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Film: A Critical Introduction (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0205518692
ISBN-10: 0205518699
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Film: A Critical Introduction,2nd edition,provides a comprehensive framework for studying films, with an emphasis on writing as a means of exploring film's aesthetic and cultural significance.


This book's consistent and comprehensive focus on writing allows the reader to master film vocabulary and concepts while learning to formulate rich interpretations. Part I introduces the reader to the importance of film analysis, offering helpful strategies for discerning the way films produce meaning. Part II examines the fundamental elements of film, including narrative form, mise en scène, cinematography, editing, and sound, and shows how these concepts can be used to interpret films. Part III moves beyond textual analysis to explore film as a cultural institution and introduce the reader to essential areas of film studies research.

About the Author

Maria Pramaggiore is the Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University, and has written numerous articles on film as well as on gender and women's issues. Tom Wallis is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at North Carolina State University --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 2 edition (June 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205518699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205518692
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.8 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #865,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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