Week 8

Topics for M 11/25

Here are topics for our discussion of Carol on Monday. Feel free to start the conversation here or to suggest additional topics.

  • Framing & decor: the use of windows and mirrors in framing shots.
  • Lighting.
  • How the filmmakers use mise-en-scène to create a film that not only looks and feels like the period, but also looks and feels like a film from the period.
  • Action and performance: how Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara use facial expression and body language to show emotion and change. We can also talk about how costume and make-up support these performances.

 


Topics for M 11/18

Here are topics for our discussion of Blindspotting 0n Monday. Feel free to start the conversation in comments and to suggest additional topics.

  • Setting, particularly through contrasts.
  • Use of props, costume and make-up for character development and also setting.
  • Masculinity through action and performance.
  • Color and lighting, especially in Collin's dreams/memories).

Actors & Acting

We've discussed the role that actors play in how audiences might interpret or relate to a film. Certain actors bring certain expectations, e.g., for most people Jimmy Stewart signifies decency, Bruce Willis signifies toughness. However, filmmakers can either use these expectations in casting or try to subvert them by casting against type, e.g., as noted in class, Brad Pitt's role in Twelve Monkeys can be seen as going against type as a romantic leads. Actors, in this sense, are important parts of mise-en-scene.

Do you have strong impressions of any of the actors that have appeared in the films we have screened? Were those actors used in roles you would expect or cast against type? How effective were they used in either case? What's the difference between someone who is simply an actor and someone who is "star"? What do stars bring to films? For you, who are the movie stars that we've seen this term? Have any of the films been "star-less"?