A great little book as an intro to film studies - it provides a series of concepts to help filmgoers analyse artistic, technical and storytelling decisions.
- Aesthetics; formalism and realism
- Structure: narrative and narration
- Authorship: the director as auteur
- Genres: defining the typical film
- Non-fiction: five types of documentary
- Reception: the art and profession of film reviewing
There are also some detailed analyses of specific techniques and scenes which are very instructive.
Christian Metz: "The cinema is difficult to explain because it is easy to understand."
'Significant form' distinguishes good art from bad - where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
Stefan Sharff: "Significant form is the opposite of pedestrian rendition... Images for together so magnificently that they ascend to a higher level of visual meaning." (Elements of Cinema)
Debate: Should women specialise in making feminist films? Kathryn Bigelow argues that the job of a director is genderless.
Five categories of documentary (according to Bill Nichols):
All in all a very good resource. It helped give me the confidence to begin to critique films, something I would like to develop further.