Observations on Film Art

  • GIRL SHY: Harold Lloyd Meets Classical Hollywood

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 14

    David Bordwell shows how Harold Lloyd helped silent comedy evolve from gag-based skits to increasingly intricate narrative forms.

  • Flashbacks in THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 13

    Professor Kristin Thompson explores the intricate chronology of Victor Sjöström’s innovative ghost story.

  • BRUTE FORCE: The Actor’s Tool Kit

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 12

    What do actors do when they act? Few aspects of film craft are as widely discussed—and as little understood.

  • Mastering a New Medium: Sound in M

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 11

    Listen closely: Fritz Lang’s claustrophobic thriller has one of the densest, most skillfully layered soundtracks in all of early sound film.

  • The Stripped-Down Style of ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 10

    Professor Jeff Smith illustrates how Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s deliberate blocking and tableau compositions accentuate the social divisions that crisscross his 1974 masterpiece.

  • Chaplin’s Comedy of Murders

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 9

    From tramp to serial killer: find out how Charlie Chaplin reinvented himself for this pitch-black comedy.

  • Offscreen Sound in LA CÉRÉMONIE

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 8

    Professor Jeff Smith demonstrates how Claude Chabrol manages to play his audience like a piano, evoking suspense, isolation, and class conflict through an expertly tuned soundtrack.

  • Staging in THE RULES OF THE GAME

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 7

    Jean Renoir’s THE RULES OF THE GAME is famed for its deep-focus photography and intricate staging. Professor Kristin Thompson analyzes the elaborate construction—and mesmerizing chaos—of Renoir’s symphonic tragicomedy.

  • Camera Movement in THREE COLORS: RED

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 6

    Professor Jeff Smith shows us how Krzysztof Kieślowski’s THREE COLORS: RED uses camera movements to establish elusive connections between two characters who are largely unaware of one another.

  • THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE: A Child’s Point of View

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 5

    Using the great Spanish film THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, by Victor Erice, professor Kristin Thompson shows how restricting us to a child's point of view can make the familiar seem strange and emphasize the horrors of war.

  • The Restraint of L’AVVENTURA

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 4

    Professor David Bordwell applies his analysis of film language to Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’AVVENTURA, illustrating how the director uses careful staging and methodical framing to keep us guessing about his characters’ feelings and motivations.

  • Abbas Kiarostami: The Character of Landscape, the Landscape of Character

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 3

    In the third installment in our ongoing introduction to film language, Professor Kristin Thompson offers an analysis of the legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's quiet genius.

  • Quicker Than the Eye: Editing in SANSHIRO SUGATA

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 2

    Our home film school continues with David Bordwell’s analysis of Akira Kurosawa’s first film, a showcase for the powerhouse director’s range of talents.

  • Musical Motifs in FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

    1 season

    Observations on Film Art No. 1

    If you’ve always wanted to study film, here’s your chance! In this series, the authors of “Film Art: An Introduction” bring film school home in plain language. This month, Jeff Smith breaks down a classical Hollywood score with a Hitchcockian twist.