cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM GODARD A Man, A Woman and a Dog





FILM GODARD Au Adieu au Langage [iPhone]
{1}




Godard has a new film out. And he’s keen/anxious to talk about it, film ‘n stuff.

A few people have seen it, writing and talking about it at great length so spoiling it for everyone else who might have wanted to see it without the comments and interpretations of the expertigensia ringing in their ears, at what you now know are salient or significant points in the film [or the homage points, say, to his own films or film in general] which you’d hope to enjoy, be puzzled or exasperated by at your own pace.

Thank God (the one without the full stop or as the French call it, point, a word J-LG could have a field day with…). I made sure I did not read a lot before watching The Great Beauty. And then when I had seen it, I desisted from even translating the title into Italian or even mentioning that the phrase had been used by a character in the film in a certain way. See, there I’ve done it now. Now you will be on the look out for it, even though there has been no indication why this might have some significance.

One reads the contents of one’s mind before seeing a film, in anticipation of it, which in itself may spoil a film. Book, art, play, film. A filmic or booky equivalent, shall we say analogy, to phenomenological bracketing or epoché is impossible. I’ve already remarked in a recent post that as soon as I saw the poster for The Great Beauty, I knew [as would literally millions of others..] where we were coming from, though not necessarily where we were going to. Eric Morecambe’s famous riposte [applicable to almost anything, like the Actress & the Bishop jokes] to Andre Preview on his, Eric’s, terrible rendition of – was it Grieg’s piano concerto? – “I’m playing the RIGHT notes, but not necessarily in the RIGHT order!” always flings itself up from the recesses of my mind like the lyrics to an incomprehensible ’60s songs like the one by Noel Thingy called The Windmills of My Mind.

Why it is that I think of J-L Godard as the archetype (or prototype) of the incredibly difficult (but obviously highly intelligent) au contrarian conversationalist in any setting – uncle [ton ton] J-J at a family wedding or diner party, seated next to you in aircraft, etc. – who somehow manages to create the immediate suspicion he may well be mad, or temporally cured and released from some sort of mental institution (the old jackets…), yet, underneath the frightening persona, has something interesting to say which holds you there despite your inclination to run.

Really mad people we seem to have an instinct for as we have so much experience of them in everyday life. Like films we have seen too much about before watching them, Jean-Luc Godard comes with such a pedigree, a provenance, we are comfortable in the paradoxical nature of many of his pronouncements. Expect them even. Be lost without them, possibly. We know he, like a lunatic, assumes you know he is God [when it comes to film]. If you do, as he knows he is and you do, then all is simple.

The reviews on Adieu au Langage were not out when I was passed by Glen W. Norton, via a Godard forum, the link to the Canon video interview avec Godard with English subtitles

(…a classic God[.] subtitles joke in there not created by God[.] himself. Qua? Comment? These are accurate subtitles while his are notably unreliable.)

The areas I forced myself to listen to, while going Ni Ni Na Na with hands over my ears [mostly], were the technical ones. And this is reflected in graphics included in the post. Let’s try to grasp (as it is obviously important) why he at one and the same time decries technological advances and at the same time adopts them with alacrity. Except that is, in the case of editing (See relevant tab on the canon interview page) where he it is explained there – something know amongst God[.] watchers – he uses magnetic video tape to edit with, thus getting his technical collaborators who have filmed digitally to make video tapes for him to edit. The amusing thing is he’s renowned as an expert in editing with tape to an extent that makes many scratch their heads at his ingenuity.

I use this digital-magnetic example as a route into the mind of Jean-Luc Godard, in a sense prior to any messages he may be sending to his avid (an even not so enthusiastic) followers about life in general and of course the art of cinema, and Art.

While he argues here about his latest film that 3D is a FWOT

(Along the lines of, “It is useless! We see no more with it than before..” All true of course.)

he still uses it (At least twice so far..). And presumably this is a way of saying something. Well of course it is. And here is where we get to the crusty old uncle who frightens the sh** out of you, who blows cigar smoke into your face, and yet who let’s drop those few words which catch your interest. Words you know are true like you know a word of art by a master is true without being quite sure how to explain it.

With Godard it is for me when he talks of art. If you knew nothing about Godard the film genius and heard him talking of art in relation to all sorts of things, you will be gaining an experience of the mind of a man who has thought very deeply about his art and craft, film. Filmmakers who talk photography are in the same area. Even the knowledge that a film-maker was formerly a photographer says a lot.

The one who now always comes to my mind, when film and photography are mentioned in the same sentence, or should we even say thought in the same thought, is Nuri Bilge Ceylan. And if I may take a God[.]-like excursion down an dark alley which neither you the reader nor I may quite know is a dead-end or not – as this post is as ex-tempore as you are likely to get in postdom – Ceylan, has used severally the trope of bloke-wandering-around-ancient-site-with-camera-ignoring-and-annoying-girlfriend trope.

With Godard we have to understand that every film is the same film because he is trying to get over the same God[no .]-like message about how he as God [with or without .] can use film to get over his agendas [or not]. And so could everyone else to humanity’s general betterment, if they only had the brains and foresight to see. He like many good or even great film directors [even nerdy-looking baseball cap wearing ones..] is steeped in film from the year dot. And he evokes the complete history of film almost in every quakey sentence he utters. It’s always, “What is film?”. And of course, “What can it do and not do?” He seems to be saying all the time, “Film can’t do/isn’t doing so many things that people dreamed it might do.” And that’s because they don’t understand it well enough to see its talents.

Godard’s “cinema is dead” or “It is now!” [UK football ref there you no UK people..], or “Well, I thought it was then but it really is now” can confuse people. But it’s simple. He believed like Eisenstein that film was purely for political ends. The montage was the method. The Way, The Truth and The Light.

And so fast forward to a film like Adieu au Langage [3D]. Just like me with my immediate and deep apprehension of the depth of Italian cinema through a balding man sitting on a classy bench with shades that look suspiciously like the Ray-bans Marcello Mastroianni wore in 8 1/2, we should get the fact that every time Godard speaks on film (and life) he is thinking of how film failed. He may talk enthusiastically and yet mockingly or ironically about advanced technology, but you know he is still trying to get there, by any means at his disposal.

And all the time, he is still using the same film-text-film-text-text-film-film he developed from his earliest films. At one point in my Godard journey, I felt sure he was saying film could not replace writing and so his films had to constantly show this to be true. For the audience this can be both irksome and difficult. A major facet of this is his voice and text overs are in French. Unless French is your first language or a good second, his efforts to overlap three things at once are pretty much wasted on you, as an immediate effect.

If this all seems a bit too arcane and you have not got to Histoire[s] du Cinema (and perhaps never will) try reading Celine Scamma’s schema for Histoire[s] – a blog search in COTA will get you there.

And finally, as The Two Ronnie would say, there is that thing about Godard and his unreliable subtitling. Apogee: Film Socialism. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but I sense he is saying that you can’t translate poetry into another language without destroying or partially destroying its original meaning. Which is true. Godel, Escher Bach, for some ideas and background. And he quotes poetry a lot in his films. As well as showing and talking about art.

And so for film. The very act of trying to make a film helps to remove your original intention (He seems to be saying..amongst many other things). If you just use film. So he, wanting to be sure of getting over whatever message he intends, falls back on words in films as text and commentary (plus the obligatory art),which in itself is an essay on the limits of film. Or the dialectic between The Word and The Film. (Being some kind of Marxist, he would want to show that dialectic is real moving things forward).

And so (and here back to latest interviews) he feels he can’t say directly (and never could or would) simply, in words, what he wants to say about film. This is both because it dishonours film (and maybe dispels some of its magic and mystic) and because he doesn’t want to make the whole thing seem simpler than it is. Instead he picks up on small points (in the Canon interview he starts with SMS, the modern, the dubious) from which to expand (why not start anywhere?) outwards and back inwards at the same time, to the core of what he sees film is and can do. And of course what life (using an iPhone) is and can mean (film your day he suggests..). That goes without saying. Though, like God[.], I’ve said it to make sure you don’t miss it.



Other

With Canon interview spoiler…

1/. Godard comes in many shapes and sizes
- He briefly reprised his views on aspect ration with Gallic hand gestures demonstrating the cutting off of the upper part of a shot, etc.

2/. Something I feel strongly: what a film is about or meant to be about can be taken separately from how it was made. Or not. They can complement each other. Or not. My natural inclination is to run these in parallel. Weaving in and out. Often when the going gets tough on the film itself as a story with a narrative imperative (or not), resorting, or even retreating (out of the sun into the shade..), to the How Did They Do That? seems the most sensible place to go. Even if in the end that strip of bright sunlight between the shady tree and the house has to be crossed.

Godard is often talked about in terms of his oeuvre when a new one pops up (as one does of directors in general). We get the jump cut standing for À Bout de Souffle, or Fritz Lang standing for Le Mépris (who starred in it but to whom Godard was also paying obeisance to as a director. (Wiki:Contempt (film) is an Idiot’s Guide to the latter with some of the associated Langifications – A browser search on Fritz on that wiki page will do the trick).



May 24, 2014 Posted by | Douglas Hofstadter, DSLR cinematography, DSLR Digital Cinematography Guide, Eisenstein, European art cinema, European cinema, European film, film analog/digital, Film and The Arts, film aspect ratio, film reflexivity, film sex, Film Socialisme, film technique, film theory, film [its techniques], French films, Fritz Lang | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM JOURNAL Alphaville Issue 5 – Cinema in the Interstices





PHOTO Cracked_Concrete_01_by_RocketStock


click to enlarge



Alphaville : Journal of Film and Scene Media


Issue 5


Cinema in the Interstices





Cinema in the Interstices: Editorial


Conscious of the underlying significance of this term and its many interpretations within the context of visual culture, particularly as related to film and screen media, Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media set out to provide a forum to explore the myriad of interstices that exist both within the medium of film and between film and other media, firstly in the form of an international conference held at University College Cork in September 2012, and now in a special issue of Alphaville dedicated to the topic.



Lot’s and lots to read.

I was drawn in by the word interstice. A wonderful sounding word which most people couldn’t pronounce let alone define. The editorials starts with:

The interstice: something empty, something minute—a crevice, a chink, a narrow gap—yet, in spite of this definition of something apparently slight and inconsequential, one perhaps may make the claim that the interstice serves as a foundational element of film. The “intervening space”, as the OED defines it, in its celluloid form provided the connection between multiple images, allowing them to run together to form the illusion of movement. While this interstitial black strip that imperceptibly framed the moving image is no longer a constituent part of cinema in its current digital format, interstices continue to proliferate in screen media, perhaps to a greater extent than ever. Indeed, just as cinema originated in the interstices between theatre, painting, literature and photography, this intermediality takes on a redefined role in the digital era, with the lines between cinema, television, art, video and new media becoming increasingly difficult to define.



And so I was off, thinking about black bars between frames of pellicule. Though I knew in my bones, chasing a few rabbits down their holes, this was the entre to a lot more things of interest and use among a whole swathe I probably wouldn’t understand or be bothered with. But how do you know till you read?

And so what exactly are the film things I am bothered with? Think, Think. One, how films are made, particularly cinematography and editing, aesthetics goes without saying (but there, I’ve said it), and the limits of film (and the sort of questions that cropped up when Godard started writing in the Cahiers and then made films himself which, if we use A Bout de Souffle, was often about how film was not up to the job he wanted it to do – and/or was dead and gone in the terms in which he saw it: in two words Eisenstein and montage. Godard a writer trying a new medium and as I see it often being disappointed and expressing this disappointment in his own films. Alright, I admit it, I’ve been trying Histoires yet again). Phew! How hard it is to attend to three things at once and have the added disadvantage of English subtitles. Perhaps better without enough French to read La « partition » des Histoire(s) du cinéma de Jean-Luc Godard by Céline Scemama as a companion-piece to Histoire(s). My ideal: watch it first, then the transcription,then both together. But it becomes a study not an experience, where it has to be watched on DVD to stop it at will.

The start point – stimulated by the Alphaville editorial’s first para – was that black gap between each frame. Faux naively (sometimes the ridiculously obvious can turn up insights) I mused the black dividing lines had to be there because of the way a roll of film running through a camera exposed individual frames. A shutter or shutters opened to expose each frame and it couldn’t do it quick enough to have no gap between frames. Though of course even if that were feasible, with each frame abutting directly to the next, the separation of frames as they are by a gap might well be needed to help create the moving images at a certain speed of projection. Who knows – not many – if the movie would work projected without the few millimeters of black space?

It wasn’t there in order to. It was there because it had to be there, and then they found a way to get over these leetel black bars between frames by projecting the film at a certain speed both to eliminate them from perception, and eventually at 24fps to get a movie that wasn’t jerky as the early silent films were.

Then the assertion that

[..] cinema originated in the interstices between theatre, painting, literature and photography

made me think some more – and this is the first paragraph of the editorial! – what interstices were these exactly? That later.

The fourth wall. We know that cinema was distinctly theatrical in it’s beginnings. But surely, film rather than being in cracks between the traditional arts – once the theatrical style was left behind – was a new art form which superimposed itself on them as a whole, using them; or perhaps that the arts fed directly or indirectly into film, rather than the other way round. Or even that it parasitised on them or was in symbiosis with them. Or both. Or saprophytic. Or even commensal. But it did become the predominant – as in popular and wide-spread – art form the 20 century. Pretty quickly it was the flicks people went to see instead of music hall – certainly not art galleries or museums. Though come to think of it, music and film became close partners in a way that art and theatre did not. Theatre and ballet became favourite subjects of film and have remained so to the present day. Opera became the musical. But film technique has developed on its own.


Film Studies at University College Cork


Well, better start reading. Might learn something.

October 2, 2013 Posted by | 24 fps, art, À bout de souffle, Breathless, Cahiers du cinéma, cinematography, Eisenstein, film, Film and The Arts, film editing, film music, film [its techniques], film-making, Godard, perception | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM BELA TARR Through a Glass Darkly – On Béla Tarr’s Damnation



Through a Glass Darkly – On Béla Tarr’s Damnation



By


Ela Bittancourt


Another goodie from the May 2012 issue 76 of Brightlights



May 17, 2012 Posted by | Bela Tarr, film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

FILM JOURNAL BRIGHTLIGHTS May 2012 Issue 76



Brightlights Film Journal


May 2012, Issue 76


Editorial


An awful lot of interest in this issue. I’ve chosen these three to highlight:


Percolating Paranoia – Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat
by
Janus B Wager


“Nun-Lust, Torture-Porn, Church-Desecration and Bad Taste” – Reconnecting with Ken Russell’s The Devils
By
Gordon Thomas


Anthony Perkins – Forever Psycho
By
Dan Akira Nishimura



May 14, 2012 Posted by | Anthony Perkins, Brightlights Film Journal, film [its techniques], Fritz Lang, Ken Russell | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM WITHIN FILM TRUFFAUT La Nuit Americaine [1973]








Jean-Pierre Léaud and Francois Truffaut in La Nuit Americaine


Looked at Truffault again in the week before his anniversary date which was marked by a Google Doodle. With a bit of luck this should mean a lot of people looking to see who he was. And watching some of his films. Could check DVD sales.

Watched 400 Cent Coups from my collection and then decided to buy a DVD of La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night, 1973). In reading about the film over the years and forever coming across the first shot of the square where Alphonse, played by the adult Jean-Pierre Léaud, pops out of the metro, and then the exposure of the film-within-a-film with light, camera crane, it always felt this would be my kind of film.

Having watched it twice – the no-English subtitle DVD, allowing me to focus more on the visuals; then in YouTube with English subtitles – I felt disappointed he chose to counterpoise his clever, funny film about film-making with a run-of-the mill film-within-a-film. Yes, it’s part of the fun to have a bog-standard melodrama – which Truffault himself said still demonstrates how film-making works – but there are reasons why a film-within-film as good as the film itself might have worked too.

A sensible remark elsewhere: look at them as two films spliced together as well as a one film framing another. That is the physical reality, despite the viewer seeing the making of Pamela ‘through the frame’ of Day for Night.

It’s easy to see why he chose a rubbish film to film, right down to questions of mise-en-scene. What’s so clever about Day for Night is how he teases out these issues at different levels: from that of Day for Night itself and how it shows how a film can portray filmmaking; from the point of view of the director of Pamela (played by Truffault himself), who narrates his opinions about films and film-making at certain points (yet the director of Day for Night, Truffaut doesn’t!); and the interplay between the two films as exemplified by where Truffaut is allowed to be (can be) both directors at the same time, directing his own film with a crew we don’t see, and Pamela as Ferrand – at times Ferrand can be Truffaut directing Day for Night when he is in front of the camera directing as Ferrand. This is first shown at the end of the Square shot when after seeing the actors and crew break up from the mise en scene, moving in to listen to the assistant director talking through a megaphone, we see Truffault in the background showing the principle actors how to do their last action: a slap from character Alphonse to Alexandre. One’s first reaction is that this is Pamela‘s director, Ferrand, but it can just as easily be Truffaut the director of Day for Night showing how he wants the slap acted by the real-life actors.

If Truffaut had gone for something which was almost equivalent in quality to his own film, it’d take away from Truffaut’s depiction (Eh? How? Since they’re both his films!): primarily, at times we might have been more engaged in the story he was framing to the detriment of his own. A good story is a good story even if it’s a brief scene or two. Every time we were that absorbed in a narrative, we would be less aware there was another real director and his crew behind that. (Well, perhaps no! They alternate, so we are always made aware of which is which.) In practice the framed film takes only a 1/4 or so of the film’s total time.

There is a point in Day for Night where this actually happens: the past-it woman actress can’t remember her lines because she’s drunk too much, and keeps on drinking more to try to remedy the situation, blaming other people for her ineptitude, while the director of Pamela – played by Truffault to make sure we never forget it’s a Truffaut film by appearing regularly as the acted director reassuring her with lot’s of, “It’s not a problem”, eventually taping her lines to various parts of the set and patiently asks her to re-do it, several times. Truffault the director of Day for Night, as well as of Pamela is the clever bit that others who tried films-within-films didn’t try.

At this point – where we wish she’d just get it right because it’s like a soap being rehearsed; we are also quite enjoying how it allows Truffaut to show how film is created, and the the familiar jokes about film-making – we are not so aware it’s being directed and filmed with Truffaut behind his own camera, because he’s seen so much in front of it. That’s quite clever too.

I kept on thinking (for some reason) why not use, instead of a simple film like Pamela, some kind of modern take on Renoir’s Regle de Jeu with those clever mirror shots and complex story. But then the joins would have been easier to see: it would really seem as if it was two films spliced together (which is was anyway), even with Truffaut bridging the two as himself and the framed film’s directer.

One is left with so much of Day for Night being a film one would never watch! In order to watch his entertaining take on films on films, we have to endure shots re-shot in a film, Pamela, we wouldn’t watch. Of course one of the film-maker’s jokes – made within Pamela at various points, such as the death of the lead actor and the finances, the goings on among the crew – is all this effort is going into the making of film that will probably never get distribution. But his own film, Day for Night, will! Saying that doesn’t say the producer, director and crew as depicted by the actors in Pamela aren’t thoroughly professional. We see the professionals at work in Pamela, but not those creating Day for Night.


But let’s get serious.


Illusion 24 frames per second: François Truffaut’s La Nuit Américaine, Daniel Fairfax, Senses of Cinema.

The principal question haunting La Nuit Américaine is, on the other hand, whether films are superior to life.

Ferrand, director of Pamela :

Films are more harmonious than life, Alphonse, there are no bottlenecks in films, no dead-time, films keeps rolling forward, like trains, you understand, like trains in the night. People like you and me, you know, are only happy in our work, our work in the cinema.

Character Alphonse at another point in in Pamela:

“I think Ferrand has it wrong. Life is more important than the cinema.”





Natalie Baye as script girl Joëlle in Day For Night



La nuit Américaine was the point beyond which Truffaut and Godard’s friendship failed. e.g. Truffaut, Godard, Day For Night, and a link. The link is to an short edited version translated into English of an interview Godard gave to Christian Jurgen in German NZZ Online [7 November 2010]. (If read in Chrome, a rough automatic translation of the whole interview is possible).

The Truffaut-Godard spat is a great story and – is there a film already? – is briefly mentioned in that interview, which also covers Godard himself, cahiers, his explaining his turn away from auteur theory (he says it applied to the New Wave, which passed) his new film Socialsme, and so on.

In the interview Godard is asked about Truffaut:

You fell out later with François Truffaut. What was the reason?


I noticed over time that he made exactly the films we attacked: Written movies! Truffaut’s works were not influenced by the camera, but from the pen. The camera imitating what his pen had written.

Godard’s notion of this in some way breaking their rules – as perceived by Godard – of how they made films, links up with my deliberately laboured attempts, below, to look at the joins in Day and Night. I’ve always been a lot more interested in film as a technical medium, its capabilities and limits, than in stories film tells per se, though there are many fine ones, well told.

If you can avoid a cliche in praise-filled phrases you’d be clever. Roger Ebert does well with’…not only the best movie ever made about the movies, but also a great entertainment.’

The cleverest bit in a way is not the film-within-film antiques but that Truffaut is the director of Day for Night and his film-within-a-film (Godard in Le Mempris has Fritz Lang playing himself spouting Godard!), Meet Pamela. It’s the sort of thing that auterists would see in some sort of diagram as the script was developed. The first time we see Truffaut in his trade-mare leather blouson, he being filmed from a crane (yet to be shown itself to establish visually the film-within-film, though we already know this from the behaviour of the actors and the evidence of the camera track running the length of the square) in a medium-long shot giving post-shot instructions to Alphonse and Alexandre. Since he is the director of Day for Night as well as of Pamela, which director is he being at that point? Well, of course, he can relax into this and be both at the same time.

At this point, the viewer can see the possibilities and look forward to enjoying the fun. However – sacred bleu, mais non! Incroyable!- I didn’t find it as exhilarating as I thought I might, wondering all the time whether anyone else had tried, or has tried since, a similar take on film-making.

Having watched Day for Night and then read up again on what others think of it, I’ve come across all sorts of ideas: that the bus which careers round the square in the main shot is going too slow. Crikey, it looked to me it was a wonder a the speed it was going in such a confined space, circling the square, that no one was hit! That’s where the cleverness of the film is slowly established. Other shots (the film of the film shots) show how the extras are carefully walking, well away from the bus, though in Pamela’s shooting shot, it all looks a bit hairy because the tracking shot is sow low.




April 26, 2012 Posted by | film reflexivity, film technique, film within film, film [its techniques], francois truffaut, Godard, Godard/Truffaut, La Nuit Américaine, meta-film, referentiality, reflexivity, Truffaut | , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Not watching films



This is spurred by reading Why Finish Books? by Tim parks in New York Review of Books (13 March 2012). It’s one of those you’ll lose the argument but have fun in the trying ones.


The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette. Rivette?


My first dabble with Rivette was Jeanne la Pucelle (two disc set, Artificial Eye).


Where before have you seen a whole article dedicated to the idea of finishing a book? This is a kind of verboten in the world of culture. Not exactly a taboo, but admitting to failing with Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or more likely Proust, is so much about exposing one’s failings as a work from the literary canon. Though there are a few brave well-known souls who have admitted to finding a book everyone else says was a master-work everyone has to read as dry and dull as ditch water and that they gave up before page 50. (O.k, I admit to finding quite a few of William Golding hard to get into. Though there will come a time when the wind is up and in the right direction when they will seem like a good read.)

Feeling a little more confident after being urged to consider not finishing books, I’m getting to thinking there could be an equivalent for film. Even not to watch something at all. But hey, we do that for books too. Not read them. Ironically, we might read reams about a film’s qualities or failings or confusions or pointlessnesses, and then decide not to watch it. Or, that in the great scheme of things, and limited time, we have to make decisions about what to watch and what not to. Let’s leave out films we watch by mistake.

I don’t have a great deal of interest in films predominantly about people rehearsing plays. Truffaut’s Le Dernier Metro is an exception. But that wasn’t really all about play rehearsing.

I have this sinking feeling about the just over 12 hours of Rivette’s 01 which is deemed by many his master work.

Seeing the point of using film to portray rehearsals is not quite the same as being prepared to endure the filmic portrayal of them. Particularly perhaps starring Ben Gazzara in a improvisation. Did he do a play one? No idea. Mind you the more I read about 01 the more intriguing it becomes. That’s not to say the full 12 hours is high on my list of priorities.

Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 1) and Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 2) a dialogue (in two parts) by James Crawford and Michael Joshua Rowin, is a very interesting way to convince yourself not to bother with 01. Interesting ideas and clever quotes, my favourite so far is:


All of the Nouvelle Vague directors I hold dear address cinema from its first principles, like students learning the grammar of a foreign language—and then proceed to break, bend, twist, and ignore the ones they find the most limiting. Rivette finds displeasure in the strictures of storytelling soi-disant, and so, furthering his use of the vehicle as metaphor, lets his narrative motor idle, sputter, and eventually stall while he drifts over to the stuff he finds more intriguing. The problem is thus bequeathed to the spectators, who are asked to cast off their ossified conceptions of film’s ontological categories, and let the film resonate and wash about like music.



Writing this and working my way through both essays on 01 at the same time, it’s looking decidedly like the more I read about the film, the more I’m tempted to look at some of it. Strange to think reading about books, films, art, music, means you rarely if ever come to a work with your own eyes first, but after someone much cleverer and more articulate than you has thoroughly dissected it, broken it down, built it up again for you. A reason perhaps why the able few both do the study and then go out and make one of their own, ensuring the authentic first time experience. You thought it up. if you do – novel, play, film – you’re excused being suffused with intertextuality and referentiality and reflexivity. There’s really no escape from them.



April 26, 2012 Posted by | Chabrol, film watching, film [its techniques], francois truffaut, Godard, intertextuality, Jacques Rivette, referentiality, reflexivity, Rohmer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY NICO BAUMBACH – All that Heaven allows: what is, or was, cinephilia



All that Heaven allows: what is, or was, cinephilia [part 1]


All that Heaven allows: what is, or was, cinephilia [part 2]


Film comment, Film Society Lincoln Center, 12 February 2012


At time of this post two further parts were promised


Part 1 quotable quote:

Bordwell’s argument is framed as an attempt by an academic to reach out to film critics not simply to heal a rift but to mutually enrich both practices. Yet more interesting, and problematic, he outlines what writing about film can successfully accomplish and what it cannot. He implies that the opposition between academics and critics obscures a more fundamental opposition between two different ideas of what the primary object of writing on cinema should be — its relation to culture and society or to the more localized specifiable effects that films produce. He believes that by ignoring the latter in favor of the former, film criticism and theory have lost sight of their object.



Part 1 mentions Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema


There is a digital cross-through in this version, so I’ve included a couple of other sources: LM 2 and a facsimile of the original article/paper: LM3 (which in a footnote says it’s a reworked version of a paper given in the French Department of University of Winsconsin, Madison, in the Spring of 1973


Baumbach quotes Mulvey:

“It is said that analyzing pleasure, or beauty, destroys it. That is the intention of this article.”



which he then goes on to explain, including:

..her statement came from a conviction that theory about cinema mattered not just in relation to gaining specialized knowledge about a particular popular art form, but to how we live and experience the world.




March 16, 2012 Posted by | Andrew Sarris, auterism, Cahiers du cinéma, Christian Metz, cinephilia, David Bordwell, film analysis, film theory, film theory/film criticism, film [its techniques], George Toles, J. Hoberman, Laura Mulvey, Metz, Rudolph Arnheim, Siegfried Kracauer | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FILM COURSE NOTES from Malcolm Armstrong



Unit 1: Basic Approaches to Analyzing Film Meaning


Unit 2: Depth, volume and space


Malcolm Armstrong revision notes for his students. Quite handy to run through to be reminded what film is about!



January 26, 2012 Posted by | film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

FILM WATCHING The Rules



The Rules


by Caspar Newbolt, 18 January 2012



January 20, 2012 Posted by | film watching, film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

FILM E-BOOK The Altering Eye



The Altering Eye


by


Robert Philip Kolker


Preface to the Online Edition


The Altering Eye was published by Oxford University Press in 1983. The book spoke to a vital, worldwide movement in film, a movement full of energy and experimentation. Politically and formally adventurous, it claimed the world for cinema. The movement is over, but the films and their influence remain. The print run of The Altering Eye is over, but because there is now another movement full of energy and experimentation in the digital, online community, it will have a second run in electronic form.

The electronic edition maintains the original text with very, very few alterations. What is new, in addition to easy access, is a rich and changing panoply of visual elements: still and moving images that prove how appropriate the Web is for the serious work of film criticism. The electronic Altering Eye will now continue to be a fully present visual work in progress.

Robert Kolker
Jan, 2007



January 20, 2012 Posted by | Classical American cinema, Eisenstein, European film, film [its techniques], German expressionist cinema, neo-realism | , , | Leave a comment

FILM Mise-en-scène Analysis



Mise-en-scène Analysis

15

Essential Points



A Slideshare presentation. 33 slides with graphics. Good for revision. At the bottom a transcription of the text. Other film related interesting slideshows at the side.



January 20, 2012 Posted by | film [its techniques], mise en scene | | Leave a comment

FILM E-BOOK How to read a Film by James Monaco [1990]



How to Read a Film : The World of Movies, Media and Multimedia


- Language, History, Theory



by


James Monaco


3rd edition


A Scribd e-version of this book. Searchable with Scribd or browser.



January 15, 2012 Posted by | film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

FILM découpage / mise-en-scéne IV



Film study: an analytical bibliography


By Frank Manchel


Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1990

The four volumes of Film Study include a fresh approach to each of the basic categories in the original edition. Volume one examines the film as film; volume two focuses on the thematic approach to film; volume three draws on the history of film; and volume four contains extensive appendices listing film distributors, sources, and historical information as well as an index of authors, titles, and film personalities.



Google Book


Has a short section on page 112 on decoupage and mis-en-scene. 15 lines on mis-en-scene and then






This forms part of Chapter 1. You’ll find yourself scrolling back and forward from this section finding other interesting things. This quote in the section on The Narrative Film starting on page 107


Note 5 in André Bazin Revisited: André Bazin: Part 1, Film Style Theory in its Historical Context

Donato Totaro, 2003

There are two terms used by Bazin which either take on a different meaning in their English translation or don’t have an equivalent. Montage in English terminology implies a rigorous and expressive editing style. Most editing sequences juxtapose shots of varying space, time, and content combining to create an over- all idea, meaning, or tone. Editing implies the formal construction of the film from one shot to the next and is not nec­essarily expressive. Bazin uses the terms interchangeably. The second term, decoupage, has no English equivalent. The French definition is “to cut,” but applied to film the word is better described as construction. Noel Burch, in Theory of Film Practice, defines the three terms for which decoupage is inter­changeably used for as: 1) The final form of a script replete with the required technical information. 2) The practical breakdown of the film’s construction into separate shots/sequences prior to filming & 3) The underlying structure of the finished film, which has probably deviated from the original “decoupage.”



Film editing: The Art of the Expressive, Valerie Orpen, p.2:









January 14, 2012 Posted by | decoupage, film [its techniques], mise en scene | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY It Ain’t the Meat (It’s the Motion): Thoughts on movie technique and movie criticism



It Ain’t the Meat (It’s the Motion): Thoughts on movie technique and movie criticism

Jim Emerson, Jim Emerson’s Scanners :: blog, 14 November 2011



November 16, 2011 Posted by | criticism, film directors, film technique, film techniques, film [its techniques], Jim Emerson | , , | Leave a comment

FILM We’re all film-makers now (supposedly) ♦ Film policy review by department from Culture ♦



We’re all film-makers now – and the Smith review must recognise that



–Studying film is still often seen as lightweight. But in 2011 it’s arguably as important as literature and science


Don Boyd, Guardian, 25 September 2011

Quote 1:

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has initiated a fresh review of film policy under the chairmanship of Chris Smith. The words “film” and “policy” have rarely been comfortable cultural bedfellows in Britain. Ever since the Cinematograph Films Act of 1927, successive governments have attempted to make laws that help the “film industry” thrive with a variety of measures, which have included establishing trade quotas to restrict US control of the entire production, distribution and exhibition process (a problem that has never been solved). Rarely have these policies considered the wider implications of what film represents. If this timely review is to be worth its salt it must recommend a radical and daring approach for government and the British Film Institute, which has inherited the recently disbanded UK Film Council’s mantle.



Quote 2:

But beyond all this, the BFI, Smith and the government have one vital responsibility. As well as continuing to encourage university-level film education, they must fund a comprehensive system to empower schools to teach film to children.




October 4, 2011 Posted by | BFI, Cinematograph Films Act [1927], film [its techniques], UK film policy | , , | Leave a comment

FILM How will cinema remember the riots?



How will cinema remember the riots?


Daniel Barrow, New Statesman, 9 August 2011



August 18, 2011 Posted by | Absolute Beginners [ 1986], Coiln Macinnes, Do The Right Thing [1989], film [its techniques], La Haine[1995], Matthieu Kassovitz, Spike Lee | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM E-BOOK How to Read a Film by James Monaco [in chapter sections]



How to Read a Film


By James Monaco (First published 1977)


Chapter 1. Film as Art


Chapter 2. Technology: Imagine and Sound


Chapter 3. The Language of Films: Signs and Syntax


Chapter 4. The Shape of Film History


Chapter 5. Film Theory: Form and Function


Chapter 6. Media: In the Middle of Things


Chapter 7. Multimedia: The Digital Revolution



June 19, 2011 Posted by | film music, film narratology, film production, film stock, film techniques, film theory, film [its techniques], film-maker, James Monaco | 4 Comments

FILM-MAKER SCREENWRITER Suzanne Schiffman





Godard, Schiffman, Truffaut on set of Farenheit 451 [1966]. She is credited as assistant to the director.



Obits: Guardian and Independent


Les Archives de script de Suzanne Schiffman : Godard au travail dans Pierrot le Fou


By Núria Aidelman


Facsimiles of typed and handwritten scripts and notes.


The French new wave: an artistic school By Michel Marie, Richard John Neupert [GoogleBook]


p. 77






June 13, 2011 Posted by | Film script/screenplay, film [its techniques], Godard, plan-of-action script, programme script, Suzanne Schiffman, Truffaut | Leave a comment

FILM Seven Inspiring TED Talks About Filmmaking



Seven Inspiring TED Talks About Filmmaking


A mixture of documentary and feature film-maker, some really famous, some not quite so.


Mostly here because I haven’t watched them all. Hypothesis: the film maker might not be so good at explaining verbally as showing filmically. Let’s see. In the few I’ve watched where the film extracts used as illustrations demonstrate better than the words in the talk introducing and and explaining, even if they are interesting and important. Film-makers are not all good public speakers. It’s rather ironic that unwittingly the film-maker selling film in words often demonstrates the time talking film might have been better spent making another film.



June 12, 2011 Posted by | film directors, film [its techniques], film-maker | Leave a comment

FILM Les Invisibles (2005)



Yet another free film viewing from MUBI:


Les Invisibles (2005)


Dir. Thierry Jousse
85 mins
Colour
french
English subtitles


Review in Cinema of the World
Set of 5 stills.



June 4, 2011 Posted by | film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

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