Post-Carroll

Functional Elements of the Moving Image

in Projections
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  • 1 University of South Wales, UK
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Abstract

Analyzing moving images is one of the fundamental practices in our attempt to understand the medium. Building on Noël Carroll's functional theory of film style, this article attempts to define a taxonomy of functional elements of shot composition in order to establish a clear methodology for the analysis of a moving image. Carroll criticizes forms of stylistic analysis that limit themselves to a few pre-selected aspects of the moving image, for example, genre motifs, individual filmmakers’ personal traits, or broad studies of film movements. Numerous writers have presented breakdowns of component parts of a moving image, often in wider discussions of film form. However these lists are often incomplete or do not have a clear methodology. This article identifies the key components of a moving image that could serve a functional purpose in individual films.

Contributor Notes

Philip Cowan has worked as a freelance cinematographer. He began teaching in 1994 as a guest lecturer at various institutions, becoming a permanent member of staff at University of South Wales (formerly University of Wales Newport) in 2005. He completed his PhD in 2016. Since joining academia, he has published a number of articles on film authorship and cinematography, as well as presenting papers at various conferences around the world. His article “The Democracy of Colour” with the film The Sleeping Mat Ballad (Margaret Constantas, 2015) won a BAFTSS Best Practice/Research Portfolio award in 2016.

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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