ScreeningAnalysis: Stranger than Fiction
ScreeningAnalysis: Stranger than Fiction
1.Discuss at least three ways that the editor manipulated thetemporal relationships between shots to present the plot timeonscreen (flashback, flash-forward, ellipsis). Be sure to providespecific examples from the film and use specific terminology fromyour textbook to describe the editing techniques used. 12 points
Example#1 – Flash-forward
Flash-forwardis one of the editing techniques used in the film. Flash-forward is afilm editing technique or device used by film editors to present theanticipation of a character, the camera or the audience (Dancyger,2014).In some cases, editors use flash-forwards to manipulate the camera,the audience, and the characters at the same time. When employingflash-forwards the actions are cut from present time to a futuretime. In a similar manner, the editor can present events that guidethe audience to anticipate the nature of the future events.
Flash-forwardsare used in the film Strangerthan Fictionin multiple occasions. For instance, when Mr. Harold Crick went toaudit Anna Pascal, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, the narratormanipulates the audience to imagine the possibility of Anna and Mr.Crick falling in love in future. The narrator presents a romanticnarration describing the imagination of Mr. Crick. For example, thenarrator says that Mr. Crick would not help but visualize Anna lyingwithout clothes on his bed. Another example of flash-forward is theanticipated death of Mr. Crick. He kept on brushing off the voicenarrating his life until one Wednesday evening at a bus stop when thevoice said, ‘little did he know that this simple seeminglyinnocuous act would result in his imminent death’. This tells ofhow the story is likely to end.
Example#2 – Ellipsis
Theeditor also uses an ellipsis to manipulate the temporal relationshipbetween shots. This is an editing device that entails omission oftime that separates different shots. Editors employ this technique tocreate a comedic or a dramatic impact when presenting plot timeonscreen. In Strangerthan Fictionthe narrator deliberately omits bits of Harold’s story. Thenarrating voice comes and goes thereby skipping bits of Harold’slife. The use of ellipsis, such as in this case, creates bothdramatic and comedic feelings. The dramatic feeling is created by thefact that Harold considers his life a tragedy in which he is notaware of what will happen to him. It is a dramatic irony that Heroldknows he will die but he does not know how long the narrator iswilling to let him live. The comedic feeling is brought about by thefact that everyone thinks that Harold is schizophrenic. Moreimportantly, the editor employs ellipsis to conceal Harold life toachieve narrative purposes like misery or suspense. For example,Herold is committed to finding the missing bits of his life beforesomething tragic or mysterious, such as his death, happens.
Example#3 – Flashbacks
Flashbacksare the opposite of flash-forward in that they present a narration ofevent that had occurred before the present scene. In the film, whenthe narrators realized that Harold Crick was real, she startednarrating stories of the story of innocent people she had killed inthe past.
2.Discuss two different editing techniques used within the film(match cuts, types of parallel editing, POV editing, transitionsbetween shots). How did the editor use these techniques to conveynarrative information, meaning, or emotion? 8 points
Example#1 – Parallel editing
Oneof the editing techniques employed by the editor is parallel editing,also known as cross cutting. Parallel editing technique enableseditors to alternate two or more scenes that take placesimultaneously at the same place. In other words, the technique isused to present two events that are taking place at the same time andthe events can be alternated in relation to each other. Thistechnique allows film editors to place subjects in a subtle andcomplex relationship, thus, establishing the characters in acinematic proximity manner. Proxemics refers to the study of themanner in which people use their space and the impact of populationdensity on various human aspects such as social interactions,communications, and behavior.
Inthe film Strangerthan Fiction,the editor employs parallel editing in various places. For example,in the scene at Ann Pascal’s house, the two characters are at onepoint presented in a parallel manner. In this case, in the scenenamed ‘the kiss’ the two subjects Anna and Harold were portrayedin a parallel manner. Two separate events are portrayed in the samescene and at the same time. After eating dinner, Harold offers tohelp to clear the table but Anna stops him. He goes to sit on thesofa where he finds a guitar. Anna is on her way to the kitchen whenHarold asks her about the guitar. She asks him if he can play theguitar. Herold declines to play at first saying that he know only onesong. However, when Anna gets into the kitchen he picks the guitarand starts to play. At this point, the two scenes, the kitchen andthe living room can be seen adjacently through the kitchen door.While in the kitchen Anna hears Harold’s voice and the tune of theguitar and goes into the living room. Finally, the scene concludeswith the two kissing.
Theuse of parallelism in the above scene helps the editor to achieveimportant goals. The goal that the author achieved by employingcross-cutting is adding exposition to the story line. To put itvividly, the editor was able to add an explanation to the backstory,thus, building on the narrative of the main character, Harold Crick. Harold was going through a transformation in his life. He had neverfallen in love for a long time partly because he lived a boring lifecharacterized by perfectionism. Eventually, he was falling in loveand the editor used cross-cutting effectively to build on thistransformation.
Example#2 – transition between shots: the wipe, the cut-ins, and cutaways
Anotherediting technique employed in the film is transitions between shots.Transitions refer to the manner in which one shot is ended as anotheris introduced. It is important to note that each transition performsa special function such as invoking different types of emotions.There are five film transition techniques that can be employed infilm editing. They include the wipe, the cut-ins, the cutaway, thedissolve, the fade and the L cut. The film Stranger than Fictionemploys the wipe, the cut-ins and cutaways as a method oftransitioning between different shots.
Theeditor uses a wipe as transition technique especially at thebeginning of the film. Wipe is film editing technique where one shotreplaces another by sliding from one angle of the screen with aspecific shape. This technique is used to slide different shotswithin the film. For example, at the narrator explains how Harold histeeth each day, one shot rolls over and replaces another. The sametechnique is also used when the narrator explains the duration thatHarold takes to eat lunch or for a coffee break. The shot presentingHarold eating lunch alone is replaced by one in which he is drinkingcoffee through a wipe technique. The coffee break scene is alsoreplaced by a different scene in the way.
Thecut-in shots is an editing technique that is used to presentsomething that is visible in the main scene. For example, the filmbegins with the narrator giving background information about Harold. The main scene is Harold’s bedroom. The editor focuses on thewristwatch on the table. The editor uses such shots throughout thefilm. For instance, in the file room at the tax office, the editorfocuses on the files that were being kept by Harold.
Unlikethe cut-in shots, the cutaways are shots move away from the mainscene. In other words, a cutaway editing technique entailsinterruption of ongoing events by introducing another scene withinthe main scene. For instance, at the scene where Harold is going toboard the bus to work for the final time, the editor introduces adifferent action. In this case, the editor brings in a boy riding abicycle. The boy cycles past Harold and other people waiting for thebus and gets on the road. The bus arrives at the same time and Haroldsteps in front of the bus to stop the boy from being hit. The bushits Harold instead. This cutaway enables the transition between thescene on the road and the hospital where the film ends.
3.Provide specific examples from the film of 4 different functionsof film sound (audience awareness, audience expectations, expressionsof points of view, rhythm, characterization, continuity, andemphasis). Be sure to discuss the source (diegetic or non-diegetic,onscreen or off-screen, internal or external) and type of sound(vocal, environmental, music or silence) you provide for each exampleand clearly explain the function that it serves within the film’snarrative. 20 points
1.Example:Narration, which done by Karen Eiffel or dialogue between variouscharacters in the film.
Function– the function of narration or dialogue in the film is to guide theattention of the audience between various sections of the film. Forexample, in the film Karen Eiffel, acted by Emma Thompson, narratesthe life of Harold Crick. From the beginning of the film to the end,she guides the audience through various sections of the film which,in essence, are aspects of Harold’s life. Bothe the narration andthe dialogue between various characters in the film help the audienceto interpret the film.
Source-outside the film. The sound does not originate from sources that arewithin the film world
Function– The sound effects perform various functions. For example, soundeffects can be used to put more emphasis on the event. They includesoundtracks that can be paused to stress on an issue that is beingpresented. For example
Source-off-screen, the sound originates from a source outside the filmworld.
Function– Foley sound or wild recording are the sound that is recordedoutside the shooting phase. For example, the narrator explains thatHarold’s wrist watch delight in the wind breeze as he ran to catchthe bus to work each morning. The same sound is also used in thefiling room in IRS offices when Harold explains to Dave how thenarrator describes the sound that is made by the files. He says thatthey make the sound of the ocean. The same sound can be heard fromthe background.
Function– silence is used in several cases especially at the beginning ofthe film. The editor uses silence to create attention to theperception of a character, Harold Crick. It is also to emphasize thatthe narration would not go on unless Harold carries out hispreprogrammed daily routines.
Dancyger,K. (2014). Thetechnique of film and video editing: history, theory, and practice.CRC Press.