Archive for the ‘AS Film 09’ Category

British film industry

December 13, 2013

Today we were looking at what films we could easily call culturally British and financially British, this means that the films should have the aspects of a British cast, director, crew and story. And financially British is not using money from Hollywood to fund the film. We looked at a variety of films, we were questioning whether the film ‘Welcome to The Punch’ was both culturally and financially British, this is because the film seemed to have influences of Hong Kong which is more a global culture. Hot Fuzz has both aspects of being culturally and financially British, as all the locations were in England, but it was inspired by western movies. The culturally British films make less money than Hollywood, because the main majority go to see American style films such as The Hunger Games and Iron Man franchise as the American culture is the second culture to British. And if a British film wanted to sell to an American distributor in a major studio, the major studio would be interested in their own films. The BFI funds culturally British films to…

  • promote new talent
  • promote British culture at home and abroad

And to support arthouse film culture.

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BodyHeat Key Scenes/Characters

November 18, 2013

BodyHeat – NeoNoir

Key Scene 1 – 7 Minutes into the film

Colour red is used to represent aspects such as, Danger, Heat and Passion.

Self Consciously recreates classic Noir style

Matty Walker

Immoral (Murder)

Brilliant (Clever)

Scheming

Seductive

“You’re not too smart are you? I like that in a man” – Hints at her mysterious ways

Ned

Manipulated

Bit Stupid/Naive

Less Charming (Womeniser)

80’s audiences were more tolerant of floored protagonists.

Sympathetic towards Ned because he has no idea what he’s getting into.

BodyHeat is aimed at adult audiences – 18 Certificate

The heat is necessary, the psychological motivation makes the situation more convincing.

Key Scene 2 – 37 minutes

Edmond asks Ned to join them to break suspicion.

Insults Ned indirectly

Matty is Edmonds possession

Edmond Walker is a Crook/Criminal – He does what’s necessary for his line of work, it’s at that point that Ned decides to do what is necessary, as he is now going to kill Edmond.

Key Scene 3 – 55 minutes

The Murder scene

The weapons in the scene are on show (Gun & Wooden plank) But although it is an 18 cerificate, the murder is not shown, the graphic sounds and brutal blows are convincing enough, Matty’s reaction proves the brutality of it, if we witnessed Ned murdering Edmond in such a brutal way, we’d feel less sympathetic towards him.

things to include in a poster

November 5, 2013

all these things (sometimes) are used in a film poster

-Tagline

-Narrative Image

-Title

-Logo

-Age Certificate

-Name of Stars

-Small Print (e.g. crew, cast)

-References to other films (e.g. from the director of etc..)

– Director is known

-Iconogrophy

-Release date

– Production company

– Thinkgs to attract people

– Social media reviews

Narrative and conventions in Double Indemnity

November 4, 2013

24/10/13
Key ideas of narrative were introduced in the lesson, so that they could be applied in essays and exam answers.

Todorov suggested that narratives consist of three things: a situation, a disruption and a resolution. This formula can really be applied to any film. Take Jaws (1975) for example, the situation is that it is set in a holiday town, the disruption is the shark and the resolution is Brody killing the shark. This can equally be applied to Double Indemnity (DI): the situation is that Neff is an insurance salesman, the disruption is that he is seduced to murder by Phyllis, and the resolution comes in the fact that they both die. In this way, DI is unusual as a film as the resolution comes from the death of the protagonist. This idea relates to the production code in Hollywood in the 1940s when DI was made, and the Law of Compensating Values. This meant that if crime was shown in a film, the perpetrators had to be punished, the punishment coming in the deaths of Neff and Phyllis.

Propp discussed the idea of narrative functions and applied them to Russian folktales, although these functions can equally be applied to films and other stories as well. In Proppian terms, there is a hero function, a victim or princess function and a villain function. An important thing to note is that these functions should not be confused with character archetypes, as although they can be one and the same, they are not always. For example, in The Day After Tomorrow (2004), the villain is arguably not a character, but the weather. Todorov’s and Propp’s ideas can be applied in conjunction, with the hero function resolving the disruption, the victim suffers the disruption and the villain creates the disruption. In the case of DI; the victim is Neff as he is affected by disruption, which is caused by the villain, Phyllis. There is arguably no hero function in DI, as the only one who tries to resolve the disruption is Neff, but he fails.

Most of the characters in DI are seen to be unpleasant, with the exception of Keyes and Lola. Even the protagonist is arguably an unpleasant character, doing numerous unfavourable things, such as murder, framing someone for the murder, sleeping with a married woman. As the spectator, however, we are made to feel sympathy for and side with Neff. This is done in different ways, firstly through MacMurray’s performance, which is suitably charismatic and charming and thus makes Neff likeable, but also as confesses his crime and tries to make amends for his actions. He also takes Lola under his wing which makes his character more credible. What also makes him likeable is the fact that those who he wrongs, Dietrichson and Zachetti, are portrayed as nasty people so Neff’s actions appear more acceptable by comparison.

The second key scene (which starts at 21 minutes into the film) was also examined. The scene was determined to be of importance as it has Neff and Phyllis “consummating” their relationship, although this was not shown and only implied due to the production code not allowing for sex onscreen. We assume this has happened as Neff is seen straightening his tie and is laid down in a suggestive position, whilst Phyllis reapplies her makeup. The use of rain as pathetic fallacy and somewhat of an innuendo also achieves this. Shadow is a key fixture of the lighting of film noir; hence low key light is used in the scene. This is particularly effective when Neff walks from light and into shadow, creating a sense of entrapment. Gender roles are evident here as the character of Phyllis is a “femme fatal” as discussed in the previous lesson, and as such she is in control of the scene and wins the “poker game” dialogue as she walks away and Neff goes to her. And yet, she is still seen as somewhat subservient as she is told to get the glasses whilst Neff, as the male, pours the drinks. This shows the complexity of gender roles considering the 1940s context. Neff is also a typical film noir character of the “lone wolf”. This makes him a dangerous character as he has no ties to a family or wife, which makes him somewhat free and potentially reckless due to his lack of responsibility, which is seen as he is seduced to murder by Phyllis.

Double Indemnity

October 25, 2013

We were looking at the film Double Indemnity that we finished in class, which is about a woman who uses a man to help her murder her husband. In the ’40′s there was the Production Code and the law of compensating values regulations of  which a film had to contain no seen sexual content and the audience were not allowed to see violence. Barbara Stanwyck is seen as a strong mother figure which portrays her persona, however in Double Indemnity she plays a femme fatale in other words she was fatal and after watching the film we looked at the cinematography and the content of the film. And significant elements of the film we looked at how the

  • characters interacted with each other e.g Mrs Dietrichson and Walter Neff
  • How power is shown through Phyllis Dietrichson
  • the conventional representation of women e.g the idea of mothers, virgins or whores, Barbara Stanwyck played a character who slept around with 3 male characters Zycetti, Neff and her husband
  • how the narrative is shown through flashbacks and to the present between the characters Neff and Keyes
  • And the character Phyllis Dietrichson is perceived by the audience

A Continuation On Stars

September 30, 2013

(27/09/13)
As the title would suggest, the lesson was a continuation of our discussion on stars, their qualities and how they are used for marketing a film.

Using Leonardo DiCaprio as a case study, a list of essential qualities that consist his persona (his image in the public eye through his film roles and interviews, essentially)was drawn up, concluding that generally he is:
.Charming
.Intense
.Troubled/ Dark side
.Heroic
.Private
.Professional (mostly)
.Dates models.

To illustrate this, a clip from Inception (2009) was used where he interrogates Cillian Murphy’s character at gun point. In the scene, intensity and a dark side were both portrayed, and if you view the film as a whole then signs of heroism and charm are certainly present, emphasizing the idea of a star’s persona. The last three points are more relevant to the gossip/interview side of a persona, and to illustrate this a video interview with Empire Online about Body Of Lies was used. (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xryib5_body-of-lies-leonardo-di-caprio_shortfilms) In the interview, DiCaprio speaks in a very complimentary fashion about the directors he has worked with in a very complimentary way, portraying him as being very professional, as well as humble about the fact that he has worked with “A List directors” such as Scorsese as behaving in a fashion that could be seen as being arrogant would destroy the persona. (The interview all ties into the idea of the publicity circus that we have been covering lately).

We then examined both his official website and a fan site, with the former most likely being set up by his agents. The use of the website helps to market DiCaprio, as stars a re a commodity as we learned last lesson, and so includes trailers for his upcoming films and the like. (http://www.leonardodicaprio.com/). The fan site would be actively encouraged by DiCaprio’s management as it serves to market him and his persona for free.. It also emphasizes the weight that stars have on popular culture as people choose to dedicate themselves in this fashion to document them.(http://simplyleonardodicaprio.com/) (Websites and fan sites like this could be used in your star portfolios.

Two final key ideas were introduced, firstly that stars are extraordinary and ordinary, being regular people that through the ideas of stars and how they are portrayed through the media become more than ordinary, and secondly that stars are in decline as there are less of them (A Listers, anyway) and they can open films less on their own. Instead, franchises are taking over as the sure fire way to open a film and make money. There are some exceptions,such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which serves as an amalgamation of the two.

This is England and Dirty Pretty Things

March 28, 2009

this-is-england

dirty-pretty-things-93

Thanks Luke for the interesting comment; however can we write our ideas in the post itself? (Click on the ‘edit’ button). Don’t worry about getting it all into the exam; you won’t have time and you don’t have to – Lacey.

I think it’s clear to see some strong links between the two films, in the sense of inclusion of exclusion. The sense of racism which is seen in This is England, portrayed by Combo, is not so present in Dirty Pretty Things, however this is mainly due to the context of each films. This is England is set in a time when economic depression was widespread across the country, whereas Dirty Pretty Things, set at the start of the 21st century, does not have these economic conditions featured in the film. Instead, it’s sense of exclusion lies with the corruption presented by the crooked immigration officials, who seem to take great pleasure, and go to extreme lengths, to catch people who have already suffered. With this, I feel as though the film is presenting us with the idea that there is a strong sense of irony in the rights immigrants have on entering Britain. They are allowed asylum, but the officials (who are there for the asylum seekers protection) are more than happy to go to extreme lengths to get them deported.

This irony isn’t played on so much in This is England, and relies more on it’s exclusivity overpowering the inclusive side on a personal level, rather than a diplomatic one. It gives a lot more views about being English than Dirty Pretty Things, with Woody, Combo and Shaun all delivering certain messages throughout. Personally I think that Combo’s racism would not necessarily be part of his characteristics if it weren’t for the economic instability facing the country at that time. I feel as though he uses them as a scapegoat for his own failings in life, which can be seen with the different attitudes he presents towards Milky throughout the film. Woody’s more inclusive side gives a strong message that England is a good place, and that even the people perceived as rough and aggressive (the Skinheads) are still inclusive, and are very proud of their country being an open place. I think there are strong parallels with Woody’s behavior to that of the Hippie movement in the 60’s, and Beatlemania. The love and happiness that that produced can be seen in Woody I think. I think Shaun’s idea of being English is in limbo. He has been stuck into a place where he is not really aware anymore. His rejection of the St. George’s cross at the end, symbolising the National Front, shows a strong move away from Combo’s viewpoint, however I feel as though he is now too damaged to have that loving and inclusive view that Woody has. He is, in a sense, excommunicating himself.- James Brown, 1st April.

I think that The real sense of being English can be shown through Woody’s behaviour and that his inclusiveness is a better representation of being English than the racism shown by combo –Cris Barlow, 3rd April

This is england is about fear of others whereas dirty pretty things is about the life of the others… –Charley evans

I really do think that both films challenge each n ever one of our own beliefs. its trying to make us think twice about the issues that around at the moment.  even though differnt types of people will have their different views about it i think in many ways it does make them think twice. differnt people will have their own opinions about the racism and the proble with illegal immigrants. Tyrone Michael 🙂

I think, at first, Shaun’s entry into Hooliganism is all about wanting to belong. But when Combo shows up, he is eager to teach Shaun and the rest of the gang what he’s learned in prison, and the (split) group inevitably goes down the path of violence and hatred. For example, Shaun goes into the shop and shows hatred towards the shopkeeper, who is considered as an ‘other’. And Shaun’s rejection at the end shows the violence has got too much for him and is rejecting Combo’s way. –Joel Cavney

Some very good points here!
Very concisely written, I’m quite suprised with how much text there is for all the points that are expressed (no offence sir, I know it’s your job and everything).
Nicely done, a good example of how we all should aim to write within the exam.
It seems to put things more into perspective than what I first assumed the themes of DPT & TiE were, especially the point about the ending scene to TiE. It had never occured to me that Shaun’s views had been left undecided, as I always assumed that the ending scene represented the change in generational thinking. Where the younger generation brakes off from the trends of the old and paves its own path with their own thoughts, opinions and views. The throwing of the flag (apart from the rejection of racism) a litteral symbol of this.
The different ways in which the ending can be interpreated is certainly something to keep in your mind, it’s even maybe worth a mention in the actual paper itself as it can show a broad layout of understanding.
I’m not sure I can fully agree with the comparison made between Woody and the Hippe revolution however. I can certainly agree with the previous points made on how Woody is a representation of how the ‘normal’ English population think, but in contrast to the Hippies and Beatlemania it seems a little farfetched for my understanding.
I don’t know, maybe it’s because that era is way out of my time, I’m not sure.
I always looked upon Woody as a representation of the good that resides within all English people, a small banner of hope for a future time maybe.

Tell me what you think lads and lasses!
Get commenting! -Luke Haley

DPT is focused on the ‘others’, and they have the ‘dirty’ jobs that the English people don’t want but in TiE, the jobs that the ‘others’ have are the jobs that are being stolen from the people of England, which makes Combo’s view of the others negative. So the ‘others’ in DPT are represented more positively, as they aren’t stealing any jobs from the English people, as they have the jobs that the English people don’t want. -Joel Cavney
The ending in Dirty pretty things leaves alot of questions un answered. As we know Okwe is leaving the country to see his daughter but because he is wanted for murdering his wife in his own country Okwe living a happy life with his daughter there is therefore quite unlikely because of the incident with his wife years ago. Also Senay who is going to America will also not nessecarily live a great life as even though she has a european passport his might not get her past the customs office in America as the passport was made by senior Juan there isnt any deffinite level of ligitamicy to the passport. Therefore Senay could face the exact problems in New York as she has done in London Iain Fenton

I personally agree with tyrone, both films really do challenge our views and thoughts on racism today in england and i think this is empised (if thats how you spell it!) by the ending of “this is england” as when sean throws the english flag in tthe sea it not only shows sean rejecting combo’s influence but also alows it to ask the audience “what is your view?”….

Charlotte Evans

I think that both the films endings leave unanswered questions. Like Iain says, Senay is going to America and going to be going through exactly the same as what happened in England. Also Okwe we presume he may leave for where he hails from, but we don’t know whether he will be going back to where he is wanted for murder or will he carry on. As for Shaun in this is England, he has rejected Combo represented by him throwing away the flag given to him by combo, and is back to where he was before, not really with friends, playing alone. We could assume that he goes back to Woody’s group of friends where he was welcome before and as we believe Woody’s attitude to be inclusive, we may not doubt that he would be welcomed back as he was only missled and didn’t do so much wrong. – Alex Rattigan.

I think that there is a difference to how we, as an audience, are introduced to the communities in each film. In This is England we are slowly introduced to the skinhead community through the perspective of Shaun as we see his appearence and personality develops through this community. Whereas in Dirty Pretty Things we are thrown straight into the community of the illegal, and legal, immigrants where we are shown the the strive for work and survival from Okwe. I think this is because the knowledge of an immigrants life is well known, whereas the life of skinheads can be missunderstood as being racist and violent. The racist and violent perseption is proved wrong with Woody’s group of skinheads as they are almost family like, which is why I think we aren’t thrown straight into the skinhead community like in Dirty Pretty Things. -Michael Macfadyen

In the Valley of Elah and Crossfire

March 28, 2009

in_the_valley_of_elah_still

crossfire

Crossfire is a film noir as it uses light and shadows to create mood and atmosphere. elah isn’t film noir it is more real in style.

Nial Spence.

I agree with Nial. I feel as though, if you class film noir as a genre, then Elah has taken it as a very big influence. Both films do stem from the hard-boiled crime novels and pulp fiction that was around in the 20’s and 30’s, however both of them use it in very different ways. Crossfire clearly takes influences from Chandler in the utilisation of the detective playing on the rough, dirty side of the law, whereas Elah is, in a sense, a lot cleaner. Hank doesn’t appear to be harrowed by years of service, but is proud of it. Finlay, in Crossfire, is the complete opposite. His world-weary view is something that could have been used to convey a very strong message about the state of America, however due to the Production Code this was not possible. Elah had a lot more freedom in this sense, and had the ability to give a much more pessimistic viewpoint.

James Brown.

We also see that in Crossfire that the villain  “Monty” is shown to be a psychopath from the start of the film and that he has not been influenced or changed in anyway to be how he is. As due to the production code films from the 1940 had to abind to this code. this meant that they couldn’t say anything bad about the armed forces. As crossfire was made in 1947 then it had to a bind to these rules.

Whereas in Elah it didn’t have to a bind to these rules so we see that the villains (mikes fellow soldiers) are shown to have changed into psychopaths by there experiences in the war in Iraq. they are shown to be desensified by there experiences. So this is showing to the audience that the war isn’t good and it is affects the soldiers.  we also see that hank has been changed by his experiences in the army as he is very straight and we see him make his bed and sort his shoes as if still in the army.

This brings up the comparison of what to do with returning veterans in the two films?

As we see in Crossfire that Mitch has been changed my the war as he is a wreak and just what to see his wife. As in the 1940’s there were hundreds of veterans coming back from the war and the army didn’t know what to do with them and the soldiers didn’t know what to do with them selves as they weren’t used to being back after being at war. we see this in the character Mitch.

Niall Spence

Yeah i agree with both of you, Naill was right talking about film noir in crossfire. The lighting and shadows are great in this movie, they create an amazing effect and mood throughout the movie. The lighting also creates suspence within the movie. Elah on the other hand is clearly not film noir but there is a great use of dark colours, such as blue and black etc. What Niall says is spot on about the comparison between the two about the returning veterans coming back from both wars and the soldiers not knowing what to do with theirself, this is shown in Elah by Mitch being Killed by one of his own fellow soldiers. It seems that killing has become so much a part of their daily life that they dont think twice about the consequences to the family of  Mitch.

Matty Frost

I agree with all of these posts, but I would say that the production code in the 1940’s would have allowed the character of Monty to have been changed into a murderer by outside circumstances, just not by the US army

Sean 🙂

I feel that Elah goes;  Where’s Mike, what happened to Mike, who killed Mike,and why they (his friends) did it to Mike. And Crossfire goes; Who’s done it and why they’ve done it. So you can tell that ‘Elah’ is a more complicated film in terms of the plot, so it will have more twists and turns.

Joel Cavney