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Dictionary of Film Terms

The Aesthetic Companion to Film Art – Fifth Edition

Frank Beaver

Now in its fifth edition, Frank Beaver’s Dictionary of Film Terms has become an indispensable reference tool for the study of films and filmmaking. This trusted and practical handbook clearly and concisely defines the essential terms of film analysis and film art, with a special focus on the aesthetic parameters and values of filmmaking.
The updated and expanded edition includes new definitions ranging from «bullet-time» optical effects, to the coming-of-age narrative, and LED lighting technology in science fiction films such as Gravity. More than 200 film title references not cited in previous editions have been added. Many classic and contemporary photo stills are included to illustrate terms. Extensive cross-referencing among individual definitions ensures easy access to interrelated terms, and a comprehensive topical index relates to larger concepts of film art.
This up-to-date and comprehensive resource is a useful companion for film students and filmgoers, who will find it illuminating in its range and clarity.
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Absolute film Another term used to define abstract, non-representational expression in cinema that developed as part of the avant-garde, experimental film movement in Europe in the 1920s. Form in the absolute film is derived from graphic and rhythmic emphases rather than from any narrative or logical ordering of the images.

Abstract film A type of film that expresses, through its rhythms and visual design, intentions that are essentially non-narrative. Abstraction emphasizes form over content. In an abstract film that employs recognizable objects, the images are used not to suggest their usual meanings but for effects that are created by the film’s editing, visual techniques, sound qualities, and rhythmic design—that is, form. The rhythmical and mechanical motion of common objects in Fernand Léger’s Ballet Mécanique (1924) represents a type of abstract film. Many contemporary animated films, in which colors and shapes are the principal interest of the artist, can also be described as abstract in quality. The animated computer films of John and James Whitney, for example, represent a type of abstract film: Permutations (1968), Lapis (1963–66). These films consist of abstract configurations that are computer generated. The images are enhanced ← 1 | 2 → by optical techniques such as filter coloring and dissolves to give the works a feeling of totally free, non-associative form. Stan Brakhage in Mothlight (1963) created an abstract design in motion by attaching moth wings to Mylar tape and then printing the images on film without an accompanying sound track....

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