Priyanka Maharaj

Film Language || Blow Out (De Palma, 1981)

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The first week of my film studies course reintroduced me to the fundamentals of film language. The required reading explained that film text is the marrying of all elements, (images, words and sounds) within the same context, to portray a story or narrative. Just as we read bodies of texts, we read films similarly, through physical film forms such as; editing, cinematography, lighting and colour, mise-en-scène and sound.

I never thought of how exactly a film was viewed and understood; I personally didn’t think things like, lighting and sound, imperative to a films successful portrayal of narrative. Understanding film form and utilising the elements effectively, is crucial for me, especially as an emerging film director. Watching the 1981 film, Blow Out, the importance of form become clear; all the elements seem to work well together and the influence of sound was put in a very literally perspective. I must add that my favourite form utilised, well, was cinematography, in particular the spilt diopter shots. Whilst an unusual technique, it didn’t alienate the audience by taking us away from the action.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and its influence it had on me to experiment with the different portrayals of film form.

-Pri

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