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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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Last-minute rescue A plotting-editing device common to screen melodramas and one in which crosscutting is often used extensively to build dramatic tension before a hero’s rescue. Crosscutting reveals the imminent fate of the victim and the simultaneous efforts of the rescuer to reach the victim in time. The rescue occurs at the last possible moment. D.W. Griffith incorporated last-minute rescues as a standard feature of his silent films, further enhancing the buildup of tension by the use of accelerated editing within the crosscutting, as in the film Way Down East (1920). A form of the last-minute rescue appeared as an essential element in many of the suspense melodramas of the 1970s, including Two-Minute Warning (1976), Rollercoaster (1977), Black Sunday (1977), and The Peacemaker (1997). In these films a hostile individual is attempting mass violence in a highly populated area. Counterforces discover the plot and attempt to prevent the violent act—succeeding at the last minute. In film-plotting terminology, this suspense technique is often referred to as the ticking clock or “ticking bomb” strategy. In the Line of Fire (1993) employed crosscutting, last-minute rescue techniques in a tense drama about a Secret Service agent (Clint ← 157 | 158 → Eastwood) who is racing against time to prevent the assassination of the president of the United States. Another last-minute rescue action plot involving a U.S. president occurs in Olympus Has Fallen (2013), the protagonist again a Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler).

Law-and-order film A type of contemporary, action-oriented motion picture...

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