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Columbia University Press
Film Studies: An Introduction

Film Studies: An Introduction

by Ed Sikov
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Ed Sikov builds a step-by-step curriculum for the appreciation of all types of narrative cinema, detailing the essential elements of film form and systematically training the spectator to be an active reader and critic. Sikov primes the eye and mind in the special techniques of film analysis. His description of mise-en-scene helps readers grasp the significance of montage, which in turn reveals the importance of a director's use of camera movement. He treats a number of fundamental factors in filmmaking, including editing, composition, lighting, the use of color and sound, and narrative. Film Studies works with any screening list and can be used within courses on film history, film theory, or popular culture. Straightforward explanations of core critical concepts, practical advice, and suggested assignments on particular technical, visual, and aesthetic aspects further anchor the reader's understanding of the formal language and anatomy of film.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231142939
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2009
Series: Film and Culture Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 100,776
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ed Sikov has taught at Haverford College, Colorado College, and Columbia University. He is the author of seven books, including On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder, Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis, Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers, and Laughing Hysterically: American Screen Comedy of the 1950s. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Preface: What This Book Is—and What It's Not
Introduction: Representation and Reality
1. Mise-en-Scene: Within the Image
What Is Mise-en-Scene?
The Shot
Subject-Camera Distance—Why It Matters
Camera Angle
Space and Time on Film
Study Guide: Analyzing the Shot by Writing about the Image
2. Mise-en-Scene: Camera Movement
Mobile Framing
Types of Camera Movement
Editing within the Shot
Space and Movement
Study Guide: Analyzing Camera Movement
3. Mise-en-Scene: Cinematography
Motion Picture Photography
Aspect Ratio: From 1:33 to Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: Form and Meaning
Three-Point Lighting
Film Stocks: Super 8 to 70mm to Video
Black, White, Gray, and Color
A Word or Two about Lenses
Study Guide: Analyzing Cinematography
4. Editing: From Shot to Shot
The Kuleshov Experiment
Continuity Editing
The 180-Degree System
Shot/Reverse-Shot Pattern
Study Guide: Analyzing Shot-to-Shot Editing
5. Sound
A Very Short History of Film Sound
Recording, Rerecording, Editing, and Mixing
Analytical Categories of Film Sound
Sound and Space
Study Guide: Hearing Sound, Analyzing Sound
6. Narrative: From Scene to Scene
Narrative Structure
Story and Plot
Scenes and Sequences
Transitions from Scene to Scene
Character, Desire, and Conflict
Analyzing Conflict
Study Guide: Analyzing Scene-to-Scene Editing
7. From Screenplay to Film
Deeper into Narrative Structure
Screenwriting: The Three Act Structure
Segmentation: Form
Segmentation: Meaning by A Segmentation of Inside Man
Study Guide: Story Analysis and Segmentation
8. Filmmakers
Film—a Director's Art?
The Auteur Theory
The Producer's Role
Study Guide: The Problem of Attribution
9. Performance
Performance as an Element of Mise-en-Scene
Acting Styles
Stars and Character Actors
Type and Stereotype
Women as Types
Acting in—and on—Film
Publicity: Extra-Filmic Meaning
Study Guide: Analyzing Acting
10. Genre
What Is a Genre?
Conventions, Repetitions, and Variations
A Brief Taxonomy of Two Film Genres—the Western and the Horror Film
Genre: The Semantic/Syntactic Approach
Film Noir: A Case Study
Film Noir: A Brief History
Study Guide: Genre Analysis for the Introductory Student
11. Special Effects
Beyond the Ordinary
Optical and Mechanical Special Effects
Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI)
Study Guide: Effects and Meaning
12. Putting It Together: A Model 8- to 10-Page Paper
How This Chapter Works
"Introducing Tyler," by Robert Paulson

What People are Saying About This

John Simons

Ed Sikov has written a film book that is both user friendly and genuinely helpful to anyone who is starting out in learning how to 'read' films. He explains in good, clear, and often witty language the basics of film analysis. His book bristles with helpful information and prose that allows information to be ingested painlessly—in fact pleasurably—by the student.

John Simons, Colorado College

Robert Lang

Ed Sikov is undeniably brilliant at explaining things—his style is unusually lucid.

Robert Lang, University of Hartford

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