Film Poster Animation

FIL2400 - History of the American Cinema line

Week 1 - The Language of Film/
Thinking About Film


What is a tracking shot? How are shots edited together? What is a zoom? Other than "I like it" or "I don't like it," what is there to say about movies?

Class Meeting
Saturday, August 29
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Room Hendry Hall 143

Reading Assignments
Study Guide - Supplementary Unit 1: Film Language
Supplementary Unit 2: Thinking and Writing About film
American Cinema - Chapter 1: The Emergence of the Cinema as an Institution

Supplemental Books
If you are serious about film study, the best book on Film Appreciation and Analysis is Understanding Movies by Louis Giannetti.
An excellent book on the psychological and emotional impact of film technique is Sight, Sound, Motion by Herbert Zettl

Television Assignment
Sunday Night/Monday morning - September 7
Midnight - 1:00 AM
Program 11 - Film Language
Program 12 - Thinking and Writing About Film

Additional Screenings
*Scarlet Street
D.W. Griffith - Edison Library PN 1998 .A3 G735x

In Class Discussion

I. The Film Experience
Movies start with some aspect of society we are familiar with, the film's "convention." But the creators add plot twists, characters we identify with, and other narrative devices to give the story a new flavor to attract audiences. This is "artistic invention."

No familiar aspect of society = boring movie.

II. "Going to the Movies"
1. Different content or scope
We go to films to see what we can't see in real life, or at home.
2. A social activity. The film is a "social integrator."
We "go to" a movie, we "watch" TV. Films are always funnier, sadder, scarier in a crowd.
3. Strong cultural force
An entire generation learned how to look, act, and talk from the movies.
4. Relief

III. The Psychology of Movie Viewing
1. Movies present a vivid, visual presentation. The audience is receptive.
2. The special characteristics of movie viewing - the dark, social isolation, big sound, big screen, forces the viewer into deeper concentration. This makes the subjects even more receptive.
3. Narrative form involves them with the action and emotionally manipulates them.
These movies have a beginning - middle - end.
4. Audience identifies with stars, characters, story lines, and situations.

IV. Become Part of the Movie
"It's Only A Movie."
But film making techniques psychologically transport you into the world of the film

V. Pictorial Composition: Tweaking the Lizard Brain
A PowerPoint presentation. Note: Includes LARGE graphics, if you don't have a fast Internet connection, be patient.

Supplemental Web Sites
There are thousands of excellent websites. Over the course of the semester, we'll tell you of some specific ones to visit. But for now, here's a "little" list of quality film sites:

24fps - Projections on Film

99 Lives: The Video Magazine

AFI's 100 YEARS...100 MOVIES

American Film Institute

American Society of Cinematographers

"Animation Journal" Home Page

Black Film Center/Archive Home Page

Box Office Guru

Cinema History: Films from the Silent Era


Classic Films

Cyber Film School

Doug Stickney's Silver Screen Siren Website

Early Motion Pictures Home Page

Film & History

Film and Television

"Film Comment" magazine

"Film Culture" Magazine

Film Noir Reader

Film Scouts Home

Girls On Film

Hitoshi Doi's anime page

"Images": A Journal of Film and Popular Culture

Los Angeles Times MetaHollywood

Matt's Script Archive

Matinee Today - Film Art - Film Posters


Motion Picture Editors Guild Home Page

MovieLink | 777-FILM Online

Mutoscope & Biograph Co., Inc.

National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, Home Page

Polish Cinema Database


Screen It

The Silent Film Web Group

Silent Movies

"The Astounding B Monster"

The British Film Institute

The Film 100

The Independent Film and Video Makers Internet Resource Guide

The Internet Movie Database

The Motion-Picture Industry: Behind-the-Scenes

The MSTed movie gallery: Jamie's Mystery Science Theater 3000 page

The Silent Film Bookshelf

The Silent Westerns

The Silents Majority

Learning Objectives

A. Understand that film makers manipulate audiences emotionally and psychologically through the use of techniques
1. Understand that films are made up of individual shots
2. Understand that composition, angle, and movement manipulate audiences
3. Define the different types of camera movements
4. Understand the difference between camera movement, subject movement, and optical movement (zooming)
5. Describe the different types of editing
6. Define and describe other types of transitions, including fades, dissolves, and wipes.
B. Understand the elements and goals of film analysis


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Page last updated 8/28/98. © 1995, W. Terry Dugas.