Formal Analysis

Notes for re-watch of Arrival

Here is what I have for our re-watch, based on my notes and the Post-Film Writing:

  • Sound and m-e-s (music, dialogue, environmental sounds).
  • Use of color and light, especially in the context of "memory," but also the use of low key lighting.
  • Setting, especially the house.
  • Props and special effects (the ships, the aliens, military equipment and, relatedly, costume).
  • In particular, the first clear shot of the Montana ship and the military compound (setting), and the first scene in the interior of the ship.
  • Action and performance, especially Amy Adams.
  • The use of the "framing" shots.

In addition, there is interest in discussing how this film handles time and time travel, especially in comparison to Twelve Monkeys.


Twelve Monkeys: repetition

One theme in the Post-Film Writing this week is the use of repeating elements between times and places, not only visually, but also with sound,  in Twelve Monkeys, particularly to raise questions about Cole's perception of reality. What kind of repeating elements did you notice in the film? Which ones were most effective in making you doubt Cole's perceptions about himself and what he's doing? Which ones did you simply appreciate aesthetically or formally?


Notes for re-watch of Twelve Monkeys

Here is what I have from my notes and the Post-Film Writing:

  • Cole's dream/memory.
  • Parallel shots and recurring images (sounds) in different settings.
  • Use of props as markers of time-space.
  • Use of canted or "Dutch" angles.
  • Landscapes (setting, architecture, decor) in "past" and "present."
  • Scene from Vertigo.

Notes for re-watch of Memento

Here are topics distilled from my notes, and the Post-Film Writing and discussion:

  • The opening.
  • Use of props, hair and makeup  (for Leonard's character, as markers of time and memory).
  • Action and performance (especially Guy Pearce).
  • Scenes that show how Leonard's condition affects him (e.g., in the Diner, with the conflicting photos).
  • Color (as signifier of time and memory and mood).
  • Narrative, or, the order in which we see what happens.

Some questions that are raised by the film are how do we know what we know, what role does memory play in who we are and what the world means to us, and why are remembering and forgetting both important.

I also think we could talk about the use of voiceover throughout the film and how that affects what we see.


Notes for re-watch of Vertigo

Here are topics I have distilled from my notes and from your Post-Film Writing:

Directly related to the representation of time, space and memory:

  • Camera movement
  • Objects (props)
  • People (costume [hair & makeup] action & performance)
  • Places (setting, decor)
  • Framing (space, staging)
  • Color (dreams & memory)
  • Editing (connections between images)

But also:

  • Sound (music) & m-e-s
  • Light and shadow
  • Shot length