COMPARING OLD AND NEW: 14 DIFFERENCES continued

In my last post (August) I discussed seven differences between the current and the new course. Here are some thoughts about another seven differences  1. Fewer final pieces in the exhibition Page 55 of the new guide says Formal requirements of the task—SL   SL students submit 4–7 artworks. Formal requirements of the task—HL HL students submit 8–11 artworks. What does this mean? Well, in some ways the numbers reflect the weighting. The exhibition accounts for 40% of the whole rather than 60% in ...

An exercise using The three point lighting system

The three point lighting system was/is the standard approach to lighting in Hollywood films (dominated by the needs for consistent lighting of Stars, the main attraction for Hollywood films - see Richard Dyer Stars). While fairly proscriptive the  system a good framework to begin thinking about lighting. It also permits a broad range of effects merely by the use of different coloured gels in different sources, and setting different strengths for each lighting source.  It can lead to interesting discussions of ...

Evolution of the American Gangster Movie – Part one

The 'Godfather' movies are a significant step in the evolution of the American gangster film, in that many of the repertoires of elements conform to the classic conventions but present them in interesting and innovative ways. As films they  (well at least GF 1 &2) stand above the genre, and seemed to revivify it and set an new agenda for all gangster films to follow that is at least until Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas of 1990. Unlike their antecedents from the 1930's the ...

An interesting topic for discussion or research

Recently my group have been exploring the relationship between documentary and propaganda films. One of our key points of reference has been Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the will 1934. And our discussions has raised the problematic of the amorality of formalism as a means for constructing or reading movies. It seemed to me that the main evidence against formalism is the distortion of apparent narrative economy and elegance by racist and morally bankrupt ideological perspectives. The films which spring most readily to ...

Exploring gender representations in the independent study

This post is an attempt to explain how one can approach the subject of representations in reading movie narratives, and to be taken seriously in the independent study. My primary intention is to offer some weight to those of you who might have students interested in exploring gender representations. Far too many independent study about gender representations confine themselves to the unfairness or narrowness of stereotypes as perceived through plot device. When what they should do is to use the ...

The most eloquent of cuts

By Wednesday, March 19, 2014 , , , , 0

My students were asked to comment on which of the areas of film language they found most attuned to and which they found most difficult to get to grips with, many remarked on how difficult it seems that lighting is to read, others editing.. The truth is that even your teachers will also have difficulty with some texts. Textual analysis requires closely focused attention, and one has to be in the right frame of mind to do it. While it is difficult to ...

A first exercise towards the independent study

As we all know, the independent study for IB film is a monstrously complex beast of a summative assessment task. For those of you who have read some of my earlier posts, in particular my reviews of the 2013 examiners' report, the section devoted to the independent study made very strong recommendations that IB film teachers try to scaffold the learning of their students so that they don't have to tackle understanding the ins and outs of this task while ...

Steven Soderbergh and Geurrilla Film making

Steven Soderbergh is always an interesting commentator on contemporary trends in film making and has been instrumental in the growing legitimacy of digital video  through his early adoption of it and his advocacy of  the development of RED camera system. In his last few films before his self imposed retirement from film making Soderbergh seems to have explored some of the impact of DV for his films. The particular example which brings this to mind is a chase sequence at the ...

The studio system and film texts

By Saturday, January 25, 2014 , , , , 0

In the student blog This month I posted an entry which offers an introduction to the Hollywood studio system through the lens of the star system (most students seem to find this route palatable). I realised in writing this, and the significant degree of editing it required (which still ended up at 1200 words) that this topic is enormous and if taught with passion and organisation can be hugely engaging and relevant for most students. Allowing them to discover classics of ...

Genre evolution/history in the Holywood studio system

Genre offers a enormous range of approaches in critical studies, so much so that once one begins to study this area, one can begin to question whether genre itself is indeed relevant any longer. One thing is clear, audiences believe a films generic location is one of the key determining factors in whether they'll pay the admission price at the cinema or stream the movie to their equipment. Genre as a concept is certainly of historical importance, as film production in ...