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Is there anyone out there???!! (even though our class is finished)

I’m Having a great (academic) summer is south florida 😉


In response to the reading and Mr. Trachtenberg.

Ben, I loved the truth that you wrote about our technologically advanced age in the year 2010, that we find ourselves. I do as well happen to like the old technologies and the styles of the 1980’s and 1900’s, which we probably will never see again in the twenty first century film productions. However, as with everything else in life, we (films) must learn to adapt and even take advantage of what falls before us. The plot of a film must reflect current times, so I will HAVE to agree that the technology used before the film production must accord with 2010.
To close, I want to remind you of the Back to the Future films of the 1980s. Going into the future, I think the year was 2015 proved to be threatening and scary with unknowns. I sometimes feel technology moves so fast that I too can not keep up. But imagine the year 2050. We will look back at 2010 and laugh. We are constantly living in a stone age. We are just constantly trying to keep up with God.

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Psychology of Film. The body observed, and the Power of Two

Why do we even go to the movies? In fact, why do we do anything in life? Think about it for a minute….

We go to the cinema or theatre to test our emotions and sensations. We choose a genre based on our mood and our age/gender/race and interests. The experience is exciting. A young by as Linda Williams explains, will find it repulsing to witness a boy kissing a girl on screen, however a couple on a date will most likely enjoy it (at least the female will). The boyfriend may or may not enjoy it, but he enjoys the experience and the opportunity to get out of the house (which is another quality of the cinema). Genres exist everywhere (TV, radio, books, etc). Sports is typically enjoyed by men. There can not possibly be a “dominant” narrative structure if everyone likes something else. However, the anatomy of the film body can be more powerful than one another’s.

Take Pornography, Horror, and Melodrama. Each are different in their own fashions, are presented for a certain audience, and have a certain level of fantasy. The emotion of melodrama differs from the sexuality of porn or the violence of horror. Before watching the film, we are unaware of what will occur, but we have a strong inkling of “sort of” what will occur, and our expectations. Emotions- Women may enjoy crying and feeling sorry for a character in a melodrama, but men are looking for the emotions of orgasms and cries of sexual pleasure in pornography. Horror presents screams of physical pain or a shatter of blood. But all in all, whether we are male/female, 20 yrs old/10yrs old/ 70 years old, white/black, we all show a certain emotion and think of a certain fantasy in our minds when viewing a film. The Climax of the film may arrive too early or too late, or may be lousy, but we our still inputting an attention, and a sensation.

Tom Gunning believes we are simply impressed from “movement to movement (866)”. The fact that at least two individuals are interacting together, and we are witnessing that, makes it magical. I can not think of a main-streem film that involves one individual or object. Good things in life comes in pairs. The Aesthetic of Attractions on set are only possible with two or more characters on set. With only one individual on set, most likely few excitements or mysterious occurrences will prevail. We learned that we the viewer present in our mind that we are the character on set. How can we quite possibly share the emotions and feelings of a character on set if we are alone with no occurrences. Shock will not exist because there is nothing out there to attack the person. {If there is one human and a robot trying to kill him, that counts as two individuals with interaction, it need not be two humans}. Of course we gain delight in seeing the two individuals engage sexually at the end of the film because that is a perfect closure for our psychology of film. The final attraction involves the two people engaging together.

A concluding example is The Pursuit of Happiness. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) goes through much of his impoverished life not knowing many people and not having many friends. All he has is his son, who is with him throughout the film. We learn about the father and son because the two of them are there, and they aren’t individually alone. The end of the film, regardless of the what opportunities lay before Chris Gardner, he is still there holding hands with his son. The power of Two.

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My revised pitch

I think I will prefer Burnett’s Killer of Sheep.

I started writing a few sentences and am trying to pinpoint a thesis and topic related to poor black rural community. Most films relating to blacks or poor poeple take place in urban landscapes. Not Killer of Sheep. Life may seem slow and boring to the viewer, but there are many messages and symbolisms to that slow stlye of life. Are they really happy?

This is the first few sentances I wrote…

Charles Burnet’s 1977 film Killer of Sheep is an essential film portraying everyday life in a black community in an unseen American cinema. The film may be considered “unseen” because the story takes place in a setting of the country that most folks are not familiar with unfolding simplicity. A residential neighborhood of Los Angeles, Watts is comparable to a rural southern town with miles of open land filled with slaughter and farm houses. Keeping in mind that 49% of the 35,000 residents lived under the poverty line, with only 0.6% of the town being white (US census 2000), mainstream America is not fully represented in the film {the 1970’s faced similar statistics}. Perhaps that is what made the film so popular to be declared a “National Treasure” from the national film registry. Audiences and critics want to see something new and something they are not familiar with.  ( I will explain what makes it unfamiliar)


phychoanalysis/spectatorship/sexual difference

Cinema is often presented and called “the synthesis of all the arts”. Cinema goes beyond any other art as far as our perception and senses are concerned. Unlike other forms of art, Sarah Bernhardt considers every film fiction though, and I would have to agree. There are so many characteristics factored in to film that we dont even realize. The producer doesn’t want us to realize it. Beyond the cast of actors and actresses, there is symbolism, music (Dialectic and non-dialectic), props, and a certain script that is followed. The study of the camera can take some time as well. The proper angles, lighting, tilting, etc. make a difference in the film presentation. Each shot taken by the camera must match in some way to the next shot, otherwise it would not make sense to the viewer. A critic might think that his film presentation is not fictional because he shoots his scenes randomly with no special intention of the camera angle/movement- well even those shots were planned to be shot randomly and some thought went into the shots.The script was designed so that we the viewer can identify with the carefully planned plot and relate ourselves in the film. Nothing happens by random or chance on mainstream film- thus it remains fiction.

Cinema is only possible through the perceptual passions and desires to see (Metz). If the viewer shows no interest in what he is watching he can turn it off or walk out. For the advertising industry it is crucial that the product catch the consumer’s eye with desire. Our identification with the product and the way it is presented through the moving image must match in some way. We as a human race identify with the majesty and beauty of the human body and shape. For much of history women were the image, and men were the lookers. Everyone developed their own certain fetish of imagination and fantasy involved in their sexual energies and pursuits. Watching a blond and big breasted girl in the backseat of a new convertible does not necessarily mean that if I purchase that same convertible I will have the same girl. Our perception and attention turns on when we see her anatomy and her body shape. The program may be awful, but that one girl changes everything. We become a passionate spectator because we become a “slave” to her body. The camera angles, her clothing, the lighting, and the props are just “icing on the cake”. Men want to be with her, and women want to be her.

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My personal pitch for my final research project

A film that I always found fun and fascinating but which left me with many questions is Tom Shadyac’s 2003 film “Bruce Almighty”. Is reality flipped around in this film or is it possible that it can be a non-fiction and actually happen. How do atheists react to this film? Does the film present God of a certain religion. Race plays a huge factor, as Morgan Freeman acts as God. For thousands of years, as the European White man was dominant, how could God possibly be African American?! What type of language and message is being sent to the viewer? Is there anything to learn or become inspired from the film? The narrative sturcture interesting, as its presented as a cause and effect type of way. The audio and visual aspects add to the “power” of god and the weakness of the humans here on earth. There are many interesting aspects and narrative structure that can be pointed out in this twenty first century film.

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Language sets a powerful tone for film. Perhaps the entire cinema experience is a language between the film and the viewer. The language can be political, economical, religious, fiction, non-fiction, etc. The combination of the visual and audio aspect bring the language impact to a reality. All other forms of media, radio, pictures, music, etc include just one of those mediums either audio or visual. Even in silent film I do believe there is an audio impact. My opinion is there may be even more of an audio impact? Why?! Because as the viewer I am forced to interpret what the producer of the film is trying to send me. Regardless if I translated the language derived correctly or incorrectly it forced me to apply my own language and audio to the film. I believe that is the true “semiotics” of film. It works with all forms of media as well. If I read a novel, my mind and brain describes to me what the scene of character physically looks like. So I disagree with Metz from Film Theory and criticism and I do believe film is 100% a language, just like any other language. The film is just thousands of shots. One single shot is the same as a photograph to me. No one denies the value of a photograph. The sound track is comprised of music and words. Words and music send meaning and a “Language”. The entire film as a whole is a structure with a fully developed back bone. Daniel Dayan may not like the fictional aspect of semiology, but I do!. Dayan writes “The imaginary can be characterized through the circumstances of its genesis or through the consequences of disappearance”. Like an infant, the film is controlling us and we have little power to decide where the “language” is heading towards. The play out of the world that is controlled by God could all be imaginary to us. Life can be imaginary. Cinema sets us in an imaginary state of mind. The imagination of film to the viewer (sort of like a dream) is extremely exciting and unique. If it is our first time watching the film, we are in the category of the unknown. We are not sure of anything or what will happen. Going back to life, how do we know every day is imaginary or some type of game that God is playing on us. We are headed in some sort of direction in life; to where, we are not sure. The film structure heads us into an unknown direction.

Perhaps as Thomas Schatz writes, we are used to the usual in film. Male dominance, the female body as something really beautiful including “streight” sexual relations, dark scenes are something that is danger or hidden etc. We usually expect a happy ending (usually with a wedding). That is all part of the art of film and its Auteur theory. We expect the film to take us somewhere because 99% of the films we watch take us down that happy path. Sure, there will be a climax which involves trouble but it all gets better from there. Or does it?!


Auteur Theory: Look beyond the “boring & hard” parts of film

The word “Auteur” was first  hard to understand. Its meaning is a filmmaker whose individual style and complete control over all elements of production give a film its personal and unique stamp. I suppose the personality of the film is created by the Auteur. Like a person who goes on a date, every girl will be different and will have different personalities. It’s her personal “stamp” that defines her. A movie and its producer want us to be involved in the relationship. The auteur wants us to value it ( as Sarris explains). Interior meaning is the another feature of Auteur feature. Just like every auteur and film differs, each audience viewer differs. I may like something that another person may hate. The qualities may be “good” or “bad” about a film, but that doesnt mean I will particularly love it or hate it. Sarris gives the example of a space orbit. When we watch a film, we are entering the films “orbit”. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are becoming captured into the meanings, messages, and aspects of the film. The qualities of Auteur are capturing us.

Another aspect I admire about Auteurs is as Bazin explains, they share what they trully love. Their expressions and political opinions placed forth in their film capture what is going on in their mind. An Auteur will hardly present or create something that he doesnt share a common love for. What is presented might go beyond appropriate or socially acceptable but again, we enter their “orbit”. A shot of a urinal or a mass slaughter of horses might go beyond my imagination of enjoyment, but that really doesnt matter in the Auteur theory. Censorship becomes a big problem. Learning new ideas as a means of escapism might be good for all of us. If I were to produce a film, I probably wouldn’t kill cats and dogs. But before we insult any work of film art, Kael suggests we try to look for the deeper meaning of the Auteur message. There might be something we may not understand or agree with but we should value it for what its worth. Think of the other audience members, and their connection to the film. Give film a chance. The concluding opinion I have for the Auteur Theory is about looking at human-productions in a “cup is half full, not half empty way”.


“The foundation of film art is editing”. That is the phrase that Pudovkin chose to open his essay, and it has great meaning to it. Think of film for a moment as an act of God and nature. The nature, which is this planet we are is null and void. The bible calls it emptiness, until God placed it into motion and placed objects and people in it. Editing is the process where God changed the storybook so to speak. We must believe that everything in the world has purpose and an end’s meaning. Going back to film, producers place everything accordingly for the most realistic experience for the audience. The scenes are shot carefully, as the editing of the scenes are edited wisely. The consistency of the film as a whole is made up of many sequences and shots that desire to be edited together accordingly. Every shade, color, object, and angle of the camera make a big difference in the quality of the film presentation. We must know what to add and what to delete when editing a film. The close-up emphasizes what we as the audience should focus on, otherwise we may not notice it (a small cigarette or a knife in his pocket).

What is a Kino-eye? Are we really who we think we are when viewing a film? We are both objective and subjective viewers of the art called film. The film and its editing masterpiece should be viewed upon as a relative to us. We must relate to it in as many ways as a mother relates to her daughter. But if the film is making an effort to cater to our own tastes and desires (regardless of our age,nationality, gender, or race) we must put a foot forward as well and try to reciprocate with the film’s meaning and message. We must give it a chance and give it our full attention. The Kino eye watches out for every little meaning.

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French Film Theory in the 1920’s

For the readings for February 17th, the authors discussed the concept of visualization and what do we really see or comprehend when we watch films. First of of, Films and TV differ from all other forms of media such as portraits, radio, or music. We have audio and visual senses in film. So the producer of a film doesnt have the easiest job to capture our senses. But what really are our senses? Is it more of a dream like continuation of reality and life perspective as Breton believes. Is it symbolism and messages as Epstein opines? Epstein may believe what we see is brain nerves penetrating from one point in our body to another point. Artoud may not even believe that what we see is truly what we see.

What makes a successful film is something that takes us out of reality. A lot of times our lives may be dull and boring, or simply we may have difficult and hard experiences and we are merely looking for an escape. The Cinema with friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon may relieve that. When my friend and I are sitting watching a movie, how are we being captured? The fact that we (our minds) are entering the story world makes a somewhat successful movie. Epstein opines that the film is merely just a bunch of images together. The images make a communication between myself and the film story. I get tapped into the film world because I desire to. I communicate with the different symbolism differently than my neighbor. I may look at something red in the film as romantic or sexual and my friend may view it as blood or danger. Each one of us may adapt differently into the story world. So how is that proper communication? As a child, we have come across the game titled “broken telephone”. The film communication is somewhat like that. I communicate differently with the symbolism in my own ways. It may not be right or wrong, but i become a slave to my senses and my imagination.

One particular part of the reading that annoyed me somewhat was Magnification by Jean Epstein. For some reason, the concept of close-ups in films found her dislikes. We lose comprehension of the object or scene as a whole when we see a little part of something. We may not know what that small part of the screen even is which alters our perception and freedom of choice to know the beauty of the object as a whole. For instance showing a close up of a baby in a carriage or a woman breast feeding her child, we only see that small little sphere of reality. Germain Dulac wants the entire scene to be in our sphere of reality, not that small microcosm. Another concluding issue, though not raised by the authors, but my own opinion, is the sense of closeups in pornographic or love scenes. Media knows the dominant male viewers are only interested in focusing on the physical body of the female so the closeups with be emphasized to cater to their wishes. The type of bed sheets, the man’s body, or the color of the carpet doesnt matter in a scene such as that. Only the female body parts- unfortunately or fortunately= depending how you want to communicate with the film.

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