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Film Studies Reality Effects and Truth Effects Table of Contents 1. Recap 2. Take a Photograph or Make a Photograph 3. Reality effects and truth effects Recap • Film Realism - a style of filmmaking in which an attempt is made to represent something familiar or typical without changing it. • Realist film - a type of films which are characterized for such a style Recap • Film Formalism - a style of filmmaking whose primary concern is form to the extent reality is willingly altered or new reality is recreated. • Formalistic film - a type of films which are characterized for such a style. Recap PROBLEMS OF FILM REALISM • Film is not reality itself but the representation of it. Thus, filmed reality is subject to filmmaker’s alteration and manipulation. PROBLEMS OF FILM FORMALISM • It is impossible to create anything which has nothing to do with the reality we perceive. Recap • Woody Allen’s comedy, Annie Hall (1977) • Real Marshall McLuhan appears • But he is still his (moving) image and not himself. Recap • When the audience takes people on the screen as real. • Imaginary relationship: the illusion screen reality is part of actual reality Jacques Lacan and Christian Metz Imaginary and symbolic relationships • Woody Allen’s Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) Recap • Realism and formalism coexist and interact in every film Our task is: - to identify the extent to which a film is realistic, formalistic or both; - to explore how filmmakers achieve realism or formalism Take or Make a Photograph • Photography is a modern invention which has enabled us to record reality ‘as it really is.’ • Question: Is photography an objective reflection of reality? Take or Make a Photograph? • Choices of exposure and shutter speed - reflect photographer’s intention. Take or Make a Photograph • John Constable’s two drawings of the same spot. Dedham from Langham Take or Make a Photograph • Composition • Photographer finding an interesting moment Photoes by Henri Cartier-Bresson Take or Make a Photograph • The choice of colour or black and white - reflects Aesthetic choice Take or Make a Sketch • John Constable’s series of paintings of the sky Take or Make a Sketch • Constable’s studies on cloud-formation based on Alexander Cozens Reality Effects and Truth Effects • Film is not, no matter how realistic it is, the simple, objective recording of reality but the rearrangement of it. • ‘Virtual reality, O.K. You know what virtual means? O.K., it is like really real. So virtual reality is practically, totally real. But not. -Jennifer Jason Leigh as Lois Kaiser in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts Reality Effects and Truth Effects ‘Realism’ is a relative concept in two senses 1) There is no pure or perfect form of realism. Some films are more realistic than others. 2) The filmmaker’s and the viewer’s idea of reality is relative. An alternative way to describe realism To discuss realism in terms of effects which a film create on the audience. Reality Effects and Truth Effects • ‘Reality Effects’ - they come into being when representations in moving images give the audience the impression that they mimic the facticity of the world around us, or surface appearance. Roland Barthes Reality Effects and Truth Effects • ‘Truth Effects’ - they come into being when representations in moving images agree with viewer’s ideas of what is true about the world in a general sense. They have to do with whether texts conform to what she generally believes about experience. Michel Foucault Reality Effects and Truth Effects • Impression of authenticity for a type of the viewer Gino Pontecorvo’s La Battaglia di Algeri (Italy, 1966) • Impression of authenticity for another type of the viewer Richard Curtis’s Casablanca (US, 1942) Reality Effects and Truth Effects • Moving images have ‘truth-effects’ even when they are ‘objectively’ untrue. Samuel Fuller’s House of Bamboo (US, 1955) Louis Gilbert’s You Live Only Twice (UK/US, 1967) Roald Dahl (script) and Ian Fleming (original novel) Reality Effects and Truth Effects Reality Effects • Materialist approach to our cognition • Things exist independently of the individual’s knowledge of them. Truth Effects • Idealist approach to our cognition • Things do not exist in themselves. They exist only as ideas that each of us has of them. Of the following two scenes which renders reality effects and which truth effects? Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (US, 1970) • Extreme slow-motion photography and extremely graphic rendition of an explosion. Roland Joffé’s Killing Field (UK, 1984) • More Conventional restaging an explosion. Our impression of moving images being realistic • Our impression of moving images being realistic depends on both reality and truth effects that they exert on us.