Hero is a martial arts film directed by Chinese director Yimou Zhang, which tells the
story of warriors from six states who plan to assassinate the king of Qin in order to fight
against the invasion. Director integrates the aesthetic features of national culture with
the production process and rules of commercial films, so that Hero achieves a balance
between artistic aesthetics and box office in the film market.
On the one hand, color has become the main tool for the poetic narration of hero, and
it also plays an important role in the creation of environmental atmosphere, expression
of characters’ emotions and guidance of aesthetic orientation. On the other hand, Hero
also uses a large number of new films editing techniques, novel art forms and
techniques of expression, which makes the audience feel extremely fresh and excited.
At the same time, the sound effects and music style of Hero make the atmosphere in
the film more vivid and the narrative effect more vivid.
The essay picks up a screening at the end of the movie (1:26:00-1:28:00) about the king
of Qin tearfully ordering his soldiers to shoot ‘unnamed’ to death with 10,000 arrows.
The following section will separately discuss the style which include mise en scene,
cinematography, sound, and editing in this screening.
Mise en scene
Colour can play important roles in settings. Black represents the kingdom of Qin in the
film. In the screening, the soldiers of the King of Qin and Unnamed’s costumes are all
black, making the atmosphere of repression, terror, solemnity and death. The direction
of the light is also well used in the plot. Light from different directions makes
Unnamed’s face have more depth, tree-point lighting was cast on his grave face the key
comes from the right, and the fill from the left, backlighting from under.
In the final scene, the soldiers stood outside the palace in order. At the moment when
the King of Qin waved his hand, the soldiers raised their weapons and began to shoot
arrows. Then the arrows suddenly shot into the air. A serios of shots are rapidly edited
and applied on the Kuleshov effect.
When the soldiers stood on both sides of the King of Qin Shouting, the director cut the
camera into several segments, showing the soldiers on the left and the soldiers on the
right respectively. Finally, he edited the whole panorama of the soldiers, in order to
emphasize the unique symbolic meaning of this picture, so as to set off the king’s
entangled psychology at that moment
In the screening, we hear officers and soldiers shouting “Execute Him! ” The sound was
magnificent, then the sound of soldiers raising their bows and arrows suggests
impending danger that would rain down upon the unnamed.
While Bordwell, Thompson, and Smith (1993，299) found that filmmakers occasionally
use nondiegetic sounds, which are clearly related to the timing of the story. For example,
at the end of Hero Screening, the sound of the bow firing through the air changes as it
is shot to the unknown distance. The sound in the story is earlier than image, which
becomes a disturbing sound to the movie scene until the audience sees the bow go into
Strong light hits unnamed’s face, creating clearly defined shadows, sharp edges that
highlight unnamed’s irmness and bravery, perfecting his hero image, and soft light on
the king’s tearful face, softening the character’s image.
Creating spatio-temporal continuity is one of the functions in clip, when the bow and
arrow are fired by the soldiers. The camera slowly extends to the centre of the palace
gate, leaving a human-shaped blank. This editing method creates juxtapositions, instead
of the anonymous stabbed to death shot.
As the background music of the screening of Hero, percussion music reflects its rhythm
characteristics with strong and weak, fast and slow, which can fully render the
atmosphere of the battle, make the plot of the movie rise and fall, and make the audience
have an immersive feeling.
Response from audience
The black palace of Qin, the black costumes of the characters, the whole world of Qin
in black. Director through the black told the audience, the establishment of the qin
dynasty is based on death and sorrow, Unnamed to the Qin dynasty palace is not come
out alive, in the end this fragment, officials are calling please king ordered to kill
Unnamed, the audience want to have the miracle appear, but when the lens is all black,
to the audience an atmosphere of despair.
In nearly the end of the screening, the king of Qin ordered to kill Unnamed, thousands
of arrow immediately launch to the gate, here the director did not give the audience see
a bloody Unnamed, but leave a blank in the shape of individual on the gate, this kind
of indirect shooting techniques give a person a kind of psychological comfort, but also
showed the king of Qin to the mood of a hero’s death.
Firstly, mise en scene contributes to a sense of place, character and atmosphere. It sends
a lot of messages to the audience. For example, the theme colour of the screening is
black, which brings depression and tension to the audience. Usually the audience did
not realize it, but the tension is generated. Secondly, Good editing allows the film to
move at a good pace suited to the story and creates appropriate interaction with the
audience. When the bow shoots at the gate and the unknown, the clip does not give the
audience a nameless body, but leaves the shape of a blank person, correctly capturing
the atmosphere, tension and mystery. Lastly，Sound helps convey information, adds
productive value, evokes emotional responses, emphasizes the content on the screen
and it to express mood. The screening applied appropriate language, sound effects,
music and even silencing to significantly enhance the quality of the movie.
Bordwell, David, Kristin Thompson, and Jeff Smith. Film art: An introduction.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.
zRevised and Supplemented Comparative Analysis
Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Due Date: 30 Oct 20 16:00 Submit via TurnItIn Blackboard Link
This assignment asks you to submit a substantively revised and supplemented version of your
first essay. These are the key components:
1. You should revise your first essay in line with your tutor’s feedback.
2. If necessary or desired, you should expand that section of your essay by adding
analysis of other salient formal and/or stylistic aspects to supplement your original
analysis of mise-en-scene and cinematography. (Make sure that you update your
claims about this sequence accordingly.)
3. You should choose another brief (1-2 minute) sequence from another of the set
screenings and write a comparative analysis of how the different aspects of form and
style are handled in each of the two sequences. You must, of course, have a point to
make about the relationship between the two sequences. This should be stated clearly
and explicitly in your revised thesis statement.
4. For this assignment, you should consult between 2 and 4 additional scholarly sources.
These should relate to and help support your thesis statement. For example, if you
want to do a comparative analysis of the distinctive style of two directors, you will
want to find scholarly sources on those directors and, perhaps, one or two on the idea
of film authorship. If you want to do a comparative analysis of film style in different
national or industrial contexts, you’ll need to consult scholarship about the relevant
national cinemas and the idea of national cinema in general. You are not writing a
research paper; you are just get acquainted with different kinds of scholarship on film
and television and adducing support for your argument.
Criteria & Marking:
Following Directions (5 marks)
You will be assessed on your ability to write an essay that does the things specified in the
instructions outlined in the “Task Description.”
Organisation and Argument (5 marks):
In the essay introduction, you should state your research question and say which film or
television show you are analysing, then map out your essay structure and formulate a thesis
statement that articulates the main points that you aim convince your reader about over the
course of the essay.
Your essay should make a coherent argument that develops logically throughout, with each
point or paragraph relating to your essay topic and supporting your thesis.
Close Analysis (10 marks)
You will be assessed on your ability to clearly and accurately describe the various aspects of
the work’s visual style using the appropriate terms from the course reading. You will also be
assessed on your ability to apprehend how these stylistic aspects are functioning — e.g. what
information they are concealing or revealing, what mood or tone they are conveying, what
responses they are designed to cue, and so forth.
Research (5 marks)
You must include 2-4 scholarly sources (books with university or academic presses;
peer-reviewed journals, etc). You must incorporate this research into your essay in a way that
supports your overall claims and that gives proper context and explanation to the research you
Written Expression, Presentation, Referencing and Formatting (5 marks):
Essays must demonstrate a high level of written expression and presentation (i.e., grammar,
spelling, syntax). They should be proof-read at least once and be free from typos.
You must use Chicago (17th edition) referencing and formatting conventions.
TV Temporality and Documentary
MS TU1001: INTRODUCTION TO FILM AND TELEVISION S TUDIES
TUTOR: DR MATTHEW CIPA
• On Death Row
• Form and Documentary
• Categorical Form
• Rhetorical Form
• Final Essay
On Death Row
• What were some of your reactions, thoughts, and feelings to
the subjects of the two episodes you were required to watch this
• What did the episodes provoke in you regarding the topic of
the death penalty?
• In your view – and in light of Elliott’s comments in the seminar
this week – what was Werner Herzog trying to achieve through
• Categorical films begin by identifying its subject
• Tends to use simple patterns of development (e.g. from small to
large, local to national, personal to public etc.).
• Can engage a viewer by showing how the category and
subcategories connect to broader matters.
• Can maintain the audience’s interest through patterned use of
• Can be used in combination with other kinds of form (e.g.
combined with small-scale narratives). Or a filmmaker can make
an ideological point.
Abstract: The Art of Design
Meet eight of the most creative thinkers and imaginative minds working in the world of
art and design today in the new Netflix original documentary series, Abstract: The Art
of Design. Journey through their creative process, explore their work, and discover
how their innovative designs have profoundly affected our every day lives.
• Form where the filmmaker presents a persuasive argument, so
as to convince the spectator to adopt an opinion about the
subject matter and perhaps to act on that opinion.
1. Addresses the viewer openly to convince them of an intellectual
conviction, a new emotional attitude, or to action.
2. The subject is usually not an issue of scientific truth.
3. If the conclusion can not be proven beyond question, the filmmaker
appeals to the audience’s emotions.
4. Often attempts to persuade the viewer to make a choice.
• Form where the filmmaker presents a persuasive
argument, so as to convince the spectator to adopt an
opinion about the subject matter and perhaps to act on
• Types of Rhetorical Argument
1. Arguments from source: when arguments rely on reliable
sources of information (from interviewees to the filmmakers
2. Subject-Centered: Relies on evidence to support the film’s
3. Viewer-Centered: Arguments that tap into the emotions of
The Thin Blue Line
Follows Randall Dale Adams, who at the age of 26 was arrested, convicted, and
sentenced to the death penalty for the 1976 murder of a police officer in Dallas,
Texas—a crime Adams did not commit. Reenacting the events leading up to the murder
and including interviews with Adams and other players in the case, Morris’s film made
a strong case for a miscarriage of justice—so much so that the case was reviewed a
year after the film’s release, and Adams’s conviction was overturned.
• In the essay introduction, you should state your research
question and say which film or television show you are
analysing, then map out your essay structure and formulate
a thesis statement that articulates the main points that you aim to
convince your reader about over the course of the essay.
• Your essay should make a coherent argument that develops
logically throughout, with each point or paragraph relating to
your essay topic and supporting your thesis.
• General Introductory Sentence/Statement of Research Question
• Remember: this does not end with a “?”
• Thesis Statement (1-2 sentences)
• Signposting/Foregrounding of Essay Structure (2-3 sentences)
• Mention here the film or television program you will be analysing
• Written in such a way that it is clear what each of the paragraphs
will be addressing.
Introduction – Thesis Statement
• From the ECP: the thesis statement “articulates the main points
that you aim [to] convince your reader about over the course of
• So it is a statement of your argument (i.e. thesis of the essay),
usually beginning “In this essay, I argue that…” or something
along those lines.
• The purpose of the thesis statement for the final essay is to be a
clear articulation of:
1. The film or television programs you are analysing (and the scenes)
2. The elements of style you are focusing on
3. The effect or function those elements of style are having
Introduction – Signposting
• Outline how your essay will progress (the order of
• Be specific about what you will address (the content of each
• This should essentially be a development of the thesis statement just
in more detail
• Being able to clearly articulate your argument and explicitly
outline how your essay will develop is a very good indication
that you know what you will be writing, that you understand the
requirements of the assignment, and that your essay will “hang
together” as a coherent and harmonious whole.
• Introductory sentence – tells your reader what the paragraph is
• Analyse the scene in line with the interests of the paragraph
• “Interpret” the analysis and connect it back to your argument
(e.g. the effect or function of the style)
• Foreground the next paragraph.
What to Avoid
• A play-by-play/re-description of plot.
• Excessive description of the scene
• You need to detail stylistic elements, but you also need to consider
some sort of effect they are having.
• A clear, precise argument helps with this.
• Analyses disconnected from your argument/concerns outlined
in your introduction
• With a clear and precise argument, it is much easier to ensure your
analyses have a point.
• Restate your argument (“In this essay, I argued…)
• How did you illustrate that argument? (by focusing on…
[elements of style, which film/scene])
• Statement of the significance of your findings (”think big” as
per the research question/general introductory statement from
your intro – perhaps connect to the function/effect part of your
• 3-5 sentences: be concise, to the point, summarise your findings
and argument and state their significance.
a) if you want to do a comparative analysis of the distinctive
style of two directors, you will want to find scholarly sources
on those directors and, perhaps, one or two on the idea of
b) If you want to do a comparative analysis of film style in
different national or industrial contexts, you’ll need to consult
scholarship about the relevant national cinemas and the idea
of national cinema in general.
You are not writing a research paper; you are just get
acquainted with different kinds of scholarship on film and
television and adducing support for your argument.
Some (More) Quick Notes on
• Include 2-4 scholarly sources and incorporate this into your
• Books with university or academic presses
• Peer-reviewed journals
• Not random internet sources (blogs, etc.)
• Incorporate your research into your essay so that:
• It supports your claims
• Gives proper context and explanation to the research you are citing
• Do not:
• Drop in quotes with no context/without addressing them
• Dangle quotes at the ends of paragraphs
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