Otázka: Cinema and film production
The word ‘cinema’ represents both the art and the industry of filmmaking.
From the business point of view, filmmaking is a job like any other where film is simply a product that aims to make money. But from the artistic point of view, film is a unique way to express ideas and feelings through moving pictures.
Depending on the main theme, we can categorize films into several genres such as
drama – where the main character struggles with problems of everyday life. It can be sometimes serious issues like drug addiction (Requiem for a dream, 2000), war-crimes (The Reader, 2008), mental illness (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975), racism (This is England, 2006; Do the Right Thing,1989), gay rights (Milk, 2008) or extremism (The Wave, 2008), etc.
A complete opposite to drama film is comedy which is meant to make people laugh and entertain them, as for example the Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) – famous for its typical British black humour. Film that makes us cry, is usully a romantic one, like Annie Hall (1977) from director Woody Allen who also wrote the screenplay for his film.
For somebody who enjoys tension and suspense, the best choice is probably an action movie, for example James Bond Agent 007, one of the most profitable series of all times. Another successful film series is Star Wars – a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy.
And if you prefer scary movies, there is a big choice of horrors about ghosts and vampires or strange people – like the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This was originally a book written by R.L.Stevenson, but there have already been made more than 120 film adaptations!
You can find many other films based on a book, like the popular fantasy series Harry Potter that counts eight films or the biographical film called Into the Wild (2007).
Film biographies (e.g. about the Mexican painter Frida, 2002) are one of the many types of documentary movies. The main difference from the previous “fictional” genres is that documentaries show facts – events and things that happened (Bowling for Colombine, 2002). Even though, they should be objective, they can be sometimes used as propaganda filled with misleading and twisted information (e.g. Why We Fight, an American film series shown to people to convince them to support involvement of the USA in the World War II).
A special type of films that can’t be defined by genre but rather by a film-technique are animated films. Many people see them only as entertainment for children, however, there have been made many great animated films for adults as well, e.g. Animal Farm (1954) based on a book by G.Orwell.
Film production is a process of making a film and consists of 5 stages:
The first stage is development – that’s the moment someone gets an idea for a film, the screenplay is written and we look for a way to finance it.
In the second stage, pre-production, we need to hire a director and other members of the film crew (Storyboard artist, Assistant director (AD), Location manager, Production designer, Costume designer, Casting director, Choreographer, Director of photography (DP), Sound designer, etc.). We choose the cast, locations and build the sets.
The shooting itself is the third stage which is called production.
Once the shooting is done, we proceed to the fourth stage, the post-production, which includes image and sound editing, special effects, dubbing etc.
When the film is finished, we get to the last stage – the distribution. The film is advertised and released to the cinema.
Films are also screened at various festivals and the most successful ones receive awards, for example Oscars from The Academy Awards (USA), Palme d’Or at The Cannes International Film Festival (France) or The Golden Bear at The Berlin International Film Festival (Germany).
In the Czech Republic, there are also several film festivals such as Karlovy Vary, Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště or Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival.