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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous introduction!
This is not only the best introduction to film studies that I've found, it's also a model of how a textbook should be organized and written. After an opening chapter on plot structure and thematic analysis, it goes in-depth into the elements of film form, with chapters on narrative form, mise en scene, cinematography, editing, and sound. The final section includes...
Published on January 18, 2006 by Q

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice textbook
Nice binding and pages. You can highlight without it bleeding through. It is ok written I manage to not fall asleep while reading chapters for school. It is up to date in its cultural and cinematic references.
Published on September 4, 2012 by Elizabeth L. Taylor


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous introduction!, January 18, 2006
By 
Q (The Continuum) - See all my reviews
This is not only the best introduction to film studies that I've found, it's also a model of how a textbook should be organized and written. After an opening chapter on plot structure and thematic analysis, it goes in-depth into the elements of film form, with chapters on narrative form, mise en scene, cinematography, editing, and sound. The final section includes chapters on documentary and avant-garde film, writing about film, social context, ideology, stardom, genre, film authorship, and the economics of the film industry. Everything is covered very in-depth and in detail, with lots of excellent examples and photos. There is also a helpful film glossary in back. The writing is model of clarity and organization. This textbook is notable for the way that writing instruction is integrated into the text. Each chapter concludes with brief essay which exemplifies the concepts and terms used in the chapter, and includes margin notes which discuss the formal and rhetorical features of a college essay, including organization, research, thesis statement, and so on. There is also a concise chapter devoted entirely to writing about film, including the different kinds of essays typically assigned by professors. Students who read carefully will be well prepared to write film analysis papers for their college classes. Since this is an introductory text, it doesn't try to give complete coverage to film history and film theory, although these topics are introduced. Film history and theory really need to be covered in separate books and classes, as the authors recognize.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, July 9, 2009
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This review is from: Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
This was the required textbook for my Intro to Film class, and I actually ENJOYED reading the book. I found myself immersed in the book! It's easy to read, and filled with interesting information! They have a range of examples they use covering all genres and movies from all different times, so anyone can relate to them! I highly recommend this book!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superior, Well-Developed, Introductory Text . . ., January 28, 2007
Whether you are a student or professor, there are a wide range of introductory film texts from which to choose -- it can be a bit overwhelming and a mistake is costly! This is especially true if you are the professor who is selecting an expensive text for your students (and they are all expensive) . . . you want provide them with a text worthy of the expense AND you do not want to invest additional hours photocopying material from other texts to compensate for less-than-fantastic chapters.

With this in mind, allow me to say that Pramaggoire and Wallis' text is the best I have ever encountered . . . bar none. I have used this text for over a year now, and the response has been extremely positive. It may initially seem irrelevant, but this text is extraordinary aesthetically appealing. Why is this important? Because we are talking about professors and students who have an interest in a VISUAL art. This text presents large, lush examples to compliment the text: not all texts invest this effort or expense. Moreover, the selected examples are spot-on . . . they are not randomly chosen BUT are the quintessential example of any given technique.

What makes this text great is both the organization (which others have mentioned) and the accessibility. Let's say you are not taking a formal class in film, you would have no problem reading this text solo. It is that understandable . . . and, let's face it, if an author cannot clearly explain an idea to a lay-person then he/she really do not know the subject. Pramaggoire and Wallis KNOW their subject.

And while there are several "well-written" texts on the market, not all incorporate contemporary examples. While Orson Wells and Ingmar Bergman are key to understanding film, one cannot successful base an introductory text on "The Greats." It simply does not engage the new student. Luckily, this text includes essential examples from film history as well as contemporary examples (like "Super Size Me," "Waking Life," "The Piano" and "Requiem for a Dream"). I am especially fond of the short analysis of Harron's "American Psycho" (an oft overlooked, cinematic masterpiece).

One final reason to select this text: while other writers are rehashing old critical approaches to film, Pramaggoire and Wallis select the most relevant and contemporary ones. They instruct readers on how to view a film in the context of race, gender, sexuality, class, and national identity: all of which are crucial to understanding film! Likewise, they address "film authorship" which is equally as valuable. The text is never bogged-down by jargon (many are) . . . nor is it heavy-handed in its approach. Unlike most texts, this one wants to be understood.

You will find texts with DVD-ROMs, texts with "writing" supplements, texts with online-course access, and other "bells and whistles" . . . but this text does not NEED any of that. (It seems the others are trying to compensate for their short-comings by including "bonus" material . . . but it just becomes MESSY!). I plan to continue using this text as a tool for teaching film . . . it is, BY FAR, the best on the market. It is "smart," beautiful, and completely accessible. Whether you are a professor seeking a new text or a lay-person looking to enhance your knowledge of film, you cannot go wrong with this work. Trust me, it is worth the price!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As Reference & Textbook for "Intro to Film", August 26, 2005
As a current user of Giannetti's "Understanding Movies", I find this new text to be a breath of fresh air. First impressions: the initial page prior to the content is a splash-page still from Visconti's "The Leopard", a film that perhaps has seen recent resurgence of interest in the film community. Overall, the text tries to convey the thesis of "Film as Art & Cultural Phenomenon" with thorough examples & concise explanations. Also appreciated is the brief desc of "persistence of vision & the phi phenomenon" & other more operational/technical aspects of film, filming & projection equipment.

The book features examples of what could be student film analysis papers. It also goes about analyzing the road to writing essays with an adequate thesis statement.

The book's highlight is the Chapter on "Writing about Film", which will likely help students in their film journal writing & paper thesis formulation. There won't be an intro book to tell the entire "story" of film, but Prammagiore & Wallis's book provides a commendable "structure" with film stills that ties closely to their text.

If you're looking for a summary of general film history in intro film studies, I don't think you'll find it here. Still a highly recommended book for students of film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has Everything... Substance and Style.. A Wonderful Book, March 22, 2010
This review is from: Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
I was excited about this book and I was not let down when it arrived. It is full of excellent material, well organized, rich with illustrations, pictures, sidebars, and more. It scores high with me on content, style, and substance. It was a bit expensive, but worth it. You know how sometimes a book is reviewed well and looks great and then you get it and you're disappointed? Well, this was the opposite. I was delighted with this book and would recommend it highly to anyone with more than a casual interest in film. It's a textbook, but a very friendly and accessible textbook. I would love to take a class with this as the primary reading material.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in film technique, history, criticism, analysis, etc. It's not just for students, but quite appropriate for "movie buffs" and others interested in film.

This would make a great gift for anyone who loves analyzing movies or has more than a casual interest in movies.

Rick B.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent film text, June 27, 2009
This review is from: Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
This text is an easy read. Imparts the necessary knowledge one needs to glean for an art of film class. The numerous examples make it simple for a student to apply the concepts described.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to film, October 12, 2008
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This review is from: Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
Film: A Critical Introduction is a wonderfully simple and detailed introduction to the world of cinema. All aspects of film are wonderfully presented with a large array of colorful pictures. The book is structured in an easy to follow, logical fashion. A must have for any neophyte cinephile.
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4.0 out of 5 stars awesome book, December 12, 2013
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This is a really great book, it has the right amount of analysis and history as well as information about the more technological side of time. The classic and modern movie references and pictures are great
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5.0 out of 5 stars Text Book, February 5, 2013
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I found this book to be very interesting and very helpful in the class that I am taking. In Good Condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent For School and Personal Reading, January 20, 2013
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This review is from: Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition) (Paperback)
This is an interesting review for me to write because I originally bought this book for a university course that required it, but am now reading it on my own.

It's a fascinating book that breaks down the different departments of film production in very easy-to-understand ways. There are plenty of pictures and, as evidenced by the cover art, screenshots and quotes from the relatively recent films (Hint: That's Clive Owen in "Inside Man" on the cover, an excellent heist film. If you haven't had the pleasure of viewing it, I suggest you make time.)

The book goes into great detail of a thousand different parts of cinema, such as mis en scene, editing and the sociology of cinema.

What really makes this book accessible to me (I was taking this class as an elective, not as part of a major or minor) was that it breaks each new concept down and uses popular films to illustrate the point. When talking about a certain lighting angle the book may cite "Good Night and Good Luck" and show pictures to hammer home the lighting idea.

All in all, a fantastic read. Enough information for a seasoned theater-lover to enjoy, and enough illustration and pop-culture references to keep the beginner engaged as well.

5 stars.
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Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition)
Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition) by Maria Pramaggiore (Paperback - June 9, 2007)
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