The beginning of the film

Comment on, structure and analyse the beginning of a film according to own categories/questions

In examining the opening section of Run Lola Run you will be using a web-based comment and analysis tool. With this tool, you can firstly comment on the beginning of the film without asking a specific question (What do I notice?)). Then structure your response through asking more specific questions (Which elements make up the beginning of the film?) and, if necessary, analyse it (What is the meaning of the beginning or individual settings? What happens later in the film?). Alternatively, you can analyse the beginning of the film directly with your own questions.

Before you start, you should watch this short video explaining how the tool works on Vimeo!

The beginning and end of a text, a theatrical performance and a film are of particular importance in the context of the overall work. In contrast to a picture such as a painting, both text and film have a clearly defined beginning and an end (regardless of whether the narrative end of the story is open or closed). This is due on the one hand to shared cultural techniques (reading direction) and on the other hand to the technical nature of books (cover, first page, second page …) and films (sequence of images on a reel or in a digital format).

The beginning of a literary text, a play or a film is called an exposition Exposition (from the Latin: exponere, which literally means “to deal with” and in the figurative sense “to explain” and “to represent”). The purpose of exposition is to introduce people and situations and to develop themes, which will be explored later on in the narrative. . Preinterpretations and hidden references to the possible development of the action or the conflict are often given in the form of symbols, or introduced or built up as motifs. In order to recognise the more or less hidden clues in the Mise-en-Scène, you have to look very carefully.. In most cases, it is only through repeated viewing that one recognises the importance of aspects such as colour design, the soundtrack or certain props for their importance as the action develops in the film.

The first few minutes of a film are particularly important in terms of psychological perception, as the audience's attention is (still) particularly high during this time. Thus, a relatively large amount of information is given in the first few minutes about the location, time and characters. The beginnings of films or plays, as well as novels, are therefore among the densest parts of an entire work.

The following important questions should be asked about the opening of a film:

Scene of action::
Where does the action take place?

Action time:
When does the action take place?

Action figures:
Who do we see?
Are there main and minor characters?
What do we learn about them?
Do we already understand their characters?

What is the prevailing atmosphere / basic mood?
As a rule, at the beginning of a film, you can immediately tell which genre a film belongs to, whether it is a comedy, a love story or an action film. For example, dark lighting and gloomy music will only suggest a comedy in exceptional cases.

The most common form of film opening opening is a logical revealing of events, which leads from the general to the particular (e.g. long shot of a city, then a street, then a house, and finally a person). However, it is also possible to reverse this effect, starting with a close up or detailed observations (e.g.Detail of a face, person, house, etc.),.) in which the details shown do not yet appear in an obvious context. The context only becomes apparent step by step. In this case the specific detail is initially the focus of consideration and thus becomes significant. Appropriate camera work and/or cutting sequences which gradually expand what we can see (camera distance) support this effect.

In the film analysis tool, comments are possible on three levels:
  1. Text level
  2. On the text level, you can give your annotation a title. This also appears in the list of your work next to the respective preview image in the right-hand screen area (B). In addition, under "Comment" you can write down your thoughts.
  3. Image level
  4. On the image level, you can take pictures from the beginning of the film and use tools (lines, arrows, shapes, color pickers, cutting tools, text cards, etc.) to comment visually.
  5. Markers (systematic approach)
  6. In this area there are visual markers for different reference systems (film language, performance, genre). A marker is a visualization of a cinematic design element or a category. Each marker or the underlying technical term is explained with a glossary entry. Selected markers also appear in the list of your work (B).

You can share your comments and edits to the beginning of the film with others via a link (D) and export or print out (D) for permanent storage in PDF format.

(A) = Video player with single image and sequence annotation functions, full screen function
(B) = List of the created entries (annotations) with timecode, reference image, title and markers
(C) = Area for creating / editing annotations on text, image and marker level
(D) = Title of the video, share, print / export (PDF)

In the annotation area (B) you can delete an entry by swiping it from right to left. Swiping left to right allows you to add a non-image-bound entry. These entries can be used for structuring your work list, using headings, etc. A blue label on the right-hand side of an entry indicates that work was carried out on the image level in this entry.

The tool is kindly made available by the Academy for Media Education, Media Research and Multimedia (AMMMa AG).

Start the film analysis tool

We would be very happy to receive feedback and shared work statuses to