1. Select one image and make a visual analysis of it by responding to Rose’s set of questions about image, production and audience.
(Stephenson, Ralph, and Jean R. Debrix. The Cinema as Art. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969. Print.)
The image is a film still taken from George Melies’s 1905 film : “The Magic head”. The image was produced in Melies’s greenhouse studio in his house is france. The image is produced by selecting a single frame of film reel.
What is shown is a head on a suspended platform, featuring three lit candles lit below. The image is taken from a series of multiple frames that together make a film. The viewers eye is taken to the place in which the head is decapitated because of the horizontal lines of the platform and the incisions central position in the frame. There is also the expectance for a body but the eye is met with the blank space under the suspended platform. A wide lense is used to take the image at a direction point of view. All elements seem both random and connected in their oddness. The image is black and white. The area around the hair is fuzzed because the head was pasted onto the film. Flecks of dust and damage to the negative effect the image, given it an aged look. The genre is cinematic surrealism, seen in the use of real elements to portray an image distant from reality.
The audience was the audience of the film, french cinema watchers. The films of Melies were thought to be lost, untill the re-circulated many years later thanks to film restoration. This was featured in “Cinema as art” published in 1963. The components appear both familiar yet new to the viewer, re-invented like the way the brain forms a dream image. The audience experience something that does not exist in the everyday world. The book “Cinema as art” featured information about Melies, but the image in the film would have only the music and interpretation of the viewer. Melies has been praised for his significance as a director, images such as this have been circulated through books to give him such a title. The image is on one level a film still, and on another a powerful symbol of greater meaning. It’s a rich image, it requires consideration and demands it through confusing the viewer.