Term Paper: Movies and Methods: Volume I - Summary

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Movies and Methods: Volume I - Summary and Review

Both teachers and students of film would likely welcome this book, even though it was written in 1976. Some things do not go out of date, and even though much has happened since the 1970s there are a lot of classic works on film that are still very worthy of being studied. Because this is the case, books like this one are a good choice for individuals who are studying film. This anthology offers a comprehensive collection of theoretical work found on film up to the date of publication. There are many articles in the book as well, and this is a very good thing because articles like this are often extremely difficult to find. Quite often, the literature dealing with movies and film is scattered through a lot of different publications. This being the case, it is quite possible to overlook something unintentionally and to therefore miss out on an article that would have value to the reader. By putting them all together in a collection, everyone who needs to read the information will be able to easily locate it, and this is something that Bill Nichols provides very well as editor of the work.

Almost all of the films and articles included in Nichols' anthology came from the fifteen years immediately before the work was published. Most of those works come from people who were the original thinkers of the time where film is concerned. Some of these people are very well-known to a large number of people in the public, and others are more widely known only among those who read film journals. There are also several filmmakers who were very important during the time period in which the book was put together and who figure prominently in the book. By representing both filmmakers and film thinkers, Nichols is able to show that there were many issues that surrounded filmmaking during that time period. In addition, he is able to show that there were also a lot of different ideas among those who watched, reviewed, and critiqued films regarding what these films had to offer and their value to society.

Nichols has grouped the materials that he has used in the book into categories which are deemed critical. They have such importance because they reflect the approaches to the medium of film that were taken during that time. Understanding the approaches that filmmakers took to the works that they created is very valuable when it comes to really determining what a person was trying to say through a film that he or she created and brought to life. The same is true for the articles that are written, because the people who created the articles about the films and the filmmakers had to have a platform to work from - a reason for writing the article or making their statements. Since this is the case, there are often many ways to look at a person or something that he or she has created, and understanding which way the person or thing was being looked at goes much farther than one would expect toward a determination of why something was ultimately written from a specific angle.

Many film books that are older than this one have a lot of older questions regarding things like how the film relates to other forms of art of how it has or does not have the ability to capture what is essentially an imprint of the reality all around it. These kinds of questions are essentially asked in every film book ever created. This book, though, does not look at such questions in depth like books of the past on the same or similar subjects. Instead, it is much more concerned with issues such as the nature of the different genres of film, the ideological operations, and the representation of various social groups - such as women or minorities - in the world of film and in the films themselves. In addition, the way that films are formally organized and the way that they are logically narrated are important, as are whether films are treated as myths and what kinds of theoretical perspectives are seen when it comes to various types of films.

Because this particular book is so different from books that were written before it about films and filmmaking, and contents of it reflect a lot of different methods. First there is the more traditional criticism that is seen throughout many different books on any type of art subject. In addition to that, though, there are also areas that reflect political methods, structuralist thinking, and both psychoanalytic and semiological methods as well. These are important to the concepts that Nichols is trying to get across and also to the concept that there is much more to film and filmmaking, as well as those people who actually create the films, than most people are willing to see and appreciate. These areas of the art world have generally been seen only in certain ways, and abstract thinking about them is not something that is very common. This is rather unusual because it would seem that the art world would be the one place where abstract thinking would apply, but this is not the case.

Another major benefit of the book is that there is almost no duplication with other anthologies of the same time period and in the same genre, stopping the work from being redundant, and there is a lot more that the work offers. A general introduction is included, but Nichols has also provided small introductions to each text so that a reader does not get lost in the myriad of information. There is a glossary of terms included so that there is no confusion with some of the structuralist-semiological issues, and additional works to read are also suggested so that a person can delve more deeply into a specific area if desired. Because this book has such careful organization and a very large scope, it is a fundamental resource for film teaching even though it was written many years ago. Nichols has made sure that the way the book was created will never go out of style.

Movies and Methods: Volume II - Summary and Review

The first Movies and Methods book was published in 1976. Nine years later in 1985, Nichols again provided an informative text that dealt with the filmmaking genre. Nichols also provides a very strong introduction to this text and looks at so many of the paradoxes that are seen in the study of films today. There must be a proper context for these kinds of issues or they will not be well understood - especially since many of the people who read these books are just learning about film. They have to have not only an understanding of the films themselves but also an understanding of the genre and the way that individuals look at film as an art form. Without being aware of the issues that surround the genre an individual wishing to study films and the film industry would likely struggle with the concepts that many filmmakers use in their works. Thanks to Nichols, however, that struggle is not necessary any longer and students of film can find good quality, clear-cut information.

Showing how the methods and approaches of the day continued to stimulate a large majority of the writing that was done about film during that time period, Nichols indicates many of the problems with it. There are not that many separate problems that must be dealt with, but the largest of the problems is a serious one that deals with the theory behind the criticism of much of the film industry. Most of the critics and theorists who wrote about films and filmmakers during the years between 1976 and 1985 did so from a post-structuralism standpoint, and there were inherent difficulties with this. These mainly came from internal contradictions regarding that type of theory itself, and therefore its usefulness as a method of study and comparison was called into question. Most other works that deal with films and filmmakers during that time period do not look at these specific issues or address the genre in this specific way, making Nichols' works new, different, and innovative.

Like the first volume of the work, Nichols uses this anthology to address the developments that have provided the genre and history itself when it comes to movies many new and imaginative models for study. In addition to the psychoanalytic and structuralist approaches that were discussed within the first volume, this volume also deals with feminist approaches to film. This is another serious and important discussion for Nichols to bring to light, because there were many films created during that time period which were either made from a feminist perspective, dealt with feminist issues, or both. Most other writers and editors did not bring these kinds of issues to light, but Nichols realized the importance of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Movies and Methods: Volume I - Summary.  (2008, June 17).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/movies-methods-volume-summary/3260623

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"Movies and Methods: Volume I - Summary."  Essaytown.com.  June 17, 2008.  Accessed July 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/movies-methods-volume-summary/3260623.