Helps readers understand how the many languages of film work together to create meaning. Louis Giannetti organizes Understanding Movies around the key elements of filmmaking, including cintematography, Mise en Scène, movement, editing, sound, acting, drama, casting, story, screenwriting, ideology, and theory. He synthesizes every element through a complete case study: Citizen Kane. This book's ideas are illuminated with hundreds of high-quality still photos, more than 70 in full color, taken from movies such as The Matrix, Almost Famous, jackass the movie, Chicago, Lord of the Rings, Mystic River, and Traffic. New in this edition: a full section on contemporary special effects and computer generated imagery (CGI); up-to-the-minute information on new developments in film technology; more coverage of recent films and filmmakers; more ethnic diversity (including new material on the Islamic cinema); and more lavish use of color and high-quality paper. An updated Companion Website contains animations, video clips from interviews with movie professionals, and Research Navigator access to New York Times film reviews. For everyone who wants to understand the artistry and meaning of the movies.
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Louis Giannetti is a Professor Emeritus of English and Film at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He has taught courses in film, literature, writing, drama, and humanities. He has published many articles, both popular and scholarly, on political subjects, literature, and drama. In addition to being a professional film critic for several years, he has, written about movies for such scholarly journals as Literature/Film Quarterly, The Western Humanities Review, and Film Criticism. Professor Giannetti is also the author of a book on cinema theory. GODARD AND OTHERS: ESSAYS ON FILM FORM, published in both Britain and the United States. Professor Giannetti's other books include MASTERS OF THE AMERICAN CINEMA (Prentice Hall, 1981), a survey of American fiction films from the perspective of eighteen key figures. FLASHBACK: A BRIEF HISTORY OF FILM, FOURTH EDITION (Prentice Hall, 2001), written with Scott Eyman, is a history organized by decade, outlining the major events, trends, and important filmmakers and their work, with emphasis on the American cinema. Both books are copiously illustrated. UNDERSTANDING MOVIES has been a best-selling text in all its previous editions, widely used in the United States and in such countries as Australia, Britain, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand. South Africa, and Japan. It has been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Hebrew. Professor Giannetti is the father of two daughters, Christina and Francesca. He lives in Shaker Heights, where lie spends an inordinate amount of time tending his Japanese-style garden.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
— MARCEL PROUST, NOVELIST AND ART CRITIC
Cineliteracy is long overdue in American education, and not just at the college level. According to The Television and Video Almanac, the average American family watches about seven hours of television per day. That's a lot of time watching moving images. Yet, for the most part, we watch them uncritically, passively, allowing them to wash over us, rarely analyzing how they work on us, how they can shape our values. The following chapters may be of use in understanding how television and movies communicate, and the complex network of language systems they use. My purpose is not to teach viewers how to respond to moving images, but to suggest some of the reasons people respond as they do.
In this tenth edition, I have retained the same principle of organization as the earlier editions, structuring the chapters around the realism-formalism dichotomy. Each chapter isolates the various language systems and spectrum of techniques used by filmmakers in conveying meaning. Naturally, the chapters don't pretend to be exhaustive: They're essentially starting points. They progress from the most narrow and specific aspects of cinema to the most abstract and comprehensive. The chapters are not tightly interdependent: They can be read out of sequence. Inevitably, such a looseness of organization involves a certain amount of overlapping, but I have tried to keep this to a minimum. Technical terms are boldfaced the first time they appear in each chapter, which means that they are defined in the Glossary.
Each chapter has been updated to reflect recent developments in the field. I have also included many new photos and captions, most of them from recently released movies.
The final chapter, "Synthesis: Citizen Kane," is a recapitulation of the main ideas of the previous chapters, applied to a single movie. The chapter can also serve as a rough model for a term paper. VCR and DVD has allowed film analysis to be much more systematic, because a movie in cassette or disk form can be repeated many times. Citizen Kane is an ideal choice because it includes virtually every technique the medium is capable of, in addition to being one of the most critically admired films in history and a popular favorite among students.
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