Realism, Classicism, and Formalism Defined

Realism
Theory:
•   Subject matter is paramount
•   Technique should be undetectable or discreet
•   Most theories of realism have a moral and ethical bias
•   Many realist theories are rooted in values of Islamic, Christian, or Marxist humanism
•   Theories place value on photographic qualities of the work
•   An avoidance of neatly plotted stories in favor of loose, episodic structures that evolve organically
•   A documentary visual style
•   The use of actual locations, usually exteriors, rather than studio sets
•   The use of nonprofessional actors
•   An avoidance of literary dialogue in favor of conversational speech, including dialects
•   An avoidance of artifice in the editing, camerawork, and lighting
Photography:
•   Attempts to capture the spontaneity of events
•   Appears to mirror reality
•   Stresses content over form
•   Avoids extremes of technical manipulation
•   Uses available lighting, hand-held cameras, long shots, and lengthy takes
•   Frequently makes use of location shooting
Narrative:
•   The implied author is virtually invisible
•   Events tend to “speak for themselves,” as in plays
•   The story unfolds naturally, usually in chronological order
•   The plots are often loose, “slice of life” structures, with no clear beginning, middle, or end, and often without a clearly discernable central conflict
•   Are generally told in an anti-sentimental style
•   Structures are often borrowed from cycles of nature—may be circular, cyclical, or episodic
Editing:
•   Attempts to preserve the continuity of real time and space
•   Frequently uses long shots
•   Commonly uses lengthy takes
•   Favors deep-focus photography to allow composition in depth
•    often uses widescreen aspect ratio
•   prefers pans, crane shots, and tilts rather than cutting to individual shots
Rack Focus transitions
Uses Sequence Shot
•   A long, tracking shot
•   Generally a lengthy take
•   Usually involves complex staging and camera movement

Classicism
Photography:
•   Avoids extremes: Realism and Formalism
•   Follows the classical paradigm
•   Tends to be strong on story, star and production value
•   Shows a high level of technical accomplishment
•   Employs the conventions of classical editing
–Linear timeline, “invisible” transitions, cutting to continuity, etc.
Narrative:
•   Is a set of conventions, considered the “norm” particularly in American cinema
•   Is a narrative structure based on the dramatic conflict between protagonist and antagonist
•   Builds intensity to a dramatic conflict in which one force must “win” and one must “lose” the climax
•   Ends with a clear sense of closure, resolution
•   Viewer’s can usually detect a shaping hand in the story’s events, that of a discreet storyteller
•   Boring gaps in the narrative are edited out
•   The story has a central conflict
•   The storyline drives the events toward resolution of that central conflict
•   The classical paradigm is generally followed
Editing:
Classical Cutting
•   Aims to provide smooth transitions between shots
•   Eliminates or condenses unnecessary time and space
•   Use the close-up for dramatic effect, revealing psychological rather than mere physical character development
•   Use close-ups to appeal to audience emotions
•   Mix long, medium, and close-up shots for dramatic effect
•   Eyeline match and Matching Action
•   Shot/ Reverse Angle shot
•   Master shot
•   The 180o rule
•   Establishing shot
•   Re-establishing shot
•   Outside/in editing


Formalism
Theory:
•   Formalist theorists believe in the aesthetic manipulation of the mise en scène, the frame, camera angles, editing, and so on. 
•   Every cinematic technique at the artist’s disposal can and should be used to create an aesthetic work, an artificial world that is believable through the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief.
Photography:
•     Intentionally stylizes and distorts reality
•     Tends to be stylistically flamboyant
•     Expresses a director’s subjective experience or world view
•     Concerned with spiritual or psychological ideas
•      Contains a high degree of technical manipulation
·       Emphasizes form over content
Narrative:
•   “Authors” tend to be overtly manipulative
•   Events are often scrambled, in non-linear order
•   May be restructured to heighten or maximize a thematic idea
•   Are frequently told from a subjective perspective
Editing:
•   transitions between shots may be sharp, jolting, even violent
•   the rhythm of editing in a movie should be like the explosion of an internal combustion engine - pulsing and driving the story ever forward
•   stories should explore ideas, meaning there should be a theme present
•   images should be thematically or metaphorically relevant in the attempt to create deeper meaning

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