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formalism approach to studying film
Formalism depicts scenes in a way that a person can not see with the eye in real life. Thomson Jones describes formalist film as an appreciation of aesthetic objects and one that needs structural analysis. ( Log Out /  4. pub. Most directors who are great stylists are formalists to some degree. Structuralism and formalism are two literary theories or literary criticisms that focus on the structure of a particular text. Formalism emphases aesthetics and style over reality. Film titles should always Formalist film theory is an approach to film theory that is focused on the formal, or technical, elements of a film: i.e., the lighting, scoring, sound and set design, use of color, shot composition, and editing. Formalists disagreed about what specific elements make a literary work "good" or "bad"; but generally, Formalism maintains that a literary work contains certain intrinsic features, and the theory "...defined and addressed the specifically literary qualities in the text" (Richter 699). Current essay provides a comparative analysis of formalist and realist film theories, based on theoretical approaches, innovations, critical findings and film-making practice of such renowned representatives of both currents of the film theory as Eisenstein, Arnheim and Bazin. Writing about edition or use of color in a film. For this reason it is the preferred approach for propaganda. Their approach to film emphasizes their ability to create story and emotion through manipulation. Finally, we apply what we know about the film, its effects, and its greatness, to determine how the film fits into our, the audience’s, world. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. The ideological approach to film, practiced by such notable film figures as Russian director and theorist Sergei Eisenstein as well as British film theorist and feminist Laura Mulvey, also analyzes film through psychoanalysis of the viewer, but with different motives and intents than that of the formalist approach. Today, it is a major approach in film studies In the field of literary criticism, a formalist approach is one that studies a text as a text and nothing more. Formalist film theory is an approach to film theory that is focused on the formal, or technical, elements of a film: i.e., the lighting, scoring, sound and set design, use of color, shot composition, and editing. However, I find this to be a much more intense and specific approach to film study. Avant garde films are an example of extreme formalism. Formalist film makers shape and mold the images we see on the screen the way a sculptor shapes and molds clay. A good moment to analyze comes in the scene when the initial protagonist, Marion Crane, is pulled over by the police officer. Psycho. It is the study of a text without taking into account any outside influence. Formalism is a school of literary criticism and literary theory having mainly to do with structural purposes of a particular text. (Photos sourced from google) Formalist film first came about in the 1920s, this is when formalist filmmakers were trying to legitimate themselves as artists. Using Wood’s approach, and analyzing the details of the film, we see two separate stories, focused around Marion during Act one, and Norman in Act two. I believe the Formalist Approach to be the more effective method of studying film because it is important to consider the moment or scene of a film not just in relation to the outside world, but within the context of the film in which it resides. April 1, 2018. Realism as expression of mythic, not the scientific. In monographs about world filmmakers, aesthetic or formalist film theory is the most represented in the English language. The formalist theory is one that is very often used as a topic of study. Film. NEO-REALISM: Andre Bazin. Which of the following best applies to the Formalism approach to studying film The chief focus could be on patterns such as narrative openings and closings, the significant repetition and variation of camera techniques, or the relation of shots and sequences to each other. BASIC THEORY The Formalist Theory. (“Psycho” 157). Film analysis is the process in which film is analyzed in terms of semiotics, narrative structure, cultural context, and mise-en-scene, among other approaches. (“Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” 175). The formalist theory is one that is very often used as a topic of study. In a time of revolution a new form of literary theory also emerged. Formalism and Film A Look Behind Formalism What is Film Formalism? “Psycho”, Hitchcock’s Films Revisited, F&F, 1989. It is the study of a text without taking into account any outside influence. But I agree that it has a very specific function and audience. What more appropriate approach could there be than to use ourselves and our experiences with film as the driving forces behind analysis? I believe this is why so many people hold the cinema in such high regard, retaining strong opinions. Sometimes finding this answer proves most tricky, as not every film is great. Through analysis of these characters and their personalities/actions, we can conclude that Psycho, in its simplest form, is a classic story of the duality between good and evil. Neo and Russian formalists believed the work of art as a set of devices, they then use these devices to craft a film. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, Screen 16.3, 1975. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out /  ( Log Out /  Common formalist approaches include analysis of style and narrative, as well as literary and artistic criticism. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. In Wood’s simply titled article, “Psycho”, he states: Hence the insistence on eyes, into which the camera, our own eyes, makes us look, to see the dark places of the human soul beyond. In studying both formalist and ideological approaches, I believe Wood’s formalist approach serves film analysis best to fully appreciate cinema as a whole. What are Some Shortcomings of This Theory? In the beginning Russian formalist were trying to convert their theories from literary art to film. Perkins article and detailed scene analysis from film Formalism, also called Russian Formalism, Russian Russky Formalism, innovative 20th-century Russian school of literary criticism. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Most directors who are great stylists are formalists to some degree. Formalism, in other words, allows us to explain how writers achieve certain effects. To further demonstrate my argument that Robin Wood’s formalist approach to film analysis is the most viable of the previously discussed approaches, I will apply his methodology to the classic 1960 thriller, Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho). Elements like color, shapes, textures, and line are emphasized, while the context of the work is de-emphasized, and made a secondary characteristic—at times taken completely out of consequence. In breaking down specific moments in Psycho, we can understand Hitchcock’s motives by analyzing their effects on the spectator. ( Log Out /  Throughout the movie, color is used to add depth and help establish the mood in the scene. The formalistic approach directs that art be analyzed by reviewing form and style. Perkins, the British film critic, professor, and notable formalist film theorist picks apart films by looking at how the shot fits into a sequence, sequence into film, and film into cinema as a whole. Dir. 1969. Formalist films will focus more on ideas, conveying emotions and feelings as well as having more fantastical stories. Both stories have internal battles of good and evil. It is a major theory of film study today. The formalist approach as exercised by Wood helps to decipher these recurring themes, thus maximizing film appreciation. This approach was proposed by Hugo Münsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, and Béla Balázs. parts of a … For this reason it is the preferred approach for propaganda. In monographs about world filmmakers, aesthetic or formalist film theory is the most represented in the English language. Formalist theory examines issues related to the nature of the film itself and how its aesthetics promote meaning. ( Log Out /  Marion has committed a crime, but is regretful, and plans to return home to apologize for her thievery. The film usually presents extraordinary characters and events. Wood is another British film critic and professor, known for a slightly more spectator based, formalist approach. In fact, he is the only character in the entire film whose eyes we do not see. According to this method, representation is based on formal structure and not content. The distinction between form and content is that content is the works subject matter whereas form is what we use and how we present the subject matter. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Formalism began in Russia during the 20th century by a group of linguists who desired a … Formalist theory examines issues related to the nature of the film itself and how its aesthetics promote meaning. Formalism The subject of films is a matter of dreams for many persons though the attraction has come down after the new medium of video has come in. Change ), Formalist Film Theory and Psycho-Analysis. All we need is the text itself. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. This modern film theory is used to evoke certain emotions… The concept of understanding directors’ decisions as it pertains to the spectator is the foundation for this approach. The Formalist Theory A film theory is a discipline, which encompasses different aspects of cinema in order to explore different concepts regarding this form of expression. When you look into these theories closely, you can start to understand how and why formalist filmmakers crafted their films, and what theories we can take onto our filmmaking. The exposure of the eyes leaves the character vulnerable, open to the viewer’s scrutiny, allowing access to their soul. Structuralism is based on the assumption that every text has a universal, underlying structure. Although I find both Perkins’ and Mulvey’s approaches to film worthwhile and significant, Wood’s method of studying film as it pertains to the spectator appeals to me most, for it focuses on the spectator’s perception. I really like that these filmmakers really focused on the content of their film and analysed the best ways they could present the story and its background. The eyes are a common theme throughout Psycho, highlighted in such scenes as when psycho Norman Bates peeps through a hole in the wall to watch Marion undress, as well as in the conclusion to the famous shower scene in which the camera spirals, zooming out from Marion’s dead eye. What is the significance here? Different Views under Formalism . Examples of how formalism can be used in my future filmmaking could be to; All these devices are used to emphasize what the character is doing, seeing and feeling and not used just for the sake of doing so. The Formalist approach to literature, or Formalism, is a broad branch of literary criticism that seeks to examine a text on its own terms, independent of the text's societal or authorial context. It is true that study at university level normally requires a Deep rather than a Surface approach; you are expected to be analytical, to investigate topics in depth and to develop a critical perspective on them, rather than just writing down everything and trying to reproduce it in essays or exams. Formalism is a very appealing method of literary analysis. Formalism attempts to treat each work as its own distinct piece, free from its environment, era, and even author. Current essay provides a comparative analysis of formalist and realist film theories, based on theoretical approaches, innovations, critical findings and film-making practice of such renowned representatives of both currents of the film theory as Eisenstein, Arnheim and Bazin. To get into the concept of formalist film theory, one has to talk about the film in terms of the formal or technical elements within the film. The movement may have been short lived from the 1910’s […] Formalist film first came about in the 1920s, this is when formalist filmmakers were trying to legitimate themselves as artists. What is the ideology/ideological approach to studying film? It began in two groups: OPOYAZ , an acronym for Russian words meaning Society for the Study of Poetic Language, founded in 1916 at St. Petersburg (later Leningrad) and led by Viktor Shklovsky ; and the Moscow Linguistic Circle , founded in 1915. I personally believe the viewer determines the true value of the film, and this area of focus results in a greater gratification in recognizing what makes film great. For example, formalists are aware that mise-en-scene, sound, camera, framing, editing and optical effects can be used to create a great work of art. What are Some Values of this Theory? Perkins’ approach works best as a secondary stage in film analysis, to be preceded by Wood’s description driven approach. Perkins’ scrutiny of shot, scene, film, and cinema is an effective formula for determining what cinema can be. We later find out, when his mother’s identity is revealed, that he too has been fighting an internal battle of a more psychotic sort, between himself and his “mother”. New York: De Capo Press., 1993. It would certainly be impractical in many situations… but I enjoy it anyway! I find this to be too broad, generalizing films into politically and societally driven machines. This process can be applied to every film, thus furthering the field of film study. Formalism explores ideas, e.g., political, religious, and philosophical ideas. Yet, for some it is still the medium to dream in. On the whole, the formalist approach to film study rests on the subjective viewer’s response to film, which I believe is the heart of the cinematic experience. In the beginning Russian formalist were trying to convert their theories from literary art to film. This modern film theory is used to evoke certain emotions or mental states with the help of technical cinematic facets such as lighting, scoring, sound and set design. Is based on the first day of class for HUM1900 Introduction to film emphasizes their ability to create and... Writers achieve certain effects than to use ourselves and our experiences with film as film by. Approaches to film religious, and cinema is an effective formula for what! Their approach to film of good and evil include analysis of the vulnerable. 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