FILM STUDIES?

I constantly get asked: what is film studies? What kind of things do you analyse? Well, I thought I’d give you a taster…

COMEDY MUSICALS is a genre – a category of films that are characterised by similarities in form, style, or subject matter. For example, most comedy musicals feature a number that is geared towards the male audience by having a female spectacle. One can compare this “courtesan dance” in different films. Here are four examples:

1. Bollywood: Dabangg (Abhinav Kashyap, 2010)  –

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP.

2. Trans-national Asian production : Perhaps Love (Peter Chan, 2005) –

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP.

3. Contemporary Hollywood: Burlesque (Steve Antin, 2010) –

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP. 

4. Classic Hollywood: The Gang’s All Here (Busby Berkeley, 1943) –

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP.

Now, you can compare each of these clips to analyse the filmic treatment of the dance number. Questions such as: Is the musical number justified by the narrative? What is the visual style of the editing montage? Are there cultural conventions that vary within each national context – even if the films are part of the same ‘genre’? This could be a PhD topic because there is so much to write about in terms of musicals, cultures, and history, so I leave you here… But, I hope you enjoyed the musical clips and understand the work involved with Film Studies a little bit more!

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