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Notes for Literature and Film

June 21, 2016

Film Technique and Terminology
General Terminology
Building a Film: Frames, shots, scenes, sequences
- A frame (a technical measurement) is an individual still photograph on
a piece of exposed film stock; it is a movies shortest compositional
element. Films generally project at 24 fps (frames per second) with
each frame repeated once so 48 individual frames to create the
illusion of movement.
- A shot (a technical measurement) is an edited series of frames that
comprise one uninterrupted action of the camera; shots are generally
defined by the cameras position relative to its subject.
- A scene (a narrative measurement) comprises one of more shots to tell
part of the films overall story.
- A sequence (a narrative measurement) comprised by a number of
(usually related) scenes. Narrative films are comprised of a series of
Mise-en-scene (French placing in the scene)
- Mise-en-scene (or staging) is the general look/feel of a film. It
comprises three elements: 1) Design, 2) Composition, and 3)
Camera/Film properties
- Diegesis fully moldable world
- Design All the elements of the film visible on screen contributing to
the overall effect/feel. It includes:
o Set design
o Dcor
o Props
o Lighting
o Costume
o Make up
o (Acting/Casting)
o (Music)
- Composition Full relationship (organization, balance, distribution) of
elements (objects, figures, light) in a shot. It includes:
o Blocking (correlation of figures onscreen)
o Framing (what is seen in a shot and how)
Shot selection
Offscreen/onscreen space
Open/closed frame (an open frame film will invite you to
think about whats offscreen) (a closed frame film will deny

us the opportunity to imagine what the alternate space

offscreen might be like key to thriller movies)
Camera/Film Properties All choices governing how the subject is
captured on the film stock.
o Frame rate (determines speed of action)
o Depth of field (determines what is in/out of focus)
o Film stock (e.g., B&W, colour, grainy, clean)

Intraframe Techniques
- Shot Types
o Extreme Long Shot The ELS/XLS generally captures its subject
from a great distance, with the consequent de-emphasis or
unrecognizability of that subject in favor of establishing location
and providing background information. (Sometimes called an
establishing shot.)
o Long Shot The LS shoots its subject in full, the human form
taking up most of the frame but leaving some area above and
below to provide context for the subject. (Sometimes called the
full-body shot)
o Medium Long Shot The MLS or two-shot when it contains
two figures shows its subject(s) from knees up, usually with
some area above to balance context with subject detail.
(Sometimes called the American shot) human element
becomes much more important
o Medium Shot The MS is used to profile a subject from waist up
(or full figure if seated). It is the most commonly used shot as it
best approximates our real-life experience of feeling closeness
without intimacy
o Medium Close-up The MCU photographs the subject from midchest to top of the head, providing somewhat more detail than
the MS but remaining non-intimate becoming more intimate but
not quite intimate yet
o Close-up A CU shot registers the subjects head (and
sometimes neck/shoulders as well) to bring us careful and clear
o Extreme Close-up The ECU/XCU focuses very tightly on the
subject, usually only registering one element to provide a sense
of intimate detail
- Camera Angles
o Eye-level Shot The Camera is placed at the level of the
audiences eye line, usually implying a neutral attitude toward
the subject
o High-Angle Shot The camera is placed above the subject,
generally with the implication of the viewers superiority to it

o Low-Angle Shot The camera records the subject from below,

generally placing the viewer in an inferior position to it
o Aerial-view Shot This extreme shot captures its subject from
very far above, usually filming from a high crane or aircraft, to
suggest the omniscience of the viewer. (Sometimes called the
birds-eye-view shot)
o Dutch Angle In this shot, the camera tilts from its normal
horizontal and vertical positioning of the subject in-frame so it is
no longer straight with the camera, usually to convey a sense
of the unbalance of the subjects world in comparison to the
viewers own. (Sometimes called the oblique-angle shot)
meant to make us uncomfortable and queasy (horror films do
this all the time)
Camera Moves
o Fixed shot Stable shot of the subject involving no movement of
the camera in the photographing process
o Pan shot Horizontal movement of the camera when filming its
o Tilt shot Vertical movement of the camera when filming its
o Dolly shot Combining the fixed shot with the moving shot, a
dolly shot fixes the camera to a moving device to 1) follow the
subjects movement from behind, ahead, beside, above or below
(tracking shot); or 2) alter the distance between camera and
subject (dolly-in camera moves closer to subject; dolly-out
camera moves away from subject)
o Crane shot Another combination fixed-and-moving camera setup, the crane shot uses a camera affixed to an armature that
rises and lowers and that is itself attached to a movable vehicle;
the result is a possibility of both horizontal and vertical
movement in capturing the subject

Interframe Techniques
- Shot Transitions
o Dissolve the fast or slow superimposition of shot two over shot
one; the latter disappears in sync with the appearance of the
former, usually to imply passage of time
o Fade the image emerges from blackness (a fade in) or
disappears into blackness (a fade out) to switch from shot to
shot, usually with the implication of the passage of time
o Iris dilating or contracting of the image to or from a small circle
surrounded by black to 1) focus on a specific subject within a
shot in approximation of a close-up; or, more commonly, 2)
transition between shots to emphasize a particular element in

the shot (iris in dilation to begin a shot; iris out

contraction to close a shot)
o Wipe shot two takes over from shot one by sliding across the
frame vertically, horizontally or diagonally (or sometimes
appearing as a shape that grows to fill the frame almost akin to
the iris-in)
Good Databases
- Film and Television Literature Index
- MLA International bibliography for the novels
June 23, 2016
Go West, Young Man!: Myth, History and the Frontier in The Last of the
- Same thing happens twice in the novel
- However the setting is different in the first half we really see the
search and rescue taking place in the White, European, American world
in the second search and rescue we see the plot taking place in the
Indigenous American world
- Standing at a coalescence of what the American should be
- The inability early on in the American colonizing force in differentiating
itself from England and to establish itself they need to self-declare
and be able to say why they are different from everybody else
- Could argue it is the first successful American novel in trying to
showcase what it means to be American
Coopers Literary Patriotrism
- Ashamed to have fallen into the track of imitation, I endeavoured to
repay the wrong done to my own views, by producing a work that
should be purely American, and of which love of country should be the
theme Cooper, on his self-professedly bad because un-American
first novel set in England (A Letter to His Countrymen [1834])
- He is trying to solve the problem and correct the error that he feels he
has made in his first novel
- Trying to make a novel that is not only American but that is a piece of
Americana (a definer of that nation)
- Cooper is trying to tap into and the story, the characters, and the
setting to exude the sense of what it means to be American
- Champion what is the greatness of America and Americans living in
that country of America he doesnt necessarily captures the reality of
America but what he wants people to accept the national American
character is
- Cooper struggled to meet the challenge to become an American writer
to his wife

The literature of the United States is a subject of the highest interest

to the civilized world; for when it does begin to be felt it will be with a
force, a directness, and a common sense in its application

What are the traits that we are going to be thinking about as American
Coopers Changing Genre Designations for The Last of the Mohicans
- The reader who takes up these volumes, in the expectation of finding
an imaginary and romantic picture of things which never had an
existence, will probably lay them aside, disappointed. The work is
exactly what it professes to be in its title page a narrative. As it
relates, however, to matters which may not be universally understood,
especially by the more imaginative sex, some of whom, under the
impression that it is a fiction, may be induced to read the book, it
becomes the interest of the author to explain a few of the obscurities
of the historical allusions Preface to the 1826 edition
- Comes immediately after the title page in the space of about 5
seconds the reader is hearing him repeat the word narrative over
and over again not a novel but a narrative
- What is the difference between a narrative and a novel? Wants to make
a distinct link between himself and his audience correlating between
the realm of reality with the story he is about to tell us feels like we
are playing in the realm of reality he says he is going to be
pinpointed in his accuracy, this is a story of history he is going to give
us a literal picture of that point in American history of the French and
Indian war (talking about the colonial emphasis of the 7 years war)
he wants us to be witnesses to history so that we can imagine and live
and breathe what the experience might have been at that time there
are real people in the book, Montcalm, Munro are real figures the
siege and massacre is a battle that really took place 1757
- However, there are also historical errors that Cooper inserts into the
book the most obvious historical inaccuracy he presents is the way in
which he makes the allegiances
British Allies (in book)
French Allies (in book)
Mohicans and the Delawares
Iroquois, Huron, and the Mohawks

British Affiliations (in reality)

French Affiliations (in reality)
Iroquois, Huron, and the Mohawks Mohicans and the Delawares
He takes the British allies in reality and makes them the enemy
projecting history to us and fiddles around with it to ensure that his
readership to view the people he considers to be the good guys on
both sides of that racial line this sense of the coming together or the
confrontation across racial lines will be imperative for Cooper to
investigate the ways in which we see these different people either
coming together or failing to come together

It would, perhaps, have been more observant of reality to have drawn

[Hawk-eye] of less moral elevation, but it would also have been less
attractive; and the business of a writer of fiction is to approach, as near
as his powers will allow, to poetry Introduction to the 1831 edition
o Changing the stakes of what he had set 5 years before
o Saying that he is trying to elevate his work to that of poetry
o Goes back on what the original statement was and says give
me the ability to exaggerate as I am a writer
o Hawk-eye is constantly reminding us how great he is Coopers
reflection of the perfect American
It is the privilege of all writers of fiction, more particularly when their
works aspire to the elevation of romances, to present the beau-ideal of
their characters to the reader. This it is which constitutes poetry
Preface to the 1850 edition
o Vaulting even further away from where he began
o Not that he is trying to attain to poetry he has already reached
o He wants to try to transform history into myth wants to create
an American mythology in a book like this but to label it as
o Playing around with concepts of myth and history pouring
different things into a test tube and seeing what you come up
For all of his interest in presenting the American characters, it takes
forever for us to become familiar with the characters he spends the
first 3 or so pages of the book not even speaking of the people
involved the first sentence of the novel says that the French and
English had no idea where they fit in this new world he goes on to the
second sentence to say that the Europeans werent going to be able to
figure out their place unless they allied themselves with the people
who have been there before, the natives they dont know how to
dominate this space the type of warfare fought in Europe is
impractical in America had to start recognizing that they were illequipped wooded area in upstate New York
Two things we start to see with this delayed introduction of our
o On the one hand what he wants to do is insist that a careful
scrutiny of land is going to be vitally important to the readers
recognition of the American landscape signals for us that the
space is primary rather than secondary in defining who
Americans are in the long haul of our reading of the writing,
Cooper is better at writing place than writing people, he is not
good at generating human characters his male characters
amount to two-dimensional, his female characters have one
dimension at best the men arent much better seems to imply

that Americans are all boastful and not very ruminative and that
they are attention seekers (in Hawk-eyes character) Americans
are definable of where they come from and where they fit
themselves into a natural scheme of things nature for Cooper
isnt exactly a setting but almost a character in itself, we feel a
place through the invocation of what the landscape actually
looks like
o Also the interracial allegiances it is fundamental to really
understand what place is it was necessary to their survival to
make allegiances with the natives the Europeans made
completely ill-equipped to survive wanting to remind his
audience in 1826 of those realities because there was this
learning going on back and forth Coopers got good guys, bad
guys, and has two sub-sets for the good guys based on their
response that they each have to the natural setting that they
find themselves (the heroes and the wannabees then the
villains) the heroes are Hawk-eye, Chingachgook, Uncas the
wannabees are the Munro daughters, Duncan Heyward, David
Gamut (doesnt belong at all) then the villains, Magua
representative, Montcalm plays nominal bad guy cause hes the
leader of the French each one of those groups is defined by its
relationship to nature our heroes, like Hawk-eye, at one point
he impersonates a bear when Magua has the women in some hut
at the edge of the village, hell put on a bear-skin rug and
everybody will be convinced that I am a bear and they wont take
anything amiss, and he literally does this and it works and
nobody is convinced that he is a human being he can outbear a
bear and that makes him a hero Chingachgook is brutally
outnumbered so he jumps into a beaver pond when the last guy
glances back and sees his head out of the water because he
looks at him and sees him as a beaver, Chingachgook can
outbeaver a beaver Uncas has almost superpowers p. 245 he
sees the print of moccasins near a riverbed, you cant have a
footprint in moving water but Uncas is able to preserve it and
they can sit back and try to decide which person it belongs to
and see what direction its pointing in if you understand nature
then you are heroic automatically
o Duncan Heyward tries his best to be the hero of this story and
the equal of Hawk-eye we basically get a court scene at some
point, Hawk-eye becomes sort of the council of the defense
Hawk-eye offers himself, Heyward stands up immediately and
says yes, and then tries to say that he is Hawk-eye, and then
Hawk-eye says that they can have a shooting contest and Hawkeye wins Heyward doesnt fit and is unable to live up to it
Hawk-eye is a born American and was raised by Mohicans
Heyward is English and doesnt know anything

o Magua flip side of the coin of the heroes that are the Mohicans
and Hawk-eye Magua is as adept in nature as the three heroes
are think about how he abuses nature to get up to his nefarious
ends Magua always jumps out from behind trees, or standing
there one instant and he disappears (kind Dracula-ish) Magua
disappears into the atmosphere and the coheres back together
out of the mist Magua is sneaky, le renard-subtil the sly fox
that is demonstrates through how he can manipulate nature to
his own evil ends
o Every time a new character is introduced immediately after
another character and the characters look them up and down
we should know immediately whether they are the hero or the
o All heroes are Hawk-eye fitting into nature and cultures this
guy is heroic because he can negotiate with different
communities he is adaptable Hawk-eye isnt a joiner,
grudgingly part of the team hes with, knows whats right but
wont join the army loose affiliations with different types of
people born American more than able to practice within that
old world, English milieu hes completely at home in the native
world honour and decency Hawk-eye knows right from wrong
and will be on the side of righteousness though his ability to
adapt to different cultures we realize that he is very much aware
of the differences in rightness for cultures intimately aware of
cultural differences and the right and wrong in these cultural
differences the heroes use superpowers for the benefit of
others, where Magua uses his abilities to indulge selfishly
heroes sacrifice himself for the benefit of others always the first
to act and doesnt hesitate, man of action not just an action
hero, hes a gunslinger
P. 57 seeing the waterfall where the caves are the women almost
fall into a trance of nature almost to the point that they forget that
they are in danger they lose touch with what is going on around them
wants us to recognize that this space in which the characters find
themselves the people recognize as being larger than they are
almost like they are breaking their necks to see the top of this thing
this is romantic, writing a romance romantic but not unappalling to
be appalled is to be white, when we become appalled the blood drains
from our faces the appallingness of nature is important to register the
majesty and the awe-inspiring majesty of this place
Whenever the sun goes down and night comes along once we lose
the lightness of the sun, suddenly there is something threatening
about this place almost a native lurking behind every tree waiting for
dark to come out yet he balances that off with passages like that of
Glenns Falls threat and beauty at the same time in this place

The death of Uncas alongside Cora Uncas just having been slayed by
Magua trying to defend Cora, then Magua makes a long jump but is
holding on, then the long carabine takes him out (Thomas Coles image
focus on landscape, represent the landscape as much larger than the
human world as possible) this is the high point of the novel and Cole
knows that Cooper is trying to insist that place defines people what
Cooper wants to do with this mixture of threat and beauty is to show a
particular vision Cooper has about nature surrounded by nature
nature as being sublime (Edmund Burke the beautiful in nature but
also the sublime, things that are sublime, majestic and awesome)
Hawk-eye gets the women to the fort but thousands of the French army
and the natives are swarming in the fort they then think about how to
get into the fort Hawk-eye gets a plan dismount the women and let
their horses range the plains and creating chaos so that they can all
run into the fort Heyward calls it out as dumb Hawk-eye says that it
was manly so he had to mention it
P. 81 they are waiting around seeing where Magua is going to come
out of Hawk-eye takes this moment to give a lecture when they are
all supposed to be paying attention to what is going on, makes no
sense other than for Cooper to show how knowledgeable Hawk-eye is
What makes the Mohicans heroes? They share the same traits as
Hawk-eye why are they not the same level as Hawk-eye? One of the
important things that differentiates them from Hawk-eye is the
importance they feel for deliberation before taking action, they think
first before acting, which Hawk-eye does not somehow the student
(Hawk-eye) outranks the teacher one of the distinctions that
separates them is their racial and cultural backgrounds having been
raised in that culture of deliberation Cooper feels that it is the action
that should trump things
P. 61 starts describing what Uncas looks like the two Munro sisters
and Duncan see him go by everybody is going to get the vapors
when they look at Uncas because he exudes heroism his skin is noble
in its pure red a purity of his lineage and descent for all of his purity
we recognize his hybridity in terms of culture dresses like a white
man (Chingachgook also carries English made hunting knife, rifle of the
white man) father and son we recognize the fact of their approximation
of a European style that makes them heroic
P. 22 Maguas description not a warrior, neglect savage and
repulsive face paint that is dark Magua effects no cultural hybridity
his villainy in some ways is rooted in that he eschews altogether
being associated with Europeans Magua has no sense of allegiance
and is lying to Munro outright he has already been humiliated by
Munro and he only care about himself and his own interests he is
outfitted as a Huron, but he is a Mohawk by birth and was exiled by his
people because he was humiliated by Munro Magua gets drunk and
goes into the English tents and he is whipped in public and is

humiliated and lives with the Hurons instead the way Magua paints
his face as a warrior is to make him look confusing rather than
menacing (Chingachgook wears death war paint but Cooper says this is
to scare bad guys and good guys would recognize his innate nobility)
Maguas skin is many shades darker than Uncas and Chingachgooks
Hawk-eyes most repeated thing is that he is a man without a cross,
has nothing to do with religion, he is saying that he is pure, a man
without a cross in his blood pure in his whiteness Uncas is pure red,
and Chingachgook a notch below maybe because he covers his purity
in war paint Magua becomes the villain in his impurity in what
appears to be blackness
Why does Magua decide that the best way to avenge himself is to
kidnap one of Munros daughters? Purity and impurity is central,
Magua wants ongoing revenge he wants to torment Munro by taking
revenge by proxy through his daughters trying to take revenge by
taking away Munros family and tormenting Munro by the creation of a
new family, children being born from Magua and Cora sex, violence
and race startling the audience jeopardizing European female purity
Why is Alice not the one who gets taken? Practically Magua doesnt
want some fainting chick around the forest they are half-sisters
Cora has black African blood on her mothers side, Munro is
desperately trying to cover this up Magua is drawn more to Cora than
to Alice because Cooper seems to imply that there is a way in which
impurity calls out to impurity and purity calls to purity the love stories
are important to Cooper, he wants to say that like calls on to like
think about who is alive and who is dead in the book Cooper has
gotten rid of all the supposedly troublesome characters, he has created
couples and triangles (Alice and Heyward, Hawk-eye and
Chingachgook, Cora, Uncas, and Magua) it is important that there is
no sex, if Magua and Cora, or Uncas and Cora end up in a couples
relationship, we are going to have interracial children, we deny that
possibility (all white couple and a couple who cant have babies
survive) they are paired off at the end because Cooper says that we
need that native influence in Chingachgook for Hawk-eye to protect
the Alice and Duncan babies
The American national character is one that recognizes the importance
of the influence of the native and the necessary dismissal of that
native influence riding off into the sunset, setting of the sun of that
native way Cooper is ambivalent about it ultimately