Short video for in-class discussion of film techniques
November 22, 2013 9:33 AM   Subscribe

In class next week I'll be doing a "shot at a time" session as described by Roger Ebert, and I need a short (~30 min), visually interesting, readily available video to show in class.

For my English 101 class this semester, I've assigned a paper about a film of their choice. Next week I'm doing a brief intro to film session to give them as least a little bit of vocabulary to talk about what's going on onscreen. I don't want to lecture, and I think actually looking at cinematography in action will benefit them more.

The class is only an hour and 15 minutes, so I don't think I'll be able to finish anything longer than half an hour, and I really hate to leave a film unfinished. Can you suggest readily available shorts or TV episodes that will be entertaining (for me and them) which will also show off cinematic techniques? (And by readily available, I mean "available on DVD at the local discount retailer or movie store in a small city.")
posted by fogovonslack to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Plastic Bag clocks in at around 18 minutes.
posted by jquinby at 9:41 AM on November 22, 2013

It's not a short, but Visions of Light is a great doc about cinematography.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:58 AM on November 22, 2013

A lot of episodes of Community use and abuse the language of film, especially the "concept" episodes, such as "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" or "Paradigms of Human Memory."
posted by Etrigan at 9:59 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Back to Basics: Hitchcock. Part one Emotion.
part two Characters
part three suspense
posted by Gungho at 10:16 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

La Jetée is an amazing short (less than 30 minutes) film by Chris Marker, one of the great classics that nevertheless people often miss. You can find it all over the place, but here is where it lives on youtube.
posted by ubiquity at 10:25 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Three other classic films clocking in around 30 minutes: All three are widely available at stores and online.
posted by ubiquity at 10:34 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Came in here to vote for The Red Balloon. It's currently on Netflix Instant.

You might also consider the AMAZING 2006 animated version of "Peter and the Wolf." Also on Netflix Instant.
posted by jbickers at 11:01 AM on November 22, 2013

A couple of first short films from famous directors:

George Lucas' Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB is on YouTube

Spielberg's Amblin is on YouTube also.
posted by octothorpe at 11:07 AM on November 22, 2013

I would encourage you to reconsider how much of a problem it is to "leave a film unfinished." When I took film studies, we did this with scenes from feature-length films and I don't think that was a problem. ( Scenes from The Crowd and After Hours )

The Obit Writer could be good, but may be harder to get ahold of.

A lot of good episodes of the Twilight Zone could be appropriate. "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" "The Eye of the Beholder" or "The Invaders" come to mind as fun visually and are all from half-hour seasons.
posted by RobotHero at 12:59 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about the first ten minutes of "Up?"
posted by Marky at 1:06 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

La Jetee is short enough, though your students may/may not get it,depending on age/maturity.

Meshes of the Afternoon would be my vote.
posted by mermaidcafe at 2:08 PM on November 22, 2013

also came in to recommend The Red Balloon.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:11 PM on November 22, 2013

The opening 12 and a half minutes of Snake Eyes.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:32 PM on November 22, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions. I've added a few things to my own viewing list. Given my audience, I think the Twilight Zone and Community suggestions are the most likely (as I grumble at Netflix for not having "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"), though Peter & the Wolf also looks promising.
posted by fogovonslack at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2013

Response by poster: And just finished watching Peter and the Wolf. We have a winner!
posted by fogovonslack at 1:29 PM on November 23, 2013

Maya Deren's Meshes of an Afternoon would work well.
posted by meadowlark lime at 9:35 AM on November 25, 2013

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