The opening shot of Otto Preminger’s 1965 World War II film In Harm’s Way, starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. The film revolves around a group of naval officers following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The film itself is hit and miss, but in this long opening shot Preminger sets up several issues that are at play throughout the film (including Kirk Douglas’ issues with his wife’s implied infidelity), not to mention a very smart way of conveying the film’s setting and time period.
DP Loyal Griggs was nominated for a very well deserved Academy Award for Best Black & White Cinematography, but lost out to Ernest Lazlo for his work on the Lee Marvin starring Ship of Fools.
Truffaut’s pose in silhouette
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1977)
Bubbles in champagne
"Broken Flowers" (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2005)
Hoops and a shadow
"The Stranger" (dir. Orson Welles, 1946)
"Shoot the Piano Player" (dir. Francois Truffaut, 1960)
Lights in the dark
"Field of Dreams" (dir. Phil Alden Robinson, 1989)
Money in the wind
"The Killing" (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
"The Virgin Spring" (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1960)
"Tokyo Story" (dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
Comforting angsty bourgeoisie
"L'Avventura" (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
A relaxed pose
"Sans Soleil" (dir. Chris Marker, 1983)
Posted in Odd Posts
Tagged Broken Flowers, Chris Marker, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Field of Dreams, Francois Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Jim Jarmusch, L'Avventura, Michelangelo Antonioni, Orson Welles, Phil Alden Robinson, Sans Soleil, Setsuko Hara, Shoot the Piano Player, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, The Killing, The Stranger, The Virgin Spring, Tokyo Story, Yasujiro Ozu
"Duck Soup" (dir. Leo McCarey, 1933)
Groucho Marx, as per usual, the only one unvexed by his practiced unpredictability. The question for me, though, is what expression is the women in the background-right, partially obfuscated by a parasol, wearing?
Mrs. Miniver (1942) dir. William Wyler
All The Presidents Men (1976) dir. Alan J. Pakula
Happy New Year everyone! Those of us who live on the East Coast of the United States were treated to a post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s Eve gift this year: a two-day blizzard that left over a foot and half of snow in Central Park and over two feet of snow in other parts of New York City. During the maelstrom Astoria, Queens resident Jamie Stuart ventured out to create a short film documenting the trials, tribulations, and beauty of the snowstorm. He sent the film to famed film critic Roger Ebert who posted it on his blog along with a breathless review. In the review Ebert opines that it should win the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short subject for its, “wonderful quality,” homage to Dziga Vertov’s 1929 Soviet Montage masterpiece, “Man With a Movie Camera,” and its, “almost unbelievable technical proficiency.” The film (which is embedded below along with Vertov’s original) is indeed a marvel. It’s a great document of the blizzard (especially for those of us who were elsewhere when the storm hit and stranded in its wake) and the technical skill involved is indeed impressive, but is it the Vertov homage that Ebert claims?
I’m not quite as convinced. Although I see the similarities, Vertov’s film was imbued with such a strident political message that it’s difficult to separate filmic image from political meaning. In Vertov’s critical writings one can see just how important politics were for him and his filmmaking process. In his poetic-essay, We: Variant Of a Manifesto, Vertov writes:
In an art of movement we have no reason to devote our particular attention to contemporary man. The machine makes us ashamed of man’s inability to control himself, but what are we to do if elecriticy’s unerring ways are more exciting to us than the disorderly haste of active men and the corrupting inertia of passive ones? Saws dancing at a sawmill convey to us a joy more intimate and intelligible than that on human dance floors.
While I agree with Mr. Ebert that Stuart does an admirable job at creating an homage to Vertov (especially in the piece’s first minute or so), I hesitate to push the analogy much further than that. It documents a specific event in an interesting way, but isn’t as interested in the underlying politics of man in the mechanical age and the mechanization of society that makes “Man With a Movie Camera,” such a sentient film. That being said, Stuart does get some amazing images and makes excellent use of them. But, what do you think? Is Ebert right? Is it Oscar-worthy, or is he just being hyperbolic?
Stuart’s video and Vertov’s “Man With a Movie Camera,” are after the jump. But first:
Jamie Stuart’s website, The Mutiny Company.
Mr. Ebert’s own take on “Man With a Movie Camera.” Continue reading
So, while taking a break from the inestimably boring chore that is searching for employment I chanced upon a review for the new, ultra-minimalist Ryan Reynolds vehicle, “Buried,” over on the NPR website. The first sentence of the review reads as follows: “Sure to become a staple in film-school classes titled “How to Make a Blockbuster With Only an Actor, a Box and a Blackberry,” Buried may be the first thriller where the sole stunt is the film’s mise-en-scene.”
A relatively obsequious opening line if ever there was one. Apparently not for NPR Community reader sfbornx3, who complains, “Okay, Jeannette, a film review is officially as pretentious as its subject when the reader is forced to look up a French film reference in the first sentence.” Continue reading
Here’s a link to an interesting and ongoing discussion over at Girish Shambu’s blog about DVD Commentaries and the up-and-coming format of the Video Essay. An article in FILMKRANT by scholar and critic Adrian Martin provided some of the fuel to this discussion fire.
It’s a great read and includes some fascinating comments (including one by my former professor Chris Keathley) that lead to exceptional articles. I’m going to refrain from distilling all the great links here because I want to encourage all to go and read the entire post and discussion thread. But, here’s a hint: Catherine Grant at Film Studies for Free (which is also linked to on the sidebar) is where most of those great links are coming from…Peruse at your leisure.
Also, while I’m here: I watched John Huston’s “Across the Pacific” a few night’s ago on TCM. It reunites “The Maltese Falcon” stars Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sidney Greenstreet and tells of espionage in the United States during the nascent days of its involvement in World War II. Understanding that the film’s plot had to be shuffled as a result of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, a question still remains: if most of the film takes place in Panama, why is it called “Across the Pacific?” The setting can be changed, why not the title?
I’ve been watching this particular 40 some odd second clip in “2001: A Space Odyssey” and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how Kubrick and his special effects team did this. Any ideas? Any specific stories involving this particular effect or insight into how it was done? I feel like I’ve thought of everything from super imposed images to editing tricks, but I just can’t figure it out…
Posted in Odd Posts, Video
Tagged 2001, camera, editing, effects, Kubrick, Odyssey, Space, special, Stanley, tricks