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British Film and Comedy

British Film and Comedy

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British Film and Comedy

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  1. British Film and Comedy

  2. Learning Objectives- Re-cap the exam requirements for this section- Develop understanding of film genre- Develop understanding of the characteristics of British (and US) comedy

  3. FM2 Section B: British Film and Comedy Genre • 20% of AS (10% of A2) • Assessed by exam: • Approx. 50 minutes to answer • Choice of 2 questions

  4. We only have 7 weeks for this module • Week 1: Exploring film genre and nature of British (and US) comedy • Week 2: Exploring macro (and micro) aspects of film, focusing on narrative and representation • Weeks 3 & 4: Studying Hot Fuzz and Brassed Off (after school showing) and film of your choice in groups (to be presented to class) • Weeks 5 & 6: Studying Four Weddings and a Funeral, present film of your choice to class, exam revision • Week 7: Case study films comparison and mock exam

  5. What is Comedy? • The ability or quality of people, objects or situations to create feelings of amusement in other people

  6. Starter task 1. In pairs label yourselves A and B 2. Take it in turns to read each joke from the envelope to your partner 3. Write the name of the joke you found funniest on the post-it note and stick it on the board

  7. Starter task 1. In turns, read the following jokes to the class 2. Think about which is your favourite joke and why

  8. “Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

  9. When Chuck Norris does pushups, he doesn't lift himself up. He pushes the world down.

  10. Mother Superior and a nun are driving along a country lane at night in the rain. Suddenly the devil appears from the darkness, eyes aflame, blocking their way. Mother superior says to the nun, "quick, show him your cross" So the nun winds down the window and yells "get out the way, you ugly bastard"

  11. Subverting linguistic expectations – expected “drink” to be a noun rather than a verb, unexpected answer – ridiculous How do you make a cat drink? Easy! Use a liquidizer!

  12. Witty humour There was a student taking a final exam in a very large lecture class. The professor called time, and said that everyone must stop writing or their exam would not be accepted. One student continued to write furiously until all the other papers had been collected. Going down to the professor, he attempted to turn in the exam. The professor says, "I saw you writing after time was called, and I'm not accepting your paper." "Do you know who I am?", says the student. "No, and it doesn't matter." "Good." The student then stuffs his exam into the middle of the stack and walks off.

  13. A Pun! 1st Eskimo: Where did your mother come from? 2nd Eskimo: Alaska 1st Eskimo: Don't bother, I'll ask her myself!

  14. A man walks into a doctor's office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. "What's the matter with me?" he asks the doctor. The doctor replies, "You're not eating properly." 

  15. An English teacher wrote these words on the whiteboard: "woman without her man is nothing". The teacher then asked the students to punctuate the words correctly.The men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is nothing."The women wrote: "Woman! Without her, man is nothing."

  16. Do you notice any similarities between the jokes? • Humour is a matter of personal taste – it is subjective • Humour is often about the unexpected or unusual, creating surprise: • Audience expectations are subverted Q: “What do you called a 3 legged donkey? A: “A wonkey”

  17. Film genre re-cap • Genre is a way of categorising a type of film • Task: • Write down a film genre and at least 2 examples of films representing them (e.g. Horror, Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street) • What features do the films share? Discuss in pairs • Genres have certain characteristic features allowing us to tell them apart: • Iconography: the things you expect to see and hear • Some genres are less easy to classify then others • Sub-genres: genres within genres • Hybrid genres: mixing genres, sometimes to create a new genre: • e.g. Scream, mix of “teenpic” with “slasher” to create “teen horror”

  18. Types of humour • Irony - the way of speaking that shows you are joking or that you mean the opposite of what you say. • Self-deprecatory – Humour at the expense of yourself • Schadenfreude – laughing at someone else’s (unexpected) misfortune (means “shameful joy”) • Slapstick - comedy based on simple jokes, e.g. people falling over or hitting each other. • Black humour - humour dealing with the unpleasant or dark side of life (e.g. death, people's problems) Things you can’t change • Observational humour – humour created out of realistic situations.

  19. Humour (cont’d) • Satire - the use of humour to attack a person, an idea or behaviour that you think is bad or foolish. • Farce – an exaggerated situation that turns into an embarrassing one. • Sarcasm - the mocking of a person, situation or thing • Inter-textuality – when one media text cross references another for humorous effect. • Parody– imitation of an original work, often to mock or satirize, for comical effect (commonly to dispute original work) • Comedy of manners – satirizing the manners of a social class

  20. Task • Answer these questions for the following comedy clips we are about to watch: • What type of humour (e.g. satire) do you think is being used? • Do you think the humour is effective? • Why (not)?

  21. Thinking about the clips we have seen and other comedy you have seen before: - What characterises British comedy? - Does it differ to US comedy? How? - What does this say about British and the US (and perceptions of them)?

  22. Extension activity • Do some of these clips confirm or perpetuate British stereotypes such as: • The British are emotionally repressed (hiding emotions behind humour?)? • The British are class obsessed • The British are imaginative and creative • The British are not too proud to laugh at themselves • The British are funny!

  23. What characterises US comedy (and what does it say about the US)? • Less irony? • More emotional? • More witty? • More “in-jokes” – sharp talking, confident tone? • Conforming to or challenging stereotypes about the US?

  24. Conclusion • Comedy is one of many different film genres • It can be defined as the ability to create feelings of amusement in others and is subjective • There are many different types of comedy (e.g. satire, slapstick) but: • It is often about the unexpected or unusual, creating surprise • It can be argued that certain British comedy has certain identifiable characteristics

  25. British Film and Comedy

  26. Learning Objectives- To review understanding of Macro features from AS Media- To develop understanding of Macro and Micro features, focusing on Micro features and Narrative particularly

  27. Research Seminar Case Study • In groups of 3 or 4 you need to: • Choose a British Comedy film you have all seen and enjoyed or that you want to see • Prepare a 5/10 minute presentation on the film (using any visual aids you like) • To be presented on (DATE TBC) but start working on this now – watch the film in the next week • Make sure you don’t choose the same film!

  28. Research Seminar Case Study • Above all else you need to show you have engaged with the film – that you know and understand it…. • ….but think especially about: • Narrative • Representation (e.g. gender, age, nationality, sexuality) • Other Macro and Micro features • Please tell me your groups and film next lesson

  29. Some suggested films • The Full Monty • Shaun of the Dead • Any Carry On film • Ali G Indahouse • Chicken Run • Bridget Jones’ Diary • Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit • Love Actually • About a Boy • Notting Hill • Bean • Withnail and I • Any Monty Python film • East is East

  30. Re-cap test • Complete the sheet in front of you • Swap with a partner and mark

  31. Storytelling Task • In pairs, tell the story of your life to your partner • Before you do this you will need to plan the things you want to tell and put them into an order you think is suitable and effective – only tell your story when you are absolutely sure you have shaped it as you want. Remember things like: • The need to immediately engage the interest of the person you are telling the story to • The importance of retaining that person’s attention • The need to put things into an order that will allow the listener to make sense of what has happened to you during your life • One final condition: there is a time limit of 10 minutes to the length of your story

  32. Then brainstorm – what were the good or bad aspects of the story you told/heard? For example: • - Strong/realistic characters (good use of dialogue) • - Well paced/structured (e.g. not hurried) • - Build up of (dramatic) tension • - Tone of storytelling voice • - Happy ending? • - Created strong emotions (e.g. laughter, sadness….) • - Good use of language (e.g. varied sentence length, varied vocabulary etc)

  33. This is what narrative is: a story! • But it also refers to the academic study of the principles by which stories are structured: • Characters • Setting • Structure: • Time and space travel (linear or non-linear?) • Cause and effect • When thinking about narrative we must always consider the expectations of the audience – what are they and are they fulfilled or not?

  34. Do all stories have the same basic structure? • Theorists of narrative structure suggest that all films (and indeed stories) have the same basic structure: • We are introduced to a hero and shown the world they live in • The normality of this world is disrupted • The hero sets out to restore order (resolution) • Why do you think this is? • Task: can you think of any films where this structure is not followed? Discuss.

  35. Basic Narrative Theory • Todorov’s Theory – narratives begin in equilibrium which is then affected by an event leading to disequilibrium. Problems are then solved so that equilibrium is once again achieved. • Propp’s Theory – analysed 100s of folk tales and identified 8 character roles and 31 narrative roles: • villain • hero • donor – provides some magical property • helper – aids the hero • princess – reward to the hero and object of villain’s schemes • father – rewards hero • dispatcher – sends hero on his way • false hero (or anti-hero) • Strauss’ Theory – looked at narratives in terms of binary oppositions – he was interested in things existing in opposition to each other such as good and evil.

  36. Conclusion • Films can be seen as stories (or narratives) • You need to analyse the different ways in which films as stories (or narratives) use certain common recurring features of storytelling or narrative structure.

  37. Micro and Macro features • We can read films at 2 levels: • Macro • Micro • Look at the sheets I have given out – you must store these carefully as they contain important definitions of Macro and Micro features

  38. Macro features • Genre • Star • Auteur • Narrative • Discourse of realism • Mode of address • Issues of representation

  39. Micro features • Technical codes: • Camera • Sound • Lighting • Editing • Performance codes: • Actor movement/expression/vocal delivery • Costume • Setting • Props • Other useful terms are: • “Mise-en-scene” – everything the director puts into any frame (people, costume, lighting, props) • “Cinematography” – includes photographic elements, lighting, framing and composition and special effects

  40. Task - analyzing a film • We will look at a clip from (CHOOSE FILM) • Complete the Macro and Micro template handed out to you whilst watching the film • Using random name generator – talk about selected aspect of film • Watch clip of film again

  41. Task – audience expectations • We will look at a clip from (CHOOSE FILM) • When I stop the film write down what you think will happen next • How did the next section of the film compare to your expectations?

  42. Conclusion • All films can be seen as stories (or narratives): • Films as narratives use certain common recurring structural features • But these will be subverted in some films • We can read films at 2 different levels: • Micro • Macro • We need 1 to understand the other!

  43. Learning Objectives - Develop understanding of representation - Begin to develop knowledge and understanding of Four Weddings and a Funeral

  44. Representation • Discuss - what areas should we consider in relation to representation? • Gender • Class • Age • Sexuality • Ethnicity • Regionalism • Disability • Task – write down any stereotypes you can think associated with each area

  45. Gender stereotypes – are they true? • Women • Physically weaker • Emotional • Housewife • Want “cuddles” • Love shopping (especially for clothes) • Appearance important • Gossip/bitchy/nag • Tidy • Men • Physically strong • Rational • The breadwinner • Sex-obsessed • Hate shopping • Don’t care about appearance • “Bond of trust” with mates • Messy

  46. Class stereotypes • Task - brainstorm working, middle and upper-class stereotypes. • Southerners are rich, middle or upper class • Northerners are working class • The upper class are in-bred, snobbish and dim-witted “twits” who vote Conservative. They are also gentlemen who act and speak very politely (in “Queen’s English”). • The middle classes are vain and social climbers • The working class are uneducated, drink lots, vote labour, live on council estates, are often involved in crime, and have lots of children

  47. Four Weddings and a Funeral • Made in 1994 • Directed by Mike Newell • Written by Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Mr Bean, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary) • Starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell • Became highest grossing film in British history at time of its release • “Comedy of manners” satirizing the British upper-middle classes • Set in south west England

  48. Learning Objectives Begin to develop knowledge and understanding of Four Weddings and a Funeral, especially concerning “Britishness”

  49. Discuss note-taking sheet

  50. Look at individual scenes, answer this question on sugar paper • How are micro elements used to construct representations of “Britishness”?