Sociology of Film - Long Answers

The patterning of a film's message can be referred to as its cinematic form. Form can be defined as the entire network of relationships that a certain film employs. These links typically exist between sections and elements, whether they be stylistic or narrative ones (Kolker, 2006). The three main categories of film form are convention, emotion, and anticipation. Film formal expectations make it quite evident that the film is not constrained; in that, there are features of real life and features of the movie in an artistic manner to structure the means through which the audience experiences a particular movie (Kolker, 2006). Expectations are brought about by patterns in a single movie.

On the other hand, convention in a movie is also brought about by former experiences. These conventions can be derived from an individual’s experience of life overall, movies watched by the person and various artworks. In the emotional form, it is normal for audience to have the presumption, therefore, resulting in emotional speculation in the film (Kolker, 2006). Emotions brought out in the film and individual emotional response by the audience are vital in a person’s film experience. When shooting a film, producers should be keen not to mess with the audience’s emotions

Dominant ideologies like family values, work ethic, and the society should be among the first areas of focus while shooting a movie. In emotions, for instance, films should avoid showing too much blood, violence and sex as these films may not be appealing to all the audience present (Giannetti, 2011). In addition to this, with regard to expectation, films should avoid creating unrealistic perceptions to the viewers mostly on love. According to research, films have a great impact on its viewers’ behavior especially among the youth and therefore expectations in the movies should try to suit the audience’s present situation (Kolker, 2006). Convention, on the other hand, is also vital in filmmaking and should, therefore, accommodate the dominant ideologies in the society. Since most conventions are rooted to how ideas are presented, these conventions trigger the viewer’s expectations. Conventions should give the viewer meaning through the interpretation of visual language accepted in the society (Giannetti, 2011).

The film moonlight is a complex movie to watch as a result of the strong emotions brought out. It brings out the pain of isolation especially of the heart which is seen never to heal and the audience get the idea that individuals experiencing this type of pain should learn how to live with it (Galloway, 2016). Chiron among the major characters is brought up in a hard-core neighborhood where prostitution and drugs were rampant, and he is frequently bullied for not undertaking “manly” tasks. His homosexuality is not seen to be isolated from the society. The film focuses on lives that cried in silence and rarely permitted the audience to mourn either for or with the cast (Galloway, 2016).

Moonlight also has a very strong convention aspect of how the society views love, survival and sex. It shows how people can be changed by the society through their different stages of development. The film brings out the aspect of masculinity, the scars, and weeps which are similar for both genders though they vary due to background be it of class or race. The film has also managed to exceed the expectation feature in that the nature of sexual identity is diverting though perfectly stimulated (Galloway, 2016). This feature of the film exceeds the audiences’ expectation since the film clearly brings out an actor who is free-flowing though differing in sexuality.

Question 2

In the film Moonshine, there are several features that sustain dominant ideological state apparatuses. Among the major one is internalized ideology where there was complexity in growing up gay in the Africa-American society. It shows what’s currently going on in the society with his mother being a crack addict, an increase of single mothers like in Chiron’s case where his father was absent when he was growing up and hiding his sexuality for fear of being judged by the society or experiencing violence (Galloway, 2016). This movie clearly focuses on bringing out the harsh reality of being gay and growing up without a father and children being charged with the responsibility of defining their sexuality on their own. After growing we see such characters in the society being hard-core with this being fuelled in retaliation to the character they once were in their childhood days (Benshoff, 2011).

On the other hand, there is an extensive use of an intriguing sense of high art throughout the film. The movie makes the audience connect emotionally and make some of them relate to their individual experiences whether good or bad. The film is pounding, discerning and with actual details that bring the feeling of the past to the whole generation of black Americans. One of the notable scenes that bring the audience to emotions and leads to the success of the movie is when Chiron asks what a “faggot” is and Juan answers while offended. This film has delivered in showing tragedy melodrama as well as spectacle (Galloway, 2016). The movie considerately and wisely with clear elaboration, nuance, and aspiration may aid many related audiences to envision their lives. In commodification, the film has achieved its purpose by majorly focusing on the isolated people in the society and the space they occupy. This movie clearly has accomplished both in commercial and critical success, by majorly visiting how an individual’s encounters and environment can affect their personality later in future, or how someone displays themselves to the people around them. For the Africa- Americans, the movies exhibit media evidence that black people have space for positive recognition in the society (Galloway, 2016). However, in different cultures, the movie generally manifests empathy via a certain way of cultural voyeurism. It is not affected by the misbeliefs whites have of African Americans on the streets. Overall, this film has achieved in featuring the strange reality of black lives in America (Giannetti, 2011).

In cultural artifacts, this film can be seen as a success since it brings out black gay life in its happiness, agony, and complexity. It displays black men as of importance during a period where media displayed them as inessential in the United States. Secondly, as opposed to many instances where being gay was mainly associated with the white people, the movie shows that humans are the same regardless of color (Galloway, 2016). In addition to this, the director aims at the American people culture displaying the black boyhood as something vital and destined for greatness. Juan has difficulty embracing he’s gay when asked what a fagot is by Chiron and this showed how strenuous it was for African Americans to come to terms with this reality as opposed to whites who are less homophobic (Galloway, 2016).

Question 3

The will hays production code was adopted by the association of motion pictures at Hollywood in 1930. This code was set up as a guideline to ensure that movies maintained acceptable standards in terms of social and community values. In the 1920s, movies followed no particular guideline and due to this, there was lots of nudity, ridicule of religion, discussions of sexual perversity and vulgar talk (Conradt, 2010). This was the reason why the wills hay code was implemented.

Prior to the code, the movie industry governed itself; directors made movies according to their own liking. As such, movies depicted women slatternly; they ridiculed religion and also made movies based on repellent subjects (Conradt, 2010). The motion pictures producers, therefore, collaborated with various people including educators, dramatists, social welfare workers and church authorities to come up with a new code to establish what was acceptable in films (Snyder, 2011). Many topics such as murder, sex, vulgarity, obscenity, dances, profanity, costumes, religion and national feelings were governed by the code. Such sensitive topics had to be addressed in a manner that did not harm the feelings of the audience.

There were numerous principles underlying the code; for instance, the motion picture industry recognized that they had been given much trust and hence they were responsible for the material they provided their audiences with. Also, the code was built on the principle that movies were strictly to be a form of entertainment; however, the movie industry had to recognize that entertainment could either improve or harm human beings. Therefore, the movie industry had to ensure that their form of entertainment was for the improvement of mankind (Snyder, 2011).

More to this topic, movie production companies have an oligopolistic hold in the filmmaking industry. It is a well-known fact that the movie industry is controlled by about six major production companies including Time Warner and Walt Disney (Conradt, 2010). Such an oligopoly gives companies the ability to regulate the prices, competition and well as the product being distributed. In the case of the movie industry, huge companies, due to the oligopolistic nature of the industry, control the type of product which in this case is the type of film produced; for instance, they might release movies based on only one topic. For example, the industry may release movies based on murder, religion or sexuality (Snyder, 2011). Such an oligopolistic control strategy may result in companies going against the values of society and therefore they make movies that may harm mankind.

In my opinion, the oligopolistic nature of the movie industry aids in controlling the type of movies released since only a few companies are involved in making films. However, there should be a law to prevent the movie companies from having full control of the type of product they release. Such a law will ensure that the topic of the movie will improve rather than harm the audience. Some taboo Hollywood topics that should be avoided include religion, racism, and national feelings. In regards to this, no film is allowed to ridicule any religion, neither should the film disrespect the national flag nor disrespect any race (Conradt, 2010).

Section 2: Short Answer Questions

Film colors are a non-verbal form of communication that mainly bring harmony, create tension and also draw the attention of the audience. Cool colors have an appealing effect that creates a relaxed and serene movie scene. They unfold an unfriendly, an emotionless and a cold environment for a movie scene. Examples of cool colors are; blue, green, turquoise and some neutrals (gray, silver and white). They create a nature-like an environment as green is a representation of plants while blue represents water. Red, orange, gold, yellow, pink and some neutrals (black and brown) are warm colors. They establish an enthusiastic, an annoying, aggressive and a violent environment (Bleicher, 2012). They are related with great emotions (happiness and anger). Warm colors are usually more booming than cold colors. For example, when red is smaller or equal to blue, it will overcome the red color. A mixture of cool and warm colors draws mixed feelings among the viewers (Bleicher, 2012).

Expressionism also known as formalism and is the total opposite of realism. It was introduced before the First World War in Avant-garde style in form of poetry and painting. Later it spread to other fields of art; literature, theater, dance, film, expressionist literature, and music. Expressionist filmmakers insist on personal creativity which creates positivity in the industry and also creates other artistic styles (impressionism and naturalism) (Carroll, 2005). According to Louis, 1990, expressionist directors usually, turn away from natural and accepted reality and traditions. Their films may be out of reality but have a lot of manipulations as they majorly concentrate on content and not on reality, form, effects, and other people’s views. Expressionist film producers also deliver a message on urgency, visual representations of emotional conditions and understanding the meaning of life under different circumstances (loneliness, horror, and death) (Carroll, 2005).

Avant-garde films is an experimental type of cinema usually known as art films. It was more prominent before World War 2 in Western Europe and North America and Britain after the war. They are majorly concentrating on artistic interpretation and expressionism. They have a non-narrative formal and exhibit other forms of narratives rather than traditional narratives. Most of these experimental films are produced by individuals or small groups because they are produced at low costs thus are individually financed or through grants. According to Blaetz (2012), experimental films are majorly classy Hollywood cinemas that pass messages on politics and strategies (Blaetz, 2012). The experimental title comes in because they are mainly produced by amateurs in the industry and also students. Other films are mainly a form of entertainment but avant-garde majorly aims at advancing artistic personal vision, promoting personal enthusiasm on technology and is also a source of revenue (Verrone, 2011).

Paintings are divided according to form or content. They are classified into linear and painterly styles. Painterly is basically the use of paints in art which bring about certain effects while linear is the creation of paths in form of lines that acts as a guidance and also as improving visions (Stokstad, 2009). Painterly style mainly works on growing and creating standard terms that describe art while linear style works on a three-dimensional basis through some skillful models; painting, shading, and use of colors constructively. Different lines and patterns are used in linear style while paintings majorly characterize painterly art. Linear style is done around lines and boundaries and shows a clear outline of forms and shapes while painterly style using paintings combines masses and shadows to create a continuous flow and movement (Stokstad, 2009).

Lyricism is a beautiful way of expressing or presenting emotions and mixed feelings both audial and visual arts. According to Corrigan (2012) Lost, Lost, Lost (1976), Fireworks (1965) and The Art of Vision (1965) are examples of films with lyricism. Lyricism captures the attention of the audience as it keeps their eyes and ears glued on the output source (Corrigan, 2012). Lyricism explores different textures, light, reflection and surface. The filmmaker’s perception and vision really matter as they have to look deeply into the knowledge of the topic being worked on without considering traditions and people's perspective and come up with a creative and attractive piece of art. Lyrical films always give the first priority to the film director (Kydd, 2011).

During the big-studio era of the 1930s, different philosophies regarding the role of cinematography in film-making were developed. These philosophies were revolutionary and they are used up to date for contemporary filmmaking. Cinematography refers to the act of capturing images in space and therefore it relies on the relationship between the camera and the light source. The philosophies developed revolved around the manipulation of the camera lens and the quality of the film stock; other factors such as framing, movement, shot duration and scale also influenced the philosophies regarding the role of cinematography during the big-studio era (McKernan, 2005).

Realism is a type of filmmaking that uses a reality point of view and draws content as the main source of communication of the narrative and formalism is a type of filmmaking that uses a creative style to deliver a narrative. Realistic filmmakers use normal lenses thus minimizing differences and distortions while formalistic filmmakers use wide angle lenses and short lenses to produce a better scene. Realist filmmakers usually draw the camera closer to the eye, the camera doesn’t move (static) and the camera outputs are natural images and background as the camera and photo backgrounds are not manipulated while the formalist filmmakers, move the camera to convenient angles so as to satisfy specific moods and states and their shots are an outcome of a person’s point of view as the backgrounds are manipulated and the camera is adjusted. With filters, realism majors it’s editing in continuity and are seamless and formalism does its editing based on lighting by using brighter colors, extreme light, and shadows to enhance certain qualities (Ben-Shaul, 2007).

Film noir is a black cinema. It is an American genre that started after the World War 2. They usually have a black and white background. It is part of German Expressionistic film. It signifies loneliness, fantasy, death and when one can’t get away with circumstances. It creates a dreadful and paranoia environment and often has a very scary fate. Women in these movies usually wear dark makeup(black lipstick, mascara), gloves, high heels and red dresses while men do night dinners, always wearing suits and ties and live in posh residential hotels with bright colored lights (neon) (Mamer, 2013). They are usually taken into a location that reckons evil times; shadows, alleys, back doors and places with high populations together with people who majorly work at night; taxi drivers and bar attendants. According to Ebert, 2014, this genre is usually in an America environment filled with doom, fate, betrayal and fear. Most participants in this type of film usually smoke cigarettes (Ebert, 2014).

An extreme long shot is also known as extreme wide shot. It is a view from a long distance of an outside wide view of a building or a landscape that is majorly used to create a scene and explain the setting e.g. a war movie or a disaster movie. A short focal lens is used. It shows the whole object in the topic and everything surrounding it. They are used in films to create the sense of being lost and alone in a lonely environment (Lewis, 2014). The character appears to be very tiny but very detailed due to the large surroundings thus giving a wide information background and not a limited source of information. Any type of camera is used in extreme long shots and are shot using wide angle cameras. These type of shots usually give the opening shot of an art. It is also by security forces in surveillance cameras (Lewis, 2014).

Films categorize the world’s visibility in two forms; open and closed form. Closed film relies on photos, geometry and architecture and the director generate and builds a scene (Lin, 2014). It is enclosed, it has a meaningful environment, systematic patterns and also has moral and personal teachings. Open film takes character seriously and draws its scenes from written sources and theaters and the director gives information about a certain world. It has many different meanings, indecisive and no meaningful endings and has great lessons on generosity and the world (Lin, 2014). According to Braundy (1977), closed films draws the attention of the audience while open films invite an audience into a film. With closed film, an object is meaning a presented a whole while open films have a hidden meaning behind the basic meaning (Braundy, 1977).


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