how to analyze a film scene
The narrator is the person telling the story.
In films imagery are the elements used to create pictures in our minds. They may include:
On the other side of the coin, the Transformers movies, as detailed as the robots look, most of the time while I was watching the movies, I felt like I was watching a jumbled mess of computer animated metal smashing into each other. It didn’t look stimulating. You want the special effects to complement the story rather than just being used as a visual device.
I believe you only need to a see a film once in order to critique a film. Of course, there are those who prefer at least a couple viewings, but from my experience multiple viewings can actually skew your assessment.
Cameras and lighting do more than simply document the scenes they record. The way scenes are shot and lit creates the mood and environment for the storyline. The camera “frames” the action and actors in the film. A scene can be constructed with a variety of camera shots including close ups and long shots and multiple camera angles. Lighting is used for similar effect. Think about how the camera shots and lighting contribute or distract from the scene. One of the reasons why “Citizen Kane” is so well respected is that Orson Welles used camera angles and lighting in unusual ways. Color films obviously strike the viewer differently than black and white films. Think about how the use of color adds to or distracts from the scene. The 2013 film “Nebraska” was shot in black and white rather than color, and this contributes to overall feeling of loneliness and desperation of the landscape and storyline.
Scenes occupy a particular space and time within the narrative of the film. Sometimes scenes in a film follow a strict chronological sequence. Many times, however, a director may choose different strategies for dramatic effect. All the scenes in the film noir genre usually take place at night. Flashbacks, the same event presented from multiple points of view, and blurring the distinction between reality and illusions can all add interesting angles in which to see the film as a whole. The 1990 thriller “Jacob’s Ladder” is an example of blurring the distinction between reality and illusion. Jacob Singer is a Vietnam vet plagued by terrifying hallucinations that blur reality and illusion and the past, present and future. He is unable to discern whether the hallucinations are real, or if he is going crazy. “Citizen Kane” starts with the famous Rosebud death scene, and this sets up the storyline for the whole movie. Think about the setting of the scene. Think about the reasons why the director places the scene at the specific point in the movie.
Assignment : Write a thesis-driven essay in which you examine ONE scene from a film scheduled to be viewed in class.
Purpose : The purpose of this assignment is to expand your understanding of how film constructs meaning using both traditional narrative as well as iconic representations presented through images and sounds.
Shots indicate the distance of a camera in relation to the subject or scene. Shot types range from Extreme Long Shot (XLS) where characters are very far away from the camera and appear extremely small, to Extreme Close Up (XCU), where the character is so close to the camera the whole frame is consumed by one part of their face. Consider the examples of shot types:
Watch the clip from Rabbit Proof Fence. From a first viewing, the scene depicts an ‘inspection’ of Indigenous Australian children in the outback by white Christian personnel to establish the fairness of Indigenous children.