THE BICYCLE THIEVES
For the movie, The Bicycle Thieves, I chose the scene where the men are cycling on the street, towards the city, along the river and roads, and then the father says goodbye to his son. The first blatant thing to notice in the film is that it is in black and white, which reflects a mood of ‘’a long time ago’’, and genuine, as times were simpler and less sugarcoated. There is a case of tracking in this specific scene, when the cyclists are cycling on, the camera turns and pretty much follows the people around the area that they are cycling, sometimes filming from the front, and sometimes from behind. You can tell it is a case of tracking as the movement of the camera goes in many directions and is used to follow the movement of figures and retain their proportions and positions within the frame. The second term I noticed was the extreme long shot, because as the cyclists approach the bus stop, the camera films from in front of the actors, including them and the background up until their destination. Capturing the scene as a while, and establishing not only the location, but what the actors are doing as well, we can tell that an extreme long shot was used. A case of medium shot was also noticed, as the little boy spoke to his father, the camera cut of his bottom half, and focused on mainly his top half, caring more about revealing the boys expression then the background behind him. The way to find a medium shot is by seeing if the shot contains a figure from the waist upward, obviously focusing on the actor, and usually used for dialogue. This type of shot, in this particular case, shows the importance of what the character is saying, and shows that the main attention or focus point of the moment should be the actors dialogue.
Good work. You have started using the terminology of film.
In the film, Casablanca, I chose the scene in which the men are singing in the pub type place, as it was, in my opinion, one of the most powerful scenes in the film. At the very beginning of this scene, there was a deep focus shot, in which the man stands at the top of the stairs and looks at the people singing, chatting and laughing, which makes it possible for us to see not only his back occupying half of the screen, but the background and atmosphere around him. There were two close-ups, involving the same character, both times were when the girl was looking around her, and when the man caught her eye, in which the camera would focus on her shoulders upwards and not show very much background, in the intent of capturing the emotion of her expression. There was a lot of zooming in this scene, as the camera would skip around from character to character, situation to situation, always zooming in and out to show both activity and expression. That factor strongly contributed to the powerfulness of the scene, as well as the obvious fact that it is in black and white which makes it seem more genuine and intense.
Good start. In the future, descriptions of scenes may also include information about how many actors are present, what they are doing, how what they are doing adds to the film, how the scene is lit, and more detail about what the director wants the audience to feel.
Descriptions can include specific information about how one shot cuts with the next. Always we should be concerned with how the scene we chose is a reflection of the entire movie.
Thanks for your contribution.
Gabriel R. Araújo
26 July 2012
The Godfather: Bonasera’s Scene Analysis
The film I watched was The Godfather, by Francis Ford Coppola. The Godfather basically tells the story of a mafia family, the Corleone family, so it belongs to the gangster genre. It was made in 1972, during the transitional period (1960-1979). The scene I chose to write about is the first of the movie, when Bonasera goes to Don Vito Corleone for help. In this scene, I found several terms defined on the Spark Charts Film Studies list.
First, I noticed the different shot types in this scene. There were long shots, which showed the entire body of the figures and the background; medium shots, filming from the waist up; close-ups, which showed only the face of the figure, with little background; and over-the-shoulder shots, which showed one figure talking to another which has his back turned to the camera. The medium and over-the-shoulder shots were used to show Bonasera and Don Vito Corleone’s dialogue, as both types of shots are typical for that. There was a close-up in Don Corleone’s face when he starts to talk, which was used to emphasize what he was saying; there was barely any background, which makes us pay attention only to him. The long shot was used to show the background, the other people who were in the room, who were Tom Hagen and Sonny Corleone. Probably, the intention of the director was to show the reactions of these characters who were listening to the conversation; they were listening with attention.
The only type of camera lenses used was normal lens. The angle was always eye level, which is a neutral angle. In the beginning of the scene, when Bonasera is talking, there is a zoom out of his face, until the camera changes to an over-the-shoulder shot, with Don Vito Corleone’s back to the camera.
In this scene, there is lighting intensity, or hard lighting on the actors. The lights come from the top, mainly in the beginning of the scene when Bonasera is talking and is the only one in the scene, with a dark background and this hard lighting above his head, really creating a “halo” effect. The lights in the scene, again, mainly when Bonasera is talking, are low-key lighting schemes, creating a chiaroscuro effect (strong contrast between light and dark).
The director also arranged the actors in a way which expresses their social relationships and amount of power. Don Vito Corleone is sitting on his chair in the middle of the room, which shows he has more power, while the others (Tom Hagen and Sonny) are at the corners or at the side of the room, which might also seem they are insignificant. This is called blocking and framing also, since the most important part of the scene is at the center (Don Vito’s dialogue with Bonasera). This also shows their relationship: Sonny and Tom Hagen respect Don Vito.
In terms of sound, the scene doesn’t have much to talk about. There isnt any music in it. The actors’ voices and other sounds are synchronized with the images.
Finally, the scene didn’t show much about editing. There are few things, such as the fade in at the beginning of that can be noticed in editing. There aren’t any perceptible editings, like flashbacks or flashforwards, the only editing that was done must have been cuts and other editings which we can’t see in the movie.
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