JCM312/Bazinian Realism (Discussion)

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"The Evolution of Film Language"

  1. Group 3: Bazin sees two broad and opposing trends in the cinema between 1920 and 1940: "those directors who believed in the image and those who believed in reality." What does Bazin mean by "believed in reality"? To which early, 1890s filmmakers might we trace this tendency?
  2. Group 4: Bazin sees two broad and opposing trends in the cinema between 1920 and 1940: "those directors who believed in the image and those who believed in reality." Bazin says the "believed in the image" directors can be "traced back to two factors." What are they? How does a Russian film movement exemplify one of these factors? To which early 1900s filmmaker might we trace this tendency?
  3. Group 5 & 2: Bazin contends that "analytic" or "dramatic" editing (i.e., "shooting script") was "strongly challenged by the technique of composition in depth used by Orson Welles and William Wyler." What is composition in depth? What are some examples from Welles's, Wyler's and/or Renoir's work? How does composition in depth "demand a more active mental attitude" and "bring ambiguity back into the structure of the image"?
  4. Group 6 & 1: Bazin claims Renoir is "the only director who consistently, attempted in his films up to La Règle du Jeu [Rules of the Game] to rise above facile editing effects and seize the secret of a cinematic style which was capable of expressing everything without fragmenting the world, of revealing the hidden meaning of human beings and their environment without destroying their natural unity" (48). Do you agree that Renoir's style does not "fragment the world"? Why or why not?
Rules of the Game
Relationship chart.  

"The Era of the Popular Front."

  1. All Groups: Bazin maintains that the camera movement when Batala is murdered at the end of The Crime of M. Lange (see images online) "is the pure spatial expression of the entire mise-en-scene". What do you think Bazin means by this? How is he using the term "mise-en-scene" (is it the same as in Television?)?
  2. All Groups: What error does Bazin make in describing the shot he diagrams?

Bazin CrimeDiagram.jpg

Grand Illusion: "La Marseillaise" (view clip)
Grand Illusion, first frame.
First frame of shot.  
Grand Illusion, last frame.
Last frame.  

Bazinian exercise

Each group will visualize two versions of a simple narrative scene. After you decide how you will do the two versions, divide your group in half to work on the two versions. Further subdivide the work and (if you have enough in your group) have one person do a shot list, one do a camera diagram, and one do a storyboard.

Version 1

  1. List a minimum of six shots from the scene, as it might be done using classical editing (Bazin's "analytic" editing). Use conventions like establishing shots and shot-counter shot. Specify the framing of each shot (close-up, long shot, etc.) Type it in a word processor.
  2. Draw an overhead camera diagram as we did for our scene breakdowns and Bazin did for The Crime of M. Lange.
  3. Draw a storyboard of your shots.
  4. Take photographs of the diagram and storyboard and email them with your shotlist to jbutler@ua.edu .

Version 2

Rework the same scene as Renoir might have done it, using composition in depth and lateral camera movement, but telling the same story. How many shots would you use to replicate Renoir's style?

  1. List your shots (type it in a word processor)
  2. Draw an overhead camera diagram.
  3. Draw a storyboard of your shots. If you have a shot with camera movement, draw more than one frame to represent it.
  4. Take photographs of the diagram and storyboard and email them with your shotlist to jbutler@ua.edu .

The narrative scene

  • Two students are working together, editing a video in a computer lab that has a "no food" policy. One of them has smuggled a cookie into the lab. He/she breaks it in half and shares it with the other student. They then snicker at the lab attendant, who doesn't realize that food has been brought into the lab. [What happens next is up to you.]

Extra credit option

  • May be done with your JCM 312 group or on your own.
  • Shoot two versions of a scene (doesn't have to be the scene above): one using classical editing; the other using Bazinian realism.
  • Two minutes maximum for each video.
  • Upload them somewhere and send links to jbutler@ua.edu.
  • Due Wednesday, October 10th.
  • Worth 3 extra credit points.
  • Fall 2018 Submissions:

Additional resources

Bibliography

  • Bazin, André. "The Evolution of Film Language." In The New Wave, pp. 24-51. Edited and translated by Peter Graham. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968.
  • Bazin, André. "The Era of the Popular Front." In Jean Renoir, pp. 36-52. Edited and with an introduction by Francois Truffaut. Translated by W. W. Halsey II and William H. Simon. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1973.