Cinematic tradition suggests that Hollywood films, like plays, are divided into acts. Thompson (1999) streamlined the conception of this largescale film structure by suggesting that most films are composed of four acts of generally equal length—the setup, the complicating action, the development, and the climax (often including an epilog). These acts are based on the structure of the narrative, and would not necessarily have a physical manifestation in shots and transitions. Nonetheless, exploring a sample of 150 Hollywood style films from 1935 to 2005, this article demonstrates that acts shape shot lengths and transitions. Dividing films into quarters, we found that shots are longer at quarter boundaries and generally shorter near the middle of each quarter. Moreover, aside from the beginnings and ends of films, the article shows that fades, dissolves, and other non-cut transitions are more common in the third and less common in the fourth quarters of films.
James E. Cutting, Kaitlin L. Brunick and Jordan E. Delong
Aki Kaurismäki's feature-length fictional films are often discussed as a stylistically homogenous group. Because critics have looked for similarities, they have neglected differences among the films. This article tests prevailing arguments about the cinematographic style of Kaurismäki's films in a quantitative analysis of shot lengths, camera movements, reverse angles, point of view shots, and shot scales. The analysis indicates significant similarities and changes among the films and differentiates between notable stylistic trends. The results of the study complicate existing claims about Kaurismäki's style. Mismatches between impression and fact are explained by analyzing the parts of Kaurismäki's style that “stand out” and the reasons why they do so.
Well, here we are, starting our fifth year of publication and things seem to be going smoothly enough. Ever developing (we are never satisfied), we bring you something new with this issue, an approach that might further our understanding of cinema and the way it affects us as viewers. The field is “cinemetrics” and though some form of it has been around since the 1970s, the field has taken off especially with the start of the cinemetrics website in 2005.