cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM THEORY BAZIN ~ Monsieur Hulot and Time

Monsieur Hulot and Time


Andre Bazin

translated from the French by Bert Cardullo. ? {1} or {2} {3 – books by}

August 30, 2010 Posted by | André Bazin, Bazin, film analysis, film theory, film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

FILM GOOGLEBOOK GODARD ~ Jean Luc Godard’s Hail Mary: women and the sacred in film

Jean-Luc Godard’s Hail Mary: women and the sacred in film


Maryel Locke, Charles Warren, Jean Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville

August 29, 2010 Posted by | film [its techniques], Godard, Jean-Luc Godard | , | 1 Comment


English translation by Louis Brigante of script by, Michelangelo Antonioni,
Elio Bartolini, and of Tonino Guerra



August 29, 2010 Posted by | Antonioni, L'Aventura | , | Leave a comment

FILM PhD The Screenplays of Robert Towne 1960-200

The Screenplays of Robert Towne 1960-200

is a 2007 Ph.D.  Thesis


Elaine Lennon

It came from a long list of published film theses in the latest post in Film Studies for Free.
Linked to here because I’m a sucker for anything whatsoever about Polanski’s Chinatown.

Bits and bobs:

P. 51

Renoir, who is Towne’s personal idol, and was an acquaintence of Towne’s good friend and collaborator Warren Beatty, is paid explicit homage in the satire Shampoo [1975], which is a loose re-working of La Regle du Jeu [1939, itself a homage to Beaumarchais’ Le Marriage de Figaro].


Robert Towne himself has commented on the problem of understanding screenwriting, that

No one, I think, can really say what makes an effective screenplay because no one really knows what makes a screeplay effective.


In creating a character, Robert Towne says, “You must ask what it is he or she is really afraid of. It’s my best way of getting into a character.” Towne thinks the writer has more control over his art than the director. “When I write,” he says, “the only limits are my imagination and my ability to do it.”


…The notion of writing moving pictures is absurd. One can’t write a picture. One describes a picture. And one thing can be said about a really good screenplay: it reads like it’s describing a movie already made. So if you look at a movie and read the screenplay and the movie seems fully realized in it, recognize and wonder. It’s nearly as miraculous as getting struck by lightening and living to tell the tale.

Towne’s pictoral gifts as a screenwriter give further emphasis to his controlling contribution to a finished film. It is significant therefore that a signal influence on the writing of Chinatown, central to his body of work, was in fact a photo essay seen by Towne in a magazine supplement in 1069, which depicted ‘Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles’ in a series of photographs by John Waggaman, accompanied by a text written by Laurence Dietze.

August 21, 2010 Posted by | Chinatown, film [its techniques] | , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY – The Eye, the Brain, the Screen: What neuroscience Can teach Film Theory

Paul Elliot, “The Eye, the Brain, the Screen:What Neuroscience Can teach Film Theory”

Excursions, Vol 1, Issue 1 (June 2010), 1-16

August 15, 2010 Posted by | film theory, film [its techniques], neuroscience | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR Agnes Varda {Short interview}

This is my first Varda post. It isn’t going to contain pensees because I haven’t got around to her ouevre yet. Nothing wrong with building up the wherewithal to understand where an artist is coming from.

A short 2009 interview with David Warwick, in The Electric Sheep Magazine , The Beaches of Agnes: Interview with Agnes Varda, gives a brief background and then deals with her film The Beaches of Agnès.

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Agnes Varda | | Leave a comment

FILM LINK ESSAY Masochism in Michael Haneke’s La Pianiste & Catherine Breillat’s Romance

Masochism in Michael Haneke’s La Pianiste & Catherine Breillat’s Romance


Jon Davis (2003)

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Catherine Breillat, film [its techniques], Haneke, Michael Haneke | | Leave a comment

FILM LINK Slow Cinema and the Long Take

To add to my collection of posts on the long take, one from Either/Or/Bored, titled, Slow Cinema and The Long Take.

Nagging feeling it is already mentioned in a previous post. What the heck.

Links in there to:  Top 15 Amazing Long Takes (and onwards to other film lists), Pasolini’s essay,  Observations on the long take, which must already be linked to somewhere else in COTA. Who cares, a blog is a searchable database, Mark le Fanu’s, Metaphysics of the “long take”: some post-Bazanian reflections, and to a film mag 16:9 essay by Mathew Flanagan, Towards an Aesthetic of Slow in Contemporary Cinema.  Also, the first pic I have seen of Bazin. Didn’t imagine him like that at all.

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Bazin, film techniques, film theory, film [its techniques], long take | , , | Leave a comment

FILM Reflections and mirrors in film

Reminded of the classic uses of mirrors in film, such as those in Renoir’s Regle du Jeu, by looking at Darren Hughes’ clever ‘movie still’ in his profile page in the new version of Long Pauses. The page I was reading was his post on Fred Brakhage. {wiki:Stan Brakhage}

In Regle du Jeu, I thought there was a mirror shot within the complex tracking shot involving the opening and closing of a wardrobe door, a corridor and two rooms, but as yet can’t find it!

There is one like that in The Million Pound Note. Though according to this, there is one scene where the cameraman can be seen in the mirror.

In another shot in Le Regle du Jeu , a pan involving the Countess, Christine de la Cheyniest, played by Nora Gregor, coming out of one door and entering another on a landing, the mirror is used to extend the shot. There is no need to move the camera to do a shot of the maid: the maid moves into view in the mirror on the right as Christine moves towards the mirror on her left. Then her maid, Lisette, is seen with Christine on the landing without her reflection. Christine moves to a door with a flunkie standing outside, leaving Lisette with the dog in the foreground. She enters. As she does so, we can see the closed door of the room she has left.

At the end of La Regle du Jeu, Octave is getting ready to leave. Again Renoir uses a mirror to extend the shot, showing the door behind him through which he is about to leave. Within the shot he walks towards the camera to get his hat and returns to the set position. While he does, we can see him getting his hat in the reflection. Towards the end he can be seen looking at his own reflection in the mirror: staring in a sudden realisation, over the shoulder of Lisette.

Without the mirror, walking out of shot towards the camera won’t look right. With the mirror there is no need to set up another shot to show him unhooking his hat.

Came across this forum in MUBI [formerly Auteurs] with quite a few examples of stills and movie sequences sent in by the debaters. The topic is ‘reflections and mirrors’  which slightly widens it out a bit.  Please post in any films with reflections you like.

The one at the top is from Regle du Jeu.  One can always make obvious remarks and seem slightly naive about film-making, but I can see in my mind’s eye the image being noticed by Renoir as he looks for the first time at  the set up created for him by the cinematographer. He has asked for the maid (in black) to seem to be the reflection of the Contess, but when he sees what has been done for him, sacred blue, he is impressed.

Godard talked about guns and girls, but this is surely as much why men and women nearly kill themselves to make films.

O.k. this is Berman – you get the idea.  In fact you more than get it: you’ve seen films, or documentaries of films being made, in which directors look at the cinematographs set-up and start enthusing.

There is also that thing about a cinematographer catching a light effect while filming a shot which is seen by director for the first time in the rushes. “Wahddisdat? BriiilliaNt! Cut it in ” [THICK GUTTERAL GERMAN-AMERICAN  ACCENT]

A real chateau was used for Regle du Jeu. It would be interesting to know if the interiors were sets or chateau. If chateau, there would have been a time when, on arrival and initial shufti, the possibilities of the mirrors became apparent and were probably included in the working script. If he chose the chateau partly for its mirrors before the script was written, then he really was a clever chap.


Below a cut and paste of photo a quoter quoting a book:

Film noir often uses mirrors as symbols of a person’s dual nature.

Quote from Dev Anand: Dashing Debonair by Alpana Chowdhury (p.43).


P D Smith reviews what looks like a must have for the generally curious, film mirror lovers and narcissists:

Mirror, Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair with Reflection
by Mark Pendergrast 404pp
Basic Books, £19.99

August 6, 2010 Posted by | cinematography, cognitive illusion, cognitive science, culture, director of photography, film directors, film narrative, film still, film techniques, Fred Brakhage, perception, Renoir | , | Leave a comment