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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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Caesura Principally a literary term denoting a rhythmical pause and break in a line of verse. The caesura is used in poetry to diversify rhythmical progress and thereby enrich accentual verse. The term first gained significance in motion-picture art through the editing experiments of Sergei Eisenstein. In applying his concept of montage as the “collision of shots,” Eisenstein often included caesuras—rhythmical breaks—in his films. The acts of The Battleship Potemkin (1925) are separated by caesuras that provide a rhythmical contrast to the preceding action. The intense, frenetic action of the mutiny, for example, is followed by the lyrical journey of a dinghy to the shore. The three Burt Bacharach musical sequences in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) provide contrasting caesuras that separate the major actions of the film. Several intense action sequences in Master and Commander (2003), including a raging sea storm and fight scenes, are followed by caesuras—quiet, scenic interludes that are often accompanied by melodic cello music.

Cameo role/performance A featured screen role of short but memorable duration, often constituting only a single-scene appearance. The actor performing the cameo role is usually a major ← 39 | 40 → film star or entertainment figure. Ava Gardner’s appearance in the concluding scene of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) was designated a cameo role. Rock performer Alice Cooper made a cameo appearance in Wayne’s World (1992), a spoof of cable-television programming. Bette Midler appeared in an uncredited cameo role in...

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