Friday, 21 January 2011

RESEARCH: "Watching" Documentary on Film openings:

Thomas Sutcliffe states that in order for films to be successful, 'films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistable'. What he means by this is that it is essential to grasp the attention of the audience in the first few moments of the film, in order for the audience to become interested in the story; this can be done in the opening of the film. However,  Jean Jacques Beinex argues that 'instant arousal' in an  opening is risky.. If you start an opening strongly, with a lot of suspense and drama, the suspense is needed to be maintained at a high level throughout the film; which is difficult to achieve. 
It is argued that 'a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little.'  In other words, the audience should know something of what is happening; for example location, occupation or the characters world, but the audience can not know too much, so that there is no element of mystery; a certain amount of  knowledge is needed to cause intrigue in the audience.
Critic Stanley Kauffmann describes the 'classic opening' as an effective opening. A 'classic opening' starts with an establishing shot of a building and continues with several establishing shots of the place in which the opening is taken place. Kauffman explains that this opening is very effective as the audience are shown where the film is taken place, or the 'world' of the characters. This shows that an opening has to supply the audience with a certain amount of information, in order to create interest in the audience, but not so much information that you ruin the suspense.
A film which is effective in using title sequence is Kyle Cooper's 'Seven'.The use of editing (such as fast jump cuts) and images introduced the obsessive nature of the character and enabled foreshadowing. Also another successful opening to a film is 'The Shining' which creates suspense by the use of panning, showing the audience that the car which is introduced is not only in the opening as a coincidence, but that it is relevant to the film and that it is being followed, creating suspense. Another technique useful in an opening is "the use of an end as a beginning" This is the trick used in 'Film Noir.'

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