Friday, 26 March 2010

British Newspaper Politics

Check out this great summary of the main British newspapers and their political alliances:

Film Studies Reflective Analysis - Guidance

This is following my marking of Year 13 Reflective Analysis essays but some of it applies to those of you in Year 12 as well. The people who have done WELL tend to have the following:
  • A short introduction outlining their intentions when they started the project.
  • A good outline of their target audience.
  • A clear understanding of the codes and conventions of their chosen genre and discussion of how they used/developed/ignored them.
  • A focus throughout on how successfully their film achieved what they set out to do, through specific references to micro elements.

People who have done LESS WELL have generally done so for the following reasons:

  • There is little or no focus on their specific role in the production and its impact on the finished film.
  • They have purely written a description of the production process with little or no analysis of micro elements.
  • They have failed to identify a target audience or mention audience feedback; therefore failing to assess the success of the finished film.

The focus for this essay at A2 is very much on how well your film achieves what you set out to do in terms of communicating meaning/eliciting response in an audience (micro analysis) and on showing your understanding of the conventions of your genre and how your film uses them. The specification suggests focussing on particular, key parts of your film rather than attempting to do the whole thing and analysis of the impact of your particular role (even if it's a fabricated role) is crucial.

At AS the focus is purely on how the film uses micro features to make meanings for audiences. It is just another micro analysis!

Hope this is helpful to you.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Pan's Labyrinth - Excellent Info!

Year 13 Film - Holiday tasks

The research titles are as follows:

1. Historical context (date, location, relevant social/historical factors - SPANISH CIVIL WAR, and how these are represented in the film)

2. Director - Guillermo del Toro (life, other works and positioning of this film in relation to them, what he intended to achieve with the film and any information on his views on gender)

3. Critical reception (how was the film received by audiences and critics, any interesting critical insights)

4. Genre - Myth/Fantasy/'Gothic fairytale' (what are the conventions and does the film follow or develop/change them, how are women generally portrayed in this type of film and does this one break away from the traditional portrayals)

You must present your findings on your given topic in the first Friday lesson after Easter. Powerpoints are good but paper-based handouts or a verbal presentation would also be fine. NO EXCUSES WILL BE TOLERATED AND IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE IT YOU WILL NOT BE WELCOME IN THE LESSON.

Pan's Labyrinth - Guillermo del Toro Interview

Narrative And Genre

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Reality TV Lesson 1

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Lesson 2

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Popular Press Lesson 1

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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Year 12 Film Studies- Reflective Analysis of your film

As you're nearing completion of your short films it is time to think EVALUATION! What is required is essentially a micro analysis of your own work, focussing especially on the impact of the element that you were particularly responsible for. You can do it as a blog or as an essay. Exam board guidelines below:

Reflective analysis approximately 750 words or equivalent
(10 marks)
The reflective analysis should select key micro features of the
sequence and demonstrate how they make meaning(s) and aim to
provoke response(s)
in audiences. Candidates working in a group
should focus on the construction and impact of their chosen micro
The analysis can be presented:
• as a continuous piece of writing, with or without illustrative
• in a digital form such as a suitably edited blog or another webbased
format or
• as a focused DVD commentary.


A Week in Reality TV
In a single week (w/c 2nd May 2009):
– 41 different reality titles were broadcast on Freeview channels alone
– at least 12 of these programmes were screened daily
– a number were repeated in different time slots throughout the day.

– A range of TV listings magazine, preferably recent.

Using a TV listings magazine, compile a list of all the reality shows on air over the course of a single week, both free to air, and non-terrestrial.

– calculate the number of hours per week given to reality TV on different channels
– evaluate the type and range of programmes on different channels to see what patterns emerge in their scheduling
– investigate whether different types of reality show predominate at different points during the day

Week 1 Lessons - Codes & Conventions

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Reality Tv Intro

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Reality TV: Added Value For Broadcasters

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Friday, 5 March 2010

Music Video Evaluation

I've decided that you will each present your video and evaluation of it to the class in lessons during the week commencing 22nd March. You should, therefore, in your pairs or groups, construct a powerpoint which addresses the questions below and includes your finished video as well as your digipak and poster. You may also want to include screen shots from your video to exemplify your evaluative points.

The powerpoint should then be uploaded to your blog and should be the final posting.

The questions that must be addressed in the evaluation are:

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

All About My Mother - Critical reception

An insightful review in The Guardian:

A more critical review, also from The Guardian:

Some critical comments from the US:

Janet Maslin of the New York Times called it Almodóvar's "best film by far," noting he "presents this womanly melodrama with an empathy to recall George Cukor's and an eye-dampening intensity to out-Sirk Douglas Sirk." She added, "It's the crossover moment in the career of a born four-hankie storyteller of ever-increasing stature. Look out, Hollywood, here he comes."[2]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times observed, "You don't know where to position yourself while you're watching a film like All About My Mother, and that's part of the appeal: Do you take it seriously, like the characters do, or do you notice the bright colors and flashy art decoration, the cheerful homages to Tennessee Williams and All About Eve, and see it as a parody? . . . Almodovar's earlier films sometimes seemed to be manipulating the characters as an exercise. Here the plot does handstands in its eagerness to use coincidence, surprise and melodrama. But the characters have a weight and reality, as if Almodovar has finally taken pity on them - has seen that although their plights may seem ludicrous, they're real enough to hurt."[3]

Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "No one else makes movies like this Spanish director" and added, "In other hands, these characters might be candidates for confessions - and brawls - on The Jerry Springer Show, but here they are handled with utmost sympathy. None of these goings-on is presented as sordid or seedy. The presentation is as bright, glossy and seductive as a fashion magazine . . . The tone of All About My Mother has the heart-on-the-sleeve emotions of soap opera, but it is completely sincere and by no means camp."[4]

Wesley Morris of the San Francisco Examiner called the film "a romantically labyrinthine tribute that piles layers of inter-textual shout-outs to All About Eve, Tennessee Williams,

Truman Capote, Federico García Lorca and Alfred Hitchcock, and beautifully assesses the nature of facades . . . Almodovar imbues his Harlequin-novel-meets-Marvel-comic-book melodramas with something more than a wink and a smile, and it's beguiling. His expressionism and his screenwriting have always had fun together, but now there is a kind of faith and spirituality that sexcapades like Law of Desire and Kika only laughed at . . . [I]t contains a host of superlative firsts: a handful of the only truly moving scenes he's filmed, the most gorgeous dialogue he's composed, his most dimensional performances of his most dimensional characters and perhaps his most dynamic photography and elaborate production design."[5]

Jonathan Holland of Variety called the film "emotionally satisfying and brilliantly played" and commented, "The emotional tone is predominantly dark and confrontational . . . But thanks to a sweetly paced and genuinely witty script, pic doesn't become depressing as it focuses on the characters' stoic resilience and good humor."[6]

All About My Mother - useful links

Official website:

IMDB entry:

Queer Theory

Queer theory is a field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of gay and lesbian studies and feminist studies. It is a kind of interpretation devoted to queer readings of texts. Heavily influenced by the work of Michel Foucault, queer theory builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies' close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities. Whereas gay/lesbian studies focused its inquiries into "natural" and "unnatural" behavior with respect to homosexual behavior, queer theory expands its focus to encompass any kind of sexual activity or identity that falls into perverted, normative and deviant categories.

Although many people[who?] believe that queer theory is only about homosexual representations in literature, it also explores categories of gender, as well as sexual orientation. In fact, it could be argued[by whom?] that queer theory's main project is not the interrogation of homosexuality, but the subverting and challenging of heterosexuality as 'natural' and 'unmarked'. Some[who?] argue that queer theory is a by-product of third-wave feminism, while others[who?] claim that it is a result of the valuation of postmodern minoritizing, that is, the idea that the smallest constituent must have a voice and identity equivalent to all others.

Queer theory's main project is exploring the contesting of the categorization of gender and sexuality. Theorists[who?] claim that identities are not fixed – they cannot be categorized and labeled – because identities consist of many varied components and that to categorize by one characteristic is wrong. For example, a woman can be a woman without being labeled a lesbian or feminist, and she may have a different race from the dominant culture. She should, queer theorists argue, be classed as possessing an individual identity and not put in the collective basket of feminists or of colour or the like.

Queer theory is derived largely from post-structuralist theory, and deconstruction in particular. Starting in the 1970s, a range of authors brought deconstructionist critical approaches to bear on issues of sexual identity, and especially on the construction of a normative "straight" ideology. Queer theorists challenged the validity and consistency of heteronormative discourse, and focused to a large degree on non-heteronormative sexualities and sexual practices.

The term "queer theory" was introduced in 1990, with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Adrienne Rich and Diana Fuss (all largely following the work of Michel Foucault) being among its foundational proponents. Queer theory should not be confused with queer activism, although there is overlap between the two.

"Queer" as used within queer theory is less an identity than an embodied critique of identity. Major aspects of this critique include: discussion of the role of performance in creating and maintaining identity; discussion of the basis of sexuality and gender, either as natural, essential, or socially constructed; discussion of the way that these identities change or resist change; and discussion of their power relations vis-a-vis heteronormativity.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Year 10 Press Releases

Some of you have been struggling with writing your Press Release; see below for some websites which may help you, and remember these key points:
  • You are SELLING the band/artist, not just describing them - make them sound appealing!
  • Communicate information about their IDEOLOGY - what are they all about? What makes them interesting and unique?
  • Include conventions such as: image of the CD, record company logo, details of the release date, details of other upcoming releases, quotes from band members and/or fans and/or industry insiders, details of other things they've done recently, website

Yr 12 Media Evaluation guidance

See below for the guidelines given by the exam board. We are asking you to do INDIVIDUAL evaluations but you may discuss your ideas. Note that I will have to mark you based on my perception of YOUR contribution though, so you may PREFER to write it without input from your group:

Candidates will evaluate their work electronically. This MUST contain an element of audience feedback and may be either integrated with the presentation of the research and planning material or may be presented separately. Where candidates have worked in a group, the evaluation may be presented individually or collectively but the teacher must allocate a mark according the contribution/level of understanding demonstrated by the individual candidate.

The questions that must be addressed in the evaluation are:

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Who would be the audience for your media product?

How did you attract/address your audience?

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?