Showing posts with label film theory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film theory. Show all posts

Sunday 12 September 2021

Film Studies: An Introduction

 An Introduction to Film Studies

Film studies is an academic discipline that deals with various theoreticalhistorical, and critical approaches to cinema as an art form and a medium. It is sometimes subsumed within media studies and is often compared to television studies (Gibson, Pamela Church; Dyer, Richard; Kaplan, E. Ann; Willemen, Paul, eds. (2000). "Introduction". Film Studies: Critical Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1–8)

Film studies is less concerned with advancing proficiency in film production than it is with exploring the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic, and political implications of the cinema (Gibson). In searching for these social-ideological values, film studies takes a series of critical approaches for the analysis of production, theoretical framework, context, and creation (Sikov, Ed. 2010. "Introduction." Pp. 1–4 in Film Studies: An Introduction. New York: Columbia UP. Print).

Explore these links for further study

 Major Idea Major Terms Summary and Analysis (Click here to read this document)

For more examples - visit this website

Check your understanding - Appear in an Online Quiz

Gibson, Pamela Church; Dyer, Richard; Kaplan, E. Ann; Willemen,         Paul, eds. (2000). "Introduction". Film Studies: Critical                     Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1–8
Ryan, Michael. An Introduction to Literature: Criticism, Film,                 Culture. Wiley Blackwell. 2012. 
Sikov, Ed. 2010. "Introduction." Pp. 1–4 in Film Studies: An                 Introduction. New York: Columbia UP. Print

Video on 'Study of Slates / Frames'

Students' videos on Film Studies


Jheel Barad 
Emisha Ravani
Nilay Rathod
Divya Sheta

Vachhalata Joshi

Dhruvita Dhameliya
Divya Parmar
Mayuri Pandya 
Nirav Amreliya
Himanshi Parmar
Nidhi Dave
Hirva Pandya

Monday 23 September 2013

Worksheet: Film Screening - Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party

Worksheet: Film Screening 

Film Screening: ‘The Birthday Party - a British drama film (1968)- directed by 
William Friedkin (The Birthday Party) -  based on an unpublished screenplay by 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, which he adapted from his own play The Birthday Party (Pinter, The Birthday Party).

Online Quiz on 'The Birthday Party'

Pre-Viewing Tasks:

  • ·         Harold Pinter – the man and his works (Pinter, The Birthday Party)
  • ·         Comedy of Menace: Whose plays are known so? Who termed it? What are its peculiar characteristics? How is it different from Absurd Theatre?
  • ·         Explain ‘Pinteresque’ – Pinter pause and use of ‘Silence’ in the play: a particular atmosphere and environment in drama.
  • ·         ‘The Birthday Party’ – an allegory of ‘artist in exile and other interpretations
  • ·         ‘The Birthday Party’ as a Political Play with reference to Harold Pinter’s Noble Speech: ‘Art, Truth & Politics[1]’. (Pinter, Art, Truth & Politics: Excerpts from the 2005 Nobel Lecture)

While – Viewing Tasks:

  • ·         Harriet Deer and Irving Deer’s article[2] on Pinter's "The Birthday Party": The Film and the Play. (Deer and Deer)
  • ·         A comparison of the film and play versions of ‘The Birthday Party’ affords us a rare opportunity to gain insight into how a reconception of a play into film may affect the dramatic experience it communicates. Mark the way Pinter treats the texture of the play.
  • ·         Observe how Pinter gives us the texture-the sounds and sights of a world without structure, which is the heart and soul of the play also.
  • ·         How many times the ‘knocking at the door’ happens in the play? Is it creating menacing effect while viewing the movie?
  • ·         How are ‘silences’ and ‘pauses’ used in the movie to give effect of lurking danger – how it helps in building the texture of comedy of menace.
  • ·         Comment upon the use of things like mirror, toy drum, newspapers, breakfast, chairs, window-hatch etc in the movie. What sort of symbolic reading can you give to these objects?
  • ·         How effective are scenes like ‘Interrogation scene’ (Act 1), ‘Birthday Party scene’ (Act 2) and ‘Faltering Goldberg & Petey’s timid resistance scene’ (Act 3) captured in the movie?
  • Post-Viewing Tasks:
  • ·         Why are two scenes of Lulu omitted from the movie?
  • ·         Is movie successful in giving us the effect of menace? Where you able to feel it while reading the text?
  • ·         Do you feel the effect of lurking danger while viewing the movie? Where you able to feel the same while reading the text
  • What do you read in 'newspaper' in the movie? Petey is reading newspaper to Meg, it torn into pieces by McCain, pieces are hidden by Petey in last scene.
  • Camera is positioned over the head of McCain when he is playing Blind Man's Buff and is positioned at the top with a view of room like a cage (trap) when Stanley is playing it. What interpretations can you give to these positioning of camera? 
  • "Pinter restored theater to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of one another and pretense crumbles." (Pinter, Art, Truth & Politics: Excerpts from the 2005 Nobel Lecture). Does this happen in the movie?
  • ·         How does viewing movie help in better understanding of the play ‘The Birthday Party’ with its typical characteristics (like painteresque, pause, silence, menace, lurking danger)?
  • ·         With which of the following observations you agree:

o   “It probably wasn't possible to make a satisfactory film of "The Birthday Party."
o    “It's impossible to imagine a better film of Pinter's play than this sensitive, disturbing version directed by William Friedkin”[3]. (Ebert)

  • ·        If you were director or screenplay writer, what sort of difference would you make in the making of movie?
  • ·         Who would be your choice of actors to play the role of characters?
  •      Do you see any similarities among Kafka's Joseph K. (in 'The Trial'), Orwell's Winston Smith (in 'Nineteen Eighty-Four') and Pinter's Victor (in 'One for the Road')?  

The famous interrogation scene from the movie 'The Birthday Party':

The film version of the play can be viewed here:

Want to listen amazing video-speech by Harold Pinter on the occasion of his being awarded Nobel Prize in 2005? 



Ebert, Roger. Movie Review: The Birthday Party. Ed. Roger Ebert. 23 Sept. 2013 <>.
Pinter, Harold. "Art, Truth & Politics: Excerpts from the 2005 Nobel Lecture." World Literature Today May-Jun 2006: 21-27.
—. The Birthday Party. New Delhi: Faber And Faber (penguin India), 1960, 1991.
The Birthday Party. By Harold Pinter. Dir. William Friedkin. Perf. Robert Shaw, et al. Prods. Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky. Continental Motion Pictures Corporation, 1968.
The film can be viewed online here:

[1] Art Truth &Politics: Excerpts from the 2005 Nobel Lecture Author(s): Harold Pinter. Source: World Literature Today, Vol. 80, No. 3 (May - Jun., 2006), pp. 21-27Published by: Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. Stable URL:
[2] Pinter's "The Birthday Party": The Film and the Play. Author(s): Harriet Deer and Irving Deer. Source: South Atlantic Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 2 (May, 1980), pp. 26-30Published by: South Atlantic Modern Language Association. Stable URL:

Saturday 24 August 2013

Worksheet - 'Hamlet' Movie Screening

Screening Movie: Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Hamlet’. Based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’

Pre-Viewing Tasks:
  •          Genre of the Play – Tragedy  > Shakespearean Tragedy > Revenge Tragedy
  • ·         Plot Overview of the Play
  • ·         Play as Renaissance Text – Renaissance Humanism: “What a piece of work is man . . .”
  • ·         Why delay in taking revenge? Moral anxiety, uncertainty of truth, appearance and reality, human predicament. Oedipus complex.
  • ·         Plot Structure of the Play: T.S. Eliot: ‘artistic failure’ & Freytag’s pyramidical plot structure.
  • Various approaches to Hamlet: i) Textual Analysis, ii) Genre Study, iii) Historical & Biographical Study, iv) Moral Philosophical Approach, v) Psychoanalytical Approach, vi) Mythological & Archetypal Approach, vii) Feminist Approach, viii) Cultural Studies, ix) Formalist Approach: Dialectic as Form
While - Viewing Tasks:

  • ·         Hamlet’s Madness – his dual personality – when with himself/Horatio (Ego/alter-ego) and when with ‘Others’.
  • ·         The beginning. Symbolic significance of Ghost Scene.
  • ·         Scene: This too too solid flesh . . . Frailty, thy name is women.
  • ·         Scene: What a rogue, slave ass am I . . . bloody, bawdy villain!  Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain! , vengeance! . . . The spirit that I have seen  May be the devil
  • ·         Scene: Play within the play
  • ·         Scene: Polonius – the father: a man of practical affairs – his advises to son and daughter – spying son.
  • ·         Scene: To be or Not to be, that is the question!
  • ·         Scene: Nunnery Scene: Mirror Scene
  • ·         Scene: Claudius’s Prayer Scene & Hamlet’s moral dilemma: Pray can I not -
  • ·         Scene: Gertrude’s bedchamber scene: Second appearance of Ghost – visible only to Hamlet and murder of Polonius.
  • ·         Scene: Ophelia’s madness
  • ·         Scene: Laertes’ s anger & motives to avenge his father’s murder
  • ·         Scene: How all occasions do inform against me, And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more . . . O, from this time forth, 
  • My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
  • ·         Scene: Grave Digging Scene
  • ·         Scene: Fencing scene: Duel between Hamlet and Laertes.
  • ·         Scene: The End: Fulfilled the call for sacred duty to avenge the murder of father.

Post – Viewing Tasks:
(Give responses to these questions in the comment section below this blog-post)
  • ·         How faithful is the movie to the original play?
  • ·         After watching the movie, have your perception about play, characters or situations changed?
  • ·         Do you feel ‘aesthetic delight’ while watching the movie? If yes, exactly when did it happen? If no, can you explain with reasons?
  • ·         Do you feel ‘catharsis’ while or after watching movie? If yes, exactly when did it happen? If no, can you explain with reasons?
  • ·         Does screening of movie help you in better understanding of the play?
  • ·         Was there any particular scene or moment in the movie that you will cherish lifetime?
  • ·         If you are director, what changes would you like to make in the remaking of movie on Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’?
  • In the beginning of the movie, camera rolls over the statue of King Hamlet out side the Elsinore castle. The movie ends with the similar sequence wherein the statue of the King Hamlet is hammered down to the dust. What sort of symbolism do you read in this? (Clue: In Book IX of 'Paradise Lost', Satan reflects on his revenge motive:       "But what will not ambition and revenge; Descend to? Who aspires must down as low; As high he soared, obnoxious, first or last, To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, Bitter ere long back on itself recoils." Is it not King Hamlet's ambition to avenge his death responsible for the downfall of his kingdom which is symbolically pictured in last scenes?)
  • While studying the play through movie, which approach do you find more applicable to the play? Why? Give reasons with illustrations.
  • Which of the above mentioned approaches (in Pre-viewing task) appeals you more than other?Why? Give reasons.
  • Take this QUIZ on the play 'Hamlet' to check your understanding of the play:
     Quiz on Hamlet


  • Hamlet. By William Shakespeare. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Kenneth Branagh. Prod. David Barron. Warner Home Video, 1996.
  • —. Hamlet. Ed. Charles Kean. 10 January 1859. 24 August 2013 .
  • Guerin, Wilfred L., Earle Labor, Lee Mrogan, Jeanne C Reesman, John R. Willingham, ‘A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature’, OUP. 2006.
  • Eliot, T.S. Hamlet and His Problems. The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism.  1922.
  • Freytag, Gustav. Die Technik des Dramas (Technique of the Drama). 1863
  • The Films of Kenneth Branagh by Samuel Crowl. Shannon Blake Skelton. Theatre Journal, Vol. 58, No. 4, Film and Theatre (Dec., 2006), pp. 714-715 (article consists of 2 pages) Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.2307/25069943 Stable URL:
  • Shakespeare at the Cineplex: The Kenneth Branagh Era by Samuel Crowl. Peter Parolin, The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Winter, 2005), pp. 1185-1186, (article consists of 2 pages) Published by: The Sixteenth Century Journal DOI: 10.2307/20477651. Stable URL:
  • Thank You, Kenneth Branagh. Brenda Walton. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Vol. 49, No. 7 (Apr., 2006), pp. 556-559. Published by: WileyArticle Stable URL:
  • A Touch of Vaudeville. Steve Vineberg. The Threepenny Review. No. 71 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 19-21.  Published by: Threepenny ReviewArticle Stable URL:
  • Sharing an Enthusiasm for Shakespeare: An Interview with Kenneth Branagh. Gary Crowdus and Kenneth Branagh. Cinéaste, Vol. 24, No. 1 (1998), pp. 34-41. Published by: Cineaste Publishers, IncArticle Stable URL:
  • HAMLET by Kenneth Branagh. Manuel Quinto. El Ciervo. Año 46, No. 556/557 (julio-agosto 1997), p. 38. Published by: El Ciervo 96, S.A.Article Stable URL: