Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Initial Notes on Film Openings

Here are some notes on film openings that we have watched in class the past few weeks

Cry Wolf  - 2005 Director: Jeff Wadlow
  • begins with blank black screen, audio bridge is used
  • their is a self contained narrative section which lasts around 2 minutes
  • no dialogue, little exposition is provided
  • short takes signifies action
  • lots of shot variation
  • horror genre is signified by the setting and the colour filter
Halloween - 1978 Director: John Carpenter
  • the opening of this film is unusually filmed
  • long titles 1.59 mins accompanied by theme music from film
  • uses one long continues take for 5 minutes plus
  • point of view shot with shakey camera work, signifying realism
  • point of view shot of character before seeing the character
  • exposition from text on screen, location and date
  • horror genre is anchored by blue colour filter signifying cold atmosphere, the music which interferes with the heartbeat.

Bride of Chucky - 1988 Director: Ronny Yu
  • begins with establishing shot of building
  • American flag and then close up of sign provide exposition on location.
  • dutch angle signifies something is wrong
  • night time, blue filter, stormy weather plus thunder and lightening, all signify horror
  • hockey mask - intertextual reference to the film Friday 13th
  • example of a false scare
  • stereotypical attractive female on screen for male gratification
Maltese Falcon - 1941 Director: John Huston
  • serif text titles. signifies serious film
  • Black and white film
  • Scrolling text on screen provides exposition of plot
  • establishing shots, plus location name on screen also provides exposition of setting
  • lots of dialogue
  • soft classical music plays throughout long opening scene

Clerks - 1994 Director: Kevin Smith
  • documentary style font signifies plain simple realism
  • audiobridge of diegetic sound, further conveys realism
  • mise-en-scene of untidy bedroom provides insight into character before they appear on screen
  • first character (central protagonist) on screen falls out of the cupboard, polysemic image - possibly signifies being drunk, being strange, being too lazy to get into bed etc
  • long takes with cut away shots to the dog
  • eliptical editing matched with introduction of non-diegetic rock music
  • variety of shots of object used whilst the central protagonist gets ready for work
Napoleon Dynamite - 2004 Director: Jared Hess
  • credits run for 3.33 minutes
  • creative titles making names out of food
  • cards provide exposition as to setting
  • first character on screen is central protagonist, mise-en-scene such as his outfit (glasses) signifies he is a stereotypical geek character
  • Non-diegitic keyboard music signifies light hearted comedy
  • dialogue provides exposition
  • still frames mimic a comic strip style
  • lots of shot variation
  • little insight into film plot from the opening
Shaun of the Dead - 2004 Director: Edger Light
  • audiobridge non-diegeitc music switches to diegetic as it plays from a duke box - an American song, help to achieve cross over appeal.
  • the opening is a self contained narrative section lasting approximately 3 minutes, titles follow this.
  • comedy genre is signified through the narrative which is humourous
  • social realist genre is signified through the setting in a local pub 
  • horror genre is signified through the song choice but that is left relatively polysemic and may be ignored, leaving the audience following the opening in a negotiated reading.

Hot Fuzz - 2007 Director: Edgar Wright
  •  opens with establishing shot of a corridor and the central protagonist in the far distance
  • an audiobridge of police siren is used, this signifies action and crime genre
  • lots of shot variation and fast pace editing further anchor the prefered reading as to the genre
  • a voiceover, from the main character, is used to provide exposition

  • non diegetic punk song by Adam Ant from the 80's targets an older audience
  • comedy genre is signified slightly in the opening but is left slightly polysemic
RocknRolla - 2008 Director: Guy Richie
  • titles are animated, and acompanied by guitar music which could possibly signify comedy genre
  • a voiceover is used to provide exposition, south London accent signifies working class
  • an antagonist character is signified, he isn't the first on screen, shots of his shoes and bodyguards are shown before his face which signifies importance and wealth
  • exposition from dialogue signifies action and comedy genre and suggests a male audience
  • self contained narrative section lasts approx. 5 minutes and provides insight into characters
  • shot variation and some parts of fast pace editing also signifies action genre
Club Dread - 2004 Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
  • self contained narrative section lasts around 7 minutes, relatively long opening
  • establishing shot of an island signifies location of film
  • documentary style font on screen provides exposition of the exact setting
  • range of shots used, pans in from long shot of the whole island to shot within the island forrest
  • first two people on screen aren't signified as central protagonists
  • diaglogue containing sexual references and nudity make the film a 15 rating
  • comedy genre is signified through the dialogue
  • horror genre is signified through the music played over the titles, clip of a female screaming, the dialogue and the setting within a graveyard/tomb

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