Chapter 2: The Significance of Film Form


     Film form is what holds the whole movie together.  The example used in the book is how the form of films is in essence like the body.  The body holds everything together while there are still little functions going on in the body.  The form of a movie is more like a system. There are little functions in a movie that help people to understand the concept of the movie as well as make them feel the emotion that the movie is trying to get across. The two main elements in film form are stylistic elements and narrative elements. Stylistic elements are the way the camera moves, the music used, and the patterns of colors that are used.  Whereas, narrative elements are what “constitute the film’s story” (55).   The viewers combine both of these elements when watching a movie.  Whenever one of these elements comes up the viewer will combine them to make better sense of what is happening.  Within the form of a movie, like the body, there are littler functions that occur to help make the form of the movie.  Some of these functions are formal expectations, conventions and experience, form and feeling, form and meaning, and evaluations.  Within form and meaning there are 4 different meanings. Referential meaning which “refers to things or places already invested with significance” (61).  Explicit meaning is basically the meaning you get from context of the movie.  Implicit meaning in your interpretation of the movie, but sometimes you can interpret into to much detail of the movie.  Sometimes people have interpreted things from different parts of the movie that the director didn’t even mean to put in there.  Lastly, there is symptomatic meaning is how the explicit and implicit meanings relate to social values.  The second part of chapter 2 talked about the principles of film form, the function, similarity and repetition, difference and variation, development, and unity/disunity.  All of these different little functions put together create the final and big form of a movie.  Here are some examples of littler forms of movies.

In the earlier part of chapter 2 it talks about formal expectations.  When is comes to formal expectations there are times when the movie has an element of surprise.  “My Sisters Keeper” a novel by Jodi Picoult is being made into a movie and this book had a very big element of surprise in the ending.  The book is about these two sisters, Anna and Kate. Kate has cancer and the parents had Anna just so she could give bone marrow to the older sister to help her live.  You find out later Kate forced Anna to take their parents to court because Kate felt like they were taking advantage of Anna. Kate starts to get really sick towards the end and she needs a kidney and they ask Anna to give up one of hers. However, Kate refuses to take Anna’s kidney because she thinks that they are taking advantage of Anna. You expect in the very end that Kate will die from her cancer, but the book doesn’t follow your expectation and instead of Kate dying, Anna actually dies in a car crash. The doctor’s then talk Kate into taking Anna’s kidney.

            When reading the book you never expect for this to happen.  The expectations that you get from the book while reading never leads you to the ending of the book.  This is definitely a book that cheats expectations and does not follow the normal pattern of other books that have similar plot lines. 

     Also in chapter 2 there is a part that talks about similarity and repetition.  In Donnie Darko “rabbits” are the basic motif of the movie.  There are many scenes in which “rabbits” are either mentioned or a rabbit named Frank that physically talks to Donnie.  You see the repetition of “rabbits” being mentioned or shown through out the entire movie; however every scene is different from the next.  Frank tries to warn Donnie about things that are going to happen in the future and while Donnie is in school they have a conversation about rabbits.

     Chapter 2 is all about form of a movie and how important it is.  The form of film affects the feelings that you have during the movie.  In The Notebook a boy, Noah, and girl, Allie, meet during the summer when they are 17 years old.  They fall in love but Allie has to move at the end of the summer.  Seven years pass and Allie in now engaged, but never stopped thinking about Noah.  Noah also never stopped thinking of Allie.  Allie later goes back to visit Noah before she gets married to her fiancé and ends up sleeping with Noah.  Through out the entire movie you are rooting for Noah and Allie to end up together.  Even though Allie totally cheats on her fiancé, the way the movie is formed it makes you happy that she did sleep with Noah and ends up leaving her fiancé for Noah.  This movie underneath it all actually has a bad message but the way they made the movie it makes you happy that Allie was not true to her word and was unfaithful.  If the movie had not emphasized the relationship that Noah and Allie had during that summer the movie would not have made you feel the same way.   


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