Blog #2. Fleshing out film jargon with examples

On Friday (9/13) and Monday (9/16), we are reading excerpts from Bernard Dick’s classic textbook The Anatomy of Film. Many of Dick’s examples reference movies that are unfamiliar to contemporary audiences. Your next blog assignment asks you to track down YouTube clips that illustrate some of the most important concepts. This blog posting is due no later than 6:00 am on the morning of Wednesday (9/18). More details are appended below.

First, pick one concept from each of the three sections listed below, for a total of three concepts.


Once you have identified the three concepts you will work with, read up on each term. After reviewing Dick’s explanation of the terms, skim Google for other definitions. Take notes as you go. Last, but not least, locate movie and TV clips on YouTube that illustrate these  concepts. These should be new examples and not examples mentioned in the Dick readings. You can always include clips of Dick’s examples to supplement your explanation, but should be sure to fold in new examples as well.

Your blog post will be divided into three sections, with one section for each concept.

  • Explain how Dick defines the concept  and remember to cite the page number in parentheses if it is a direct quote.
  • In the same paragraph, translate the concept into your own words, as if you were explaining it to a friend who is not enrolled in COMM 2302.
  • Introduce the clip that illustrates that concept, and insert it into your blog post.
  • In the last few sentences of this section, explain how the technique seems to connect to themes in the movie. In more general terms, why would filmmakers choose to use this technique? What message or mood might it convey?

Be sure to add tags to your message, both for the terms you used and for the movies that you used as examples. If someone has already illustrated the concept with a certain film clip, you should find a different clip to flesh out your explanation. (Note: Tags are slightly different than categories. If you have any questions about this, please ask during lecture or via the mailing list.)

An example is appended below.



In the text, Bernard Dick describes mise-en-scène as “the staging of a movie, using the same attention to detail that is lavished on a theatrical production” (p. 86). If I were describing this concept to a friend, I would explain that mise-en-scène suggests a fanatical attention to all of the minor details in ways that frame the shot.  At times, these details can be arranged in ways that provide weight or balance to one side of the frame.  A classic example can be found in almost any movie directed by Wes Anderson. For example, consider this trailer for  Moonrise Kingdom:

Anderson’s mise-en-scène is notable for the extreme symmetry. Almost every single shot is perfectly symmetrical, with crucial subjects located in the center of the frame. For example, you can see what Anderson does with his main characters from 0:47 to 0:55. He might be doing this in order to accomplish X. It’s also possible that filmmakers pay attention to mise-en-scène because they want to Y.

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