Cinema and social theories
Film : THE GRADUATE
The sound truck is the sound of silence. We hear the bubbles of the acquarium and there’s the
film. This is the protagonist. What’s the film about? Resolving a conflict. It starts by him coming.
We see him in the sound of silence: the water: the silence word. Here we have the protagonist. We
see everything about him? No. he’s half obscured and half lit. that’s the way he’s presented to us.
That’s why he’s lit this way.
Moment of silence with the bubble.
Now he’s whole lit. the first word: hey. The father lights it up, because he things he knows
The father is in front of him, so he covers him. The father’s perspection of his son covers him. The
father is out of focus. The son is in focus. The father is not the protagonist of the film.
What do you want to be? I want my life to be special. Here it is a priviledged boy. Then the mom is
coming. And the frame? The mom covers everything and she’s all out of focus.
The camera starts to move, they start to move. And the film starts. Who am I, where I’m suppose to
be? It a question not just about a kid coming out form college, but about life? Parents both have
opinion on who you are and who you are suppose to be.
Then they stop for a second, less than a second. The camera stops and what do we see? A clown.
There are specific indications of his status.
What happens to the camera? now look at the framing. The camera is moving and what happens
to Ben? He’s under attack. The parents? Very annoying and very aggressive. Ben doesn’t know
what to do, he’s trying to be the good boy he’s trying to be.
He innocently reacts superficially. The camera looks at the positions of the head. They are all taller
What do the women represent? Society?
They really represent what kind of social structure. What kind of social theories they represent.
This is total social consences. They are wealthy wives. They all have curls on, they have the same
hair. Ben is part of the consences, but he doesn’t feel like it, he feels like is part of the controversy.
Usually, in one day of production you produce 1 minute and a half.
There people who write the story and than professional script writer write the film. Once the script
is written to a working stage, the production company choose the director of the film. Certain films
take years to write, other months and months to film and edit, other films just an year and a half
just to edit. The point is that it’s a complex business. There is a big amount of areas that we pass
over. The point is that when we made major films, they are produced and re produced and written
and re written.
Coppola sold his house to make Apocalyps now.
How carefully every movement is done. In the end is the quality of the word and the quality of the
editing the make the film’s strength.
Se we see the women now and the man out of focus.
The guy has commercial knowledge but he feels so important, like he’s god. He’s saying: plastics.
Then we have the introduction of the other protagonist. She shots the door and let it go. She’s in
She walks in and she ignores everything that he’s saying and she lit her cigarette. He’s really
She walks out and then: Oh excuse me Ben, can you take me home?
She wants to go home with him to turn the lights on. She keeps taking him step by step.
You can see how carefully the lighting, every movement have to do with renforcing the opinion of
FILM : SHERLOCK HOLM ES
There are studios that only make film titles. That’s a whole profession we don’t know about. For
example, titles of Harry Potter.
How the film explain to us in the first scene in the first movement of the camera narrate tons of
info. Before even explaining what’s the film about.
That’s a classical, a woman there and the man come to help us. A lot of clips of faces, movements,
running, the camera distorted. The horizon goes riding left, the blur of the background to give us
some information. Than we see a big neo classical building in the main center of London. Than we
end up the situation here. The light is in control, the movement too. Extreme slow motion and
sound effect. Smaller camera, that can move faster and can do what ever it wants.
Danger, heroine in the center, she’s chained. There is a ritual and it’s also in a underground
location, enormous monumental space. It’s not a living space, but it’s a church space. Look at the
symmetry. She’s whole white and the guy is whole black (black vs white). The camera moves up
from her and you see the whole situation.
The 2 lights what they do represent? Power of the man. without them he would be a single person
with a single woman. It’s a ritual and those flames help realizing it.
We’ve been introduced to the villain. We see his teeth. He’s got mean teeth, every detail about
him is mean.
We have a main sound with a screechy electronic sound. What is going on in the action is
3 film : CANCER M O M
In the first minute of this film I want you to see how carefully it’s written.
How many cuts in the scene? 26.
4 people to make the camera work.
No word has been spoken and you already have the story clear. The music provoke you in certain
ways. The camera movement. It’s coronate with the sounds. The mother died and we know it just
looking at the pictures. The box is really important for him and he keeps it under the bed.
We connect to social questions, let’s go back to it.
What is this film trying to tell us? We are in a situation that we understand, because it’s our society.
What does it say about our society? What kind of theory it is speaking about?
The importance of family
Fear of illness, of what happened after it happened. In our society is a major question.
Memory is something really important here. It’s about your history. There is a strong relationship
between mom and son. A child who is accepting the assence of his mother. You see the child who
is smiling and he’s not crying about it. He’s enjoying to read the letters.
There is no father.
Single moms don’t happen in a lot of society. We have women who live by there self with their
children. We live in a society where it is a big question. It’s not the subject of the film, but it’s a
part. No brothers or sisters, single child. There are a lot of single children in our society. The single
family is not a normal natural family, because it usually has different sons and daughters. 150 years
ago a lot of them died. Our society: all of those question have been modified.
Here we have a boy who is fairly happy. Social theories is simply the way we live pour lives. It’s
about sociology and so on. 6/3/15
Jokes make you understand how stories work.
I give a situation (the man is in the hospital and the situation). I explain what is going on. I’ve
already introduced the situation: he dies or he lives. I give you the characters and the situations.
You are in the hospital. All in the first sentence. Then, I explain the conditions: emotional
involvement. Then I’m giving you a shock (man’s brain=really expensive and woman’s brain=10
dollars). That’s the climax of the story. The answer releases your attentions. You are right to be
angry, you have a problem.
Stories have a BEGINNING. But a beginning isn’t simply stupid. It’s happening. You
• haven’t given where how who. It’s just happening. There are INFORMATIONS. Aristotle’s
poetics. He talks about theatre.
Then the beginning comes to the M IDDLE, where all the confusion comes it.
• That’s an END.
• Beginning M iddle End
? Info 1 2 3 Catharsis
That’s what Aristotle said.
Then, in the jokes we have other 3 moments in the middle.
FREYTAG: said that I’m gonna call all of this DRAMATIC ARC. It starts at the beginning ant it
finished at the end. At the beginning you don’t know what it’s gonna happen. At the end you get a
CATHARSIS (when you have an emotional and mental change, you evolve, you change opinion,
you change your point of view. You have a release.)
1,2,3: conflict 1, conflict 2, conflict 3. This is called story telling.
That’s the structure in how human understand stories. It can’t change. If you don’t have infos, you
can’t understand conflicts. The news on tv is not story telling but it’s narration of events. Everyone
is worthless, unless you put them in a context.
An EVENT is not a story. An event does not have meanings.
An event to become important: becomes history and get a meaning.
There is no real truth. If 4 of us watch something happeining here, we would all tell different
stories. And every story could be a history if we put it in context, but from different points of view.
Story telling: more important than narrative or descriptions. Description is watch you see at the
news at night, when people tell you what happened, but it doesn’t make a story. A story involves
you from Beginning to the Middle, there is an EMOTIONAL INVOLVE. That’s why certain stories or
films grab you. This where I’m saying everything, but what’s gonna happen? You are interested.
We are all people and we all living in families, having grandparents, so you understand that kind of
“The man is gonna dies unless we don’t operate”:
what are we gonna do?
What are we gonna do?
You realise everything: woman use their brain and man don’t. that’s not the story, that’s not the
plots, but the theme.
The story shows you that.
What about stream of consciousness? It doesn’t ignore this structure, but just use it in different
Flash back? Always happen in M, point 1.
How I met your mother: in each episode this happens. This is how tv works. This is how Dickens’
novel worked too.
When we think about films, most of them (the simple ones) have this kind of structure, but not all
of them. Example: Disney movies. The structure is always there. You can push it around, but it’s
basically always there.
The social question we are gonna talk about today is: FALLING IN LOVE.
Each country, ethic and cultural group have a certain opinion about how you have to deal with it.
Social theories: help you understand how the society works. Ex. Weber and economical
understanding of ethics. So you can use social theories for pretty much everything.
It’s a general concept, it’s not irrelevant. It’s a useful TOOL.
Films have success because they represent how people feel about something and that’s why they
How do the people, how do the actions move in relation to each other and in relation to the
What kind of love it is? And how the actors’ movement tell us their kind of relationship?
Making films is so complex to make it good. You have to make it with different people, so stard
Film 1: Jules et Jim
He’s writing a letter to her. The camera is getting closer to him, to his head. Then, you see the
shots and the war scenes.
The second week begun.
Scene of the girl with the daughter. They are going going away from the house they were at. The 2
men are still in the house talking about feminine and masculine things.
She’s running away and the guy is following her. They are closed to each other standing in the
wood. Just them two. They are almost hidden. They fell in love. They are getting closer to the
camera. and they are waling. Camera close to her face, really dark background. The camera is by
her side, she’s talking. Then they are walking again, one next the other.
Whenever you hear a stories that you never hear before. The film came out in 1962.
Think about the kind of love discussed in this film and the way you follow it scene by scene.
Film 2: it’s a wonderful life
We are gonna see a film in the 40s in the USA.
Scenes of NY. At day and at night at the end. It’s showing all the big buildings to show the
magnificence of the city. There are fireworks too. Homage to the city of Ny.
At the beginning you just see the 2 of them and then other 2 friends come out. They are going
away now, just the 2 of them, you see the 2 walking around.
The 2 films both relates with the relationships.
The letters are about physical love. The letters are about desire. Why does Jules have this desire
from the letters? Then when he comes back she talks about the relationship as a complete failure.
The idea of a relationship is better than the relationship itself. When you desire owning something
and then you get it, it’s not exciting anymore. Desire is far more exciting.
What is this book showing us? That desire is one aspect of falling in love. What is it really about?
When a guy really wants a certain car or a woman really wants a certain kind of shows? You put the
desire things hidden and the others in the front. We see in this film a very interesting series of
questions: DESIRE. Think about social theories and social identities: why is desire there? What do
we do with it? What is it really about? Think about, at your age you have desires for someone, what
is really going on? Is it really that much about that person? Not really. What’s going on?
You rely on your imagination and on a certain person. When you image you simply fill up a
container with your truth desires, they are all a mixture things. No one in the world are gonna
satisfy your desires, because they are all in your imagination.
What is the other person doing? The same thing.
We have 2 people projecting and the projecting is in the middle of them. After living together for
few years, you realize that the other person is not the complementary of your desires. Then, you
have to decide: that person, who is not longer the container of my desired, is worth staying with?
And then you can stay with someone you are not longer in love with.
In our society, you desire a pair of shoes, you get them and then you wear them. As you walk in
them you can realize that you start giving meanings to that shoes, it’s not just your projection.
Then, you see yourself in your shoes. There are so many things we desire but that we would look
bad in. what used to be an object of my desire, it becomes a part of my life and it lost a part of the
glamour. Glamour is desire. Don’t be surprised that the person you fall in love with is just a person.
You have the feeling that you are in the same track and after a while a lot of couples fall apart. It’s
interesting and permanent to so many lives.
The film is about the relationship, but it’s a 3some. it puts into doubt every identity.
What does a couple mean? What love means? What does being yourself mean?
Put into a context so that we can listen to the story and participate without questioning so much
about ourselves. The whole film is about this. The whole writing letters thing is all about desire.
Sexual desire is an interesting thing: it helps us recreate. Pornography: sexual relationships without
love. You can do it, but it can be boring. The emotional attachment enriches the relationship. That
film has very deep and interesting questions and it shows how the story structure allow us to
understand it. Jules is very unconventional and the men are more conventional and they have a
strong relationship, but they end up loving the same woman. Jules continues having relationships
with both of them in the whole film. It’s very interesting.
Starts with the love of the city of New York. He’s having difficulties in finding the words to describe
the city. It’s difficult to nail it down. He’s completely unsatisfied with everything he said.
He needs the cigarette to get the cool factor. He is a middle age man. he’s trying to connect with
this 17 years old. Literature is very similar to cinema. To relate to a story, you need a protagonist.
The audience is made by men and women. There are usually female protagonists and male
Who is the traditional protagonist? A hero. What is a hero? It’s a projection of how you want to be.
He has a series of moral attributes in which we can project our desire. The hero is not simply one of
us, but he’s what we believe we are, in a marked way.
What does the protagonist do? What it’s the main story? He has a conflict.
You don’t need an epic conflict, but it can be something like: should I get up and go to school or
stay in bed. Why is that a major conflict in a post modern world? It would be a very stupid one 100
years ago. This is about: laziness, being useful.
Conflict between what I should do and what I want do?
That’s a post modern conflict, where the individual than the society.
I don’t feel like getting up and that’s important. 100 years ago, you’ve wouldn’t even thought
about that! You wouldn’t have the right to think that.
Why? In the modernity you really think that going to school better you in everything, you can’t
permit to be a narcissistic egocentric. In post modernity you no longer believe in this process, why
should I get up? Since the future is useless, I don’t care. In the post modern there are more
reasons, why we feel that way. people are gonna ask their selves different questions. It’s the idea
of analysing the context. What is the social theory that governs what happen?
Italian politics are totally lost, Italian banks are totally lost. Why do people don’t come the bank
Not in a relationship: “I want to be happy”. It senseless. You don’t desire it. You fall in love not
because you want to, but because it happens.
So I could decide to stay in bed and not go to school. How the process of how our thoughts are
modified by our society we live in.
That’s how falling in love is a very interesting topic, because it has to do with our self identity and
how we project our self and others.
I love New York. He didn’t say: “I’m gonna talk about relationships”. He said that he loved NY,
keep criticizing himself. That’s a monologue. What do you understand from that? The protagonist
is very unsatisfied. He’s insecure about his writings and about himself. He is a hero, but he’s a
protagonist. He’s an anti protagonist. That’s what the movie is about.
That’s what most of Woody Allen movies are about: who am I? it’s a frame of mind. Ask your self
Second part of Film2:
From the very beginning of the film they are talking about what are relationships, what is love?
What the theme. It’s the story about what is love.
Plot: what is happening here.
There are 2 stories here.
The film is scene by scene and in every scene you are ready to talk about love and relationships,
different kinds of them. Every chapter is opening up to different relationships. What is love? Every
scene is about it.
As humans, we need the stories behind it.
In the first film we see the 3 characters in the different situation. We see them objectively.
In the second film: the director is brilliant. Woody Allen said that he never likes his film and that he
never re watch them. You authenticity is there. if you put together your heart and mind, it will be
appreciate it. In every scene, there is every movement of the camera, every light is connected on
what they are talking about.
We have each individuals saying different opinions. There is helping us getting ready telling us
that he’s in love with someone else. There one on one, because they can’t look as a happy couple.
There is a very contrasted light.
“my quirks, my mannerism”: that’s a scene of mannerism: he’s smoking in that way.
a film is a visual representation of what people feel and think. If you write a story you can say what
you feel. In a film, unless you have a voice over, you don’t know what I feel or think. How do you
know it? How do you do it? Through facial millimetry. Actors’ face express what they feel.
This scene: he’s not in the middle of the camera, the actions are synchronized on what he’s doing.
Cinema is about action.
Scene of the 2 men talking?
We don’t know what they are talking, they are in the dark, we can’t see them.
We show that we can understand.
Back in the apartment:
Everything is clear, their marriage, all open, that’s what marriages are about.
When she’s asking: what do you think about having kids?
And him? He’s in the dark again. He walks into the dark and turns on the lamp and she hits him. He
turns on the light, but he’s in the dark.
Now he’s talking about practical stuff, they go back to their life when everything is clear, there is
You see how it’s carefully work out.
With the ex wife:
In the complete light. They are talking about facts. As the camera is moving with them, notice that
the light on her face is never changing, that’s what would happen in real life. Same exposure for
the whole time. This is why the scene is homogeneous, they are moving but they still have the
Then, we are back into the dark again, what is lit? the 17 years old and the stairs. We have another
scene and another way to be in love.
“Oh I think I’m in love with you”. She sounds like a little girl.
He keeps going back and forth between wanting her, trying to get everything that represents,
purity, innocensy and rejecting her, because she’s too young.
He plays on funny themes.
Jules and Jim had success because it came out in the 60s, today we are more much in less
conservative way. in the 60s there was this idea of: what a relationship mean? It was more open
minded of what a relationship move.
You have to watch movies more than ones, that’s the problem of going to the movies.
The king’s speech: it’s about having something hinibiting from being king.
what kind of relationship is this one?
Passionate, crazy love, wild, extreme, fake people maybe.
That’s something a 6 years old do. Who does that? Children. She’s screaming, she gets hysterical,
because she doesn’t like what she’s hearing on the radio.
Then, the music changes, metaphorically and physically.
That’s insecurity. That’s how you build who you are. We have a change of music, they calm down.
They hugged each other and they looked in each other times. These kids have to run away from
anything but they love each other. They are immature, because they didn’t have the possibility to
Why are they in the car? They are escape. Metaphor? Life. You are driving a car and you are going
along life, it’s a voyage. It’s about love and life and it shows people uncapable of understanding.
She’s worried about what mom is gonna say, she’s gonna kill me. She’s not understaning.
Watching the whole movie:
“Qualcuno volta sul nido del cuculo”
“O ne Flew O ver the Cuckoo's Nest”
Social them e: you don’t have to simply talk about mental illness, but you have to take a step
further. You don’t have to write down what is the film about, it’s about madness, but you have to
go further. Is it about a hospital? Superficially yes. But it uses hospitals and craziness to talk about
PEOPLE. It’s about social contrasts and social consensus. Who represents social consensus? The
nurses. What about social contrasts? Each character represents a kind of social contrasts. The
whole film is about society and how we have to deal with it. It’s about life. It’s a story that has to
M etonym : Symbols of visual choices.
Water. We represents freedom. We see it very strongly in two places: in the sea and in the
• end. The sea of life, it is open and it is freedom. When the Indian lift the sink the water
comes off. It represents freedom.
the white cap of the nurse represents order, it represents her authority. At the end is dirty.
• The film is a whole big metaphor.
The sink itself: it’s a challenge. McCmurphy at the beginning said: at least I tried. When the
• Indian wripted off: he doesn’t fit, it’s a social conflict between the natives and the people
who conquer. It’s a conflict between crazy and not being crazy. People in the mad house
are as crazy as every assholes walking around the streets. They protagonist try to put the
people outside, because by simply putting them outside they recognize that they are not
crazy as they think.
Natural landscapes: they represent freedom, but returning to nature.
• Television: it reflects the differences between life as a patient. What society projects as
• normal and what is consider normal.
The 2 girls: they are interesting characters, because they are kind of stupid. We have 2 kind
• of girls in the movie: the nurse, who is a nazi, and the other girls.
Clothes: he never wears the same clothes as anyone else. It’s a symbolic choice.
• ball: if you look at the scene there is a specific frame: the ball ends up in the Indian’s hands.
• He takes the ball. the ball represents social rules, what to do and how to act. He is
presenting a series of social rules, but he’s presenting them in a creative way. there is a
frame that simply stops on the ball. represents the construction of the relationships.
Fences: they let people out or people in. who is inside and who is outside. Who is foreign
• and who is not. Some people out and same people in, they label people. There’s a social
theory called labelling theory and this has a lot to do with it. If someone tells you that you
are crazy, you are crazy.
Schedule: is a verbal metonym. They never want to change it. The rules are rules but they mean
society moves of control. She never varies the rules, she’s society saying these are the rules, not
Films are about representations, they are not about reality.
• Billy: cannot stand the judgement of society. Billy stutters the whole film expect he had sex
• with the girl. He speaks fluently when he said: I’m not ashamed of what I did. Then he
started to stutter again.
Chief: he represents nature. He is nature. He is a symbol for nature.
THE REPRESENTATIO NAL PRO CESS:
We understand things through representational process. Even documentary films are not real, they
are films. Representation is a PROCESS.
How do I represent hunger? In this film there is not scene where the protagonists are not moving
his face. His face gives a whole list of expressions.
Religions: you cannot represent god. Before that it couldn’t be done like in our religions today.
It could be any kind of language, but we need SYSTEM of meanings. We have to remember a kind
structure, we have to organize things in order to give a meaning. Language can be any kind of
language. It’s an agreement.
A system of languages makes culture.
They culture is expressed by meanings and signs. We create a culture attached to meanings.
When you punt MEANINGS and SIGNS together you create CODES.
They are visual codes, they are generally codes about kinds of movies. Ex, codes about thriller
movies. They are codes that we understand. In the Oriental codes there are codes that we don’t
The question is that when we speak about films we are speaking about REPRESENTATION.
Social theory: is about social society works. Each theory as an approach to understand how society
Metonym is a visual symbol that represents an idea.
The sea in the film we watched is a metonym, it represents a struggle. It’s a visual symbol.
Com m ent of the film :
The director was completely unknown, he was from Hungaria.
They really find a mentally institution that was very favourable in shooting the film there. he said
that we could do it there but he had to hire their patients. The main characters are all actors, but
all the other people behind the scenes were real mentally hill people.
And then we go to the hospital.
If you are speaking about the scene, how would you describe that change?
That’s a dolly shot.
Oxymor: a really strong contrast.
The first picture looks like: a painting from Caravaggio. A landscape scene, quite open, and a
“chiaro scuro” scene that introduce us to the characters, to the people that are suffering.
The dolly firstly goes to a way and then it goes backward. It’s very theatrical but that’s a very
dramatic scene. The director wants you to know that you are going through a very dramatic stuff.
Than we are going down: we see muscles, men with the beard. Way of representing the drama.
See how carefully it is built. You don’t get it when you watch the film, but when you produce the
film you have to take care of very frame. You don’t waste frames. Each camera moves, each camera
moves have a meaning. This film is beautifully constructed. That’s a representation of pain, of
You have to emotionalize the audience.
This format really brings us in, with a visual introduction.
Then we have the scene of the door of the hospital. How you transmit the meaning of the film. It’s
all visual stuff. What is the first opening scene about.
Rigid, rational rigid: there is a cage door and the light is behind it. Each frame has a meaning, it
doesn’t just show a picture. There the nurse comes. She’s locking the door. You are looking at her.
She’s moving very carefully. She’s an attractive woman, well dress.
In the beginning the music is the Indian music. What is interesting about the music?
What’s a lullaby for: to put kids in sleep. The music is soft, sweet. But then it’s creepy, because of
the ending sounds that don’t match with the rest of it. it has something of a funeral march. He
didn’t want a complex series of instruments. It is simple and he chose those kind of instruments,
simple rhythm. There is a structure and something out of the structure. This simple structure is
another way helping understand the point of view of the director of the film. The simplicity of
nature, which is both childish and funeral march. It’s an individual sound of someone outside the
structure of the music, like someone outside the structure of the society.
Entrance of the nurse: very important part of the film. She slams the door. Very determinate.
She is the boss. Everyone is dressing white and she is dressing in black.
Jack Nicholson that is going through the institution. His face is very complex. look at how much
emphasis is on taking off the chains . They are freeing him outside the institution. He’s really
concentrate. That’s not probably in the book, but that’s Nicholson’s interpretation.
According on him, he’s free, because he’s coming from the prison.
That’s scene is very indicative to the personality of Nicholson and how he react. Films are about
how you react to experience. That’s why they are actors, they have to visualize.
Back in the institution: he’s doing that thing with his lips, it transmits that he’s thinking, he’s not
impassive. As he’s walking, that’s brilliant acting. That’s an intense on the act of transmit
everything and Nicholson is brilliant. He’s not passive. The other 2 guys are passive, no personality,
they are nurses. He emerge and they don’t.
They go into the room and he stays outside: he really reacts like he’s excluded. Crops: recognizion
that the institution has. She takes some big stamps and she uses. And there he comes in the
corner. A good film is like that, no shitty films. Ù
The lighting has a meaning too. What color is it? greenish. It has the lighting of hospitals and they
usually have neon lights and in pictures they look greenish. The problem is that you all have brain
and so we all know that the room is white so we don’t really judge it. we know that it’s white in the
reality, but actually the scene is greenish and it’s done so because we are in the institution.
Nicholson in the corridor:
We have to figure out who this person is. He’s the protagonist of the scene. We think he’s a little
bit crazy by the way he reacts. Some of the people, the rest of guards, actually live there and
people there are actually crazy. But how do you construct the scene? What’s going on there? I’m
showing you how the director thinks: frame by frame, not scene by scene.
What do we see? We want to emphasis the individual, he remains totally different.
The mise on scene: the posture, he has his hands in his pocket and he’s asking himself where he is.
The space: he is in the centre. He is in the middle of the frame. Behind him? There is a nurse
playing with a yoyo. It looks like even the nurse is crazy. You don’t play with it at a certain age.
There is a guy who is suppose to be controlling everybody using a yoyo. And then we have the
protagonist. There is space around him, he is not in the middle of the people. He’s alone. People
are looking at him, but he’s alone.
Chief: he’s a death and dumb Indians. He seems dumb, because he’s stupid and he can’t hear you.
People that can’t hear you appear to be stupid, but it’s not sure. That’s the error to think that the
person is stupid. Here we have a “deaf and dumb Indian”.
You should try to do that scene by scene when you are gonna be doing your assignment. Think
about how the scenes are structured. How do the people move in the scene? Actors transmit
meanings through their faces, not necessary by what they are saying. Expecially their face. Great
actors tell you a lot by their movements. Bad actors just exaggerate.
Clip: dad with cancer kid
Distress and empathy.
Cortisol: focuses our attention. And its linked to distress.
Oxytocin: care, connection empathy.
Oxytocin + Cortisol: they make people donate more money.
Changing behaviour by changing our brain’s chemical.
Stories have to have a particular structure.
Psychological distress: you concentrate against what your brain is telling you to do.
This is physiologically part of the human race, it’s the way we tell stories and we tell jokes. We get
to understand why cinema is so important in our dailylife. The whole cinematic experience is to
empathize, to understand. We feel a common emotions. Great films are great for the human race.
When you get pregnant you produce more oxytocin, because it makes you care about your child.
Expecially at birth.
W ATCHING A FILM
Social theory and narrative structure: you may not identify but you feel them.
The more you are aware of those choices, of how actors give their self and create the translation to
the action and the reaction.
Story: what it happens.
Plot: how it happens.
Elements that help you understand what is really happening:
from religion to theatre: religion is a mega story that helps you explain what’s life about. It maes
order, what life is a about. Religion is theatre, it is representation of how the world is going on.
From simple action to Inner feelings.
Historic legends to philosophical and religious ideals.
And they go on and they become theatre and representation.
Added some interesting thoughts.
- the purgation of the emotions come from religious history; Christ is a really strong figure,
- Mythic elements of tragedy. In the slide there are some ways to structure the story.
- Humans are capable of acting though understanding; the teacher doesn’t understand.
- The poet must project himself in other’s emotions
- Fear and pity: they show you something that is either happened to you either it may
happen and there starts your pity for the protagonist. Then the protagonist must go
through some kind of contrast.
- Success and failure: not in a commercial way, that is long before society became
commercialized. This is one of the things should help you in your worse moments.
Remember that it’s a failure if you don’t act, and it would be a success if you do. Free
action is the most essential things in tragedy but action is the most essential thing in
There we have Aristotele’s structure in this structure and then we have Fergusson’s one. In the
beginning you don’t really explain how things are happening. You have the protagonist raising a
contrast and then there is the end. He did a more specific way in the next image.
End: solution, relaxing.
Exposition: we see where the characters are, who they are.
Inciting incident: what happened.
Types of narrative:
The false hero
What makes up a hero? There are more qualities. You become a hero when you have the qualities
everyone believes are the best qualities ever.
Who is the anti hero? He is the protagonist who doesn’t have the qualities of the hero, but he’s
someone just like normal people, he doesn’t have qualities.
M ultiple narrative:
The plots can go up and down. When we do television series, every part may be an episode. They
use many characters in any plots.
The whole film follows a structure. The first thing that Tarantino does at the beginning of the
sequence: everyone is completely unconscious, and then there is a mosquito penetrating the skin.
That interrupts the sleeping beauty. She wakes up, realizing what happened to her, she lost her
baby. We first start feeling empathy with her. She lost her child, she has to struggle with Buck. We
feel bad for her, we know she has to submit against her will. The guy is an ugly guy, Buck too.
Characters of comedy and tragedy. Tension and then we release it. we feel good for her, she won
her first major obstacle, the guy who wants to screw her. Then, she has the second problem: Buck.
So she has the revenge. Then, she gets in the car and she has another obstacle. She goes over
them with a lot of courage. The obstacle is her mind. She overcomes that and the film goes on. So
we have three obstacles and then we can see other scenes.
Colors: blue, green, everyone is unconscious. Something NATURAL is happening: the bite of the
mosquito. She has to create the scene of realizing having aborted the baby. It shows you the
profound being hit by a bullet.
Zooming as her emotions get intense.
Very difficult scene to deal with. She’s really good at it. but it gets a lot of work to do it.
The rest of the sequence: Tarantino does everything like a comical. It’s a way of dealing in a
comical way with all the profound feelings they have to deal with. That’s typical of the way he
BERRY LYNDO N:
First scene: protagonist and antagonist. We have the woman in the middle who is the object of
The shot: we see part of the regiment and the country side behind. Then it starts and it slowly
comes back, everyone is watching it. what does is showing us? He’s showing us 2 flags. We see
people dressed perfectly and 2 flags: UK and England. There is a regiment and the nations that
the regiment represents. Where is the regiment? It’s in the countryside.
Regiment: it gets bigger and bigger. It’s a typical march.
It’s well structured, totally codified. Everyone is well dressed, the scene is symmetric, the march is
as it always was, it’s the strength of the regiment, everyone is where they should be. As we come
back we see that this is the representation of the army. At the time, wars were the representation.
The war was about 2 regiments, not the civilians.
They are all part of the concept: everyone is where he has to be.
That’s the point of Berry Lyndon, he is in the wrong point. The protagonist, Berry,, wants to be
There is a little consequence, but everything there is precisely thought.
After that, you see the formality. He’s making fun of these people, that’s why the actors has to be a
sir. Then, there is a voice that is explaining the historical period.
Formality of structure relationships. All the traditions on which the country was built. Here we see
the aristocracy. Kubrick really wanted to get involved with the representation of it.
We need a lot of light in shooting the film, but here he actually uses the candles. We have a lot of
lighting, it’s common nowadays, but at the period it wasn’t at all. Look at how much information
he’s giving us. You can see the lighting, all the desire of being part of the wealth and they are
playing with their wealth, that’s the key of the film. That’s what Berry Lyndon wants too. He wants
to play with his wealth.
Berry Lyndon knows those 2 men, they are cheat at the gaming table and they wins all the time.
The only way normal people get wealthy is by cheating.
He’s loosing at a certain point, the music change and everything changes. The faces are
expressing the whole narrative. That’s what the film is about.
He’s following her now.
The whole film is about ORDER. It’s all about codes.
Paper: social theory and metonym. 17/4/15
THE SPECTATO R:
Studying cinema theories can be seen pretty easy, but you have to know the elements of the
audience and the spectators. Who is to see it and why? How they react. What does everyone bring
to it? the whole change in society that you are living in: different look for you to understand the
middle of it because it is changing. It may be hard for us.
When we watch a tv series that we haven’t longer watched and we see a season in a week, there is
no longer a waiting. Not only the narration change, because the constancy and the repetition has
changed. But the audience changed too, there is this whole narcissistic world. We can see it by
looking at other cultures. It is almost impossible for them to realize the existence of the world. It’s
something like the middle age. And yet most of the world live in this kind of ideological word and
most countries live in this kind of world and that’s how they control the population.
There is a series of videos made in Iran. He interviews a series of men who are totally convinced
that the west is evil and that the USA, UK and France should be eliminated. We live in a totally
different culture, it’s hard to perceive it.
SPACTOTOR: the individual
AUDIENCE: the group
The spectator has relationship with all these things in the slide. It has expectations. The willingness
od concentrate is one beautiful aspect of going to the movies. It’s more difficult on your computer
You go to the cinema not to learn something, but to forget your anxiety. This has a lot to do with
why certain films are not successful.
The question is: is it really not difficult to tell a story that create emotions and actions in the
W HAT KIND OF SPECTATOR ARE YOU?
- passive spectator
- Active spectator
You are trying to make products for people, like a marketing process. You are an audience and
you are a very particular kind of audience: young, educated, minor experience, a lot of energy and
you all come from middle to high economic roots. There is a big difference on how people react.
You hacve to figure out what the mass of people feel or need. Why do the general anxiety do to
people mind. The society is full of anxiety. That’s a marketing idea.
When you go to a film you don’t realize it but al of this is in you. All of this stuff come with you and
it has to do with how you feel a film and remember we spoke about it a lot: if you don’t understand
something you usually refuse it. it takes effort to understand what the main stream require to go
behind. A tipical difficulty for us can be the emerging of the difficulties between religion. The idea
is completely crazy but there are people living their lives on the base of it. I wanna do something
to change that and understand what the mind really hates. It’s a whole series of frustrations that
people have and they don’t know because they are not the same. Psychological perception of
fears. Fears are frustrations.
So when you are judging an audience (most of it 12/25 years old men): things change slower than
we think so as the society grow older (less people having child and people live longer) that would
change society. You have to make an effort to understand older and foreign people. You have to
understand other points of view of the world, because Italy is really isolated as a culture. There is
an enormous difference between Italian daily culture and others.
HOW IS THE SPECTATOR DRAW N INTO THE FILM ?
These are the things that we spoke about at the beginning of the course.
Marxist understanding of the society is very useful. Marx predicted many things about markets.
These are questions where you start, we start understanding society and individuals. As we see,
this book starts with a different point of view.
Physiological functions of the brain. These are interesting elements.
Films imitates mental processes. The brain when sees someone do something, it realizes some
chemicals in you brain. Try to use these elements. Use vocabs.
SEM IOTIC RESPO NSES:
Capability of analysing what’s in front of view. Another way of analysing how we react to a film.
Some film irritates me. If you don’t have any education it’s more possible to have an aberrant
SOM E THOUGHTS:
Analysing your own reaction. What you should learn from this is that you have to find out your
personal reactions to everything. Why do I love this, why do I desire this, why do I hate this? This
helps you put yourself in a society and do what you wanna do and be what you want to be.
Whenever you watch a film you have to understand why. It’s very interesting. It could be that the
person represents something really negative in your mind. It could be a different point of view.
All of this help you understand what are films about.
Film : Otto e m ezzo
Not a typical structure. It abandoned the Hollywood structure. That’s typical of Europe. Post
modernism: the crisis of the individual. This movie got extremely important when it got out and it’s
without structure. It requires your participation. 24/4/15
storytelling is about a structure that is always been the same.
What Fellini has done is abandoning the traditional story. That’s a film of 1962. What kind of world
situation? It was an important period of the cold war, it was the year the beatles became a major
band in UK. Crisis between Cuba and USA. In 1963 Kennedy was shot and Martin Luter King was
shot. That was an intense period, something like the 70s in Italy. What was happening was that the
world was about to change quickly. Communist against America, a war about to blind people,
because the 2 blocks didn’t know anything about the other.
What was the situation in the individual? The Beatles were just becoming popular in England.
That’s a generation of conflict that was beginning to emerge. Everyone recognized a conflict.
Anything interesting in culture starts in people that are not considered into the society.
TRENDS are about a small group of people rebelling against the status quo. You find brands in
small packets of people who really rebel against what the status quo is. Strands are the runners of
what happens in society. A trend shows us that there is something wrong with the system. Then,
that rebellion becomes quickly showed. There is a genuine change in society. Little by little the
trends become so popular that everyone absorbs the trends. The trends had now been absorbed
by the society. Then we have the conservatives that are the last people getting involved into them.
It’s a question of how society change. So we look for it in the outscores (periferia) and in some
rebelling expressions. Very emotional and instinctive reaction. We are all part of the society.
Traditional story telling has a lot to do with that because it recognizes an emotional need in the
THE SOCIAL NETWORK:
What is the film about? Why did the director magnificently directed the film?
Human social interactions. What’s the real conflict? His conflict, not what the movie says? The c
onflict is between what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s a really deep story about ancient films. It’s a
very ancient story. It’s about being in a respectful and being in a relationship. It’s about facebook
of course, but it’s a superficial story to talk about betrayed. If it’s simply described a story about
facebook, it would be more boring, it wouldn’t be as exasperated as it is. It exaggerates the
conflict and that’s why people go to the cinema. Thinking about a social network, it could had
been a film about army, families, the mafia or everything else. The story is really well presented to
capture us, because it’s something that’s it’s happening to us. Films help us understand deeper
meaning. We do not understand deep meaning before something terrible happen. If your mother
die when you are 15 it’s traumatic, but if she dies when you are 56, it’s more than a philosophical
question. It’s an event that changes your life or an event that you digest as a part of history?
1962: beginning of a conflict between generations. Rock and roll generation. Rebelling against the
status quo. What is Fellini role? He’s a film director. What is the film about? He doesn’t know what
the film should talk about, he doesn’t know how he should be. It’s a metaphor of life. Everyone of
us is a director of our life. It’s a metaphor about making a film. Films are representation. What do
they talk about? They talk about life. It’s a profound story. We can analyse it visually and what
inside of the film happens. I want you to realize that films is a STRCTURE, it’s a real drama. The
director sees things that other people don’t get, but he doesn’t know how to deal with them.
The film is about Guido’s conflict.
Every scene represents Guido’s conflict.
Beginning of the film: he goes to the doctor and the doctor describes a whole bunch of bullshit.
Let’s look at the FRAMING and the LIGHTING. The camera is pending and it goes back and fourth
like that. Everything is dark. He doesn’t know what it’s going on. This is Fellini and the director
photography choice. That’s a beautiful film visually. The camera goes from the doctor to the nurse.
The doctor ad the nurse are dress in white: they are people that scientifically know something.
That’s why the film becomes very strong, there’s nothing that distract you.
Interesting relationship between the representation of facts.
What period is this coming from? Someone who made this film in 62 ,has made his life in the 50s.
what was happening in the 50s in intellectual minds? The war was over = period of insecurity and
economic boom. Artistically? Painting and literature? People who are refused by society, rebels,
artists create trends. Painting: abstract expressionism. What did it represent? Art history is only one
way of organizing something, but it’s not “why” but it just shows the results. What happened in the
IIWW that affected everybody in the west? Major events? The holocaust, the atomic bomb in
Japan. Cause of the war? Hitler. Those are 3 pretty important events in history.
What did people feel like? they were scared, confused and traumatized. That’s why abstract
expressionism happened. What lies between those paintings? They represent confusion. It
becomes codified. What is it about the confusion of the expression? It represents your way to see
the world, doesn’t represent the word. Individualism, why? What’s the difference between looking
at Raffaello’s painting and abstract expression? The second doesn’t represent anything, it’s a
signifier. It requires your individual interpretation, that’s nothing more individualistic than looking
at abstract expressionism.
Freud: it represents the unconscious. Your emotional reaction. You are overwhelmed by drama.
This is a situation in which Rock and Roll was born, in which a new generation, the beat generation,
was born that was against the world that created the IIWW. Here we have the 50s full of anxiety,
Film: middle age man, who is trying to figure our what his life is about. he goes into his fantasies,
his dreams, his fears and then he deals with reality but he doesn’t know how to deal with it. he is a
classical postmodern person.
How the character is developed visually:
He has been diagnosed. Science is looking at pieces of him and the camera is reflecting this idea.
What is the cure? Who is speaking? The doctor, that represents reasons, traditions and society.
That’s very obvious symbolically and amusing idea. Water and dirt: that’s the cure. He’s making fun
of society, putting Guido in a situation that is not the answer. Then, he’s always in the dark.
Then, the music? Valchirie di Wagner, a song that is about a goddest help to save the day and to
bring victory into the army. Guido is in a bathroom walking around and wandering what is going
on. Not diagesic sound: the music is outside the movie conditioning our emotions.
What are the elements about it? Why is it there after Guido goes to the doctor?
This is the termal place where the water comes from. The scene is about society and we see a lot
of people, representing society. Lot of old people, people well dressed up, people who want to
appear. Is this realistic? It’s grotesque. Why does Fellini loves using grotesque people? Why do
people exaggerate when they dress and when they appear? They want to represent their self. It’s
not who they are but who they want to appear. Italian society is about that: it’s about people
appearing. People have to look interesting.
So what about this beautiful panorama while listening Valchiria? At the beginning it’s not diagenic,
but then we see the orchestra, so it gets diagenic. Fellini is playing on that.
Why is opera lirica? You have to exaggerate to make visual, something that really goes unnoticed.
That’s why opera lirica is always about big tragedies.
That’s how you get inside our feelings, you get something intense.
What about the movement of the camera and the lighting?
The lighting is full of light. What does that do for the scene? The scene is overexposed. There are
not details and the blacks become grey. When you over exposed the white becomes empty and
the black becomes grey. When you under exposed the blacks become close and the white
It is a completely unnatural. It’s not descripted. We are not looking to real life, but we are looking
at something unreal, fantasies, god life. Light has to do with god, with the sky, the mistery is out
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher michaela.santulli di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Cinema and Social Theries e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Bocconi - Unibocconi o del prof Rozzo Edward.
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