cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM {Truffault – Léaud – Godard}

“The fictional character Antoine Doinel is, therefore, a mixture of two real people, François Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Leaud”.

Francois Truffaut

source:Francois Truffaut by Juan Carlos [Senses of Cinema]

Anthea Hall wrote an article on French actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, A man lost in a celluloid identity, in The Sunday Telegraph (17 January, 1991) in which she examined how ‘Truffault had created an entire screen persona for Leaud..’. So far there is no evidence of an online version of this article, which is a pity. It could form a companion piece to several essays on Léaud/Truffault such as Philippa Hawker’s, Jean-Pierre Léaud:Unbearable Lightness [Senses of Cinema] and Because of Tenderness: Thoughts on the Performance of
Jean-Pierre Léaud
by Rhys Graham [Senses of Cinema]

Here, the screen test Léaud did as a 14 year-old for Les Quatre Cent Coups.

March 27, 2010 Posted by | Godard, Truffaut | | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD Slow Motion/Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie) 1979

There are slow motion shots in this film but why anyone would chose to translate ‘sauve qui peut’  as Slow Motion  is puzzling.  Apparently the American DVD is Every Man For Himself, even if it does miss out the bracketed (La Vie).

“….basically an unpleasant and confusingly presented narrative about unlikeable people”

Kirstin Thompson

plot synopsis of Sauve Qui Peut  by Louis Schwartz in allmovie

Breaking The Glass Armour: Neoformalist Film Analysis

Kirstin Thompson 1988

From page 263: Chapter 10, Godard’s Unknown Country: Sauve qui peut (la vie).

A useful definition/explantion on page 247:

In general we may characterize as parametric those films that allow the play of stylistic devices a significant degree of independence from narrative functioning and motivation. This term derives from Noel Burch’s Theory of Film Practice, in which he calls the various possibilities of the medium – those elements that provide the potential material for variation – “parameters”.  David Bordwell has developed upon Burch’s treatment, describing extensively the use of parametric variation by the narration of fiction films. He has shown that the kind of play with stylistic features usually associated with abstract and other non-narrative filmic modes can come forward in narrative films as well, sometimes predominating over syuzhet considerations, sometimes alternating with them in importance.

A YouTube Godard interview with documentry writer, producer for PBS, Deanna Kamiel (1980) is not that enlightening as to his purpose, but there are a few phrases here and there which  express his attitude to film.

Review by Slarek of Region 2 AI DVD

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Godard | , | Leave a comment


I don’t understand, because you use this poetical word “metaphor.” You have to know that a movie is the most simple thing in the world. If you are a writer and you have an ashtray like the one I have in front of me now, you can write 20 pages about this ashtray, with metaphors and symbols, you can say a lot of theoretical things, because everything depends on the imagination of the reader.

But I am a filmmaker; I have just the concrete, definitive ashtray. And the question is how am I able to show you the ashtray. In this case, I’m able to develop emotions from you, but it’s always physical, concrete, and clear. I cannot use any metaphors. I cannot use any symbols. What I have are just some lenses, which are objective. I tell you and show you real things.

Bela Tarr in an an interview with Fionn Meade in 2007 at the time of the release of his last film, The Man from London

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Bela Tarr | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Widescreen Aesthetics and Mise en Scene Criticism ~ by David Bordwell

Widescreen Aesthetics and Mise en Scene Criticism


David Bordwell

Originally in Review of Cinema No. 21

March 12, 2010 Posted by | mise en scene, widescreen | , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY LONG TAKE Metaphysics of the “long take”: some post-Bazinian reflections by Mark Le Fanu

Metaphysics of the “long take”: some post-Bazinian reflections


Mark Le Fanu

(author of The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovski [1987]; Mizoguchi and Japan [2005])


P.O.V no. 4

March 12, 2010 Posted by | André Bazin, Bazin, Classical American cinema, Eisenstein, European art cinema, Greg Toland, Griffith, Italian Neo-Realism, montage, Murnau, Renoir, shot length, Stroheim, the long take, Welles, Wyler | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY The Emergence of Filmic Artifacts by Stephen Prince

The Emergence of Filmic Artifacts

Stephen Prince

Film Quarterly, vol 57, No 3, pp 23-33 ( 2004)


The tools of digital filmmaking are transforming all aspects of cinema, including production, postproduction, and exhibition. In the process, they are altering the visual characterisitics of the moving image and changing the viewer’s perceptual understanding of the nature of cinema, leading to the emergence, for the first time in the medium’s history, of filmic artifacts.

Things get interesting from page 30 when the discussion turns to how digital video:

….”reads” a scene very differently than film does. One of the unmistakable hallmarks of DV is its clarity and depth of field. DV tends to record everything in deep focus and with extreme sharp focus, whereas varying degrees of shallow focus are the norm for images shot on film. Most shots have a limited focal plane, as determined by the speed of the film, the f-stop and the amount of light available. Even celebrated deep-focus films also include numerous shots where the focal plane is restricited. In contrast, DV produces deep focus as a kind of auto-default, and filmmakers working in the format studiously try to avoid this look.

Price wonders what Bazin, who advocated deep focus, would think of DV, suggesting he would have thought it good. But he then goes on to consider the paradox of film looking more alive than DV, despite being grainy. Films like Lawrence of Arabia, North by Northwest and Citizen Kane that have been digitally re-mastered for DVD have a very different feel from the film versions.

A few other important differences between film and digital are mentioned.

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Bazin, cinematography, digital exhibition, digital technology, digitisation, film postproduction, film production, film [its techniques], George Melies, Siegried Kracauer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment