How to analyse a film

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Information about How to analyse a film

Published on March 6, 2014

Author: DenniHepburn


How to analyse a film There two ways of how a film is directed; Genre and Auteur. Genre follows conventions, where as an Auteur director doesn’t. Mean girls, 2004, follows the conventions of a teen comedy. It is the point of view of the ‘popular’ girls in a school. The film Napoleon Dynamite, 2004, has a different take on a teen comedy. It focuses mainly on the ‘geeks’ in the school. Conventions are followed by some directors because it is less risky to the public. Directors Ray Kellogg, John Wayne follow conventions in the film The Green Berets, 1968. This film shows the Americans fighting for their country, showing they were heroes. Director Francis Ford Coppaler is an Auteur director. He doesn’t follow the conventions in the film, Apocalypse Now, 1979. This film has a scene that portrays the American army as the ‘bad guys’. You see the American army in helicopters with guns, coming towards this village. In the editing it cross cuts to a village, where you see a school filled with children and women. This implies that the Americans are the enemy. Films follow seven key areas;      Codes and conventions Setting Character Themes Narrative

  Iconography Ideological message Codes and Conventions Codes and conventions are usually followed in Genre films. Quantum of Solace, directed by Marc Forster in 2008, is an example of a genre film. It follows the conventions of an Action film. James Bond is seen as the hero, well dressed, drives nice cars and drinks martinis. James Bond in the film, gets the girl, fights the enemy and wins. On the other hand, the film Leon, directed by Luc Besson in 1994, is an Auteur film because the codes and conventions are not followed. Leon is still seen as the hero, however, he doesn’t dress well, his key drink is milk and he keeps to himself. In the film he doesn’t get the girl. Setting In James Bond you get the rich culture and the sunny places. James Bond lives a rich life style with posh hotels. In Leon, he lives in New York City in a dingy apartment. With these two different settings you can see that both characters live a different life. This could also show what background they have. Leon has a past, with James Bond you don’t see what kind of past he has, because the film is all about the action, the fighting and the girls. The setting of New York in Leon could have an element of rich within the storyline, this shows that he is a good fighter and has made good money from doing this; he just decides to not spend it on his clothing or anything else. This shows that he could be very lonely and doesn’t see the point in wasting his money, he keeps his money saved.

Character With the characters in James Bond it is very, protagonist, antagonist. There are not many actual characters in the film. The women in James Bond are more of a sexual object, than a character. This adds to his rich lifestyle. Even though the women in James Bond might be able to fight or use a weapon, this is just for the action in the film. The enemy in James Bond is usually a common enemy. There are a few people James Bond may have to fight before getting to his common enemy, but in the end he always gets to him and has the end fight. James bond is the protagonist in the film, the hero. He is the hero for Britain, the reason he is fighting is to save his country. Also, you know that James bond will never die because that won’t follow conventions of an action film. In Leon, however, Leon is the protagonist; he is the hero for the 12 year old girl. Leon is fighting to ensure that Matilda has a home. This shows that Leon is a hero for a personal reason. Matilda in Leon is a 12 year old girl who has had a troubled childhood and is left with a lot of anger. Even though she’s very young, she acts older and tough. She gains skills, where as in James Bond they are already skilled. The enemy, Stansfeild in Leon, follows the conventions of an antagonist. He dresses well, is in charge of the gang and has a mental issue which makes him almost crazy. Themes The themes in action films are usually the same, good triumph over evil, revenge and life and death. In both films they follow these themes because that is what makes an action film. Themes in a film are to set out the narrative and why the characters are fighting. In James Bond the revenge is the death of his love, he then fights meaning it is either life or death, and at the end of the film it is good triumph over evil. In Leon it isn’t Leon who wants revenge; it was Matilda, her revenge being the death of her family, mainly little brother. At the end of the film both Leon and Stansfeild die, Leon at the end admits defeat, but doesn’t go without taking him with him, Leon says to Stansfeild, ‘this is from Matilda’ and then the bomb explodes. This is so that the film does follow the theme of good triumph over evil. The life and death theme in James bond is for when he is fighting, it is a matter of life or death. With Leon, the life and death was Leon’s death and Matilda’s life, even though Leon

dies, Matilda goes back to school and shows life by planting Leon’s plant, giving it roots, a metaphor for Leon having no roots in his life. Narrative These two action films follow two very different narratives. James Bond is more for the action and is about James Bond defeating the antagonist. The film is about James Bond’s revenge and seeing how he does this. With Leon you’re not sure what the film is going to be about. You see Leon doing his job as a hit man at the start; it’s when he meets the little girl that the story changes and it almost becomes about her story of revenge. The film Leon breaks it’s conventions by almost making Matilda the lead role or having Matilda as a side kick. The story of Leon is based on his relationship with Matilda and how they deal with her losing her family. With James Bond all the audience cares about are the girls and the action sequences, with Leon, even though it is an action film, it has more heart and you begin to care about the characters. The film is almost a drama/action genre. Iconography In Leon, the iconography is similar to the setting. Thing’s such as the yellow taxi’s and the New York skyline, you know where the film is going to be based. It sets the scene and is part of the mise en scene. The New York based setting does follow the conventions; however, this could be to draw the audience in. The milk that Leon drinks is part of the iconography. It shows Leon’s personality, that he could be rather vulnerable. You see during the film that Leon is like a little kid, not following conventions of an action/thriller film because the lead fighter is meant to be independent. The scene where he is talking to Tony about his money, Tony acts as if he is responsible for Leon, like a father figure. The iconography is just what stands out a film to set the scene or to give you an insight on the characters. Ideological message The ideological message follows the conventions of an action/thriller film. It is the life/death situation between the protagonist and the antagonist. However, another message in the film is revenge, not for Leon, but for Matilda. This gives the female role a narrative, this doesn’t follow conventions.

Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino, another auteur director, doesn’t follow conventions in this film. Pulp fiction focuses on the hit-men showing more than them killing people. The film consists of many different narratives, which is shown in sections. The storylines cross in some places and also time disordered. This already doesn’t follow conventions of a crime thriller. There are different main characters through-out the film because of the different story lines, giving us chance to understand them. Quentin Tarantino directs pulp fiction with an understanding of each character. Usually we don’t get to know the hit-man’s name in a crime thriller, in this we get to know their personality. The language Tarantino uses is very risky the way the characters talk about race quite freely. This really sets the scene for the audience. We also see the unprofessional side to the hit-men in the film. The scene where Vincent shoots Marvin’s by accident shows a clumsy personality, also leading the characters into the struggle of covering it up. In action films such as Batman, you would never see any of mistakes made by the protagonist, which is Batman, or the antagonist, which is the MOB. Quentin Tarantino writes narratives and dialog realistically, making the film more believable. This shows that Tarantino is an Auteur director.

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