FILM PERFORMANCE : The role of the actor within cinematic expression
This work seeks to consider film acting as an integrated element of cinematic expression, a core aspect of film performance but one which gains additional meaning and commentary via combination and integration with the more traditionally considered aspects of filmmaking.\ud \ud Although ‘performance’ is a widely written and talked about aspect of cinema studies, a clear understanding of acting and performance, their relationship to one another and to the mechanism of filmmaking has until now been absent. When in recent years ‘film performance’ has been offered as an academic focus, the cynosure of the analysis has been the actions of the actor and a language to describe them, rather than the skills employed in relation to the specifically technical demands of the medium. What then do we gain when we consider in detail the organic relationship between those technical demands and the actor’s decisions? \ud \ud This foundational question is addressed here in a number of ways. A range of texts are accessed that purport to consider the discipline ranging between academic analysis and practitioner skills. This combination of approaches enables a rounded consideration of the work of the film actor absent from any one exploration of the field. To fully consider cinematic expression, the skills specific to the technical aspects of filmmaking must also be examined. Within these fields research exists which offers a wider integration of the technical and the aesthetic. However, the specific focus of the texts in question also prevents extended consideration of the integrated nature of the chosen code. To augment the initial research, in-depth analysis of a chosen film is presented to reveal the ways in which integration of raw material and post-production can produce a final realisation of ‘performance’. \ud \ud When acting is positioned as a part of cinematic expression the interrelationships of technical choices and their aesthetic application can be fully examined. By no longer positioning the actor as “doing nothing very well” we can begin to assess the ways in which adaptation and accommodation of the technical needs of cinema feed into the decisions and actions of the actor as they attempt to deliver their character in terms of the requirements of script and director. Defining acting and thus performance enables us to consider their place within a unified film product, one that demonstrates a distinct and essential skill set, a craft as central to filmmaking as cinematography, sound, and editing.