; Shot-by-shot analysis
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Shot-by-shot analysis


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									Shot-by-shot analysis
Good movies, like good stories, poems, and plays, are best read more than once. Under close
analysis, a well-made film can reveal qualities and meanings that we miss the first time through.
The purpose of this assignment is to take a careful look at a part of a film in order to appreciate
how it was made and how it works.

A. Select a film to study from the list. View the entire film and then choose a scene (from ten to
twenty shots in length) to analyze. Watch the scene several times, take notes, brainstorm ideas,
and watch again. To “see” the scene you’ll need to watch it many times.

B. Do a shot-by-shot analysis of the scene. You will need to examine each shot of the ten to
twenty that make up your scene. Your analysis should include the following:

        1. A brief description of the shot (the elements of mise-en-scene)
        2. Framing (close-up, medium shot, long shot, low angle, high angle, eye level). Make
        sure to explain WHAT is being framed, i.e., a extreme close-up of the main character’s
        3. Camera movement (tilt, crane (the camera moves as if it’s on a crane, because it is),
        zoom, pan, tracking, none)
        4. Sound (diegetic, nondiegetic)
        5. Transitions (crosscut, form cut, match cut, dissolve, wipe, etc.)
        6. Continuity Editing (match on action, eyeline match, and others)
        7. Sequencing (linear, associative, montage)
        8. A discussion of WHY the director made the decision to shoot the shot as he did.
        9. Did I explain how important #8 is? It’s basically 90% of your grade on this project, so
        before you move onto #10, make sure that #8 is there.
        10. DON’T REPEAT INFORMATION!!!! If the same music plays throughout the
        scene, make note of it ONCE, explain its purpose and that it plays through the scene, and
        then DON”T MENTION IT AGAIN.

        Write the above out in paragraph form, most likely one paragraph per shot. You must use
        the film vocabulary that you’ve studied. This is by no means all of what is available to
        discuss. It is absolutely essential that you display your ability to discuss why the
        director made all these choices, and how these choices affect the viewer.

C. Now, considering the whole scene, discuss the following:
      1. How does this scene contribute to the ongoing story? Discuss how the director’s
      choices in this scene affect the story as a whole. For example, how does the choice to use
      a graphic match in this scene suggest something about the story as a whole?
      2. Does this present an objective view of events, or does it represent someone’s
      subjective account? Explain. How is the camera used to emphasize this point of view?
      3. What does this scene tell you about the major character or characters? Refer to the
      actors’ movements, words, and dress as revealed by the camera. Refer also to how
      camera angles, transitions, and other cinematic techniques tell us about the characters.
      4. Describe the overall mood of this scene. Is it mysterious, funny, sad? How do the
      lighting and camera work help to create this mood?

D. Your final thought.
Your grade:

An amazing shot-by-shot analysis will do the following: 1) catalogue a vast range of the details in the
scene. You show what an incredible eye you have for seeing all the subtleties of the film; 2) display your
ability to discuss why the director made all these choices, and how these choices affect the viewer. It’s not
enough to say, “That was a jump cut!” Tell me why the director used it, and what it shows about the
characters; 3) arrange all this is some meaningful, detailed, organized fashion.

American Beauty                        Amores Perros                           Mulholland Drive
Amelie                                 Raising Arizona                         Being John Malkovich
Notorious                              Blood Simple                            Adaptation
North by Northwest                     Fargo                                   Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Maltese Falcon                         Miller’s Crossing                       The Truman Show
The Seventh Seal                       Schindler’s List                        Requiem for a Dream
Bonnie and Clyde                       Jaws                                    The Departed
From Here to Eternity                  Cabinet of Dr. Caligari                 Touch of Evil
The Bridge over the River Kwai         π                                       Rebel Without a Cause
Jaws                                   The Pianist                             Rushmore
Bram Stoker’s Dracula                  Metropolis                              Groundhog Day
Fifth Element                          Rebecca                                 Everything Is Illuminated
Election                               Yojimbo                                 Thin Red Line
The Birds                              Trainspotting                           Cinema Paradiso
Alien                                                                          The Postman Always Rings Twice
Aliens                                                                         Cape Fear (original)
                                       Little Miss Sunshine
The Searchers                                                                  The Wild Bunch
                                       Edward Scissorhands
Casablanca                                                                     8 1/2
                                       Being There
The Player                                                                     The Godfather Part II
                                       A Streetcar Named Desire
Chinatown                                                                      Dr. Strangelove
                                       What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Laura                                                                          The Bicycle Thief
The Third Man                                                                  Sunset Boulevard
                                       A Clockwork Orange
M                                                                              Nashville
                                       Drugstore Cowboy
Days of Heaven                                                                 Delicatessen
                                       Stranger Than Paradise
Night of the Hunter                                                            Mean Streets
                                       Down By Law
Rosemary’s Baby                                                                The Conversation
                                       The Fast Runner
Memento                                                                        Tootsie
                                       The Full Monty
Following                                                                      The Manchurian Candidate
Unforgiven                                                                     Blow-up
                                       My Life as a Dog
La Dolce Vita                                                                  L’Age d’Or
                                       My Own Private Idaho
Ma Vien Rose                                                                   The Road Warrior
                                       She’s Gotta Have It
Blue Velvet                                                                    The Motorcycle Diaries
                                       Thelma and Louise
The Shining                                                                    Boy’s Don’t Cry
                                       This is Spinal Tap!
Vertigo                                                                        Au Revoir Les Enfants
                                       Welcome to the Dollhouse
Good Fellas                                                                    The 400 Blows
                                       Alphaville                              One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Sling Blade                            Brazil                                  Parents
Seven Samurai                          City of Lost Children                   Pan’s Labyrinth
Raging Bull                            Close Encounters of the Third Kind
                                                                               Tony Takitani
LA Confidential                        Contact
The Usual Suspects                     The Fly
Pulp Fiction                           Gattaca
                                       Invasion of the Body Snatchers          Others?
Reservoir Dogs
Citizen Kane                           Repo Man
Silence of the Lambs                   Sleeper
Breathless (original)                  Terminator
Rear Window                            THX 1138
Wings of Desire                        Twelve Monkeys
City of God                            The Killing

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