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The Language of Film


The Baker Museum Education Space

Andrew Douglas
Mar 9, 10:00am
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The Baker Museum Education Space 10:00am
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The Language of Film:

Andrew Douglas Language of Film Series
Artis—Naples Lifelong Learning

Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Senior Director, Education and Administration, Bryn Mawr Film Institute

The Language of Film: “Diegesis,” “Mise-en-scène” and “Chiaroscuro” are not trendy nightspots, but rather some key terms of film analysis. These lectures introduce students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in a more insightful and critical manner. From an early age, we learn to observe movies with awe and delight. Now, as we’ve carried that wonder with us into adulthood, we can also approach cinema as more active and sophisticated viewers. Join us in learning to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience — and to impress your friends in post-movie discussions!


A term borrowed from the theater, roughly translating to “staging the scene,” in film, mise-en-scène (pronounced “meez-on-sen”) refers to the director’s control over what appears within the frame. To think of it another way, if you were to analyze a still image from a film — a single frame — like you would a photograph or painting, you would be observing and thinking about its mise-en-scène. This lecture will discuss things like setting, costumes, lighting and actors’ movements, all of which play a more significant role in a film’s meaning than you might think. It will feature clips from Bicycle Thieves (1948) and The Graduate (1967), among others.

This presentation is part of Andrew Douglas' The Language of Film lecture series.

Andrew Douglas

Andrew Douglas

Andrew Douglas is the founding director of education at Bryn Mawr Film Institute, having joined the organization in July 2005, four months after its opening. He also educates thousands of students about film each year through classroom visits and during field trips to BMFI, and he presents film lectures and programs to thousands of adults at a range of institutions and organizations in the region.

In addition to teaching at University of North Carolina and Northwestern, Douglas has been a visiting assistant professor at Whitman College in Washington and a member of the adjunct faculty at Dominican University outside of Chicago. Locally, he has been a lecturer in the Department of English at Cabrini College and in the Film Studies Program at Ursinus College.

Douglas greatly enjoys the films of Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher, David Mamet and Michael Mann, and he counts among his all-time favorites The Awful Truth (1937), Strangers on a Train (1951), The Untouchables (1987), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Fugitive (1993) and The Social Network (2010). He has held a real Oscar, been used as an excuse for his grandmother to meet Robert Redford, and was dressed down by Harrison Ford, whom Douglas still thinks is America’s greatest living movie star.


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