This is the online blog forum for our fall 2013 undergraduate course “ENG 2300: Film Analysis” at the University of Florida. Film Analysis begins by perceiving films as formal, cultural, and aesthetic constructs, and this blog invites students to examine the structural and stylistic elements of films. The primary goal of this enterprise is to understand how films register and convey complex and often contradictory meanings for past and contemporary audiences.
First and foremost I encourage you to analyze films through formal considerations (narrative, mise-en-scene, genre, cinematography, editing, and sound). However, you might also want to take into account the technological, historical, cultural, social, economic, or political contexts in which the films were produced or exhibited for audiences. Take this opportunity to hone your working knowledge of film vocabulary and develop analytic tools for evaluating and “reading” films in relation to film history and film theory.
As scholars Richard Basam and Dave Monahan contend in Looking at Movies (2010), films embody complex forms of artistic representation and communicate to us in many ways. Thus, detailed, precise, and inspired film analysis has the potential to enlighten and enrich our understanding about “the artist, society, or industry that created it” (2). The task, then, is “to recognize cinematic tools and principles employed by films to tell stories, convey information and meaning, and influence our emotions and ideas” (2).
Barsam, Richard M., and Dave Monahan. Looking at Movies: an Introduction to Film. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2010. Print.