Discussion of A TRIP TO THE MOON
Discussion: Spadoni, Introduction and Chapter 1 (1-46), part II.

Discussion: Spadoni, Introduction and Chapter 1 (1-46), part I.

Feel free to answer any or all of the following questions in comments about the Introduction and  chapter 1 in Spadoni (see the Calendar).

  • What does Spadoni mean by "form" and "formal analysis"? How is this form of thinking and writing about film different from "evaluation"?
  • Why does Spadoni distinguish between different levels and kinds of meaning?
  • What are Spadoni's "five principles" for watching films and what do they mean?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Greg J

Spadoni explains form to be the way that different parts of a film relate and come together and formal analysis to be the understanding of how the different parts of a film are connected as a whole. Evaluation is simply weather you think the film is good or bad. Form and formal analysis looks at the work in depth because it looks at the film as a system of relationships and trying to develop connections.

Meaning can mean different things. Their are four different types: referential, explicit, implicit, and symptomatic. Referential meaning is what the film is a lll about. This can be seen differently by each individual viewing the film. Explicit meaning is the message or moral of the story. Implicit meaning is an argumentative meaning within the film that involves counter claims by opposing ideas. Symptomatic meaning is the combining of the levels of meaning by incorporating the the story and the message within the film giving. This can lead to ideology in the film.

Five Principles:
1.) Function is the elements in a film that can lead to themes or messages within the story. Motivation is great when analyzing function. Function is understanding what the elements are doing and how they are expressed.

2.) Similarity and Repetition are patterns in the film. This can be done by parallelism, which draws the viewers attention to compare two elements that have similarities between them. Another form is motif, which are recurring elements with significance.

3.)Difference and Variation is is the opposite of similarity and repetition. There established by the comparison of two similar elements.

4.) Development is a patterned change or progression in a film.

5.)Unity has all principles in the film with vivid and detailed explanation for why each element in the film happened the way it did. Disunity is elements revealed without any explanation for why something is happening.

Adaleni L.

When Spadoni talks about Form and Formal Analysis he is talking more about a greater understanding of the film and what makes up a film, kind of like a web that brings everything together and it all fits. As the viewer we are able to understand and enjoy the film better when everything fits together. When discussing form it is different than evaluation because you are discussing more than the content and there is more to learn such as the elements of form. Form is more of a relationship with expectation which was something I found interesting because it helps me understand how form adds a greater understanding and analysis of a film.


Form according to Spadoni is the way different parts of an artwork relate to each other and how they come together to make up the whole film.
Formal analysis is thinking about a film viewed as a system in which the parts relate to each other and together make up the whole.
These are different from evaluation because evaluating is only saying a film is good or bad.

Spadoni distinguishes between different levels and kinds of meaning to promote a precise technique of interpreting the film. Referential meaning for example is a summary of a films plot by analyzing everything visible and everything you hear.

The five principles of a film are function, similarity and repetition, difference and variation, development, unity and disunity.
Function-questions why an element is in the film, and what the film is doing
Similarity and repetition- uses parallelism to compare two elements by drawing our attention to similarities between them and motif which is a recurring element in a film that we understand to be significant like a camera angle that answers the question why.
Difference and Variation- the opposite of similarity and repetition
Development-A pattern change across a film or any kind of progression like showing a historical sequence.
Unity and disunity-Unity can represent a film that has no plot holes while disunity could be shown by someone dying in an early scene then coming back to life later in the film.

Ethan Keen

Form, in the interpretation of Spadoni, means the combining characteristics of different elements used to create the purpose for the overarching film. Spadoni breaks it down into sectons each giving different meanings of interpretation such as simple viewing (Referential meaning) to more complex interpretations from an analytical side (Symptomatic meaning). This form of understanding is different than evaluation in the fact that it lacks personal influences i.e. likes and dislikes based clearly on the reviewer. This places all support on the film itself rather than just a singular person’s opinion. Spadoni differentiates between different levels and kinds of meaning because of what I call the diversity approach. This is representational of saying how there are different views and goals people come to the film seeking, some have more experience and are more analytical as others just want to sit back and get the basic experience without needing to look for the in-depth meaning. His five principles are Function, Similarity/Repetition, Difference/Variation, Development, and Unity/Disunity.
Function: The purpose or reasoning for an element to be used.
Similarity/Repetition: The comparison of two elements that share similar relevance /appearance.
Difference and Variation: The use of juxtaposition to compare objects forming contrast.
Development: The thematic elements that change across the film giving light to new context i.e. the opening of curtains (theatrical play), the turning of pages (storybook), etc.
Unity/Disunity: The overarching conclusion that binds the elements together producing either a strong support for the elements purposes or leaving plot holes that can’t be explained.

Grace S.

By "form" and "form analysis," Spadoni is talking about looking at how little pieces of different aspects of a film come together as a system to create a whole. Observing tiny details of a film to see how the parts fit together and what makes it a film is important and gives us a deeper understanding of the film. This helps immensely with creating an analysis of a film because of how specific it is, rather than evaluating a film based on whether it was "good" or "bad." Evaluation can get in the way of creating a persuasive formal film analysis, especially when trying to focus on what the film is doing in piecing the parts together. One can learn from a formal film analysis, while it's hard to learn very much based on an opinion of "good" vs. "bad."

The comments to this entry are closed.