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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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Scene A unit of a motion picture usually composed of a number of interrelated shots that are unified by location or dramatic incident.

Science-fiction film (sci-fi film) A motion-picture genre characterized by a plot that involves scientific fantasy. The story is often a tale set in the future that is visualized through a lavish display of imagined settings and gadgets and sustained in part by spectacular special effects. Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon (1902) was a notable early—albeit primitive—science-fiction film that visualized future space exploration. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) told a science-fiction tale about an autocratically run city of the future and extended the genre into the area of social and philosophical commentary. Similarly, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969) offered a philosophical rumination on a future world where the impact of new technology places the fate of humankind in question. Science-fiction films such as Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) presented futuristic adventure stories that also functioned as mythic morality tales about confrontations between good and evil. The continuing popularity of sci-fi at the box office is evident in the success of The Matrix films (1999, 2003), Men in Black (1997, 2002), AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), and Star Trek into Darkness (2013). The ability of sci-fi producers to create believable imaginary worlds has been significantly boosted by new computer technology...

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