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A Checklist for Analyzing Movies

When we watch movies we tend to concentrate on the actors and the story. It is useful to
make a list of the film "arts" and consider the role each plays in the film we are
Credits and mise-en-scene: what are the first images in the film (often while the credits
are rolling), and what do they tell you. Where and when is the film set and how do you
know this? Do you know yet how the film will end?
mise-en-scene [n] arrangement of scenery and properties to represent the place where a
play or movie is enacted
Cinematography and visual style: color, space, focus, depth of field, camera angles, POV,
composition, movement, aspect ratios, light and lighting, atmosphere. Is there a "style"?
What is the overall look and feel of the film?
Editing: continuity, cutting, continuity; montage, pace, graphic relations, rhythmic
relations, spatial relations, temporal relations, ellipsis, and hyperbole.
Production design, costumes, and fx: color, light, set design. "Realism" or "Fantasy"?
Narrative: dialogue; story, plot, and screen time; narrative structure (flashbacks and flashforwards)
Acting, dialogue, and movement: styles of acting, dancing, etc.
Sound and music: diegetic and non-diegetic sound; leitmotifs; fx
Diegetic sound Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied
to be present by the action of the film:
voices of characters
sounds made by objects in the story
music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)
Diegetic sound is any sound presented as originated from source within the film's world
Digetic sound can be either on screen or off screen depending on whatever its source is
within the frame or outside the frame.
Another term for diegetic sound is actual sound
Diegesis is a Greek word for "recounted story"
The film's diegesis is the total world of the story action
Non-diegetic sound Sound whose source is neither visible on the screen nor has been
implied to be present in the action:
narrator's commentary
sound effects which is added for the dramatic effect
mood music
Non-diegetic sound is represented as coming from the a source outside story space.
The distinction between diegetic or non-diegetic sound depends on our understanding of
the conventions of film viewing and listening. We know of that certain sounds are
represented as coming from the story world, while others are represented as coming from
outside the space of the story events. A play with diegetic and non-diegetic conventions
can be used to create ambiguity (horror), or to surprise the audience (comedy).
Another term for non-diegetic sound is commentary sound.
Genre: what "kind" of movie is it, and how do you know?

Intertextuality: what other films, music, works of art, or "texts" are referred to in the film
and why?
"Critical" aspects of film: historical, moral, social, gender, and economic issues.
Opinions: is the film "good" or "bad"? Justify your opinions.

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