Here we work on the film analysis assignment
Reshad and Prashant
1 Basic Terms
auteur diegesis editing flashback flashforward focus genres mise-en-scene story/plot scene sequence shot
I Decor rear projection II Lighting three-point lighting high-key lighting low-key lighting III Space deep space frontality matte shot offscreen space shallow space IV Costume V Acting typage
I Quality color contrast deep focus shallow focus depth of field exposure racking focus rate telephoto shot zoom shot II Framing angle of framing aspect ratio level of framing canted framing following shot reframing point-of-view shot III Scale extreme longshot longshot medium longshot medium close-up close-up extreme close-up IV Movement crane shot handheld camera, steadycam pan tilt tracking shot whip pan
I Devices a) Transitions cheat cut cross cutting, aka parallel editing cut-in, cut away dissolve iris jump cut establishing shot/reestablishing shot shot/reverse shot superimposition wipe b) Matches eyeline match graphic match match on action c) Duration long take, aka plan-sequence overlapping editing rhythm II Styles continuity editing montage elliptical editing
I Sound editing sound bridge sonic flash II Source diegetic/non-diegetic direct sound nonsimultaneous offscreen postsynchronization: dubbing sound perspective synchronous sound voice over III Quality
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Film Analysis: Summary of Concepts and Terms
I General Information, Background
- Cast (Actors, Director, Storywriter, Editor, Producer)
- Setting (time and place)
- Theme, Genre
- Source, Relevance
II Plot, Narrative
- Characters (Protagonist, Antagonist), Character Development, Character Complexity
- Linear Structure (Exposition, Rising Action, Crisis, Climax, Resolution, Denouement)
- Fragmented, Episodic Structure
- Flashback / Flashforward
- Framed Action
- Conflict (!)
- Point of View
III Composition, Staging
- Mood, Atmosphere
- Setting (On Location, Studio)
- Color, Tone
- Lighting (harsh, hard, soft, diffuse, natural, artistic, tinted, …)
- Ambient Light: diffuse background light
- Halftones: hues or shades in the image that are between full light and full shadow
- Day-For-Night, Night-For-Day: night scenes film at daylight, day scenes filmed at night
- Mood Lighting: lighting that supports the atmosphere of the shot, mostly softened colors
- Blurred Motion: movement that is blurred due to high speed
- Slow Motion
- Choreography: organization of the (complex) movement of different characters in relation to each other, especially for dance or fighting
- Costumes, Make Up
- Graphic Composition (relation of objects in the image)
- Pace: Speed of Action (Fast-Paced, Slow-Paced, “Meditative”, “Poetic”)
IV Editing (merging of individual shots)
- Flipover: the camera spins 180 degrees to introduce the new scene
- Jump Cut: quick, immediate transition to a new shot as contrast to the previous one
- Crosscutting (Parallel Montage): alternating jump cuts between lines of action (for example in a chase),giving the impression that they happen simultaneously
- Match Cut: a fast cut where the start of the new shot is related to the end of the last one
- Reverse Shot: a shot that is from an opposite position to the previous shot, often in dialogue-scenes
- Bridging Shot: The connection of one scene to another through the use of a shot that shows a change in time or location
- Fade In / Fade Out
- Dissolve : a fade out of the old shot while the new shot fades in at the same time
- Reverse Motion : the movie is played backwards
- Superimposition: two or more shots are visible on top of each other by multiple exposure of the film
V Cinematography (Camera Position & Movement)
- Camera Distance
- Close Up, Extreme / Medium Close Up
- Full Shot: an image that shows the complete body of the actor, from head to toe
- Long Shot, Extreme Long Shot: an image that shows a wide view of the scene
- Establishing Shot (Master Shot) / Reestablishing Shot: an image that introduces the scene the reestablishing shot is a repetition during the sequence
- Camera Angle
- Straight On (Eye Level)
- High Angle: a shot from slightly above
- Low Angle: a shot from slightly below
- Sideview Angle: a shot that is taken perpendicular to the object, person(s), or scene that is staged
- Dutch Angle: a tilted shot that is not aligned to the normal horizon.
- Subjective Camera: a shot from the perspective of one of the actors
- Bird’s Eye Perspective: a shot from higher above
- Aerial Perspective: a shot taken from a helicopter, a balloon, or something similar
- Camera Movement
- Pan(orama): the camera moves from side to side from a stationary position
- Swish Pan: the camera pans so fast that the image is blurred
- Tracking Shot: single continuous shot made with a camera moving along the ground
- Tilt: an upward / downward motion of the camera
- Pullback Shot: a tracking shot where the camera moves backwards, revealing more of the scene
- Vertigo Effect: a combination of a pullback shot with a zoom, creating a “strange” feeling
- Lens Aperture: the opening of the lens, determining how much light enters the camera
- Fish-Eye Lens: a lens with an extremely wide angle (close to 180 degrees) which distorts the image at the edge. Often used in fantasy films
- Wide Angle Lens: with a wide angle lens, objects in the background are still in focus
- Short Angle Lens: with a short angle lens, only objects in the foreground are in focus
- Tele(photo) Lens: a strong short angle lens with magnification, images give a “flat” impression
- Framing: properly surrounding the subject of a shot by the edges of the actual boundaries of the film
also: dividing the screen into several sections, each of which showing a separate shot.
VI Additional Elements
- Sound, Sound Effects
- Voice Over
- Background Music: the music used in a film to create a certain atmosphere.
- Score: the music used in a film to support the action
- Soundtrack: the complete audio of a film, both music and speech
- Special Effects
- Pyrotechnics: the use of fire and explosions
- Computer Animation (Computer Generated Imagery - CGI)
… Some More Terms:
Plan-Sequence: a long shot without much movement of the camera, the aim is to prevent cuts
Blue Screen: sequences filmed with a blue screen as background, which is later exchanged to another picture
Steadycam: a camera-device that is is carried by person, but absorbs his movement, creating a smooth picture
Multicam: the use of multiple cameras to film on sequence
Continuity Editing: a concept where the screen is understood as a “window”, the editing should create continuous storyline.
Dolly, Platform: cameras are often mounted on a platform or a dolly in order to create smooth movement
Shot: a single, uninterrupted take by the camera; a series of shots form a sequence or scene
Action Cutting: cutting in the middle of the action which cannot be observed by the viewer
Trailer: a short advertisement of a film that is shown in cinemas or on TV
Preview: a showing of a film to a selected audience before it is publicly released
Seven Pounds is a 2008 film, directed by Gabriele Muccino. Will Smith stars as a man who sets out to change the lives of seven people. Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, and Barry Pepper also star. The film was released in theaters in the United States and Canada on December 19, 2008 by Columbia Pictures.
Two years ago Tim Thomas (Will Smith) was in a car crash, which was caused by him using his mobile phone; seven people died: six strangers and his fiancée, Sarah Jenson (Robinne Lee). A year after the crash, and having quit his job as an aeronautical engineer, Tim donates a lung lobe to his brother, Ben (Michael Ealy), an IRS employee. Six months later he donates part of his liver to a child services worker named Holly (Judyann Elder). After that he begins searching for more candidates to receive donations. He finds George (Bill Smitrovich), a junior hockey coach, and donates a kidney to him, and then donates bone marrow to a young boy named Nicholas (Quintin Kelley).
Two weeks before he dies he contacts Holly and asks if she knows anyone who deserves help. She suggests Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrillo), who lives with an abusive boyfriend. Tim moves out of his house and into a local motel taking with him his pet box jellyfish. One night, after being beaten, Connie contacts Tim and he gives her the keys and deed to his beach house. She takes her two children and moves in to their new home.
Having stolen his brother's credentials, and making himself known by his brother's name Ben, he checks out candidates for his two final donations. The first is Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson), a blind meat salesman who plays the piano. Tim calls Ezra Turner and harasses him at work to check if he is quick to anger. Ezra remains calm and Tim decides he is worthy.
He then contacts Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), a self-employed greeting card printer who has a heart condition and a rare blood type. He spends time with her, weeding her garden and fixing her rare Heidelberg printer. He begins to fall in love with her and decides that as her condition has worsened he needs to make his donation.
His brother tracks him down to Emily's house. Ben then demands that Tim return his IRS ID to him. Tim leaves and returns to the motel. He fills the bathtub with ice water to preserve his vital organs, climbs in, and then commits suicide by pulling his extremely poisonous jellyfish into the water with him. His friend Dan (Barry Pepper) acts as executor to ensure that his organs are donated to Emily and Ezra. Ezra Turner receives his corneas and Emily receives his heart. Afterwards, Emily meets Ezra at a concert and they begin to talk.
Seven Pounds is based on a script written by Grant Nieporte under Columbia Pictures. In June 2006, Will Smith joined the studio to star in the planned film and to serve as one of its producers. In September 2007, director Gabriele Muccino, who worked with Smith on The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), was attached to direct Seven Pounds, bringing along his creative team from the 2006 film. Smith was joined by Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson the following December to star in Seven Pounds. Filming began in February 2008.
Critics have given the film generally negative reviews. The movie website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 28% of critics gave the film positive write-ups based upon a sample of 130 with an average score of 4.7/10. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 36 based on 31 reviews. Variety's film reviewer Todd McCarthy predicted that the movie's climax "will be emotionally devastating for many viewers, perhaps particularly those with serious religious beliefs", but characterized the film as an "endlessly sentimental fable about sacrifice and redemption that aims only at the heart at the expense of the head." Other established reviewers were more critical; A. O. Scott, writing for The New York Times, said that the movie "... may be among the most transcendently, eye-poppingly, call-your-friend-ranting-in-the-middle-of-the-night-just-to-go-over-it-one-more-time crazily awful motion pictures ever made." Positive reviews singled out Dawson's performance; Richard Corliss wrote in Time that Dawson gives "a lovely performance," while Mick LaSalle of The San Francisco Chronicle noted that Dawson's performance "shows once again that she has it in her to be a powerhouse." Readers of the movie's page at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) have given the movie a fairly positive rating, but not enough to make the site's Top 250 list. Rating: PG-13 2008
Consumed by remorse and despair, a successful businessman gives up all hope after accidentally killing six strangers and his beloved wife. To make amends, he decides to off himself and donate his bodily organs to seven strangers.
That's Seven Pounds in a nutshell, and it sounds more like Saw 6 than a holiday drama reuniting Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino with Will Smith. But unlike Happyness, the feel-good movie of 2006, Seven Pounds is just the opposite -- a feel-bad movie -- and its unpleasant aftertaste lingers in your mouth for days. After watching this depression-inducing saga of sadness, you'll need a Zoloft prescription.
Believe it or not, though, the above synopsis doesn't spoil anything because Seven Pounds reveals the main character's suicide in the opening scene. "There's been a suicide," Ben (Will Smith) tells a 911 operator. "Who's the victim?" the operator asks. Ben replies, "Me."
The movie then flashes back, showing Ben -- a Los Angeles IRS agent -- investigating the moral fibers of several strangers. First, he finds that a local doctor (Tim Kelleher) with health problems abuses patients from time to time. Then, he talks with Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson), a blind pianist who works as a phone operator at a meat company. There's also a poor Hispanic woman name Connie (Elpidia Carrillo) who cannot endure her husband's physical abuse any longer. They all need something from Ben... they just don't know it yet.
Soon, Ben runs into Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), a lonely woman with a serious heart condition that may kill her unless they find a donor soon. The two hit it off quickly and begin an unexpected romantic fling. At this point, the film transforms from goal-oriented drama to lackadaisical romance. It's a direction that's so different from the first half that it's as if there are two separate movies here. There's a way to blend the contrasting ideas, but Muccino and writer Grant Nieporte miscalculate the transition and find themselves wandering, seemingly without focus or direction.
To the movie's credit, Smith delivers his best performance since Ali. He's come a long way since his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days, and his maturity as an actor is aptly demonstrated in Seven Pounds. In one of his most emotional roles to date, Smith tackles the drama fearlessly. His performance appears effortless and never feels forced or contrived. He's a breath of fresh air in an otherwise overwrought picture.
But in the end, there's a difference between dark, honest dramas, and movies that are just plain downers. The gut-wrenching Hunger, Revolutionary Road, and The Wrestler are three recent films -- also in some sense about characters who give up -- that are much more difficult to watch than Seven Pounds. But those films don't disguise themselves as inspirational dramas. They are pit bulls, not poodles, and they present themselves honestly. This movie has edge, but it wants to be the bastard child of Happyness. It's a razor blade wrapped inside a teddy bear.
Anyone know what a human head weighs?
It’s a distinctly frazzled Will Smith we see at the start of this teasing drama. Calling emergency services, he looks on his last legs, before we cut back to trace what brought him to this point of no return. It’s then we meet mean Will Smith, an IRS agent seemingly specialising in pursuing the disadvantaged, such as Woody Harrelson’s blind piano teacher and Rosario Dawson’s stationery designer with a heart condition. Still, a bit curious that Smith’s living in a cheap motel all the while, since intercut moments suggest a family life somewhere in the past. What can it all mean?
Actually, the film’s distributors have us sworn to secrecy, but chances are that if we did spill the beans, you wouldn’t believe us. It’s totally bonkers. Kudos though to director Gabriele Muccino (who previously helmed the rather grittier Smith entry ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’) for drip-feeding us towards the big reveal with no little style, turning out a movie that’s seductively lithe and sheeny, giving every impression of in-the-moment gravitas… rather like a superior car advert. Smith does enough here to suggest that he’s pushing at the edges of his goody-goody image, while Dawson works wonders in a role so thankless it should have its own awards category.
However, all concerned are mere pawns in thrall to a central conceit that sails beyond mere sentiment to encapsulate the surreal. It’s not what you’d call any good, but Claude Lelouch fans, say, might relish its grandiose romantic gestures in the face of all known logic.
It took a long while for me to understand what was going on and my focus did waver. But, I stuck it out and I'm glad I did. I'm a Will Smith fan and I like to see that he can do a range of work as an actor and not just the comedy or action roles. It was touching, poignant and beautiful film for an actor of his age. Does he always have to be running, flying, jumping, or dodging robots and aliens to keep fans and critics happy? Should he just do a jigga dance, black up and be done? Get used to it as I think the action movie scripts are probably going to be less of a attraction to Will.
Seven Pounds: Drama. Starring Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. Directed by Gabriele Muccino. (PG-13. 118 minutes. At Bay Area theaters. For complete movie listings and show times, and to buy tickets for select theaters, go to sfgate.com/movies.)
Will Smith is interested in emotional pain now, in the dark side of American life, in people who are sad or sick or just plain unlucky, and he's found a partner in the Italian director Gabriele Muccino. The team collaborated on "Pursuit of Happyness," a 2006 film that told the true gutter-to-riches story of a brilliant, talented man who still almost fell through society's cracks. Their new film, "Seven Pounds," is a spiritual successor to "Pursuit," but darker and more oblique.
In fact, the movie is so roundabout and cryptic that it takes half the running time just to figure out the general nature of what's going on. "Seven Pounds" makes a mystery of its lead character and of what he's pursuing, and for a very simple reason: If the movie were to announce its subject and story in the usual straightforward way, it would seem so ridiculous, far-fetched and borderline distasteful that no one would want to watch it. It might even seem funny.
So Muccino's task is clear, if difficult - to generate enough magic and to work up just the right mood so as to cast a spell on viewers. That way, when the movie's intentions and meaning are finally made clear, nothing will seem discordant or strange. All will make sense. For the most part, Muccino accomplishes this precise balance that Grant Neoporte's screenplay requires. Going in, all we know about Ben (Smith) is that something terrible has happened in his past, and that he feels responsible for it. That's all. Everything else we gradually piece together, through a fractured narrative that jumbles the time sequence. We learn that he is an IRS agent. Later, we see that he does field audits, but audits of a very particular and repugnant kind. He seems to specialize in hounding people for back taxes when they're in the hospital, sometimes with serious illnesses.
There's anger in this guy. In one scene, he talks on the phone to a food company's customer service representative (Woody Harrelson), and when he finds out the man is blind, he goes ballistic and starts taunting him, making withering, demeaning remarks and shouting into the phone. Obviously, this is not the usual Will Smith, and that difference is half the appeal of "Seven Pounds," to see a familiar screen presence show new sides of himself. Smith has made a point of stretching in recent years. Even in the title role of "Hancock," which was in most ways a routine action movie, Smith had to build a character different from his usual rambunctious action persona, tapping into reserves of sorrow and disillusionment. But he goes much further in "Seven Pounds." His breeziness becomes a shallow act, and his smile becomes downright eerie, a strained mask that hides pain, wards off hostility and expresses aggression all at the same time. It's a smile with dead eyes.
Throughout, "Seven Pounds" has a distinct quality. The pensive score, the subjective cinematography and even the muted aspect of the featured performances all contribute to a sense of being trapped inside a waking dream, or nightmare. Ben leads a hollow existence, a death in life, and the people with whom he comes into contact are the forgotten, who have dropped out of the world.
Enjoyment of "Seven Pounds" rests entirely in how one reacts to the romance that develops between the austere IRS agent and Emily (Rosario Dawson), a graphic artist suffering from congenital heart failure. Some will cry foul, say it's too much, that the movie turns maudlin. But for those who find themselves on the film's wavelength, this is love at the edge of the universe. This is the kind of thing that inspires people to write operas. Dawson, with her strident but delicate beauty, is worthy of operatic treatment. "Seven" shows once again that she has it in her to be a powerhouse, even as it showcases a sweetness and vulnerability she hasn't shown before. Dawson, who played Mimi in "Rent" and Edward Norton's girlfriend in Spike Lee's "25th Hour," is ready to take her place as a major screen actress. In the end, the most appealing thing about "Seven Pounds" is the element it shares with Smith's more cheerful movies: It affirms life as something enormous and important, not small, not meaningless, but monumental and worthy of big statements.
== WILL SMITH DISCUSSES SEVEN POUNDS ==
Every once in a while Will Smith springs a downer ending on us, where he dies. Seven Pounds opens with his suicide call to 911. Then it flashes back to show what brought Ben Thomas to this point. He enacts a mysterious plan to benefit seven worthy strangers, so you should be seven times happier than you are sad. ________________________________________ Crave Online: Ben is a very quiet guy, and you have a way with words. Is it hard for you to shoot scenes without any dialogue?
Will Smith: That is a place that I’m starting to develop. For me it is more about the director. I have to work with someone who knows how to tame that beast. Coming from sitcom television and coming from music you burn up every single second. You don’t leave anything there. You burn it up and you pass out when you walk off stage, so I took that concept into acting. You burn every single second. So for me it used to feel like I wasn’t doing anything. What Michael Mann explained was, "Let me do some of the work. Relax, I got it, I’m going to get it, I just need you to think it and believe it and I will go find it." So to just be able to get to that place where I can really be comfortable and relax and it is kind of like, do you remember the Nestea plunge? Where you used to close your eyes and fall backwards? That is sort of the feeling with the director and if I don’t trust the director I can’t get to that place.
Crave Online: Do you see it as a love story or a tragedy?
Will Smith: It is weird, I’ve been flopping back and forth. I think that for me it is absolutely a love story and it is truly about the redemptive power of love the healing power of love no matter what you’ve experienced that love can heal anything. But our character didn’t realize it, Ben Thomas didn’t realize that he didn’t know it. In his mind it was done. He was a dead man walking. By the time he realized it, it was that second too late, a second too late for him. The idea of it still holds for Emily to continue and for all of us in the audience, the idea is still authentic. It is in that weird place where we didn’t turn the strings up at the end. There is still that dischorded piano note at the end of the movie so it is left open for people to truly decide and for me I think that I wanted it to be a love story, but I think the other side of me knows it is a tragedy.
Crave Online: Can’t it be both, like Romeo and Juliet?
Will Smith: Absolutely. I looked at Romeo and Juliet and there is a slight difference with Romeo and Juliet because it gives you, in the way the Titanic does of their continuing connection on the other side, which we don’t have here, right? To me the metaphor of that dischorded piano note at the end speaks of a broken, slightly broken element where with Romeo and Juliet there was the completion that we can feel that it continues, but it continues connected, not continues in the physical realm slightly broken. Yes, but there is something that doesn’t totally fit there for me.
Crave Online: What's gotten you into stories with downer endings lately, like I am Legend and even Hancock was tragic?
Will Smith: The book that woke that thing up for me is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It's like I always had an awful feeling at the end of that book. I realized that the value of a story isn't that it just has a narcotic effect. It's that it awakens something in you that makes you want to think, that makes you talk to other people, that stirs something that makes you examine the story that eventually turns into self-examination.
Crave Online: How do you want audiences to look at what Ben ends up doing to himself?
Will Smith: I'm starting to be a lot more comfortable with allowing people to decide for themselves and almost creating a situation that forces people to decide for themselves whether they like it or don't like it or agree with the character or disagree with the character. For me, the greater purpose of the story is just to illuminate some pattern of human truth. For me, there's tons of that in Seven Pounds. It's terrifying because I'm used to people clapping at the end of the movie, so sometimes, specifically with this movie, it's out on that limb a little more where people need a second to decide how they feel but artistically it's a bullseye for me. I'm hoping that people can vibe it.
Crave Online: Do you think Ben is a hero or a coward because he takes his own life in the first scene?
Will Smith: That's one of the major debates in the film. For me, I am a hopeless romantic. So to me, it was the total selfless act of love and it was part of what attracted me to this film. He started off and he put this plan together from a cowardice selfish place. So he puts this plan together, he goes through, he gets the six people, finds the seventh, gets jarred into a place where he falls in love. And he ultimately goes through with the identical plan but for the total opposite reason. To me, that was part of what was really interesting and fantastic about this story. It's funny because there used to be a voiceover at the end of the movie, and the strings were really loud and all of that. We decided, we were like, "No. We're going to let people decide how they feel." Versus there's a letter that Emily has at the end of the movie, and my voiceover used to be explaining, and we were like, "Nope, just let it be, and let people decide how they want to react and they want to feel about it."
Crave Online: That's pretty rare for an American movie.
Will Smith: Yes, it's terrifying! It's terrifying, because the end of the movie is huge in American cinema. The idea of how you send them out of the theatres is how people are going to react to your movie. So it's like, there's always the big action sequence with the loud music and the loud strings so you clap at the end.
Crave Online: And you're good at that.
Will Smith: I know, right? That's what I do. This film is really terrifying in that way for me.