Mulholland Drive – David Lynch

Examples of:

Film Noir:

-Naked female > after accident cant remember her name as she was in shock > knock to the head – wounded

-Male conference room: taste of bad coffee causes rage

-Use of cigarettes

-Use of weapon – Gun shot – causes a disturbance – male character murders the woman he shot – then the janitor

-‘Rita’ has no idea who she is – case of amnesia > she has a lot of cash – hence the reason why she was in the accident and is holding a mysterious blue key

-Cheating wife for more masculine man

-Another dead person – woman lying on bed


-Soft focus camera – dream like

-The ‘unreal’ beast – mystical and scary person who was in a mans dream – untrue event becomes reality – was seen in ‘real’ life

-Role reversal – conducted though the Blue Box < portal??

Expressionism (German):

-The Diner: Mysterious man in dream > vision of fear

-Man appears behind a white graffiti wall > fearful looking male at man who had dream > causes to faint

 -Dark empty American streets

-Mysterious creepy man

-Flashing street light – representing the appearance of ‘the cowboy’ a wise man??

-Empty bedroom, dark lighting, thunder sound effects with flashing lights, fog, woman scream

Technical Techniques (General):

-Slow motion camera movement > amplifies the mans dream > showing fear of no where abouts of the mysterious man.

-Fast camera sweep – silencio theatre

-High (Bird eye) camera angle overlooking city

Audio Techniques (General):

-Suspenseful rising intense music > then car crash

-Suspenseful rising intense music > then dead body revealed

Written Techniques (General):


Description of Scenes (General):

-Car crash > intro to main female character (Gets out of damaged car, walks down hill to the City)

-Los Angeles (LA) > Hollywood > introduced to second female character > goes to CoCo – motel manager

-Second main female character (Betty) assists the ‘naked female’ (Rita) character whilst she recovers

-Introduction to two new male characters – working for those in the company – the ‘male conference room’ people?

-silencio theatre – emotions running high, woman singer faints

-Blue key opens blue box ‘cube’

Key Notes and Quotes:

Understanding the text (film):


“In the dream Rita exits the limousine and walks downhill; in reality Diane exits the limousine and walks uphill. In the dream Aunt Ruth is alive; in reality Aunt Ruth is dead. In the dream Adam Kesher’s world is spinning out of control and he is losing everything; in reality Adam Kesher’s world is very much in control and he has everything. In the dream the hitman is incompetent; in reality he turns out to be all too competent. In the dream Camilla is alive and Diane is dead; in reality Diane is alive and Camilla is dead.”  – From a review

-first 3/4 of the film is a dream

-last 1/4 is the reality

-Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American expressionist, surrealist and neo-noir film, written and directed by David Lynch

-“what are you doing we dont stop here”…“get out of the car” – man pulls out the gun and aims at Rita who is in the back seat of the Cadillac, before it was crashed into. > purpose of the quote > shows Film noir though the use of the gun > Fear though the tone of her voice – german expressionism – fear

By trentwhitworth

Film Noir

Answer the following, relating to the videos watched on stage3media – Film Noir

Between which years were Film Noir films made?

 Most common from the late 1930s to early 1960s. However some films around the 80s-90s were developed with the Film Noir style, and even some in the present times, but is limited compared to the past.

Which country does Film Noir exemplify? Why?

America, as Film Noir originated after the Great Depression, through the Second World War and up to the Cold War.

Film Noir is the “son” of which film movement?  Why would someone make this statement?

The impact of German Expressionist lighting was brought to bear by the large number of German and East Europeans working in Hollywood: Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Robert Siodmak to name a few.” Film Noir is the ‘son’ or newer/latest generation of german expressionism (the father). This statement was made as german expressionism is revealed though Film Noir, hence the ‘relationship’ of ‘father and son’.

List some of the elements of Film Noir.

-German Expressionism – the dark side to life and humanity

-A dangerous woman

-Urban setting


-Male Characters with cigars


-Small lighting to create shadows and give the dark sense of fear and danger

-Fog and steam

-Clenching Audio

-Low camera angles and Wide camera shots

What is the difference between “emotional realism” & “crime realism”?

Emotional Realism – “A representational quality in a narrative that is felt to be ‘true-to-life’ by audiences in terms of the enactment of recognizable subjective experiences.

Crime Realism – Criminal association in society based on real events.

In film what elements make for “style”?

-A filmmakers worldview enables him/her to produce their own style through:

-A custom set/setting

-Light angles

-Camera angles / Camera shots


“Film Noir is not a genre.” Explain this statement.

Film Noir is not a genre, but a style that filmmakers are able to produce a specialty that is similar to other films, but with its own ‘flare’ (something that stands out more than other film noir films, but that shares the same elements).

“Working within the limits of the production code.”  Explain this.

The Motion Picture Production Code was the set of industry moral censorship guidelines that governed the production of most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968. It is also popularly known as the Hays Code, after Hollywood’s chief censor of the time, Will H. Hays.”

What is the “femme fatale”?

The “femme fatale” is a female lead character who has a mysterious past and a dangerous air to her. Often this woman is pictured as an idealized woman who bewitches and corrupts a male character, making him carry out crimes with her due to her sexual desire from flirting and seducing them.

How could you label Chris Nolan’s film “Momento”?

This 2000/2001 (release date is dependent on the country) film is relatable to the style, film noir as the same concept is applied. The same techniques are used, the main difference is that Momento is in colour, not black and white. The evil of death (murder), crime and paranoia are good ways of going about a film noir film.

Examine how “Hard Boiled” is a film that uses elements from Film Noir.

-Dangerous woman

-Cops investigation

-Use of B/W filter > as Hard Boiled was created in the present. Evidence iPhone seen at 0:19 into film and use of social media, 0:56 seconds.

-American set

-American characters


-Slow panning camera movement

-Wide camera shots

By trentwhitworth

Auteur (Author) Théorie (Theory)

“The auteur theory is a way of reading and appraising films through the imprint of an auteur (author), usually meant to be the director.”

Film theory therefore became a critical practice which paralleled dominant modes of literary criticism complete with a ‘canon’ of great films which very simply were the particular directors best and most representative works.”

“A theory that the director is the chief creator of a film and gives it an individual style that is evident in all aspects of the finished product.”

Certain people are able to have a ‘stamp’ on their work, meaning that the audience could identify their film by not even reading the text: “Film Director”. These filmmakers build a reputation for themselves and therefore are abled to create a positive reaction to the audience to recommend them to other people. By creating at least one ‘great hit’, it causes a spark that grabs the attention of the audience in the hope to getting more and more people to view his/her work. Tim Burton has this ‘stamp’ and so, he has worked hard for it, and now see where he’s at now, successful.  



By trentwhitworth

Tim Burton and his notion of (German) Neo-Expressionism

Tim Burton has directed some very interesting films. The most interesting films that i have seen of his would be his 1980s films, ‘Vincent’ and ‘Frankenweenie’. Burton has made similar films to these, by this i mean that he addresses and uses ‘German Expressionism’, that has the dark, horror and diverse technicalities that also has a sadness. For example the viewer would feel sorry for Vincent (From ‘Vincent’) and Victor (From ‘Frankenweenie’) due to the conflict in the plot. Burton has made other films such as ‘Corpse Bride’ in 2005, another example of German Expressionism, however is known as Neo-Expressionism as his films are more modern than those in the 1920s.


Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 2.32.51 PM   Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 2.35.17 PM


-Frankenweenie-1984-frankenweenie-29572842-1360-768 CLH1.CA.Oe.0924.halloween2.O.1

 Corpse Bride:

corpse-bride-51b583d8c0828Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 5.44.09 PM

By trentwhitworth


Definition of Expressionism?

Expressionism is the movement in the fine arts that emphasized the expression of one’s inner self and their angst rather than solely being realistic and fanboyish about the world and life”. It is the expression of a person though art, music and drama, that can be in a form of written text, painting or film. “Expressionism is a term that embraces an early 20th century style of art, music and literature that is charged with an emotional and spiritual vision of the world”.

Examples of Expressionist Art, with stills to demonstrate.


EDVARD MUNCH (1863-1944)
‘The Scream’, 1893 (oil, tempera and pastel on board)

“I was walking along the road with two friends. The sun set. I felt a tinge of melancholy. Suddenly the sky became a bloody red. I stopped, leaned against the railing, dead tired. And I looked at the flaming clouds that hung like blood and a sword over the blue-black fjord and city. My friends walked on. I stood there, trembling with fright. And I felt a loud, unending scream piercing nature.”


‘Madchen aus Kowno’, 1918 (woodcut)

Putting our faith in a new generation of creators and art lovers, we call upon all youth to unite. And being youth, the bearers of the future, we want to wrest from the comfortably established older generation freedom to live and move. Anyone who directly and honestly reproduces that force which impels him to create belongs to us.’

Examples besides The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, with stills to demonstrate. 

Metropolis (1927): “In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.”


Nosferatu (1922): Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter’s wife. Silent classic based on the story “Dracula.

nosferatu_by_ryansd-d3fxvvs nosferatu

Why is The Cabinet of Dr Caligari an example of an expressionist film? Use stills to demonstrate. 

After losing the war against Britain, Germany, on its way to get back on its feet, developed several meaningful art pieces and films. Several germans could express their feelings, intellect and perspective on the world and what just happened, through expressional art and film. These german artists and directors were showing the world how they felt and how they have made progress to recover. Most of the german artists developed paintings like the ones below, and the german directors developed such films as ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’, an example of an expressionalist film as it represents the corruption of death and fear in the world, during the first world war and through out life it self, with the theme of horror and murders. The setting, and how it is displayed, shows how the world is uneven and distort as the walls, doors and total structure of the buildings are slanted in various different ‘cutting’ (sharp) angles. The film is totally based on personal expression, the definition of expressionist film and art is for one to express his or her views on the world though a visual text, the basis of expression (it can be though audio as well). The technical way, of which the film is shot, is another reason why it is an example of an expressionist film as the actors and actresses portray the emotions of fear, as death is upon the town. Fear is expressed through out this film as the victims and public of the town are shown in a close up camera shot, expressing true and dramatic emotion for the viewers. [Have a look at the stills from the film, just below the expressionist art].

Expressionist Art:


(Feeling Trapped)



Expressionist Film: 


Jagged window, slanted walls and door


Several different angled walls


‘Odd’ looking rooftop: windows, walls and chimney


Murder scene: German expression of corrupt world/society
By trentwhitworth

Avant-Garde, Surrealism and Experimental Film

  1. Experimental Film: a range of filmmaking styles, its opposed to mainstream filming.
  2. Avant-Garde: an example of an experimental film which links to artistic movement. In the 60’s it was known as ‘Underground’. The generic term today is ‘Experimental Cinema’.
  3. Experimental Characteristics: animations, non-diegetic sounds, non narrative, uses rapid editing and out of focus. The goal is often to place the viewer in a more active and more thoughtful relationship to the film.
  4. Avant-Garde: means ‘advance guard’ or ‘vanguard’. The term was originally used to describe the foremost part of an army advancing into battle. Filmmaking is collaborative.
  5. Avant-Garde Characteristics: non linear storytelling, fast paced, obscure storytelling, can be surrealist and realist.
  6. Surrealism: non realist – opposed to realist. It is a visual art and literature movement. It flourished in Europe between WWI – WWII. It moved out of the Dada movement > odd art. It is the reuniting conscious and unconscious realms.
  7. Manifesto: like a rulebook.
  8. Sigmund Freud: a man of unusual expression, who voices his opinion, through the relationship to some sort of sexual behaviour or idea.
By trentwhitworth

Realism and District9

Realism, started by the Lumiere documentaries, is all about showing the truth. A realist will try to preserve the illusion that their film world is unmanipulated, an objective mirror of the actual world. We rarely notice the style in a realistic movie. They often aim for a rough look, with the idea that “if it’s too pretty, it’s false.” This means there is often handheld camera or simply a camera on a tripod. They use available light (often just the sun).

So is District9 an example of Realism?

District9 is NOT an example of a Realist film as it not showing any truth in the actual world as Earth does not contain any form of alien. The short film was handheld  filmed and used available light (the sun). Editing was used to create the aliens and is therefore more evidence as to why this is not a realism film. The film was “too pretty” and therefore considered false.


District9 is considered to be an example of a Realist film as it was shot, using the techniques of a realist film, despite the Sci-fi genre, incorporating aliens.

By trentwhitworth

Avant Garde Cinema / Surrealism Film

Avant Garde Cinema / Surrealism Film / (Experimental Entertainment)


‘A style of art and literature developed principally in the 20th century, stressing the subconscious

ornonrational significance of imagery arrived at by automatism or the exploitation of chance effects, unexpected

juxtapositions, etc. Surrealist film balances on of the periphery of the logical and illogical by their careful

combination of ‘perceptual and imaginary elements. Surrealist film is thus based on a combination of diametrically

opposed values.’ Surrealist film had narrative structure, familiar character-types, a sense of diegetic time and space,

and shared many of the cinematographic techniques that could be found in the popular films of the day.’

Avant Garde:

‘A group active in the invention and application of new techniques in a given field, especially in the arts.

So what made the Surrealist films canonical of the avant-garde rather than of the mainstream cinema?

What drew the Surrealists to the cinema in the first place?

What aspects of the cinematic experience suited their cause and why did they prefer convention to innovation?’

Experimental Entertainment/Film/Cinema: 

‘While “experimental” covers a wide range of practice, an experimental film is often characterized by the absence of

linear narrative, the use of various abstracting techniques—out-of-focus, painting or scratching on film, rapid editing

—the use of asynchronous (non-diegetic) sound or even the absence of any sound track.

The goal is often to place theviewer in a more active and more thoughtful relationship to the film.

At least through the 1960s, and to some extent after, many experimental films took an oppositional stance toward mainstream culture.’

My Understanding:

Surrealism films are a mix of logical and illogical ideas formed to construct entertainment for the viewers.

Avant Garde Cinema is more experimental, meaning the approach to developing a film is more flexible and can therefore entertain differently and can yet also entertain similarly like surrealism films.

They both are focused on the arts and culture of society. (The basis of what the films are based on, to construct entertainment).


By trentwhitworth

Differences between Mainstream Cinema and Art House Cinema

Mainstream Cinema: eg: James Bond films

Art House Cinema: eg: Fiji

Narrative: The plot or narrative of the Art House film may be more complicated to understand as compared to a Mainstream film.

Length: Typical mainstream length of 90 mins to 2hrs or 3hrs. An art house film can vary in length from minutes to several hours.

Celebrity Appearances: “Hollywood Celebrities” are featured in mainstream films, whilst art house films focus on one or two main characters who are not closely recognised.

Cost/Value: Mainstream cinema is made for a profit and is tied to, distribution. Art house cinema is created usually for an aesthetic/artistic value.

Commercial: People invest money into mainstream cinema, in the hope of getting some profit. As it has a huge budget. Art house films usually have a low budget and minimal people investing, closer to nothing.

Mainstream films open in multiplex’s cinema complexes are for BIG films on huge screens and audio, blasting through several speakers eg: Hoyts in Carousel and Garden City and other places. Art house films feature in “pop up cinemas” which take place on an empty rooftop carpark. The income for these places usually involves one or two major hollywood film, to draw attention and to make profit. This type of cinema entertainment is based on a seasonal rotation, so popularity will drop and rise at certain times a year, mostly high in summer.

By trentwhitworth