Here is an overview of some terms you may come across while exploring and reading about cinema. The more your cinematic vocabulary expands, the easier it will be for you to understand what filmmakers are trying to do with their stories and how critics analyze their efforts.
Working method: It is a technique in which an actor immerses himself emotionally completely in the character and performs with a great degree of realism. For example, Keerthy Suresh was praised for his method of action in Mahanati. In this biopic, the actor played the role of the star of yesteryear Savitri. She gave such a realistic and moving performance that the audience felt like they were seeing Savitri again. Keerthy won the national award for best actor in the female category for his performance.
Neo-realism: It’s about making a movie as realistically as possible, shooting in real locations rather than sets or studios, mostly with an unprofessional cast. Neo-realistic films aim to show the social and political problems that exist in society. It is also called Italian neo-realism, because this style of production was born in Italy in the 1940s. The Telugu film Kallou, which came out in 1988, was hailed as a neo-realistic film. The film looks at social issues from the perspective of the blind. It was directed by MV Raghu, takes place in natural settings, and has had people outside the film industry work as actors without makeup. M Manikandan’s Kaaka muttai can also be considered a neo-realist film although some of the cast were already working as actors.
Staging: This French term means “to stage”. In cinema, this term designates everything and everything that must be in front of the camera, before the scene begins, whether it is the light, the actors in their respective positions, or the elements of the set. Simply put, it defines what a frame should look like and what it takes to reach that point. According to British filmmaker Arom Atkinson, a good directing can make the difference between an amateur film and a professional film.
Suspense: This term is used to describe a kind of ending where the audience is taken to an exciting point and the movie ends without revealing what happens next. Viewers are left in a dilemma and filled with suspense and tension. Such endings usually lead to a lot of discussion among fans. For example, the spinning top ending with Christopher Nolan Creation. Other movies like the malayalam movie Eeda, where the fate of a cursed couple is left to the imagination of viewers or the recent movie Kannada Arishadvarga, where a mysterious character enters the scene at the last moment, will also qualify.
Anthology film: These are films where short stories, which qualify as separate films, are linked by a common theme. Dulquer Salman’s Solo was one of those attempts. On Over-the-Top platforms, anthology movies are very popular. Lust Stories, Ghost Stories, and more recently Addham, Putham Pudhu Kaalai and the upcoming series on the notion of honor ‘, Paava Kadhaigal, are all examples. These films have different characters and stories but have a unifying theme. For example, Addham was on the idea of morality and Putham Pudhu Kaalai had stories set in the lockdown.
Hyperlink movie: These are films where several stories are presented in parallel and sometimes there will be a character connecting all the stories. Each of the storylines will be given equal prominence and unfold separately on their own merit. However, the overall plot will tie these threads together with several twists and turns. The critically acclaimed Tamil film Super De Luxe, which had actors such as Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Samantha, Ramya Krishnan and others, is an example.