Widescreen Black & White Movies

I don’t use Facebook to follow my cousin who had a great barbecue yesterday. I follow groups where people are fun or inspiring.

In a group about movies today I found a great question :

“Widescreen Black & White Movies?”

For a cinema lover it means something, because black & white movies are NOT widescreen. Silent movies and anything before 1940s are black and white and Cinemascope began in the 1950s.

Let’s make is simple : old movies are in 1.33 format, 4/3, the shape of old TVs.

We could study… recent films shot in 4/3, like on this page : https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/lists/10-great-modern-films-shot-43-academy-ratio – like :

ida-2013-007-field-covered-with-snow-nuns-statue.jpg

But I chose the other option for my article, Widescreen Movies (the modern format) shot in black & white.

This means something. The format is modern but the director chose “no color”. It’s often absolutely gorgeous – I don’t really know why.

What did we find?

Hud, Manhattan, Lola, Jules & Jim, La Dolce Vita, The Innocents, The Hidden Fortress, Andrei Rublev, L’Avventura

You can Google it to find pages like : http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/20-black-and-white-films-with-the-most-beautiful-widescreen-composition/

Lola-1960.jpg

Well, it’s a funny interesting way to explore cinema with your lover.

The structure/pattern here is cool :

Where else do we find this mix : something new (widescreen) with something old (black & white)? What does it bring?

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Advertisements

When the pleasure is in the comparison

ONE

I just watched Seven Samurai (Japan, black & white, 1954), then The Magnificent Seven (1960).

It’s a big pleasure watching both, but each time it’s very different. Kurosawa’s movie looks very odd, because of the culture, the language and the well known Japanese actors’ intensity. The US one is much more easy and comfortable, with stars (Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner…).

But there’s a “side-pleasure” : you compare. The stories the paces, the ends, the bad guys, the fights…

TWO

Traveling! Tourists have many ways of being tourists : in a group, alone, moving around and visiting, or staying in one city (choose Paris, OK?) and walk “going whichever way the wind blows” (we say “le nez au vent” – nose in the wind).

It’s beautiful or not, deceiving or marvelous, you take pictures or you chat with your spouse. But you have to admit :

The pleasure, again, is in the comparisons game.

THREE

There’s a game I love : learning another language. It’s absolutely full of delights. Culturally. Translating. Discovering idioms. Trying to find out where translated words don’t really fit, match the other language. Finding similar words… or traitors (a library (bibliothèque) is NOT a librairie (bookstore) in France…).

It is, constantly, a game of comparisons.

FOUR

I strongly think that a big part of our inner life is linked to the world with the concept of Analogy. We endlessly get informations with our senses (about places, culture, and people, everything we meet) and then we braincompute them with what-we-already-know with analogy.

Then, we compare. Then, we decide.

This decision can be : run away, explore, smile, talk, anything.

OUTRO

Where else does it happen to you? Where could you trigger a “game of comparisons”? How is it an enrichment? Where is the effort? What about memories? Analogy with them?

Thanks for reading!

IMG_0523.jpg

 

Continue reading

Something that people were never going to pay for is not a loss.

Awwwe “Netflix may be losing $192M per month from piracy”.

Yeah you know, people share passwords, etc.

I had the response to this in my head, before reading in the thread :

“Something that people were never going to pay for is not a loss”.

Well, this is something I do understand. Do you?

I’m not attracted to Netflix or other faucets. I love movies though, and I torrent them a lot. And then if it’s good : I buy.

I don’t like the idea of faucets, in culture. I have CDs for music, thousands of books, and I own… walls of Blu-rays and DVDs. I’m old school, I’m sorry!

There are exceptions (I bought the Blu-ray box of Lady Bird, Manchester by the Sea and Phantom Thread, just because I loved the people around and read gorgeous reviews everywhere), otherwise : I buy when I watched and know it’s good.

It makes sense, right?

 

Thus, what I downloaded and disliked I, indeed, trash & never buy. It’s piracy, if you want, but it’s absolutely not a “loss” for a company.

Netflix could police, and surveil, and limit the passwords sharing, I’m sure. They don’t and shouldn’t because these “thieves” could… like what they see, and sign up later…

And as we talk about “studies”, some many others always showed this : the more people download (out of official faucets), the more they buy culture. It’s about curiosity, right?

I loved Stranger Things a lot, and I wanted to buy both seasons in Blu-ray. Nope : they don’t exist! You can buy the soundtrack, and stupid Pop Figures, that’s all (except for the Target limited edition – only in the USA). I understand it’s some kind of pressure to subscribe to Netflix, but, well, I don’t like faucets, I don’t like pressure either.

Something that people were never going to pay for is not a loss. Something that people want to pay for and doesn’t exist on purpose IS a loss.

What kind?

 

Thanks for reading!

61B8gTOHITL._SY445_.jpg

From remaking “Suspiria”

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento. Today it’s a classic, grandiose and glossy. It’s also baroque in many ways : decors and colors are vibrant, the music is… not to be outdone.

Considered as a masterpiece, you have today to accept its… exaggerations. If your mind plays the game, it’s a very strange delight, full of great ideas.

When I heard about a remake I facepalmed, like many other movie lovers.

I’ll watch it soon but before that, I read interviews of other directors who reacted on the new Suspiria.

  1. One saying it was stupid to remake it because the first movie was such a milestone.
  2. Another one saying it was OK.
  3. The director, saying it made something totally different, with, for example, colors “à la Fassbinder” (the first Suspiria also happened in Germany).

Tilda Swinton, actress in the new movie, told something very smart (which made me write this article) :

As the story of the first Suspiria is very light (“An American newcomer to a German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a witches coven”), it can be used like an opera libretto.

I thought it was smart. I know dozens of “Manon Lescaut” or “La Bohème”, the Puccini opera, and each time it’s very interesting to see what they do with the characters, the decor…

What does Manon Lescaut want?

I don’t know I feel this is a good tool, but I need help. How can I formalize it?

  • “When you think remaking something is useless, but you have to find a good angle to realize it’s not”?
  • “When you have to think about something in a new way (borrowing from another field) to find a new interest in it”?
  • “Once you have a core, a spirit, you can weave things around, it’ll be interesting to notice the differences”?
  • “Working on decisions : let’s keep this from the original/let’s change that”?

Tell me?

What’s the point to remake something frame by frame (like they’ll do with The Lion King)?

“Remarkable Pivots” : What can a place do in a movie?

I found a book about this subject and you know me and my habit to read the table of contents…

What can a place do in a movie?

Yes, it’s a decor, a setting, a scenery. And also :

  1. A space to travel in.
  2. A welcome cell.
  3. A remarkable pivot.
  4. A refuge.
  5. A worksite.
  6. An unshakeable fortification.
  7. A temple. A forest. A waste ground.
  8. An aseptic abode.
  9. Underground…

A combination of many of them?

Voilà. My Structure/Tool here is this :

Take any subject : photography, poetry, blogging, teaching, marketing.

List elements. In a movie : story, actors, scenery, light, sound, music.

Select one element and focus on it, then extend. Give it a much bigger importance. The best importance. What do you find? What does it give and bring?

Teaching? Focus on the tables in your classroom. Poet? What paper will you use?

Have fun! I’m now digging in the history of cinema to find movies where the scenery is the star or a house a character….

CasaMalaparte_2208418k.jpg

Organic Storytelling?

Interviews between two movie directors are the best. It gets higher and it’s more interesting and complex, of course : pros are talking.

There’s an interview of Jeff Nichols (Shelter, Mud) by Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, The Age of Innocence), where they explain that they are both criticized because their movies “lack of intrigue”. In a way, like in the movies of the 70s, a more mature era…

It’s true that most movies are strongly driven by a scenario. Everything is well explained and you feel you hand held by the makers, who WANT you to think this and that, adding music where you have to cry, etc…

Nichols and Scorsese both use the same language : the narrative energy must be there of course, but it’s obtained by asking questions and answering them along the scenes, by the editing, the light, events, and their order. The movie moves forward without constantly telling you IT-IS-A-STORY. Nope : there are characters, and events (like in real life, right?) and hidden structures – of course.

The audience doesn’t “feel the author”. Their intelligence is active, and it can blossom in many ways. It gives a rhythm, a more organic one, a more unique way of unfolding the movie.

 

In French, we call Organic Farming : “L’agriculture Bio” – from biological.

The word “Organic” is interesting. It means :

  1. Without chemical (for food)
  2. Living organisms
  3. Unified (an organic whole)
  4. Flowing, natural (an organic development)

 

 

Therefore it’s a structure I love. We could call “Organic Storytelling”, in a movie, in an article, a book, a novel, a way of making things grow and evolve without the chemical (but effective, too) processes of tricks and pushes and manipulation.

 

There’s a good example in sex and pleasure : every evolved adult knows that if you can bring and orgasm to your partner (man or woman) in many ways, you can separate these two paths :

  1. In the appropriate moment, stimulations and proper movements brings your lover a good orgasm. It’s as if you were pulling a bucket of pleasure with a string, from the top of the well…
  2. And there’s this other way, where you partner gets so aroused that he/she becomes a sphere of electricity : anything can bring her/him to explosion. It’s as if the bucket of pleasure were levitating up in the well, delicately guided by you and your string, from the top of the well…

What’s the best?

 

 

Intention of effect kills effect, says the wise man, and I agree with the wise man.

With this “organic building” structure, what would be photography, painting, poetry, blogging, teaching? Do your audience really need to know what you want them to feel? Is it a good question? Hmmm need a conversation, I know…

Vocabulary as seeds : what is control here? What are propositions?

 

Thanks for reading!

IMG_1371IMG_0073

Continue reading

Julie Andrews Appreciation

I have two daughters and Mary Poppins has been the perfect Christmas movie for years.

Of course I saw the Archetype in Mary, the Disturber :

  1. Mary Poppins & Teorema & My Uncle : Stories of Revealers
  2. Bifaceted Mary Poppins

 

There’s another happy family in holidays typical movie : The Sound of Music. She doesn’t fit in religion, then she takes care of a family of 7 children and a military father, bringing fantasy, fun, art and music and freedom in a ruled and disciplined world, making everything explode, like a free democrat happy elf in a “obey the law” tea party.

 

These two movies can make you think. Andrews represents arts and freedom and laughters, breathing life into rules and order, that’s right. But it’s not that simple : it’s not a Democrat wizard laughing in a GOP frowned white men (though it sometimes really looks like it – Von Trap is a soldier and Mr Banks works in… a bank) : Andrews is VERY English, almost aristocratic, and if she’s magic (Mary) or a free happy spirit (Maria), she breaks rules with a bit of order (cleaning rooms, learning songs). She refuses to obey the whistle, but she’s never a tramp. That’s interesting, like every bifaceted person.

Well, she saved both fathers, right? One from greed, the other from sadness…

 

More : I’ll go on in December watching other diamonds with Andrews : Darling Lili, Star, the absolutely crazy Thoroughly Modern Millie, the hilarious and bitter S.O.B. and Victor Victoria.

I’m amazed (and a bit in love) with this Archetype : crazy but capable of work, rules breaker, but in order to build something, socially very smart but a breaker of closed doors and forbidden things (like having tea, floating in the air, or climbing trees with children).

Climb trees and gather shells, silly!

Disobey and don’t break the law, but the stupid rules, yes!

Thanks Julie.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

PS : Watch Modern Millie, OK?

Thoroughly_Modern_Millie

 

6024543_mary-poppins-bf20f062319-original.jpg