film scene analysis example
Once you pick a scene, watch it once for an overall impression of the scene. Pay close attention to everything that happens in the scene. What is the initial impact of the scene on you? Are you left happy by the scene? Sad? Anxious? Confused? How does the scene help to set the tone for the film? How does it fit into the overall scope of the film? Is this a revelatory scene? Does it show us something that we have not seen before? Is it a scene integral to narrative development?
Next, watch the scene again, but this time, take notes as you watch. Note camera angles, shots, lighting, sound, narrative. All of these will help you to analyze the scene. You must learn to interpret how film constructs meaning by both traditional and non-traditional methods. Once you learn to look for how film constructs meaning, then you can begin to examine the scene as an opportunity for analysis.
By the twelfth shot of the sequence we have moved from a long shot that began the clip, to medium shots of Lila, to finally a close up. The motel and other surroundings from earlier in the clip are gone and this framing and the shallow focus give us nothing on the screen but Lila Crane’s question face.
For the second option, you need to submit a typed analysis of a scene from a film. This is the skill we are focused on this quarter. Your analysis should describe the technical components of the clip and connect them to the director’s purpose. (Two examples of scene analyses follow this list.)
Before moving on to discussing the next scene, I would like to clarify one point. The use of a single film technique in isolation doesn’t carry a specific meaning. A good example would be the low angle shot of Brad. A low angle shot does not necessarily imply power; it could also be used to establish a point of view (e.g., from the point of view of a character lying down and looking up at someone or from the point of view of a shorter person or creature), to create a comical, grotesque and/or ironic effect or to exaggerate a physical action such as jumping or hurdling.
The cinematic techniques discussed in the video are related to mise-en-scène collegefilmandmediastudies.com/mise-en-scene-2, which is the term used to describe everything ‘put into the scene’. In this video, I focus on décor, lighting and props, costumes, body language (e.g., posture, gestures and facial expressions) and composition. I also look at how these elements are framed in terms of camera height, camera angle and camera distance, all of which fall under the category of cinematography (classes.yale.edu/film-analysis/htmfiles/cinematography.htm).
views a subject from the level of a person’s eyes
so that action appears very rapid when the film is played back at normal speed.
The narrator is the person telling the story.
- Is there a narrator in the film? Who?
- Point of view means through whose eyes the story is being told.
- Through whose eyes does the story unfold?
- Is the story told in the first person “I” point of view?
- Is the story told through an off-screen narrator?