New CINEPHILE 8.2 on Contemporary Extremism


>A video primer in shot-making from Majestic Micro Essays


Image of Kendra Elliott in Shallow Focus (Majestic Micro Movies, 2010)

Film Studies For Free trips the light fantastic today as it brings you an entertaining, neo-Godardian, audiovisual introduction to cinematic shot-making in four (themselves luminously shot) parts.

The videos come from Majestic Micro Movies, a filmmaking collective based in Brooklyn and north Texas, “dedicated to touching the wordless secrets only cinema can discover. Its offerings are now rolling out on a computer or portable device near you!” The collective’s YouTube channel is here and its Facebook page is here.


>’Total realism’? On depth of focus and field in cinematography, mise-en-scène, and sound design


Short documentary on the work of cinematographer Gregg Toland, one of the greatest Directors of Photography of all time. Also, read his article for the September 1941 issue of Theater Arts magazine The Motion Picture Cameraman.

Film Studies For Free was so inspired by Jim Emerson’s excellent essay ‘Avatar, the French New Wave and the morality of deep-focus (in 3-D)’ at his blog Scanners, that it decided to speed up production and publication of its long-in-preparation list of links to openly-accessible scholarly material of note on cinematographic depth of field, focus, and related matters of sound design and staging. Thanks Jim!

Readers might also like to (re)visit FSFF‘s posts on 3D Studies, phenomenological film studies, film music and sound, Orson Welles  and Avatar.

The Close-Up: Studies of Cinematic Attention, Emotion, and Intersubjectivity

(Carl Theodor Dreyer, France 1928)

‘The close-up has objectified in our world of perception our mental act of attention and by it has furnished art with a means which far transcends the power of any theatre stage’, Hugo Münsterberg, The Photoplay: A Psychological Study (1916), p. 56

‘Good close-ups are lyrical; it is the heart, not the eye, that has perceived them’, Béla Balázs, ‘Theory of the Film’ in Gerald Mast & Marshall Cohen (ed), Film Theory and Criticism, Oxford: Oxford Uni Press (1979), pp. 288-298. p. 289

‘[T]he close-up does not tear away its object from a set of which it would form part, of which it would be a part, but on the contrary, it abstracts it from all spatio-temporal co-ordinates, that is to say it raises it to the state of Entity’, Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986, pp. 95-96

‘[T]he space of the narrative, the diegesis, is constructed by a multiplicity of shots that vary in terms of both size and angle- hence this space exists nowhere; there is no totality of which the close up could be a part’, Mary Ann Doane, ‘The Close Up: Scale and Detail in the Cinema’, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, September 22, 2003 p. 108

Film Studies For Free gets inexorably drawn in to, and then engulfed by, the close-up today. In other words, it brings you lots of links to high quality and openly-accessible scholarly or critical studies of the history and theory of this particular cinematic (and televisual) shot-choice and its reception.