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Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique

Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"In Closely Watched Films revered Film teacher Marilyn Fabe brings to life on the page the many lessons proffered in her legendary courses at U.C. Berkeley, in which she has taught successive generations of film students the art, and the magic, of film."and#151;Linda Williams, Director of Film Studies, University of California, Berkeley

"I am deeply impressed by this book, and in awe of its scope. It imparts its wisdom about film with such seeming effortlessness, illuminating the ways that films work. Closely Watched Films is very lucidly and smoothly crafted, and Fabe writes with astonishing ease about a group of very complex and heterogeneous films. It is a extremely informed book and an extraordinary achievement."and#151;Madelon Sprengnether, University of Minnesota, author of Crying at the Movies

"Fills a real need, educating the literate moviegoer into an awareness of how film works. Writing in a clear prose that is nevertheless based on a complex awareness of film history, criticism, and technique, Fabe takes us through the diverse film strategies of exemplary classic directors who have significantly shaped the history of film and made it into a potent cultural force. At the same time, she provocatively elaborates the political and aesthetic concerns of a number of contemporary films to indicate the new directions in today's motion pictures."and#151;Claire Kahane, SUNY-Buffalo, author of Passions of the Voice: Hysteria, Narrative, and the Figure of the speaking Woman, 1850-1915

"This text fills a real niche--the scholarship is superior, and Fabe approaches her material in an original and stimulating manner. The writing is fluid and down to earth, yet also addresses relevant issues."and#151;Tim Shively, De Anza College

Review:

"Why exactly was Citizen Kane such a revolutionary film? What are the hallmarks of Italian Neorealism? How do directors sew together a smooth scene from five or six different shots? Fabe answers these questions and more in this primer on the narrative structure of filmmaking, which analyzes 14 benchmark movies from D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to Mike Figgis's Timecode. (Since each film was selected to represent a significant cinematic movement-expressionism, postmodernism, French New Wave, etc.-the book also doubles as a concise history of film's most innovative storytellers.) Fabe teaches film theory at the University of California, Berkeley, and her chapters maintain the conversational feel of lecture notes: each one gives some background on and a plot synopsis of the film discussed then provides a close analysis of a particular sequence. Antonio Ricci's decision to steal in De Sica's The Bicycle Thief, for example, is broken down to show how moral conflict can be encapsulated in a split second. Fabe's analysis proves most engaging when it shows how each cinematic element works to add subtext and depth to story and character. Her explication of Hitchcock's camera work in Notorious, for example, shows how his use of space in a frame could evoke either freedom or claustrophobia. Fabe's book is best suited for the classroom, but even general readers may enjoy her insights, which allow one to read a chapter, pop in the corresponding DVD and experience the satisfaction of knowing how a classic film was put together. 74 b/w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

How do films work? How do they tell a story? How do they move us and make us think? Through detailed examinations of passages from classic films, Marilyn Fabe supplies the analytic tools and background in film history and theory to enable us to see more in every film we watch. Ranging from D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, and ending with an epilogue on digital media, Closely Watched Films focuses on exemplary works of fourteen film directors whose careers together span the history of the narrative film. Lively and down-to-earth, this concise introduction provides a broad, complete, and yet specific picture of visual narrative techniques that will increase readers' excitement about and knowledge of the possibilities of the film medium.

Shot-by-shot analyses of short passages from each film ground theory in concrete examples. Fabe includes original and well-informed discussions of Soviet montage, realism and expressionism in film form, classical and modern sound theory, the classic Hollywood film, Italian neorealism, the French New Wave, auteur theory, modernism and postmodernism in film, political cinema, feminist film theory and practice, and narrative experiments in new digital media. Encompassing the earliest silent films as well as those that exploit the most recent technological innovations, this book gives us the particulars of how filmand#151;arguably the most influential of contemporary forms of representationand#151;constitutes our pleasure, influences our thoughts, and informs our daily reality.

About the Author

Marilyn Fabe is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Beginnings of Film Narrative: D.W. Griffithand#8217;s The Birth of a Nation

2. The Art of Montage: Sergei Eisensteinand#8217;s The Battleship Potemkin

3. Expressionism and Realism in Film Form: F.W. Murnauand#8217;s The Last Laugh and Charles Chaplinand#8217;s The Adventurer

4. The Conversion to Sound and the Classical Hollywood Film: Howard Hawksand#8217;s His Girl Friday

5. Expressive Realism: Orson Wellesand#8217;s Citizen Kane

6. Italian Neorealism: Vittorio De Sicaand#8217;s The Bicycle Thief

7. Auteur Theory and the French New Wave: Franand#231;ois Truffautand#8217;s The 400 Blows

8. Hollywood Auteur: Alfred Hitchcockand#8217;s Notorious

9. The European Art Film: Federico Felliniand#8217;s 8 1/2

10. Film and Postmodernism: Woody Allenand#8217;s Annie Hall

11. Political Cinema: Spike Leeand#8217;s Do the Right Thing

12. Feminism and Film Form: Patricia Rozemaand#8217;s Iand#8217;ve Heard the Mermaids Singing

13. Epilogue: Digital Video and New Forms of Narrative in Mike Figgisand#8217;s Timecode

Notes

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520238916
Publisher:
University of California Press
Location:
Berkeley
Author:
Fabe, Marilyn
Subject:
Motion pictures
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
Film - General
Subject:
Film and Television-History and Criticism
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
3144
Publication Date:
20040831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
74 b/w photographs
Pages:
297
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.75 in 17 oz

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Criticism and Theory
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Film History and Theory
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » General
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment

Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique
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Product details 297 pages University of California Press - English 9780520238916 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Why exactly was Citizen Kane such a revolutionary film? What are the hallmarks of Italian Neorealism? How do directors sew together a smooth scene from five or six different shots? Fabe answers these questions and more in this primer on the narrative structure of filmmaking, which analyzes 14 benchmark movies from D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to Mike Figgis's Timecode. (Since each film was selected to represent a significant cinematic movement-expressionism, postmodernism, French New Wave, etc.-the book also doubles as a concise history of film's most innovative storytellers.) Fabe teaches film theory at the University of California, Berkeley, and her chapters maintain the conversational feel of lecture notes: each one gives some background on and a plot synopsis of the film discussed then provides a close analysis of a particular sequence. Antonio Ricci's decision to steal in De Sica's The Bicycle Thief, for example, is broken down to show how moral conflict can be encapsulated in a split second. Fabe's analysis proves most engaging when it shows how each cinematic element works to add subtext and depth to story and character. Her explication of Hitchcock's camera work in Notorious, for example, shows how his use of space in a frame could evoke either freedom or claustrophobia. Fabe's book is best suited for the classroom, but even general readers may enjoy her insights, which allow one to read a chapter, pop in the corresponding DVD and experience the satisfaction of knowing how a classic film was put together. 74 b/w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
How do films work? How do they tell a story? How do they move us and make us think? Through detailed examinations of passages from classic films, Marilyn Fabe supplies the analytic tools and background in film history and theory to enable us to see more in every film we watch. Ranging from D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, and ending with an epilogue on digital media, Closely Watched Films focuses on exemplary works of fourteen film directors whose careers together span the history of the narrative film. Lively and down-to-earth, this concise introduction provides a broad, complete, and yet specific picture of visual narrative techniques that will increase readers' excitement about and knowledge of the possibilities of the film medium.

Shot-by-shot analyses of short passages from each film ground theory in concrete examples. Fabe includes original and well-informed discussions of Soviet montage, realism and expressionism in film form, classical and modern sound theory, the classic Hollywood film, Italian neorealism, the French New Wave, auteur theory, modernism and postmodernism in film, political cinema, feminist film theory and practice, and narrative experiments in new digital media. Encompassing the earliest silent films as well as those that exploit the most recent technological innovations, this book gives us the particulars of how filmand#151;arguably the most influential of contemporary forms of representationand#151;constitutes our pleasure, influences our thoughts, and informs our daily reality.

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