cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM When Jean Renoir met Henri Cartier-Bresson

In a recent Telegraph article, Expert Witness: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Christopher Turner mentions a few connections between Cartier-Bresson [wiki: Cartier-Bresson] and Jean Renoir:

….Cartier-Bresson joined Jean Renoir to work on a propaganda film that Louis Aragon had commissioned for the communist party. The film, La vie est à nous (‘Life is Ours’), attacked the 200 leading families who controlled France, of which Cartier-Bresson’s was undoubtedly one. A subsequent Renoir film, La Regle du Jeu (‘The Rules of the Game’), in which Cartier-Bresson played an English butler, was shot at his father’s enormous chateau, Mont Evray.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jean Renoir | , | Leave a comment

ANTI-SCIENCE climate science denial

John Mashey produced Plagarism? Conspiracies? Felonies? to explain how it’s done and who does it. Although schools wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole for fear of (well for fear of what?) something, this is the sort of thing that 14-16 year olds should be getting to grips with together with learning science as a discipline.

Apparently John doesn’t have a blog of his own but there is a list of his writing on climate change in a post in Warming101 Blog. It describes the pdf  he has put together as “ organised defamation of science has been structured and funded”.

Here,  John gives a list of reasons for anti-science.

There is also  a short paper:

Denialism: What is it and how should scientists respond?

which is linked to in Skeptical science in post:   The 5 characteristics of scientific denialism.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | anti-science, science, science denial | , , , | Leave a comment


This post by Nick Lacey

Editing in À bout de souffle (France, 1960)

in The Case for Global Film film blog, has illustrative stills and did have a YouTube extract of the film till it was removed under ‘copyright claim by [1] Optimum Releasing [2]. Are they mad? Surely it is good advertising for new generations to watch the film?

The link could have gone in COTA post

FILM Editing {links in Catherine Grant’s blog}

But it seems a good idea to put it separate for search purposes. So if you type ‘editing’ in the search box top right, you’ll get this but ‘editing Godard’ (par example) you will give this. Though not ever post has the correct category and tag labels, so you might miss. Though from my experience, search in wordpress seems to search on body of text as well.

April 23, 2010 Posted by | continuity editing, editing, jump cut | , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Why Jean-Luc Godard is Important : A Look at the Films of a Ground-Breaking French New Wave Director

Why Jean-Luc Godard is Important: A Look at the Films of a Ground-Breaking French New Wave Director


Michelle Strozykowski

blogs at Movie Noodle

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard, New Wave | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY GODARD Jean Luc Godard’s Breathless: Defining the French New Wave

Jean Luc Godard’s Breathless: Defining the French New Wave


Adam Karabel

September 20, 2006

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Godard | , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY GODARD Modifications and Expansions of Bazin’s “Faith in Reality” in the 1960s Works of Jean-Luc Godard

Modifications and Expansions of Bazin’s “Faith in Reality” in the 1960s Works of Jean-Luc Godard


Arnab Majumdar

August 19, 2008

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Bazin, Godard | , , | Leave a comment

FILM REVIEW Roger Ebert’s 2003 assessment of Godard’s A Bout de souffle

Breathless (1960)  by Roger Ebert

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Godard | , | Leave a comment


Sexual Politics: Godard and Me
Anna Karina reminisces on life, work and beyond with the writer-director

By David Ehrenstein Thursday, Apr 15 2010

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Godard | Leave a comment


[1] Algeria Deferred: The Logic of Trauma in Muriel and Caché
Matthew Croombs, Carleton University, Canada

[2] Scope 16 February 2010

[3] Dialogue transcript of Cache.

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Caché, Haneke | , | Leave a comment

FILM EDITING {links in Catherine Grant’s blog}

Catherine Grant’s  latest post in Film Studies for Free has a selection of links to mostly academic articles on editing: Seeing the join : on Continuity editing. This includes:

CHAPTER 1: Film as Art: Creativity, Technology, and Business‘ from Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill, 2010, 9th ed.) by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson

April 19, 2010 Posted by | film editing, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Five explanations for the jump cuts in Godard’s breathless by Richard Raskin

Five explanations for the jump cuts in Godard’s Breathless


Richard Raskin


P.OV. number 6,  December 1998

which has a set on editing under the title The Art of Editing, starting with Mark Le Fanu: On Editing

April 14, 2010 Posted by | À bout de souffle, Breathless, Godard | , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Modifications and Expansions of Bazin’s “Faith in Reality” in the 1960s Works of Jean-Luc Godard by Arnab Majumdar

Modifications and Expansions of Bazin’s “Faith in Reality” in the 1960s Works of Jean-Luc Godard


Arnab Majumdar

August 9, 2008.

April 14, 2010 Posted by | Bazin, film [its techniques], Godard, New Wave, nouvelle vague | Leave a comment

FILM WEBSITE The Worldwide celluloid Massacre

An encyclopedia of extreme, surreal, twisted and bizarre movies

This is a collection of brief film reviews/director profiles by Zev Toledano. I came across it when looking up Godard one more time.

Comparing the compactness of his interpretation of Godard with,say, the comprehensiveness/prolixity of the wiki: Jean-Luc Godard, ought to bring a smile to one’s face, if that face had seen some Godard films and read about him elsewhere.

After his succinct assessment of Godard he lists those Godard films he considers worth a try ( ‘of some interest’) and those he thinks are tosh (‘worthless’). À bout de souffle gets a mention (‘ …hand-held cameras, wild jump-cut editing, youthful undisciplined energy, whimsical narrative, exploratory cinema with people in the street as subjects, and other unconventional techniques’ ) but is in neither the ‘watch’ or ‘don’t bother’ category.

Today, reading Jim Emerson’s latest post led to Roger Ebert’s piece, The ecstasy of the filmmaker Herzog, on Werner Herzog attending a cinema interruptus viewing of Aguirre Wrath of God. A commenter, Mathew Walther, made a remark about the grammar of a sentence in the post. Ebert replied about having read Mathew’s blog. I checked it out and found the latest post, The Elephant in the street, part i, using the work of Kieslowski in examining Paul Schrader’s Transcendental Style in Film (which looks like a book one should avoid, going by this 4 page review). A quote attributed to Kieslowski:

I suspect there are a few hundred books in the world which have managed to achieve a full description of what lies within us. . . Literature can achieve this, cinema can’t. . . It’s not intelligent enough. . . it’s not equivocal enough.

took me straight back to Godard. Had he got the wrong medium? Perhaps he should have written novels. I needed an explanation of Godard between the simple clarity of Toledano, which was true but didn’t say enough, and the wiki entry, which it was possible to read all the way through and still not quite understand the essence of Godard.

I found an element of this essence on my bookshelf: Mark Cousin’s The Story of Film.

Writing about how jumps cuts hadn’t suddenly arrived with À Bout de souffle, describing the way they had been used in Dovzhenko’s Arsenal (1930), he mentions that Godard uses exactly the same number of jump cuts (nine) as in the Russian film, although he had written before about his dislike of jump cuts in certain Spanish films.

Cousins then goes on ( p. 271):

The shock attached to seeing jump cuts in À Bout de souffle arose because they were not there for any special psychological purpose, as they had been in Arsenal, nor were they wedded to quite traditional stories, as in the Spanish films. The reason for cutting the sequence in this way was because the cuts were beautiful in themselves, because they emphasised that what we were watching was cinema, just as painters had turned to cubism many years earlier because it emphasised the flatness of the canvas. Godard had been part of the magazine Cahiers du Cinema’s “think tank”. So immersed in cinema were Godard, Truffaut and others that they saw it not as something that captures real life, a mere medium, but as part of life, like money or unemployment. So, when they became filmmakers, movies were not just vehicles to carry stories and information or to portray feeling; they were also what those stories carried, part of the sensory experience of, say, sitting in a cafe watching the world go by.

In the next paragraph he goes on: “The subjects of their films were themselves, their erotic imagination, their fragility and alienation.”

April 13, 2010 Posted by | film [its techniques], Godard, Kieslowski, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Paul Schrader | | Leave a comment


Jim Emerson’s video essay on Polanski’s Chinatown:

Chinatown, My Chinatown: An Andalusian Dog love poem in images and music

“…..Eyes, frames, lenses, doorways, windows, photographs, mirrors, smoke, hands, flesh, water, power…”

April 10, 2010 Posted by | Chinatown, Jim Emerson, Polanski, video essay | , , | Leave a comment


Two previous posts in COTA on the long take:

Béla Tarr’s Long Takes (an education in film)

FILM Satantango (Sátántangó) by Béla Tarr {2}

More for my future reference than anything else, three posts in Big Other on the long take, including many Youtube examples. Most of these are not exclusively long takes, but contain them.

[1]  Top films of the decade by Greg Gerke  (Dec 19 2009)

[2]  Brevity, Part 2: Long Takes (January 8 2010)

by A D Jameson

[3]  Brevity, Part 3: Long Takes Continued (well, they’re long) (January 10 2010)

by A D Jameson

There is also

Top 15 amazing long takes

which includes Antonioni’s , The Passenger,  as does [2]


The Long Take

a post in Daily Film Dose, which includes a selection of YouTube long takes, and says:

The difficulty arises when the camera is forced to move which complicates the logistics ie. Focus changes, lighting changes and hiding production equipment.

An entry in filmreference:
Camera movement and the Long take

It would nice to see more discussion on the merits and demerits of the static long take compared to the tracking, panning, zooming one.

There is Mark le Fanu’s:

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


Child of the long take: Alfonso Cuaron’s film aesthetics in the shadow of globalization by James Udden

which mentions le Fanu’s essay defending the long take and does a bit more than use Cuaron’s Children of Men [2006], including some quotable quotes such as:

[..] For Bazin, the long take is a principle means of directly linking the cinematic image with phenomenological reality, which the film medium can directly record. The long take supposedly ensures a truth of the spatial and temporal relations within that said reality. The long take allows the world to be seen as it is–objectively–without the imposition of the filmmaker’s world view, which occurs when one edits and thus manipulates cinematic time and space. And according to Bazin, this in turn this offers the possibility of revealing the ambiguity of the world before we impose our ideas on it.

In The Long Take: Finding Hope Amongst the Chaos, Bryan Nixon deals specifically with The Children of Men and the long take. (i.e. no diversions into Bazinland!)

Two film posts

[1] The Long Take that Kills:Tarkovsky’s rejection of montage
Benjamin Halligan

[2] Girish’s post The Long Take

are already linked to in a previous post in COTA:

FILM Satantango (Sátántangó) by Béla Tarr {2}

Other sources

Pier Paolo Pasolini – Observations on the long take [1967]

Toward a synthesis of cinema – a theory of the long take moving camera, Part 1

Toward a synthesis of cinema – a theory of the long take moving camera, Part 2


David George Menard

Orson Welles, Gregg Toland and the Long Take
Ned Casey

The Mobile Mise en scene by Lutz Bacher
GoogleBook of Intro and chapter 1 [67 pages].

Time Lost or Spent or Not Yet Had: An Argument For the Long Take
Brett Mccracken

Slow Cinema & The Long Take
A. V. Cheshire

Notes on the Fetishism of the Long Take in Rope
Jean-Pierre Coursodon

Re-viewing Mizoguchi, Master Choreographerof the Long Take
Freda Freiberg

The Long Take: Finding Hope Amongst the Chaos
Bryan Nixon

In praise of the long take
John Patterson

April 7, 2010 Posted by | long take | | Leave a comment

FILM – Top 10 directors of photography

The Top 10 according to Josh Timmermann in Stylus Magazine.

According to the wiki: cinematographer:

The term cinematographer has been a point of contention for some time now; some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person.

Perhaps the director of photography (film or digital) should be called The Lilac Chaser, after the well-known visual illusion. In other words, he or she’s the one who knows how to produce a good visual effect in the completed film – which thereby enhances a good script – but also has the knowledge to avoid unintended visual consequences which might wreck a good script. 

Josh talks about the opposite, where great cinematography props up an initially weak film idea.

I’ll put a link  to Jim Emerson’s cinematography post here:

Avatar and Oscar again raise the question: What is cinematography? (Part 1)

Read the comments as well which debate cinematographer/Director of photography.

Jim himself writes in reponse to a commenter:

The cameraman on set or on location must understand not only the sequence of shots, but the time of day, the temperature of the lights, how the film reacts in a multitude of situations, and even what time the sun will rise and set. Then there are the happy accidents that only the trained eye will catch, like the way the heat waves will play with the light in a telephoto shot. The cinematographer with experience will in many cases give the director the benefits of his or her knowledge.

(Which reminds me of the work of the location manager and the scouts, who themselves are the beginning of the the cinematographer’s work. It is they who will begin the work of noting where the sun sets and rises in relation to a building, say, and when, because they will be working from a script, will be able to see such things as whether it will be easy or diffcult to lay tracking down, which will effect how the film can look.)

No one has mentioned that a film (film or digital) is edited after it is made. So it is quite posible that much of a cinematographers work can be removed afterwards for non-cinematographic reasons, such as length of final film.

The more one looks at film the more the collaborative nature of film-making is highlighted. A professional editor (unless that means the director) works with the director and all the other major players on the film. Who can imagine the director of photography not being allowed in to see how the editing is going, and to perhaps have some say in how the editing is altering (for good or bad) the look he has set out to achieve?

April 7, 2010 Posted by | cinematography, director of photography, editing, film [its techniques] | | Leave a comment