Film Professor Robert Spadoni recently published a new book, “A Pocket Guide to Analyzing Films.” The book is designed to help film students learn how to look at film through an academic lens.
This follows his first book published in 2007 titled “Uncanny Bodies: The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Genre.” Spadoni has also published many essays, mainly focusing on horror.
But his new pocket guide is a little different.
“This book is very much based on the class that I teach,” said Spadoni, who teaches Introduction to Film, as well as classes on special topics in film. “It’s a concentrated overview of what you need to know to analyze a film.”
At only $24.95 and 192 pages, the book is a much cheaper and shorter alternative to most film textbooks, while still providing the same basic information. It also contains nearly 200 images from various films, which illustrate the concepts described in each chapter.
The book is divided into three main sections: film form, film narrative and film style.
“The first section of the book is about looking at the film as a kind of a system,” said Spadoni. “If you watch a film, and you’re not sure what you think, how can you look at it and come up with ideas that you can communicate in written form to someone else in a persuasive way.”
The second section looks at what makes up a narrative, and how this narrative relates to the film as a whole. The last section looks at the more “nitty gritty” aspects of film, such as camera angles, editing and sound.
“I’m talking about film meaning,” Spadoni said. “Some people, when they look at films, will only think about themes and thematic analysis. In that way, it’s a lot like looking at a book or a play or anything else. What strains out of your analysis is all the things that make a film a film.”
“The book really focuses on that specificity,” he added.
Although Spadoni intended the book for students, he said that it would be helpful for people who want to make films as well, as it gives them an idea of how to approach a film from the viewer’s standpoint.