreams
            1. Dissecting cows and priests in chains
            2. Going into a cinematic trance
          4. Mixing with the Mainstream: Avant-garde Everywhere
        4. Chapter 8: Getting Real: The Truth about Documentary
          1. Shaping Reality with Documentary Films
            1. Comparing the documentary to fiction and to real life
            2. Sorting documentaries: Six modes
            3. Weighing documentary ethics
          2. Capturing the 20th Century on Camera
            1. Meeting plain-speaking Russians
            2. Exploring the world and its people
            3. Filming poetry or propaganda? World War II on film
            4. Reclaiming objectivity: Direct cinema and cinéma vérité
          3. Blending the Real and the Unreal: Documentary Today
            1. Questioning America the beautiful
            2. Marching with penguins and other creatures
            3. Documenting digitally
      4. Part III: Travelling a World of Wonders: Global Cinema
        1. Chapter 9: Bringing Hollywood into Focus
          1. Running the Dream Factory
            1. Mass producing movies
            2. Controlling the supply chain
            3. Dominating international markets
            4. Appealing to everyone, offending no one
          2. Re-viewing Hollywood History
            1. Laying foundations for the Golden Age
            2. Breaking up the studio system: The United States versus Paramount Pictures
            3. Rolling with the changes: New Hollywood
          3. Heading Back to the Future: Blockbusters, Franchises and Indiewood
            1. Eating Hollywood: Jaws
            2. Deciphering agent-speak: Packaging, high concept and synergy
            3. Acting like kids: Family franchise fun
            4. Behaving like grown-ups: Indiewood
        2. Chapter 10: Enjoying the British Invasion: From Brit-Grit to Frock Flicks
          1. Getting Real: Brit-Grit
            1. Paying for Free Cinema
            2. Breaking the New (British) Wave
            3. Finding poetry in common places
          2. Meeting of the Screens: Big and Small
            1. Assessing British television’s influence on film
            2. Coming to the British film industry’s rescue: Channel 4
            3. Leaping from TV to cinema screen
          3. Adapting Great Works: ‘Oh, Mr Darcy!’
            1. Reviving the classics, over and over
            2. The past today: Heritage films
          4. Beating Hollywood at Its Own Game
            1. Producing local films for local people
            2. Bonding with Bond, James Bond
            3. Casting a spell: Harry Potter and the magical franchise
        3. Chapter 11: Admiring European Films: Culture and Commerce
          1. Answering a Not-So-Simple Question: What Is European Cinema, Anyway?
          2. Making a Rendezvous with French Cinema
            1. Travelling from poetic realism to new extremism
            2. Making an exception for French cinema
            3. Appreciating a glamorous business: The Cannes Film Festival
          3. Stepping Out of the Darkness: German Cinema
            1. Lurking in the shadows: German Expressionism
            2. Recreating (New) German Cinema
          4. Melding Style and Substance: Italian Cinema
            1. Finding heroes on the street: Neorealism
            2. Featuring swords, sandals and naughty nuns: Italian genre and exploitation films
            3. Meeting the prince of laughter: Totò
          5. Watching Freedom Explode: Spanish Cinema
            1. Considering Fascism and Catholicism
            2. Returning of the repressed: Pedro Almódovar
        4. Chapter 12: Mixing Monsters, Musicals and Melodrama: World Cinema
          1. Expanding Vision: World Cinema and Third Cinema
          2. Journeying into Japanese Cinema: Godzilla, Anime and More
            1. Reaching back to classical cinema, Japanese style
            2. Facing an incredible, unstoppable titan of terror!
            3. Agreeing that anime rules, okay
          3. Investigating Indian Cinema: Bollywood and Beyond
            1. Making a song and dance of Bollywood
            2. Pondering Bengali film: World or parallel cinema?
            3. Taking Bollywood global
          4. Looking to Latin America Cinema
            1. Brazil: Hollywood in the tropics?
            2. Cuba: Small cinema, big ideas
            3. Mexico’s modern auteurs
      5. Part IV: Bringing In the Big Ideas: Theories and Beyond
        1. Chapter 13: Theorising about Film: How Movies Work
          1. Building a Foundation of Film Theory: Text, Context and Spectator
            1. Formalism: What is a film?
            2. Realism: Does film reflect reality?
            3. Reception: What is a spectator?
          2. Shaping Society with Film: Marxism
            1. Meeting Marx (Karl, not Groucho)
            2. Spending time with the Frankfurt School: Fun is bad
            3. Negotiating between culture and behaviour: Ideology
          3. Taking Films to Bits: Structuralism
            1. Linking linguistics and film: Saussure
            2. Sampling film semiotics: Metz
            3. Meeting mythic structures: Lévi-Strauss
          4. Getting into Your Head: Psychoanalysis and Film
            1. Delving into dreams: Freud and film
            2. Leaping through the looking glass: Lacan
            3. Rejecting the male gaze: Mulvey
        2. Chapter 14: Praising Great Directors: Auteur Theory
          1. Seeing the Director as God
            1. Digging to the roots of auteur theory
            2. Linking auteur, theme and genre
            3. Seeing the auteur in mise-en-scène
            4. Debunking auteur theory
          2. Encountering Old-School Auteurs (1930s to 1950s)
            1. John Ford: The American landscape
            2. Howard Hawks: Screwball and highballs
            3. Alfred Hitchcock: The master of suspense
            4. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger: Two for the price of one
            5. Orson Welles: The self-styled genius
          3. Meeting the Essential Modern Auteurs (1960s to 1990s)
            1. Stanley Kubrick: An epic perfectionist
            2. Martin Scorsese: Storyteller of the streets
            3. Steven Spielberg: The kid who never grew up
            4. Quentin Tarantino: Uber-movie-geek
            5. David Lynch: The American nightmare
          4. Turning Attention to 21st Century Auteurs (1999 to today)
            1. Ang Lee: The hidden dragon
            2. Christopher Nolan: Worlds within worlds
            3. Kathryn Bigelow: Boys and their guns
            4. Guillermo del Toro: Monster moviemaker
        3. Chapter 15: Exploring New Approaches to Film Theory – and Beyond
          1. Multiplying Meaning: Post-Structuralism
            1. Discerning the difference between structuralism and post-structuralism
            2. Deconstructing texts and discourses
            3. Dismantling empires: Post-colonialism
          2. Realising Nothing Matters Anymore: Postmodernism
            1. Narrating the end of history
            2. Getting super-excited about hyper-realism
            3. Going for girl power! Post-feminism
            4. Moving beyond gender: Queer theory
          3. Reaching the End of Everything: Post-Theory?
            1. Smashing the SLAB: Bordwell takes aim
            2. Striking back at Bordwell
            3. Thinking about thinking: Cognitive theory
        4. Chapter 16: Outliving Celluloid: Cinema in the 21st Century
          1. Revising Rumours of Cinema’s Death: Still Watching, Just Differently
            1. Cinema-going over the decades
            2. Shifting from celluloid strips to hard disk drives
            3. Transitioning to digital, holding onto analogue
          2. Changing Where, How and When You Watch
            1. Experiencing cinema nowadays
            2. Watching films amid the comforts of home
            3. Collapsing the release window
          3. Converging on the Next Phase: Film and Everything Else
            1. Reassessing event movies
            2. Elevating everyone to film-maker status (sort of)
            3. Raising the bar: TV catches up with cinema
            4. Stealing pleasure
      6. Part V: The Part of Tens
        1. Chapter 17: Ten Film Writers You Need to Read
          1. VF Perkins: Analysing Film Style
          2. Richard Dyer: Watching Stars and Developing Queer Theory
          3. Tom Gunning: Reassessing Early Cinema
          4. Molly Haskell: Engaging with Feminism and Film
          5. Yvonne Tasker: Analysing Action Cinema
          6. Michel Chion: Speaking Up for Film Sound
          7. Richard Maltby: Investigating Cinema History
          8. Nicholas Rombes: Discovering Digital Cinema
          9. Hamid Naficy: Exploring Accented Cinema
          10. Charles Barr: Battling for British Cinema
        2. Chapter 18: Ten Must-Watch Movies
          1. Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
          2. Casablanca (1942)
          3. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
          4. Rear Window (1954)
          5. À Bout de Souffle (Breathless) (1960)
          6. Don’t Look Now (1973)
          7. Blade Runner (1982)
          8. Pulp Fiction (1994)
          9. Spirited Away (2001)
          10. Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)
        3. Chapter 19: Ten Film-Makers You Need to Know Better
          1. Feng Xiaogang
          2. Alice Guy-Blaché
          3. Ousmane Sembène
          4. Roger Corman
          5. Lynne Ramsay
          6. Abbas Kiarostami
          7. John Waters
          8. Christine Vachon
          9. Andrei Tarkovsky
          10. Wong Kar-wai
        4. Chapter 20: Ten Tips for Becoming a Film Student
          1. Going to the Pictures Often
          2. Making Sure You See the Classics
          3. Watching and Re-watching
          4. Reading about Film in Your Free Time
          5. Thinking about What Films Mean to You
          6. Joining a Film Studies Tribe
          7. Not Taking Awards Too Seriously
          8. Attending Film Festivals and Events
          9. Developing a Love for Subtitles
          10. Being Proud of Your Knowledge
      7. About the Author
      8. Cheat Sheet
      9. More Dummies Products