Realism, Classicism, and Formalism Defined

•   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
•   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
•   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
•   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

•   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.
•   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
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

•   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.
•     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
•   “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
•   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