Screenshots from Movies : 2

I took’em with VLC. Thanks VLC. Invent stories?

 

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Ridley Scott, Edouard Manet, Harry Gruyaert : BLACK

A cinematographer or director of photography is the chief over the camera and light crews working on a film and is responsible for making artistic & technical decisions related to the imageWikipedia

Usually, people don’t notice their work, unless image is really gorgeous or risky.

I like when a cinematographer pushes a lever a bit far, like the use of real black as absence of light : not to frighten you, but to cut out the image. Here two images from Blade Runner, one from All the President’s Men and one from Manhattan.

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I’m reading a lot about Manet, and talked about it with a Art teacher, who replied immediately : “Oh, blacks in Manet!”.

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Then, well, I just bought a book from a master of photography and color, Harry Gruyaert…

A student (in photography) was in awe in front of this work, amazed by how he pushes the dark tones, and told me that if she did that her professors would kill her :

harry-gruyaert4026518BELGIUM. Brussels. 1981. "Place de la Bourse" square. Coffee.

 

Err, well, voilà. So what I don’t know. I think I love this pattern.

Of course, it’s STRANGEIZATION. When you bend an element, when you add something noticeable to make the audience “aware of the form”, which is modern and interesting, right?

Strangeization Tool & Eyebrow Criteria

 

Thanks for reading!

Spending a day with a movie

I read an interview of Vittorio Sorraro, who is a cinematographer (the guy responsible of cameras, light, image, in a movie).

Thus I discovered that this guy worked on Apocalypse Now & One From the Heart (Coppola), Reds (Beatty) and 1900 (Bertolucci).

All these films titles, this list, jumped on me. They are all of the same type : you could spend a whole day around these movies.

Apocalypse Now is based on a Conrad novel. There’s a “Redux” (which means “brought back”) version which is a masterpiece. You’ll also find a documentary about the shooting, made by Coppola’s wife. You’ll find plenty of interviews about this craziness on the web and in books. Etc.

I saw One From the Heart just a few years ago in Blu-ray. I was awaiting an über-artificial bad movie and I found it very touching. All around is fake (everything’s done in studios) with the will to appear a decoy. Yes, it’s like Manet and his brush strokes, remember?

Reds is so underrated. Beatty won the Best Director Academy Award, but everybody seems to have forgotten this fabulous and mature film.

This could have been about big big movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Zhivago or Ran, but it’s not. Some little movies are so enthralling that… you will spend days exploring the maturity, the complexity of them. OK I add one : The Sheltering Sky.

What other titles do you have in mind?

 

Have a nice day!

 

 

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Accusation of “Liking Incomprehensible Superiorities”

ONE

Well yes I’m currently watching Justice League. I will need three evenings to do that, because it’s really bad. It’s… an off-beat pleasure. In this area of superhero movies, I often have fun to discover the “evil character” and how he (or she) is a mess. In this movie, the horned giant has to bring 3 cubes together to have a big power (to destroy Earth, or whatever).

Yes, it’s THAT bad.

One great fun is to imagine how impossible it must have been for Gal Gadot (who plays Wonder Woman – she studied law and international relations) or Ben Affleck (who’s been in Cambridge) to do this :

  • Batman: [Parademon about to attack him] Son of a bitch!
  • Wonder Woman: AHH

Voilà. I need to make an effort, but well…

I also noticed the ironic audience-elbowing geeky lines told by The Flash (“It’s like Pet Cemetery!”), yeyyy.

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TWO

I ask Urban Dictionary what a Snob is, to be sure :

  • Anyone who thinks they are better than someone else based upon superficial factors.
  • A snob is someone who thinks they’ve got better taste than others in most things; especially in music, film and books. Snobs of this kind, frown upon bestsellers, blockbusters, and pop music. They regard themselves intellectuals and think of people who follow the crowd as philistines.

Well, what happens when they’re NOT superficial factors?

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THREE

I read this morning in my Manet‘s biography great critic’s texts about 1870’s Salon (one is from Castagnary, the other from Duranty – those guys really impressed me). They were disliking Manet’s work, but it was delightful to read how they expressed it. Duranty says Manet has the talent and doesn’t use it properly (that’s this opinion).

In front of the public, “We don’t know any more how to defend ourselves before this accusation to “love the incomprehensible superiorities””.

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FOUR

Before Justice League, I watched a funny little French film (“Main dans la Main“, find it it’s silly good!), and before this The Rite, an Ingmar Bergman movie, yes it’s in Swedish and in black and white and it’s excessive and dark and artificial and great and pretty toxic.

I needed 3 evenings to watch it, too.

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FIVE

We don’t know any more how to defend ourselves before this accusation to “love the incomprehensible superiorities”” talks to me, and I gave up (defending) a long time ago. Manet or Bergman, this is a lonely on-my-island thing (but I blog about it, OK). I don’t want to sound a snob (and I’m sure I’m one, in some people’s mind).

And it works the other way round! If I talk about Puccini or the pleasure of XIXth paintings with a scholar, I certainly don’t talk about the links about irony I find between Thor Ragnarok and the idea of irony in Arts I read in Baudelaire’s work. I don’t want to sound an idiot either

Snob 2.0

Have a nice day!

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The Source of Stress in Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”

“War of the Worlds” is a stressful film, so I searched, and found Spielberg used a pattern.

I’d like to ask him (or the scenarist), but here’s how he does to make us nervous :

He provides a protection against something, then destroys it.

Continuously, all along the movie.

The little key is provided by the daughter, who has asthma and uses a symbolic “bubble” with her arms. Her brother knows this trick and uses it with her to help her cope with worry.

  1. The father (protection) is not a good father and doesn’t know how to deal with kids (which happens all the time in Spielberg’s movies). This divorced man has nothing ready, nothing in the fridge, etc, to welcome his kids.
  2. Knowledge (lightning never hits the same place twice) doesn’t work.
  3. Cruise runs and hides IN a store to escape killing rays, to see people vaporized just next to him.
  4. The house where they hide in the night (basement) is destroyed by the events outside (plane crash), and there’s a great picture of Cruise climbing the stairs, coming into the living room – and feels the wind in his hair : there’s no roof on the house anymore…
  5. The car which is a bubble and a way to escape is destroyed (windows) and invaded by a crowd, and they have to let it go.
  6. The family they know (and could be an ally to deal with events) is separated from them near the boat.
  7. Symbols like when the daughter has to pee, goes in an idyllic field in a splendid light near a quiet river… flooded with dead bodies.
  8. The shelter provided for Cruise and his daughter is visited by the ETs and provided by a dangerous fool (Tim Robbins).

 

Tool :

Well, this little tool is something I like in the process of “how to write” (a story, a novel, a movie). Find a little pattern which could be used a a seed to find ideas.

Here : Intrusion.Which is a fractal way to play with a story, right?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Deliverance & Archetypes

I’m reading a book from John Boorman, English director known for Excalibur or The Emerald Forest.

Deliverance is a survival movie, a very disturbing piece of. Here’s the plot I found on IMDB :

On a weekend canoeing trip down a river in the Georgia back country, four urban businessmen enter a nightmare in which both nature and mankind conspire to send them through a crucible of danger and degradation in which their lives and perhaps even their souls are put at horrendous risk.

I had a friend a long time ago who explained me the beginning of the movie after he assisted a masterclass about it. What I found in the book confirms it, and goes even further. Here we go :

The four guys are obviously Archetypes, and Boorman says that they’re all a part of the novel writer.

  1. Drew is clever, an introvert, scrupulous and gentle.
  2. Lewis is mister muscle and macho, taking decisions and full of contempt.
  3. Bobby is the fat guy, trying jokes all the time, not at ease with anything.
  4. Ed is timorous. He’s the guitar player and wears spectacles. The artist, the idealist.

 

Of course, the movie is pushing all these men into turmoil. Of course, the “men living in the forest” are not impressed at all by the city boys, and will become aggressive. Of course, mother nature is not spread all around for the pleasure of smart-asses from the city, the river is unintelligible and dangerous. And of course, macho man won’t handle this situation at all (and other lessons you’ll discover if you watch this disturbing movie).

 

I have much pleasure reading the book, because Boorman explains that the actors were also like Archetypes. Voight was really always thinking and full of doubts, and Reynolds acting directly, finding his role in “action”. And, says Boorman, helping Voight to use his instincts instead of his strong brain.

 

Tools :

Archetypes. They are always accurate to watch people, right? Astrology or MBTI too (but aren’t they archetypes, in a way?). You can also think about patterns you find in people. Personality traits. It helps to understand, to take a picture of a group.

BUT

It also shows a lesson : human beings are full of surprises. Full of “as ifs”. They lie to themselves. They don’t act accordingly. And in action, they can evolve… amazingly!

Maybe one lesson of life is to see that Archetypes don’t work.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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