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Film theory - Essay Example

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This reserach has examined film theorists Andre Bazin and Siegfriend Kracauer in terms of their perspectives on realist and formalist tendencies in film. Further consideration has been given to the articulation of these tendencies in Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro…
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Film theory

Download file to see previous pages... According to the research findings one of seminal theorist Andre Bazin’s arguments was that the film strategies of montage versus mise-en-scene were more than mere formal strategies, but choices that were connected to the viewer’s agency to interpret the images presented. In understanding Bazin’s argument one must understand his perspective on the meaning of art. In these regards, Bazin notes that with the advent of advanced representational painting societies no longer felt the need to preserve aspects of their existence in a way similar to the Egyptian tombs. This insight leads him to consider that art functions primarily as a representation of reality. He even notes that, “the cinema is objectivity in time”. This means that the cinema itself not an artificial form, but the objective capture of reality in real-time. For Bazin, film is further divided between montage and more static mise-en-scene tendencies. Bazin recognizes that with the development of film, increasing formal language elements have emerged in the form of montage. One filmmaker that Bazin celebrates is Sondheim. Bazin states that Sondheim, “rejects photographic expressionism and the tricks of montage” and that, “In his films reality lays itself bare”. Essentially Bazin recognizes that while montage constitutes a more formal film language, such an evolution is ill-suited to the true meaning of film. For Bazin, deep-focus then becomes the highest form of filmic explication as it eschews formalist interference for what he believes is the unencumbered expression of reality. While exploring many of the same foundational elements regarding the objective of filmmaking as Bazin, Kracauer discussed realistic versus formative filmic tendencies and theorized their most effective uses. Kracauer traces the roots of the realist and formalist divide in the very earliest silent film productions. He argues that the Lumiere films, with their direct depictions of daily life, represent the realistic tendency in film. While Kracauer doesn’t openly deride the Lumiere films, he attributes their eminence not to artistic legitimacy, but instead to the newness of the medium. Conversely, for Kracauer Melies represents the formative tendency of the film medium. While Bazin and Kracauer agree regarding the division between realist and formalist tendencies, they disagree as to their aesthetic merit. While Bazin idealizes realism, Kracauer embraces formalism as the next step in the evolution of film. Kracauer notes, “Imagine a film which…records interesting aspects of physical reality but does so in a technically imperfect manner…such a film is more specifically a film than one which utilizes brilliantly all the cinematic devices…to produce a statement disregarding camera reality” (Kracauer, p. 145). In these regards, Kracauer agrees with Bazin that film should remain true to camera reality, but indicates that the formal elements of film editing can contribute to this reality when unnoticed. This is contrasted with Bazin who foregrounded deep focus as the highest form of film technique. A notable insight regarding Kracauer is that he is not simply in favor of technical wizardry, but believes film technique must conform to camera reality. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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