Week 10: Talk to her(2002) film analyses


Talk To Her Film Analyses

Talk To Her is a 2002 film directed by Pedro Almodóvar that can be considered a cinema of attraction. The film is a melodrama with several themes, all of which range in tone, ranging from a soap opera to a tragedy. The plot revolves around two men, one a travel writer and the other a male nurse. It is a form of a cinema of attraction because it constructs an intense emotional relationship with the audience (Gunning, 284). The two men in the film are free to express their emotions even when that reveals their vulnerability. They are both seen shedding tears of empathy and dedicating their lives caring for women who are helpless. One of the most significant themes is that men also possess sentimental attributes that are considered to be feminine.

What is common between the two men is that they have been emotionally compelled to wait by the bedside of women who are suffering complications that are so severe that they are not expected to recover again.  The suffering women are in a condition in which they cannot realize the devotion of the men taking care of them, but the men have devoted their lives to their service (Vardac, 1998). The director evokes complex emotions but in a rather unconventional way. Usually, it is women who are associated with the kind of emotions that lead them to feel deeply and take care of people who are helpless (Mulvey, 2010). In this case, however, it is men who do this, and they do it with optimal commitment and dedication. Benigno, one of the male characters, has been a caregiver almost all his life since he took care of his dying mother for years. When he begins taking care of Alicia after her accident, it gets to a point where he is at her bedside for 24 hours a day.



Gunning, T. n.d. The Cinema of Attraction[s]: Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde. 381-387.

Mulvey, L. 2010 “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” 6-8. Oxford Press.

Vardac, N. 1998. From Stage to Screen: Theatrical Methods from Garrick to Griffith New York: Benjamin Blom, 232.


Week 9: Interstellar, Cinema and Embodiment Effect


In most sci-fi films, visual perception involves the processes of proprioception as well as exteroception. This is the case with the popular 2014 Interstellar film by Christopher Nolan. The grandiose film is based on various serious scientific and philosophical concepts. It also revolves around themes such as love, meaning, human mistakes, among others. The plot of the film centers around a group of astronauts who travel to a far end of the galaxy in an attempt to replace the earth which has already been spoilt (web). Unexplained blights ravage the planet such that the earth is almost becoming inhabitable. Edenic imagery is used to portray the nature’s wrath on irresponsible human activities. While it is not stated, one can use the embodiment effects to conclude that the blight and famine in the earth have been caused by the geo-engineering the atmosphere and genetically modifying crops.

The cinema and embodiment effects applied in the film leave room for viewers to speculate the causalities of some of the unpleasant outcomes. Anne Rutherford argues that perception is neither a biological nor a cognitive process since the distinction can be non-sensical (Rutherford, Anne. 2003, pg. 5). Interstellar attempts to create a doctrine of natural perception. This is because most of its philosophy is constrained by the mechanical application of its own doctrine and is also designed to create a distinction between the viewing of the cinema and the applied natural perception (web). However, the message contained in Interstellar has deep collective consciousness and presents a lot to ponder about. There is a spiritual inclination of the film as much as there is also a philosophical and scientific twist to it. The production of the movie was effective in the use of cinema and embodiment effects to bring all these themes into perspective.


Dyer, Jay. 2014. Interstellar (2014) – The Secret Revelation.Jays Analysis.

Rutherford, Anne. 2003. Cinema and Embodied Affect : Senses of Cinema.

Zoller, Matt. 2014. Interstellar. Roger Ebert.

Week 7: Analyse the film Departures in relation to representing Japanese Culture and death


Films are expected to reflect the reality. Nevertheless, given the fact that they are created by people, it is possible that this representation of reality will be flawed, often excluding some elements and emphasising others. As a result, the problem is representation should be carefully examined since systematic exclusion often results in negative consequences. This blog will example Departures (2008), analysing how this film represents the Japanese culture and death.

To begin with, it is worth pointing out that the film in question focuses on the social group that has been traditionally underprivileged – the morticians. Parmaggiore suggests that it is essential to make sure that a certain minority within the population is represented on the screen from time to time to let the rest of the people see the society from their perspective, thus facilitating the much-needed dialogue.

In addition to that, the film also explores various stereotypes that are associated with death and people how to work with it. According to Dyer, stereotypes are rigid concepts that people use in the absence of real experience. So, the film shows how the protagonist is stigmatised by the relatives and friends in the beginning. However, he is later respected.

Departures (2008) uncovers various issues that exist in the Japanese society, but are not known to the foreigners. In addition to that, it provides a philosophical commentary on the value of death, suggesting that it allows people to rediscover their humanity by carefully handling the corpse and reflecting on the brevity of life.

Week 6:Character and Emotional Response in the Cinema’ and use his model of “recognition-alignment-allegiance” to analyse a film of your choice


Analysis of Wandering In the Fog

Many studies use cognitive approach to create sympathy and to make the audience engaged in films. For discussing how cognitive approach and engagement in real and fictional players, the paper analyses the  in 2010. The analysis will be based on the model of recognition-alignment-allegiance by Murray Smith in his article “Altered States: character and emotional response in the cinema” (Smith, 1994).

According to Murray, people identify with character whether real or fictional based of sympathy structure. The sympathy structure involves all the sense of identification that makes one to quickly identify with and respond to a fictional player. Murray believed that sympathy structure includes three aspects, recognition, alignment, and allegiance.

The title of the film wandering in the Fog give an early clue to the environment of the film, and the narrative qualities are. For example, the movie start with a man’s voice later revealed as “Amin” (Smith, 1994). Contrary to spectator’s recognition of the lead character as an unreliable person, the name “Amin” means honest and reliable. The composer here uses an irony as an element to make the audience to identify the protagonist in the role that he plays and creates an imaginary individual in the mind of the public as a fabricated person and one who has forgotten his life history.

The audience is further aligned with the protagonist’s viewpoint and through his experience of learning new things to fill his erased memory. For example, the life experience of Amin where he searches for his life story using mixed combination of colours remind him of his early childhood life and his neighbour (Smith, 1994). Amin, through imaginations, makes up an image of “Roya a lady he had known when growing up. As such the audience are made to recognize Roya as Amin’s wife (Smith, 1994). As the story progresses, the audience is allied to the main character who narrates who his life has been up due to his unstable mind.



Smith, M. (1994). Altered States: Character and Emotional Response in the Cinema. Cinema Journal, 33(4), 34.

Week 5: Choose one of the essential reading texts on “Narratology”, select one particular aspect of narrative form and analysis and use it to analyse a film of your choice


Pirates of the Caribbean is the film of choice. It is an entertaining film with a captivating story line that makes one want to see more of the movie. The movie has a variety of settings. Judging by its name, pirates are mostly found in the sea, and the film clearly reflects the life of a pirate and his day to day encounters. Its setting is both on land and sea. The film is full of fiction, but it applies some aspects of reality where the pirates dock and access the ground to steal as well as conduct their businesses.

The setting is a mixture of posh and unbearable circumstances and lifestyles. Pirates are usually interested in making money and amassing wealth. The setting of the film allows them to carry out their criminal activities. Besides, the main setting which is in the sea gives the Pirates a chance to hide from the long arms of the law. The sea acts as their strongest defence mechanism. The other vital setting of the film is on a cruise ship. The Pirates shift from ship to ship and take people, hostage. The ships are of different states since most wealthy individual travel in is most likely to find pirates on luxurious ships filled with numerous types of goods.

Another important setting for the film Pirates of the Caribbean is that of a ship not fair to talk about a voyage without including a wreck. Voyages are dangerous as numerous risks accompany them, shipwrecks are the most common types of disasters that face pirates. The remains in the film display luxurious ships that are filled with gold. The setting of the wreckage are based on unfortunate accidents that occur at sea, and this makes the film interesting, thus crowning a setting that depicts the real life of pirates and their struggles in their line of work.




Reference list

Film Studies Presentation: Pirates of the Caribbean. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

Roland, B. 1963, Introduction to structural analysis of narratives, International Publishers, London.

Timeline of Pirates of the Caribbean series. (2017). [online] PotC Wiki. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

Week 4: Write a hypothetical abstract on one particular film


Love and Friendship is a film set in the lavish drawing 18th century English society and portrays the scheming of a gorgeous and intelligent widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) (McCarthy 2016). While she waits for social chatter about an indiscretion to pass, she takes temporarily resides at her in-laws’ estate and at the same time seeks a wealthy husband not only for herself but also her only daughter. However, she also flirts with a married man, Lord Manwering, which brings in the thematic scheme of promiscuity. Later, she also convinces the wealthy Sir James to ditch his proposal to her daughter and instead marry her. On the other hand, her daughter also falls in love and marries another man. Thus, this paper will show that promiscuity and deceit are the key themes communicated by the film Love and Friendship.

The methodology is based on the Feminist Film Theory to show that the film essentially objectifies women sexually. The underlying themes of the film that the producer effectively delivers albeit basing the delivery on comedy are promiscuity and deceit (Bradshaw 2016). From the perspective of production design, a critical review of the costume design also reveals that when Lady Susan Vernon is in the countryside, she is mostly clad in mauve, black and grey attire that matches the mourning attire of that period; however, once she gets to London, she transforms into much brighter colors as well as corseted dresses. Ideally, the costume design heightened the characters by allowing them latitude to be bold (Phillips 2016). Thus, this project will explore how the production design was used to develop the theme of promiscuity in the film Love and Friendship. The qualitative and exploratory methodology focuses on scandalous relationships.




Bradshaw, P 2016, Review of Love and Friendship, viewed 12 February 2016,

McCarthy, T 2016, Love & Friendship: Sundance Review, viewed 12 February 2016,

Phillips, M 2016, Director Whit Stillman on adapting Jane Austen for the big screen, viewed 12 February 2016,

Week 3: Choose the essential reading text “Film and Ideology” by Maria Parmaggiore and Tom Wallis for next week, select one particular aspect of ideology and use it to analyse a film of your choice

Pramaggiore and Wallis’ text states that ideologies give the theoretical threads that knit a community together thereby guiding the deeds of groups, individuals and entire societies (Pramaggiore and Wallis, 2006). The text explains that ideologies serve as the emotional and psychological justification for the differential treatment of persons in a community thus promoting the social supremacy of one group or individual over another. The film directed by Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge, clearly depicts this ideological aspect (Hacksaw Ridge, 2016).hacksaw-ridge-andrew-garfield-movie-image

The film featured the 2nd world war when America was at war with Japan. Many young men volunteered to enlist in the army. It is common knowledge to kill and bear arms in war. However, there is one religious young man by the name Desmond Doss who followed the Ten Commandments at heart and refused to carry a gun or kill. His stand brought about criticism because his fellow teammates and commanders failed to understand why he enlisted if he would not equip himself with arms or kill the enemies. Consequently, Doss faced harassment from his commanders and the teammates. The leaders exerted excess force and punishment on the unit with the hopes that Doss would give up and go home. They even opted for mental illness allegations to prove that he was unfit to go to war. Some of his group men physically assaulted him to scare him into going home. The commanders later sent Doss to prison and to the court martial for disobeying orders.

Most of the characters victimised Doss because of his stand against violence at war. The film provides a clear picture of the beliefs of people and how individuals carry out extreme measures to realise those ideas. It provides insight on how individuals with different views are victimised and punished when they refuse to follow the expected societal norms. In the end, Doss was allowed to proceed into war without any weapon and act as a medic. He later saved the lives of 75 men.



Hacksaw Ridge. (2016). [film] New South Wales: Mel Gibson.

Pramaggiore, M. and Wallis, T. (2006). Film: A Critical Introduction. 1st ed. London: Pearson, pp.331-337.

Week 2:An Analysis of the Movie Forrest Gump

 Image result for FORREST GUMP

Digital image processing technologies are swiftly transforming the perception and appearance of reality as shown in various movies. For instance, Forrest Gump (1994) shows the general public how the application of visual technologies using computer-generated images can create a perception of realism during the movie making process. In this blog, the concept of realism will be explored in the film Forrest Gump.

According to Edwards (2013), the theory of cinema as exemplified by Siegfried Kracauer falls under the tradition of artistic Realism. However, a movie like Forrest Gump is inherently considered as part of artistic realism. While analyzing ontology of cinema that was postulated by Andre Bazin, Edwards noted that a film can be regarded as means of actual recording as well as a revelation of physical reality. As such, this means that just like in the case of a photograph, movies such as Forrest Gump are realistic since they are a reproduction of the real world. Notably, the main inclinations or themes that are recurrent in the film include realistic and formative elements.

Due to digital image processing technologies, views of the movie are treated to gory photographic pictures of Gary Sinise, an actor playing Gump’s amputee friend and fellow Vietnam War veteran being moved by a nurse from a hospital bed while appearing legless in a digitally altered 3D space. At that point, viewers realize that the digital representation was not achieved via an old-fashioned technique of tucking the limbs of the actors behind their bodies and then concealing the tucked leg with a loose fitting garment.

All in all, one can realize that realism is very much in play in everyday cinema. Forrest Gump is an excellent exemplification of this application of realism to movie production.




Edwards, T.J., 2013. Realism, really?: A closer look at theories of realism in cinema. Kino: The Western Undergraduate Journal of Film Studies4 (1), p.10.

Week 1: How aspects/ideas/theories from the text may inspire your film practice

Texts are:

Stam, Robert (2000) Film Theory: An Introduction, London: Blackwell. (pp. 37-55: Soviet Montage and Formalism

Thompson-Jones, Katherine (2009) ‘Formalism’, in Plantinga, Carl and Livingstone, Paisley (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film, New York: Routledge


Film formalism focuses on the aspect of formal, the technical and every other element of films such as lighting, scoring, the sound as well as set design the use of colour, the short compositions in addition to editing. The interesting part of film formalism is its associated and unusual form of formalism. This is because formalism is fairly dominant, possess mainstream views in regards to film; thus, it represents a minority view that is overshadowed by a solid interpretive customs.

Subsequently, film formalism is stimulating because it does not uphold most of the usual formalist tenets. Hence, the aspects of film formalism deny the aesthetic importance of sharp distinctions between the form as well as the content, the existence of distinct aesthetic responses to the formal beauty, as well as the acceptable and purely immanent in addition to historical critics, which can be an advantage in inspiring film practice. Film formalism results from literary theory, which is however finely attuned to the historical and technical potentialities of the film medium. For instance, the attunement tends to explain the unusual structures of film formalism. Film formalism maintains its role in a wider formalist tradition as a platform for the structural analyses besides the appreciation of film practice as an aesthetic item.

In a nutshell, it is rather compelling to spend more time trying to figure out the meaning of films and this brings about the broader task regarding how films also work. Hence, with the current poetics film practice can instruct the learners of films about making analyses as complex structures. As such, films appear to work in accordance with their given formal structures as well as how they are put together. Therefore, the aspect of film formalism breathes new life relative to formalism theories that can redirect film practice as well as study.


Corrigan, T., 2015. Short Guide to Writing about Film. Pearson Higher Ed.

Thompson-Jones, K., 2017. Formalism. Princeton University Press.