How to Read...a Movie!

Updated: May 21

Have you ever wanted to understand the deeper meanings hidden within your favorite movies? Now you can! Check out the entire five-part series of Sam’s “How to Read a Movie” film analysis class! Follow along as Sam guides you through the basics of filmmaking and film analysis while using visuals from a wide range of movies! Check out the book Sam gets all her film knowledge from: "Understanding Movies" by Louis Giannetti. Each chapter explores a different aspect of filmmaking, and the final chapter takes everything you learned throughout the book and uses it to analyze one of the greatest films ever made: "Citizen Kane".

Episode One: Photography

Learn about various elements of photography in cinema in this first episode of Sam's film analysis class! In this video, Sam lists and describes six basic types of shots, five basic types of angles, three main styles of lighting, and she even discusses a bit of color theory! This is a crucial episode for anyone interested in learning basic filmmaking terms and concepts.

Episode Two: The Frame and Mise-en-scène

Mise-en-scène refers to the arrangement of all visual elements within the frame of the camera. In this episode of her film class, Sam discusses metaphors of the frame and lists the many aspects of the mise-en-scène. Specifically, she dives into composition and design, dominant and subsidiary contrasts, intrinsic interests, territorial space, five basic positions an actor can be photographed in, and four major proxemic patterns between characters.

Episode Three: Movement

Movement might not seem like a major aspect of filmmaking, but it is quite literally the essence of cinema itself. The word cinema is derived from the Greek word kinema which means movement, and movement is what distinguishes cinema from still photography. In this video, Sam reviews the seven basic moving camera shots and five basic distortions of movement in film.

Episode Four: Editing

Did you know that the average length of a shot in modern day movies is only two to six seconds long? Editing is the glue that holds a movie together, but can easily go unnoticed by the untrained eye. In this lesson, Sam discusses a variety of styles of editing from the most realist to the most formalist including sequence shots, cutting to continuity, classical cutting, thematic montage, and abstract cutting.

Episode Five: Sound

Despite there being an era of silent films, movies were never entirely without sound. Even in the early 1900's, movies would be accompanied by live music. Everything changed in 1927 with the release of "The Jazz Singer" which introduced synchronous sound to the medium of cinema. In this final episode of Sam's class, learn about how dialogue and music evolved due to the addition of sound throughout film history.

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