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Film Studies For Dummies by James Cateridge

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Chapter 4

Building Movie Stories

In This Chapter

arrow Looking at visual storytelling

arrow Breaking down film grammar

arrow Distinguishing among plot, story and narrative

arrow Listening to film sound

When you take a look at the very earliest films that still survive (which today you can do very easily online), you can be forgiven for thinking that cinema didn’t begin by telling stories. Films made before the turn of the 20th century by the Lumière brothers include a train entering a station, workers leaving the factory gates and a baby eating breakfast. They aren’t exactly packed with dramatic incidents.

Yet movement and dynamism are present in all these brief snapshots of (apparently) real life. And, perhaps inevitably, when you watch these earliest films, you can’t help but think of them as snippets from some much larger chain of events. Where has the train come from and who are those passengers streaming off it into a brand-new location? What will all those factory workers do now that they’ve finished their labours? Is the baby going to behave and eat his breakfast?!

The point is that humans can’t ...

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