Film Studies is growing field of academic study that is focused on the critical appraisal and appreciation of cinema as a form of art together with its role in shaping contemporary society and culture. Scholars in the field concerns themselves with analyzing how best to view and appraise movies in order to understand all their many meanings and impacts. The discipline sits within the larger fields of media and cultural studies.
The field of study is comparatively new one dating back only a handful of decades to the latter part of last century. The explosive growth of movies and their powerful influence on pop culture has been a major factor driving interest in the subject. That interest has given birth to a large range of peer-reviewed, academic journals such as Cinema Journal, Journal of Film and Video plus the British journal Screen.
Academic journals have introduced many important concepts in cinema theory over the years and remain and important vehicle for the exchange of ideas. For instance Laura Mulvey, the leading cinema theorist and British university professor, published her famous 1975 article titled Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema in Screen. The article employed a Freudian psychoanalytic framework to analyze how women are portrayed in cinema. Her article was the first serios writing to tackle the issue in this way; it combined cinema theory with psychoanalysis and feminist thinking. Mulvey remains active today as professor of cinema and media studies at the Birkbeck College, University of London, Bloomsbury.
Given the commercial dominance of Hollywood movies on contemporary culture, it may surprise many some people to learn that Russia and Europe have had a strong influence on both filmmaking and theory. A clear example is the Moscow Film School. This institution, founded in 1919, and was the first school in the world to focus on the production of movies.
Similarly, the first serious cinema theorist is widely acknowledged to be Frenchman Andre Bazin (1918-1958). He started writing on the subject in 1943, during the World War II, and was a co-founder of the prominent magazine Cahiers du cinema in 1951 (together with Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca). His writings remain a major force in cinema theory and criticism today.
A 4 volume set of Bazin writings was published and released after his death. Those volumes were titled Qu’est-ce que le cinema? (What is Cinema?) and released over the years 1958 to 1962. A selection of those essays was translated into English and published as two volumes, the first in the late 1960s and the other in the early 1970s.
Bazin also favored films that presented an objective reality rather than indulging in blatant fake manipulations of reality. He supported documentaries and films crafted on the lines of Italian neorealism. From a technical viewpoint, he encouraged directors to render themselves invisible in their films; he supported advocated deep focus shots and wide shots; he discouraged adding meaning through montage favoring instead continuity via mise en scene.
Not all Bazin views are supported by contemporary film studies scholars. He is nonetheless celebrated as an original thinker of his time. Francois Truffaut dedicated his The 400 Blows to Bazin who, coincidentally, died only one day after shooting for the movie started.
Tarintino had to start somewhere. Film school can open the door to a lucrative and enjoyable career. The industry requires hard work and long hours so get started at a Canadian Art Institute. If film does not interest you then try taking web design courses or photography courses.