We will also be looking at color in cinema how color, color is color we do not have, but there is a theory of color; some most of the time we admire a movie for its brilliant colors without knowing or without thinking about why that color exist at a particular place.
Cleopatra; beautiful sets, beautiful costumes and colors, but is not always like that. Colors do have a theory and how they are used. Now I would like to talk to you about Peeping Tom which is a British movie and how the director made use of certain extremely saturated color, colors schemes and pallets we will talk about that. Traffic is another interesting movie, Traffic with Michael Douglas and Benicio del Toro perhaps some of your familiar with that, why are you interested in traffic, and it color schemes?
Can anyone give me the answer?
Student: It’s orange,
It is in orange? Not exactly. Traffic is known for which what, what is the basic theme?
Sreenath, do you remember? It is a movie directed by Steven Soderbergh, it has a very
impressive star cast. It, it is one of those movies which employs the narrative of multiple
storytelling. You understand multiple stories? There are several stories taking place
simultaneously all related to one single central idea; central idea here is drug trafficking.
There are three stories here now. One story deals with Michael Douglas and his family;
it its shot in the color palette of blue. You have second story focusing on Benicia and he
is honest upright cop in Mexico up against the drug mafia there, and his story told in
pallets of orange and rusks and brown. There is a there is a sense there; there is a scheme
there because they want to differentiate between the various places, the locations.
The third story that is running simultaneously is seen through the perspective of who?
Catherine zeta Jones and her family. It is very colorful bright and sunny. Because that is
the kind of background she comes from. So, colors have colors contribute to towards the
narrative. Hero the Chinese movie hero, not the Hindi Hero. Hero, how many of you
have watched this movie by Zang Yimou? Yes, how many colors are there? Try
watching Hero. It is one of the best movies ever made. Zang Yimou’s Chinese movie,
Hero; it has all the major Chinese stars in it headed by Jet lie, and Maggie Cheung and
Tony Leung, so watch the movie. And there are again there are multiple perspectives,
multiple narratives going on there; and every story is told in a particular color you have a
green, you have a blue, you have a white, red, yellow depending on the mood and that
theme of the particular story, alright. Raging Bull, of course we are talking about; why
use black and white in times of color? We also discussed films like, Sin city and what
else; Schindler’s List, black and white in times of color, so why. Next area of interest for
us would be film remaking, why remaking I mean just now we talked about 3:10 to Uma
and True Grit and host of others. Scarface, Public enemy being remade, retold several
times. Every once in a while you read a story that so and so movie is being remade our
‘Devdas’ has been remade any number of times in any number of Languages. What is the
politics and what is the commerce of film remakes? And we are also going to look at the
aesthetics of remaking. And we will also, because it is a remake then the idea of
plagiarism cannot be too far behind.
So, how far a remake is a remake and then where does remaking end, and where at what
exact point does plagiarism begin, that is also something to be looked into. Then another
area that you can think of making your presentations on would be series, film series,
sequels, and the franchise; I do not think this area needs any explanation or elaboration
you know exactly what we are talking about. So, while going through this particular
course we will be now, these are the theories that I would be looking at.
So film genres, what are film genres? We have been talking about. Categories, genres are
strictly speaking categories, literary genres, film cinematic genres. So, we were talking
about the western, the gangster is a category. Genres do serve a specific purpose. What,
Swetha what I mean?
Student: Targeted towards specific audience.
Meant or targeted towards a specific audience. Can you give me some example? What
genres do you like, Swetha?
Student: I like Detectives, Rom-com and....
Let us ask Swetha to give some example from her favorite, rom-com, romantic-com.
And how many of you would watch these films? Rom-com, how many would go first
day first show for a Rom-com? Which kind of would you prefer? Yes yes come out.
Fantasy, fantasy, action, adventure, action adventure give me some examples. Die hard.
So, are you looking forward to the fifth series? Yeah then what do makers of a particular
genre do, when they make Rom-com they think of Shwetha then Tara and all these girls;
when they make a hardcore action, adventure film think of all of you. Of course, I am
not making very specific remark of any kind here, it just that makers of genres knows
who their audiences are.
So, there you know there was a particular film maker in Hollywood a very popular and
we will be talking about that kind that maker as well who would target his films only at
women; the so called matured women audience because he says that you know, if you
can make the so called women’s ‘Weepy’ all the house wives would come flocking to
the theaters and that is all we want. We do not want men to come to the theaters. So,
there is a genre of woman very sentimental kind of, not exactly Rom com, but
melodramatic kind of cinema and women would come. But film noir, film noir is
targeted towards the specific kind of the audience. So, genres do serve a very specific
purpose of attracting the audience but now we are also talking about genres bending and
genres blending that also something we look at while doing this course.
Semiotics of films, this is important understanding icons, signs, codes, filters of cinema;
there are specific theories here. Film narrative and discourse in films. A narrative is
specifically with reference to time, space and movement. The unreliable narrator, one of
my favorite categories, can you give me an example of the unreliable narrator in cinema?
Very popular film, I am very sure all of you have watched it, Usual Suspect. We will be
talking about what cinema and realism not to be confused with Italian neo realism and
the Bicycle thieves’ kind of film; Cinema and realism in what the theory. Cinema as
metaphor, formalism in cinema. Certain canonical films, so I was just talking about
Citizen Kane remember Orson Welles’ citizen Kane? So, this is one this taken as one of
the canonical text, and what is a canon, what qualifies a movie to be a part of a canon,
that something we looks at. Why do we think that citizen Kane is a canonical text?
Because it inspired feature film makers in the society, that is one of the influences or
inspirations. Good, can you think of any other canonical film from your own reputua of
cinematic knowledge, something more contemporary? Citizen Kane is a 1940’s movie.
Student: Pulp Fiction.
Exactly, pulp fiction happens to be a very, very influential canonical text; it changed the
way people would watch and appreciate films, good.
Inter-textuality, we will be looking at this in details. Cinema and ideology, that we have
been talking about; we will begin with the Russian masters, the French film makers and
then we will come down to the more recent and more contemporary cinema. Next, we
will move on to cinema and modernism, cinema and post-modernism, sound in cinema
and its various manifestations of; what is a voice over, what is diegetic what is non-
diegetic all these are terms that we will be discussing.
Expressionistic sounds in films. Cinemas of mind and memory; we were just talking
about cinemas of mind, can you give me some examples? Mind and memory!
Student: ‘Fight club’
Good, ‘Memento’, yes but another very popular; Jim Carrey’s movie, ‘Eternal sunshine
of the spotless mind’, cinemas of mind and memory, the very popular not commercially
successful but more along the lines of experimental cinema. But, then the very fact that
some of the major stars are interested in such kinds of movies, itself explains that these
movies have something of you know something of commercial values as well public
interest as well, mass appeal as well and that is what make. I mean memento may be a
low budgeted movie, but definitely not, not what you would call a high art, that you are
very high bro-movie.
Representing myths in cinema the by this, I do not mean the cinema the mythological
that is the different thing. How myths certain myths about nations and society are
represented on screen. Stardom; so we will be looking at certain canonical stars. And can
all stars be actors? Please let’s have something from you. Can all, my question is, are all
stars actors? Not necessary? Tara what do you think? No, no we will talk not talk about
star directors, we are talking about film stars; you know people who we will watch on
screen, my question is can all stars be an actors? Why Shwetha? Salman khan is the huge
huge star not necessarily; people do not seem to agree with you, we will leave that open
ended. Any other I mean a brilliant actor, but not a huge star? Vidhya Balan, I think she
is a major star. Colin Firth, Colin Firth, a phenomenal actor not necessarily a crowd
puller like Brad Pit. What do you think of Brad Pit and his stardom?
Student: He acts well. And he is our Salman; he is Salman khan of Hollywood. He looks
good and he has a phenomenal fan following. Tom Cruise is one of the, I mean people
have done research on Tom Cruise and his stardom; not necessarily the greatest actor but
definitely one of the biggest stars. So, that is the difference. So, this is something we
should not be confused between stardom and actor, acting is a different ball game
We will be then looking at selective directors, Coen Brothers, someone mentioned.
Sergion Lione, Michael Mann, Martin Scorsese, so those are the directors. Paul Thomas
Anderson, recently he has made Master, and earlier ‘There will be blood’, Magnolia,
Boogie Nights. David fincher, Sam Mendes what has he given us? ‘Apocalypse’, of
course ‘American Beauty’, ‘Road to perdition’, ‘The revolutionary road’. And most
recently; ‘Sky fall’. So, we will be looking at these star directors as well.
And one area which I am hugely interested in, film journalism; writing about films film,
the so called critics and their relevance in making or breaking a film and making and
breaking a particular star. Any comments, any question that you would like to?
Student: When you are talking about representing myths in cinema, is it something do
with like stereotyping; like for instant how you have black, people have black face, like
of the Asian characters are represented?
That would be representation of race or class. So, representing a race for example, there
was a DW Griffith movie called The Birth of a Nation. So, that is a very good example,
canonical text about reading a race in cinema. But here I am looking at you know myth
about particular kind or class of people; so not exactly, so how myths are shattered, how
myths are subverted. There may be a stereo type about someone and how those are
subverted on screen. So, not necessarily class or gender or a nation but perhaps a blend
of all these things; I mean Pretty woman is a very good example of representing class on
screen; Pygmalion or a Shaw’s play Pygmalion and a movie My fair lady is a very good
example of representing class.
We have been talking about the evaluation scheme, so let me just repeat. We are going to
have two spot assignments 15 marks each here and that would mean that I am going to
screen clipping and then I would ask you to respond to that. We have been looking at
certain key concepts in films, and I would like you to make regular presentations and a
series of presentations would start from first week of February and it will go on because
every day I will give something like eight to ten minutes each to all of you, to each one
of you. And that is two rounds of presentations.
And then End Semester for this course would be for forty marks. So, any questions? Are
you comfortable with the structure of the course? Yes?
Student: Bit difficult to understand.
The difficulty is only during the initial; once you get into the group you done that it’s not
all that way. So, alright then tomorrow’s class will be in the same room, and what is the
time? 1 to 2 fine, tomorrow 1 to 2. Alright then thank you, and see you tomorrow.