1. Realism and FormalismThis is a featured page

Key Terms and Concepts:

  1. Avant-Garde: It is one of the three types of movies -documentaries, fiction and avant-garde films films -which are terms that are also used as terms of convenience because they often overlap; those especially in the arts who create or apply new or experimental ideas and techniques.
  2. Bird's-eye shot: A shot that is marked with spots resembling bird's eyes; or sometimes a use of a uniform good-looking young women who are used primarily as semi-abstract visual knits, like bits of glass in a shifting kaleidoscope of fornmal patterns such as the choreography of Busby Berkeley.
  3. Classical Cinema: It's a mode that most critics refer to because most fiction films fall somewhere between these two extremes: the realistic cinema toward documentary with the emphasis on the photographing actual events and people; and the formalist cinema that emphasizes technique and expressiveness.
  4. Classical Paradigm: Most fiction films, especially ones produced in America tend to conform the classical paradigm. Classical cinema can be viewed as an intermediate style that avoids the extreme of realism and formalism.
  5. Expressionists: It is the term which formalists are referred to because their self-expression is at least as important as the subject matter itself.
  6. Formalistic: To give a certain form of movies that are stylistically flamboyant. The directors are concerned with expressing their unbashedly subjective experience of reality, not how others might see it.
  7. Realistic: Such films are less obvious because realists try to preserve the illusion that their film world is unmanipulated, an objective mirror of the actual world.

Review Questions:

1) What do realistic films supposed to reproduce?
2) Why are formalist films stylistically flamboyant?
3) Why are formalist directors referred to as expressionists?
4) Why would realists be concerned with more spritual and psycological truths?
5) How come realists would say that their most major concern is content than form or technique?

Reference Films:

Title: Allures
Year of Production (YoP): 1961, directed by Jordan Belson in the USA
Reason: Belson's works are inspired by philosophical concepts mainly from oriental religions. The images he portrays could symbolize a stylized eyeball, seen as Mandala design, and The Tibetan Buddhist symbol of the universe. His patterns expand, congeal, flicker and split into other shapes only to re-create and burst again.

Title: Dames
YoP: 1934, directed by Ray Enright, and choreographed by Busby Berkeley in the USA
Reason: Busby's choreographies are far removed from the real world, as a result, depressed audiences would see it to escape everyday reality. Enright also liberates the camera by using techniques such as soaring overhead, swirling amongst dancers, juxtaposing shots from a variety of vantage points throughout musical numbers.

Title: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
YoP: 1936, directed by Frank Capra in the USA
Reason: Uses classical cinema avoids extremes of realism and formalism. His presentation has a surface plausibility of style, and his pictorial elements are subordinated to the presentation of characters in action. The film is also story oriented.

Title: 7th. Seal
YoP: 1957, Directed by Ingmar Bergman in Sweden
Reason: He uses a high degree of manipulation in narrative materials and visual presentation is stylized. He is concerned with the beauty and power. He excels in dealing with ideas such as- political, religious, philosophical, and often a chosen medium of propagandisttic artists.

Title: Hearts and Minds
YoP: 1975, directed by Peter Davis in the USA
Reason: The emotional impact comes from truth, rather than beauty. The photo shows Vietnamese kids running from an accidental bombing on the community. Ironically, no other country but the US would allow such self-damning footage, which is why it is conrolled by the government.

Links: Add links with a brief description.
1) a wikipedia definition of formalism - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formalist_film_theory
2) A film site that explains realism and shows more examples of realism backed up with pictures. - http://www.greencine.com/static/primers/neorealism1.jsp
3) Support information about the formalist film theory. - http://www.answers.com/topic/film-theory
4) Shows the fundamentals of formalist and realist theorys. - http://faculty.salisbury.edu/~axsharma/MyWebs/EFP/film_theory.htm

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