FEA 302

CLASSICAL FILM THEORY
Click to edit Master subtitle style WEEK 3

INSTRUCTOR: SARAH TATTING-KINZY

9/24/12

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RUDOLF ARNHEIM

Born in Berlin 1904 Studied Psychology, Philosophy, Art and Music History Wrote Film Reviews for various Berlin publications
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9/24/12

In Film as Art. Rudolf… • Utilizes his background in the Gestalt school of psychology to theorize about film as an art form Gestalt psychology emphasizes the whole over the parts and patterns over individual sensations Examines the various ways in which film Footer Text • 9/24/12 • .

dance to ballet.Arnheim says… • All media have multiple uses • Practical functions = postcards (paintings. • Cinema can also serve practical functions representing reality -. photographs). informational films • Artistic function returns film to the BASIS of its medium Footer Text 9/24/12 . music to ballads etc. instruction manuals (words) are based in reality • Artistic function returns words to poetry. military marches (music).educational.

Factors that differentiate film from reality include… 9/24/12 Footer Text .

film is different from real life because it is a moving picture projected on a flat screen Square/cube – Rectangle/trapezoid Footer Text We see more than our eyes alone • 9/24/12 • .1) Projection of solids on a twodimensional surface • At its most elementary.

2) Sense of depth and absolute image size • Retina receives only twodimensional images -. makes for two slightly different images which fuse together Same principle artificially recreated Footer Text • 9/24/12 • .so we rely on our depth perception The distance between our two eyes makes depth perception possible.

3) Lighting and absence of color • At most basic level.needed for an object to stand out in an image or in real life Footer Text • 9/24/12 . the world is color and most films up till this point had been black and white Manipulated film lighting meant to mimic and enhance the natural and artificial light of real life -.

4) Framing of the image and distance of object • Our visual field is limited. so we are constantly compensating by moving our eyes and head The film image is limited by the frame and we only see what the filmmaker intends in any given shot Our mind/eyes compensate to some Footer Text • • 9/24/12 .

5) Absence of the space-time continuum due to editing • Time and space is continuous in real life We must physically move within our world to change our perspective and these movements take time Through film editing. we jump through time and space Footer Text • • 9/24/12 .

directors compensate with music and visual clues -.6) Absence of inputs from the other senses The filmic experience is through sight alone. or in “talkies” sight and sound alone – the other senses are not utilized as in real life (except smell-o-vision) In silent films.bird Footer to flock helps Text show when a gun has • • 9/24/12 .

Conclusions… • Film may mechanically record the sensations which the retina gathers but it does so mindlessly and nonrepresentationally Film art is based on the manipulation of what’s technically visible -.not humanly visible Footer Text • 9/24/12 • .

Conclusions… • To Arnheim. the sum of the limitations = the raw material of film art These are the things an artist can control and manipulate for expressive reasons Some say Arnheim’s theory and Footer Text • 9/24/12 • .

Creative Use of the Medium • Arnheim elaborates on the artistic effects associated with each limitation Filmmakers exploit these limitations. forcing the spectator to see not just the object on the screen but the object carefully Footer Text delimited to the medium • 9/24/12 .

Purism • Arnheim says an artistic medium is most interesting when it conveys the world in concentrated or pure shapes Purist art attempts to simplify the chaos and remain true to the heart of the medium Arnheim felt that film found its purest Footer Text form in the silent era and lost it when • • 9/24/12 .

music/sounds. poetry/words. manipulated way Footer Text • 9/24/12 . Film draws attention away from the real world it conveys and translates it in a new.Film Form • Any medium used for art draws attention away from the object conveyed – dancing/gestures. syllables Likewise.

according to Arnheim? • No direct answer in “Film as Art” -.What is the purpose of art.but we can examine his beliefs in relation to Gestalt psychology 9/24/12 Footer Text .

saying all of our nervous centers create our reality by organizing it Our senses give the objects in our Footer Text • 9/24/12 • . giving both its meaning and physical characteristics Arnheim went further.Gestaltists and Arnheim • Asserted that the mind is active in the experience of reality.

Transformation • Transformation makes it possible for humans to produce and experience art Artist sees his subject (primary transformation) -.and imaginatively organizes it into a higher pattern which expresses his vision of both subject matter and all of reality (secondary transformation) Footer Text • 9/24/12 .

In this way. Andrew deduces Arnheim’s purpose of art –  To perceive and express the general forces of existence 9/24/12 Footer Text .

The Content of the Film. according to Arnheim… 9/24/12 Footer Text .

Mind Through the Body • Filmmaker uses material objects and physical happenings as raw material -.mental processes may be expressed by means of these The human face and gestures of the body in an actor make inner happenings externally visible – but can be conveyed in other ways Footer Text • 9/24/12 .

especially the close-up? Footer Text • 9/24/12 .The Passion of Joan of Arc Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer in 1928 Stars Renée Jeanne Falconetti • How do Arnheim’s limitations of film to reality apply here? Use of composition.