Film Art: An Introduction Paperback – Aug 1996
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Film Art is often assigned to college students taking their first film class. Authors David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson do not follow the traditional method of teaching film art through a close analysis of individual films. Instead, they provide an overview of the major issues students confront when they watch movies. In clear, straightforward prose, the authors describe and dissect the complexities of filmmaking, film narrative, film form, and film technique. This book serves as a fine introduction not only to the field of film studies, but also to the theories and concerns of two of the most important scholars in that field.
About the Author
David Bordwell is Jacques Ledoux Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate in film from the University of Iowa. His books include The Films of Carl Theodor Dreyer (University of California Press, 1981), Narration in the Fiction Film (University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema (Princeton University Press, 1988), Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema (Harvard University Press, 1989), The Cinema of Eisenstein (Harvard University Press, 1993), On the History of Film Style (Harvard University Press, 1997), Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment (Harvard University Press, 2000), Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging (University of California Press, 2005), The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies (University of California Press, 2006), and The Poetics of Cinema (Routledge, 2008). He has won a University Distinguished Teaching Award and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Copenhagen. His we site is www.davidbordwell.net. Kristin Thompson is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a master's degree in film from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in film from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has published Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible: A Neoformalist Analysis (Princeton University Press, 1981), Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907-1934 (British Film Institute, 1985), Breaking the Glass Armor: Neoformalist Film Analysis (Princeton University Press, 1988), Wooster Proposes, Jeeves Disposes, or, Le Mot Juste (James H. Heineman, 1992), Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique (Harvard University Press, 1999), Storytelling in Film and Television (Harvard University Press, 2003), Herr Lubitsch Goes to Hollywood: German and American Film after World War I (Amsterdam University Press, 2005), and The Frodo Franchise: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood (University of California Press, 2007). She blogs with David at www.davidbordwell.net/blog. She maintains her own blog, "The Frodo Franchise," at www.kristinthompson.net/blog. In her spare time she studies Egyptology. The authors have also collaborated on Film History: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill, 3rd. ed., 2010) and, with Janet Staiger, on The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960 (Columbia University Press, 1985). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Film Art" is divided into five main sections: (I) Types of Filmmaking, Types of Films" covers how films are produced and the basic types/genres of films. (II) "Film Form" examines both narrative and nonnarrative formal systems in film, using "Citizen Kane" as a case study for narrative form. (III) "Film Style" is the main section of the textbook, dealing with the shot in terms of both mise-en-scene and cinematography, how editing relates shot to shot, and the function of sound. This section concludes with an analysis of film style in five diverse films. (IV) "Critical Analysis of Film" provides four distinct critical frames of reference and analysis of various films: Classical Narrative Cinema in "His Girl Friday," "North by Northwest" and "Do The Right Thing"; Narrative Alternatives to Classical Filmmaking in "Breathless" and "Tokyo Story"; Documentary Form in "High School" and "Man with a Movie Camera"; and From, Style and Ideology in "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Raging Bull" (and if that last combination does not give you an indication of the breadth of the examples used by Bordwell and Thompson, nothing will). The textbook concludes with a bibliography, glossary and list of helpful websites.
There are two major strengths to this textbook. First, its complete coverage of cinematic concepts. I think that everyone learns how to "read" a film, but the vast majority of people would not know that the baptism sequence in "The Godfather" is a prime example of "American montage." You read this textbook and you will become aware of things you already understood on a more abstract level. Additionally, they do not stop at first or second level terms, but get into the absolute nuts and bolts of cinema. Second, the use of specific examples from numerous films to demonstrate these concepts. Unless you have a film textbook that has a CD-Rom with miniature film clips, you cannot find one superior to what Bordwell and Thompson offer up here. Furthermore, their use of examples clearly demonstrates their formidable knowledge of the field. The only downside to using this textbook in your film class is that you might have a problem convincing your students you know half as much as this pair.
informative look at the history of films.
Well, to be honest, it has lots of pictures
and makes good use of them. If you love film,
you'll love this book.
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