Guide Film

Pour guider vos pas dans l'analyse des films, lisez les indications ci-dessous. Il ne s'agit pas de mettre en oeuvre ces indications de manière systématique, mais de vous fournir une trame pour approcher l'analyse de films. Dans la perspective de ce séminaire, privilégiez notamment les points 2, 4, 7 et 8.

Le cas échéant, pour approfondir pour vous-même la pratique d'analyse de film, vous pouvez vous reporter au site Yale Film Studies qui fournit une grille plus complète, ainsi qu'une présentation systématique du vocabulaire de l'analyse cinématographique.

Writing about Film

From movie reviews, to film history, to criticism, to technical analysis of cinematic technique, writing is one of the best ways to respond to film. Writing about film enhances your enjoyment of film, as in the writing process you will have the opportunity to think carefully, assess critically, and discover new dimensions that might otherwise remain unappreciated.
Remember that though a film may have dialogue and narration, the basic “language” of film is a succession of visual images, and the way they are edited is the “grammar” of cinema.

1. Preparing to Write about Film
Each writer may have an individualized approach to responding to and writing about a film, but all writers will work more effectively if they prepare to view the film and to write about it. Therefore, aim to:

2. Investigate background information on the film you are writing about, such as the film’s historical, cultural, and stylistic contexts, or production history. This kind of background material can prove to be useful in your written analysis, critique, evaluation, and general understanding of the film because even if your assignment does not ask you, for example, to explicitly write about the film in relation to the era in which it was made, knowing that history will deepen your critical awareness of other aspects of the film, such as the iconography of propagandistic imagery in the films made during World War. Examining the film as a process that has been shaped by different types of events—historical, contemporary, and individual—can guide you to ideas of your own about the film.

3. Explore the individual and collaborative factors
that affected the film’s final form so you can better understand the aesthetic and cinematic decisions the director made. The conclusive images you view on screen come from an extended creative process, involving such factors as directors’, screenwriters’, and cinematographers’ notable influences, as well as the relevant existing conditions during the making of the film (these could include financing, casting, weather, illness, etc.).

4. Find out who the film’s director is and what other films s/he has made. By viewing some of the director’s other films, you will have a better understanding of the film you are writing about because you are developing a larger picture of the themes that inspired the director, the genres and techniques s/he preferred, the consistency or change in cinematic storytelling and method over the course of her/his career.

5. Be selective in your approach to elements of film composition
, as production includes everything from lighting, to sound, to wardrobe, to editing, to special
effects. The more specific the focus, the closer you can analyze and examine your chosen area of investigation and relate your analysis to a thesis about that aspect of the film or your opinion of the work as a whole.

6. Think comprehensively about the film’s story and characters
. Cinematic images do not merely represent a single dimension of a subject, such as just the story or just the characters. All feature films tell stories, but the way the narratives and their protagonists are presented to us vary greatly in style, tone, technique, etc., from film to film, filmmaker to filmmaker. Film analysis is concerned with how these elements help tell the story and create the characters.

7. Watch films with critical awareness
as you would actively read and annotate a book you were preparing to write about; make note of the striking features and ask questions. After an initial viewing, if possible, watch the film a second time, taking notes, letting your general preliminary questions evolve into more specific ones. If you are writing about a film that you can only view once, this groundwork will be essential to the success of your paper. Note, too, that doing research beforehand can play a significant role in freeing you to experience the film with purposeful observation and informed note-taking.

8. Guide yourself to a focused topic
through your questions, and continue to narrow your approach as you decide which questions can be grouped together under a shared idea, perhaps involving the theme of the film, the characters, or its technical and formal features.

Hunter College