cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM DIRECTOR Directors who Started in Other Departments





Directors who Started in Other Departments – PART I



Directors who Started in Other Departments – PART II


From : notesonafilm



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October 26, 2013 Posted by | cinematographer, cinematography | Leave a comment

FILM Greatest cinematographers



50 Greatest Cinematographers


1. Gunnar Fischer who shot many of Bergman’s films


2. Jack Cardiff


Top 10 Greatest Cinematographers


1. Charles Rosher, 1885-1974


Cardiff doesn’t figure in this top 10



October 26, 2013 Posted by | Charles Rosher, cinematographer, cinematography, Gunnar Fischer | | Leave a comment

FILM Cinematographer [1]





NFS Exclusive Series – The Cinematographer’s Process (Part 1): Breaking Down the Script

♦ …a process in which you scan the script for technical issues and viability based on the budget of the film



Only just come across Ryan Koo whose website, nofilmschool, has as he explains in one video (of many about film-making) gone from a few hits to millions in no time at all. The fun one was where he proudly explains how he bought a Red on a credit card, renting it out and other wheezes to end up with a no-cost camera.


Also posted:


‘There is No Formula’: Cinematographer Gordon Willis on Testing the Limits of His Craft





October 22, 2013 Posted by | cinematography | Leave a comment

FILM SCREENPLAY Is it a great one?





screenplay_klein




What makes a great screenplay?


John Yorke, Guardian,15 March 2013


From Casablanca to The Killing – the elements of a great script are essentially the same. John Yorke – who is responsible for some of the most popular recent British TV dramas – reveals how and why the best screenwriting works


Also by John Yorke:


Into The Woods: A Five Act Journey Into Story


This is lovely long piece which doesn’t mention Chinatown By Robert Townes. But lo, a commenter does. And COTA has posted a version at Screenplay: Chinatown [1977] It’s one of my favourite films, which I repeat ad nauseam. Best silly man joke in film too : note in that shot how the people line up one behind the other.



October 22, 2013 Posted by | film, Film script/screenplay | , , | Leave a comment

FILM Hitler and Hollywood



Did Hitler Run Hollywood


Ben Urwand, Sunday Telegraph, 29 September 2013


His book:


The Collaboration, Harvard University Press.


Came across the article in a discarded Tel. mag. The digital version is the same text. The three page article by Urwand puffing his own book (or is it an extract?) is entertaining enough, particularly the bit about where scenes successively cut out of a film about Dreyfus end with a script that has no mention of him being a Jew at all, and is finally titled: The Life of Emile Zola [1937].


The Telegraph web version of the article has a photograph not in the paper.


PHOTO Hollywood execs Hitlers yacht

A group of American motion picture executives take a trip up the Rhine on Hitler’s personal yacht. Eddie Mannix (second from right), Jack Warner (third from right).



has no date nor is it mentioned in the paper article.


David Denby in the New Yorker 23 Sept 2013, How Could Harvard Have Published Ben Urwand’s “The Collaboration”? explains the photo. He points out:

By July, 1945, Hitler, of course, was dead, and the executives embarked on his boat wearing Army uniforms. Why? Because, as Urwand relates, they had been invited to Germany by General George Marshall as a way to witness the destruction of Germany and to reëstablish their business in that country after the war.



All good stuff.


He then helpfully points us to Self-Styled Siren who takes up the cudgels. She herself points back to his cudgeling of The Collaboration. No,no, no, get out of the loop, read something completely different. Self-styled Siren has a luxuriously long piece on Bergman that is included in the Criterion Collection:


Autumn Sonata: Mothers, Daughters, and Monsters


By Farran Smith Nehme [16 September 2013 ]





Must remind myself to put up a few more film blog links. (Have relied on 6 degrees to get to most film sites from my current small selection, though there are a lot more in Moleskine which may or may not work any longer. Notice a lot of the embedded YouTubes don’t).

They say writing a reminder backwards on your forehead is quite effective. Maybe a Bruce Lee-style bandana


PHOTO Bruce Lee bandana


with a slot for a sunflower yellow super-stick Post-It instead of the rising sun. Don’t recommend you pop down to the shops with it on. There again, once it’s off, you’re bound to forget to put it back on – so no new film links.





As far as COTA is concerned, I must re-iterate, I see it as much as a database for my own purposes as a place where I write to an audience. And when it is some writing on something or other, it tends to be as if it was to one individual: a friend who I’m talking through some film thing with. Mind you, it ends up in a blog (where it can be more widely shared) because few people I know would be interested in the length of the cow scene in Satantango, and how I’m imagining the tracking! It’s that or in OneNote, which is a great for place to find things wot you wrote or gleaned.
The greatest number of hits are simply posts where I’ve linked to something. Monaco’s book being #1. It’s a pleasure to think people are Googling it and finding my finding of a digital version.



October 3, 2013 Posted by | Hollywood and Hitler | | 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