Monday, 14 February 2011

Notes from Films to work out which one to analyse in essay

Tracey advised me to look at few films and draw as much notes of the structure and technique used to work out which one would be the strongest for my essay. I picked three different genres - 1940s, 1980s and 2010/ present to look at how these techniques developed and evolved in the film industry.

Citizen Kane - Orson Welles 1940

- Begins with documentary on Charles Kane point of view perspective through eyes of the audience watching it in the film, this section is narrated with little dialogue.
- Kane only loves himself and none to give - character a bit of a loof.
- Journalist tries to discover who Kane and Rosebud were (dying words shape story).
- Account of people - cross dissolve and fade into past of what happened.
- Camera perspectives of thirds and close up for dialogue shots, also looking up and bird's eye for environment and zoom into areas of importance.
- Lieland's account of first wife start as loving but ends up with both character's sitting opposite and not talking.
- Goes into politics wants more love from voters
- Susan second wife/ lover makes him become tangled in scandle that could ruin his reputation
- Childhood flashback - examples of time passing e.g snow covering sled.
- Kane talks about people as if he owns them and forgets his policy of giving rights to the working man
- Kane eventually marries Susan and leaves politics quoting "I'm through with politics more like visa versa".
- Lieland writes notice that Susan's performance has reached new low, Kane takes and finishes it as it started to teach him a lesson.
- kane fires Lieland from paper after finishing review to prove to himself that he was honest man.
- 2nd wife doesn't talk to him on first visit but journalist returns and she tells him that Kane brought her an opera house because 'he was interested in her voice'.
- argument between kane and Susan that she is always panned in newspaper and that Jed Lieland was not a proper friend - ends with him standing over her casting a shadow to show authority.
- After argument she continues singing - flash of different scenes and then light fades - metaphorical for illness and couldn't go through with it all again.
- Example of time passing Susan slowly completing the jigsaw puzzle in the castle.
- Her walkingout towards end symbolises her idependence.
- Rosebud, audience learns it was his child hood sled as it burns in fire. Camera tracking trail of smoke as it travels up chimney.

The Terminator - James Cameron 1984

- Establishing shot - future scene - imaginery world of war man vs machine
- shot of teleport scenes - pan into spot where electric sparks appear
- Beginning two sets of people appear from future, two different set of goals connected round one person.
- chase scene with cops and Reece shots of medium and close up - showing intensity and paranoid
- Terminator hot of feet and dramatic music, then full body shot - movement machine - like not human.
- point of view for guns and reacting with something within world e.g car wires to jump start or arming and aiming gun.
- Arnie's character is aggresive, no sign of emotion to immediately to tell audience he is a villian and completely different to Reece even their stories run parrallel.
- Flashbacks but in viewer's case fowards to see future scene looking at Reece and resistance's war against machines - fictional world depicting choas.
- Music fast - impact - for fast scenes of action
- Flashes back to present with Reece as if character was waking from a nightmare.
- cutting back and forth with scene of Sarah Connor hearing two victims with same name as her to show her reaction.
- Scene in flat showing Terminator fighting man and cut to see woman in kitchen listening to music oblivious but connected to set with the two separate rooms.
- Shot in club multiple reactions - terminator walking towards her, Sarah slowly looking up and Reece at bar noticing what is about to happen.
- Distinction between Reece and Terminator, 1 shows emotion and humanity of hope and desperation, other slowly loses disguise to become more obvious he is a villian cyborg.
- More POV when terminator cuts his arm and see machine insides, audience doesn't see all visuals but hear sounds and see pov of blood dripping.
- After shows automated dummy to show audience that character is not a real person and the result is too fake today so made decision of the dark shaded glasses to disguise the cyborg eye and to bring human actor back.
- "I'll be back" iconic scene of dialogue
- Police Station - Sarah turns from hiding position to see shadow
- Fade out and in after police station scene when they drive off and see terminator stare off in distance.
- Cross dissolve as Reece talks of where he is from, see Sarah closes her eyes - effect she is imagining what it might be like in his world.
- dogs detected terminator's presence, as way for audience to know which character is actually posing as a cyborg - hint.
- See through terminator's radar scan e.g hotel scene - showing viewer what it would be like in his perspective.
- Voice mimick on telephone - at first seems believable but cuts and pans across and tilts to eventually showing Terminator.
- Track cam used for car chase sequence to see one following the other and long shot to show other end of tunnel.
- Different angles of truck exploding then cut to cut edit between close up of Sarah watching human of robot burning away.
- Dramtic music starts again to see full shot then close up of robot form to see glowing red eyes.
- Shock scene top half of cyborg becomes operational and Sarah's leg injured so side shot of both characters crawling (awkard movement for a chase but shows viewer the strain of one trying to catch up nd the other trying to get away.
- End scene shot of Sarah driving and narrating until we see her talking in recorder and final establishing shot with build up of theme music.

Inception - Christian Nolan 2010

- Opens with beach and Cobb (Leonardo DeCaprio's character) washed up on shore, audience has no clue of what happened before.
- dream state idea of person vulnerable
- Events at beginning seem confusing characters appear as opperatives decieving their clients to find a secret document.
- In dream, moving round as if in real world.
- What happens in real world immitates in dream e.g when Cobb is pushed into the bath, the dream creates water coming in from the walls around him.
- dream within a dream goes onto Cobb's dream from cilents.
- Spinning top, scene is point of view, cut to Cobb staring at it then back to close up - spins indicate time passing.
- Scenes flash back to past, showing people who are dead.
- Helicopter first mention of 'inception' hint for machine that can invade people's dreams.
- Idea of when people are asleep - possibilities are endless - can literally create own world.
- Cobb hires architect to create world as a maze system.
- Cafe scene audience thinks this is real at first but then the explosion of random objects explains that this is the world of the dream.
- Long shot of city transforming so that it extends to the side and sky space, Aridane creates a bridge or moves a mirror pannel - signifies that Cobb can't control his dream ut Aridane's imagination can shape the world as an artitect.
- Finding people who can create and share their knowledge to help with mission.
- Dream Factory scene wide angle and quote "the dream has become the reality"
- All to change Fischer's mind stopping him becoming like his father.
- Totem personal item to invidividual - must be kept secret.
- projections - people of character's past, for Cobb his ex wife who died because of his guilt - only way to keep her alive in a limbo state / prison.
- cut between real world and dream to lose distinction of where character is.
- Fischer's subconcious trained to prepare for invasion if other character's die in this state - they go to limo/ no place.
- Dream and real world enterwined as 1 for Cobb and wife thinking death is only way to wake up.
- Eyeline match shows seriousness and emotive concern in dialogue e.g Cobb with Aridane
- Effects of the three level structure in dream act within one another - fast action sequence (fades between).
- During fall of car, dreams feel more accelerated, faster cuts, intense music to identity how time is running out.
- No many hints for where story line is heading to.
- Beach scene from beginning was limbo world Cobb created for himself and wife - discovered as Cobb and Aridane go in search of Fischer.
- Bird's eye of limo shows grand scale - built over time all from memory and past places.
- Shot between snow and limo scene - range of tempo between fast action and slow dramatic speed.
- Cobb plants idea in wife's mind that her world wasn't real and death is her only escape.
- Kick - trigger for characters to escape e.g certain type of music, explosions, etc.
- The quick cuts between each state until chracter's reach 1st layer - sequence of fast events.
- Fischer's father wanted son to be own man 'I am disappointed' referred how Fischer tried to be like his father.
- Cobb finally gets home to his family, final scene pans to spinning top and then close up shows it keep revolving, audience doesn't see it stop meaning don't know if it finished in real world or dream.


  1. I rewatched Citizen Kane recently. Hard to sinc love because off its reputation as being 'the greatest film ever' but for all the hype it really is the only truly revolutionary film in 70 years if you ask me.

  2. 'Sincerely' that was supposed to be.