Film Analysis: Amélie

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Editing, one of the most essential aspects of filmmaking, is the combination of techniques that combine elements such as visuals, sound and special effects, to create a complete cinematic product. The French film Amélie exhibits a variety of editing techniques that are employed by the filmmakers to convey its story. For the most part, the film’s main storyline uses continuity editing, which is the prevailing method for piecing together shots in modern filmmaking at large. Continuity editing exists for the purpose of creating a logical and smooth flow of shots throughout a film, keeping the plot in line and moving in a particular direction. Continue reading

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Film Analysis: Memento

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The concepts of story and plot may have similar connotations, but when it comes to filmmaking, they are two different elements. In the context of the world created by a given film, the story is all-encompassing – it consists of the explicit events presented, as well as everything that the viewer can infer that is not explicitly shown or told by the narrative. Conversely, the plot of a film is comprised of actions and events that are deliberately chosen by the filmmaker in order to convey messages and manipulate the audience. Christopher Nolan’s 2000 film Memento manipulates the viewer by telling through narration a story which may or not be true, and carefully selecting what it actually shows on screen as part of the plot. Continue reading

Film Analysis: The Fugitive

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In the brilliant 1993 thriller The Fugitive, the filmmakers use a variety of techniques to lead the viewer through the story, from dropping hints with color and lighting that viewers are not necessarily trained to consciously notice while they’re watching, to employing a gripping editing style that effectively supports the cat-and-mouse game that embroils the film’s two main characters. Every movie has content, which is what is seen and heard on screen, and what is referred to as form is the way in which the film’s creators manipulate that content to their own ends and present it to the viewer. The filming and production techniques used by the filmmakers of The Fugitive intelligently support the content of the movie, and raise it to a level that exceeds the expectations of the audience for cinematic fare of its type. Continue reading

Crash: The Dichotomy of a Scene

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Perhaps the most profound irony in life lies in the way people affect each other’s lives, often without even knowing it, all while making it a point to keep those very people at a safe distance. We live behind walls – some self-erected, others put up for us – built from fear of the unknown, unwarranted judgments, and anything that we perceive to be a threat to our safety and happiness. Perfect strangers will sooner cast judgments on one another from afar, based on something as inconsequential as skin color or style of clothing, than they will hold open a door or share a cab ride. We rarely stop to consider the source, be it internal or external, of the wariness we hold for our fellow man. Once in a while, a chain of events will be set in motion that removes the distance we keep, and forces us to connect, for better or worse. The award-winning film Crash, directed beautifully by Paul Haggis, examines the chaotic and revealing intersections of a group of individuals in Los Angeles, most of whom are both victims AND perpetrators of racial prejudice. Continue reading