cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM Fellini La Dolce Vita 1960



film-antonioni-la-dolce-vita-beach-1




La Dolce Vita

The Magic Widow 6 November 2015 ~ film blog by Kristoffer T notable for the quality film stills


the cinematography of la Dolce vita: that’s deep, man

Brandon W. Irvines’ Underplex film blog, 20 June 2013 ~ always plenty of stills


La Dolce Vita: Lessons not learned

Kate Fitzpatrick, Brattle Theatre Film Notes, 24 June 2103


Search Brattle for other La Dolce Vita posts.



February 26, 2017 Posted by | Antonioni, film, film directors, La Dolce Vita [1960] | , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Kiarostami by Hugh Gibson





FILM KIAROSTAMI Him  in front odf a quote






TIFF ~ The Review ~ 28 August 2016 ~ Issue 29





August 29, 2016 Posted by | Abbas kiarostami, film, film essay | | Leave a comment

FILM SCRIPT The Imitation Game [2014]





Turing-statue-Bletchley_06




The Imitation Game


Screenplay by Graham Moore


pp. 118 / pdf



December 13, 2014 Posted by | The Imitation Game [2014] | , , | Leave a comment

FILM SCRIPT WES ANDERSON The Grand Budapest Hotel





FILM WES ANDERSON The Grand Budapest hotel




At the Movies – Michael Wood

The Grand Budapest Hotel


LRB, Vol. 36 No. 8, 17 April 2014


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Screenplay by Wes Anderson


pdf/ pp. 122



December 13, 2014 Posted by | film directors, screenplay, script, The Grand Budapest Hotel | , , | Leave a comment

FILM VIDEO ESSAY Drew Morton’s Cross-Cut





IMG_0056





Cross Cut


By


Drew Morton

Explore the narrative, stylistic, and thematic connections between Michelangelo
Antonioni’s BLOW-UP, Francis Ford Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION, and Brian DePalma’s BLOW OUT with this video essay entitled “Cross-Cut.” Note: This video essay originally began as a more theoretical project. The other drafts have been posted to Vimeo for the sake of pedagogy.



CROSS-CUT (AKA Cinefilea, Version .5)


CROSS-CUT (AKA Cinefilea, Version .75)


CROSS-CUT (AKA Cinefilea, Version 1.0)

What began as “A poetic introduction to the fiction film as videographic criticism that seeks to illustrate the works of Raymond Bellour and Laura Mulvey through BLOW OUT, BLOW UP, and THE CONVERSATION” eventually became a more modest experiment in exploring the narrative, stylistic, and thematic connections between Michelangelo Antonioni’s BLOW-UP, Francis Ford Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION, and Brian De Palma’s BLOW OUT. This is the final version of the theoretically framed “Cinefilea” version.

Differences from Version .75: Thanks to notes from Benjamin Sampson and Adrian Martin, I’ve tried to be more evocative in the opening (hence the use of the photographs from BLOW OUT and BLOW UP). I’ve also broken up the text quotations to assist in this and the reader.

Rationale for Why This Version Was Ultimately Abandoned:

My objective was to make a video essay about video essays through these three films with three theoretical texts without resorting to voice-over. After asking a range of colleagues for notes (including Corey Creekmur, Chiara Grizzaffi, Adrian Martin, and Benjamin Sampson), it became quickly apparent that clearly did not work. I typically make video essays that are either argumentative and theoretical (and thus voice-over driven and incredibly structured according to a progression of evidence) or largely evocative and poetic pieces. I had never really tried to cross the streams before and this piece functions as an artifact of that rather contradictory impulse and the dialogue that ensued between us afterwards. To boil it down, it isn’t easy to fuse scholarship and poetry when you’re making a found footage film. When I tried to superimpose cinephilia onto these three films, their original meanings and contexts exerted too much of a hold.



Drew’s comments associated with the videos have been included in full.



November 25, 2014 Posted by | Blow Up [1966], Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation [1974], video essay | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM DOCUMENTARY SHORT Orlando von Einsiedel – Skateistan [2011]





FILM DOC Skateistan [1C]




FILM DOC Skateistan [4]




FILM DOC Skateistan [2]




FILM DOC Skateistan [1]




Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul


Click the red circle to start movie.


From : Aeon Film


More Aeon films: Aeon Film



December 21, 2013 Posted by | film, film short, Orlando von Einsiedel, Skateistan | , , | Leave a comment

FILM DOCUMENTARIST The Thinking Man’s Detective



SKETCH ERROL MORRIS [Tina Berning]


Sightly modified from: Tina Berning




Errol Morris: The Thinking Man’s Detective


— The documentary filmmaker has become America’s most surprising and provocative public intellectual


Ron Rosenbaum, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2012



December 14, 2013 Posted by | Errol Morris, film, film documentary | | Leave a comment

FILM Guardian Top 10 in categories





vintage-movie-on-cinema-screen





Guardian Top 10s


18 categories


↑ The image comes from Top 100: Best Movies (of All-Time)



December 4, 2013 Posted by | films top 10 | | Leave a comment

FILM CINEMATOGRAPHY The Importance of Cinematography





FILM Citizen Kane contract signing


Citizen Kane: adapted from David Bordwell: Foreground, background, playground




The Importance of Cinematography




A 5.50 min video by Saun McDougall [Sean McDougall, McDougallFilm. What no website?]


There are terazillions of videos on cinematography. But this is a catchy title. The importance of anything surely gets your attention over A Guide to Basic Cinematography – yet the latter is a good video for someone who has read books, seen stills and diagrams but yearns to see film explained in film. Barring the neat postage stamp famous film examples popping up top right, it is a text book. But let’s have it called I Love Cinematography with the narrator appearing left, cartwheeling into medium shot, then running to camera for his close-up, puffing, hair awry: “I love cinematography and this is why….”

101 Film anything doesn’t quite do it title-wise. Earnest, but not sounding important. Lots of good videos, but look fella-me-guys we need titles, Gone with the Cinematographer, Lost in Cinematography, The Silence of the Cinematographer, The Pursuit of Cinematography, There Will Be Cinematography, Synecdoche, Cinematography. That Obscure Object of Cinematography. Now you’re watching.


Richard Michalak’s {1} (there must be a series somewhere..) is the best Idiot’s Short Information-Packed Guide to Cinematography I’ve seen so far. Mark Fenton who put it up (with permission he says..) calls it, Cinematography Learn from a Master. O.k, let’s loop back to the previous paragraph for the names bit.

Next it’ll be the nexus of writer, director, cinematographer and editor. Descriptions of people working together, not theory. Best/worst. Someone said in something I just read that the screenwriter and the editor are considered the more creative of this group. But before that a few links in a separate post on what the cinematographer aka the director of photography does when he gets hold of the screenplay. But before that a couple of who wins cinematography awards.



November 9, 2013 Posted by | cinematography, film, Richard Michalak | , | Leave a comment

FILM John Sayles’ Golden Rules of MovieMaking





moviemaking Lick Pier 1926


Lick Pier, Venice, California, 1926




Wisdom Wednesday: John Sayles’ Golden Rules of MovieMaking


MovieMaker 6 November 2013



November 8, 2013 Posted by | film, film directors | | 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 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 ADAPTATION Re-visiting Pinter’s Proust



The previous post about novel and screenplay made me think again of Pinter and his Proust Play.

These two were not around when I did my Pinter/Proust posts*


In Which Harold Pinter Changes Marcel Proust


Alex Carnevale in This Recording, 23 August 2011


and


Pinter the Adapter: The Proust Screenplay in Notes and Drafts


Naoko Yagi


No date on this pdf. But she’s a prof. at Wasada University with one of her research areas listed as: Harold Pinter’s plays, screenplays, and prose.


*


Little patch of yellow wall or a single asparagus? : Harold Pinter’s The Proust Screenplay


Little patch of yellow wall or a single asparagus? : Harold Pinter’s The Proust Screenplay {2}



September 17, 2013 Posted by | film, film adaptation, Film on radio, Film script/screenplay, Pinter, Proust | Leave a comment

FILM WEBSITE PODCAST Intercut





FILM POSTER paths of Glory [2]



Why use my own words when those of the website are readily available and, well, they know what they’re doing. I’m just shining my spotlight on another corner of the film world magnificently exposed to everyone – film expert, buff, film student, even those unsure about film over book – through the wonders of the interweb:


INTERCUT is a film podcast supported by the #yegfilm collective which explores a love of film, the process of filmmaking, and filmmakers themselves.


I started with Dailies #1 purely because it has Michael Douglas in Kubrick’s 1957 Paths of Glory as it’s cover. Think it’s time to watch that again. What a pleasure to hear them start talking about Bela Tarr. Since I’ve spent hours rewinding the opening cow sequence of Tarr’s Satantango, hearing anyone at all talking about his films is really exciting.

My Tarr’s can be found in this search on Cutting on the action. Slow, slow film, requires slow, long posts.

N.B. I’m not a film expert, I just watch films and dream of making my own. (The making equivalent of the guy working in the New York restaurant as a waiter who says he’s an actor, usually seen as a scene in a film…). So don’t expect illumination: you might be disappointed. Anywhere I have written at length about a film is mostly me working through things about a particular film I’ve just seen. It won’t be expert analysis or criticism. Or if turns out to be either or both, that’s probably purely accidental.


P.S. Check out these images of Paths to Glory. There’s a whole set of posts in there on colour and black & White film…

….note the way light rays and blocks of light on objects work so well in monochrome.



June 23, 2013 Posted by | Bela Tarr, film, film analysis, film blog, film directors, film editing, film podcast, film production, film reflexivity, Film script/screenplay, film short, film sound, film still, film watching | , | Leave a comment

FILM unfilm



FILM GUN GIRL

Bored with film? Same old thing? A Gun, a Girl; a Girl and her Gun; A Girl Without a Gun but a lot of fun, that type of thing.

Critics unsatisfying? Theorists obtuse, incomprehensible? What else is there? What can a film enthusiast do? Read film books? Sit in a dark, quiet room? Or even a quiet, dark room.



At last a real alternative.



Enter the world of unfilm.



Investigative journalists Ivan Rigor and Fern F. Feliciano recently unearthed film in the Archive of the Soviet Film Academy. So far no has come forwards with a plausible explanation. Who’d want to bury a film? Oh, yes, critics, forgot that.

Eisenstein, famous director of iconic Battleship Potemkin. Early unrealised project: All You Didn’t Know About Film But Were Afraid To Ask.


All You Wanted To Know About Film But Were Afraid To Imagine.


CARTOON girl gun fool



June 11, 2013 Posted by | film | Leave a comment

FILM ANTONIONI L’ Avventura in 3 images













September 4, 2012 Posted by | Antonioni, film, film still, L'Avventura | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Are screenplays literature?



This was a post in a previous blog of mine called Moleskine modality, which is linked to from here. Looking for a post I did on Bliar and the Iraq invasion of 2003, I also had a quick look at what I had written in Moleskine. It’s defunct as a posting site, but has a great many links to all sorts of things that might be useful. It was as much about books and writers as film. I decided to move on to a dedicated film (and a bit of photography) blog instead of book/film. It was partly because I was getting fed up with Blogger. It seems a lot better now, and has even got pretty good free themes which tend to show up WordPress.

So here’s the post on screenplays as literature, or not:


It’s his title, not mine. This essay has three parts:

Are Screenplays literature? Part I

Are Screenplays Literature? Part II

Are Screenplays Literature? Part III

This came about because of a decision suddenly – the decision version of a flash memory which had a simple, clear nachrechtfertigung to drop a very absorbing and pleasurably expanding (the polite word for ideas-creep) novel in favour of a very ancient screenplay/novel project which began in the late 80s.

Without getting through the first part of this essay on the screenplay I was already running with the notions. Yes, of course, the film = the novel. Then: what, if we are drawing tables of analogues, is the novel equivalent of the screenplay? Reading on I see the publication of screenplays as if they were literature has become the thing.

I have never seen the screenplay as the finished product. The bit that we do when we read the book (because it is the reader input which adds the final touch to the skill and insights of the writer) is what the writer (constantly readjusting his script to the needs of the film), director, actors, cinematographer, stage designer, location manager do. Then, as I have hinted at in some of the links under screenplay/scripts, there are later adaptations of the original screenplay floating about which the novice would have no idea are not the start point. It can be difficult to see which is which when someone hasn’t been careful enough at the time to record what is what, and/or because things get lost.

I have mentioned something I noticed when doing a generalised screenplay foray a while back: often what you see online is someone’s transcription of the film, not the screenplay itself.

To make the screenplay as much like the finished novel ( = [novel] + [readers cognition]} necessitated the writer’s instructions. Stating the bleeding obvious, though a perfect dialogue by itself can work pretty well given an imaginative reader, without ‘stage’ direction something of what is in most novels has been left out. Strictly speaking like is not being compared to like.

The money quotes come from part III:

What is Literature?

The 19th-century novelist George Eliot (a woman writing under a man’s name) defined literature this way: “the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds (=limits) of our personal lot (=fate).”

Terrence McGiver, a teacher, expands the definition: “Literature helps us grow, both personally and intellectually. It provides an objective base for knowledge and understanding. It links us with the cultural, philosophic, and religious world of which we are part. It enables us to recognize human dreams and struggles in different places and times that we otherwise would never know existed. It helps us develop mature sensibility and compassion for the condition of all living things — human, animal and vegetable. It gives us the knowledge and perception to appreciate the beauty of order and arrangement, which a well-constructed song or a beautifully painted canvas also gives us.”

Other observers have pointed out that literature is written to be read aesthetically; that it emphasizes character over plot; that it must be worth re-reading; that it contains enduring human themes; that it is the opposite of trash.

All these definitions give clues why it’s so easy to conclude that screenplays are not literature.



September 4, 2012 Posted by | film, screenplay | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM 250 mostly obscure, mostly overlooked, and/or mostly unloved films. [apparently]



Ain’t Nobody’s Blues But My Own

— Flying in the face of consensus — A selection of 250 mostly obscure,
mostly overlooked, and/or mostly unloved films.



From They Shoot Horses Don’t They? With an intro by Bill Georgaris. 29 February 2012. Update of 2010 compilation.


Useful: a thumb-nail graphic for each film, so it’s easy to run through the three-column layout. Each potted review has a few links to other reviews.



August 20, 2012 Posted by | film, film list | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTER WRITER Nora Ephron 1941-2012



Writer and Filmmaker With a Genius for Humor


There will be many encomiums on/critiques of Nora Ephron, so why not this long one by Charles McGrath NYT.



June 28, 2012 Posted by | film, film directors, Nora Ephron | | Leave a comment

FILM Flâneur film



World of Wander
Malle, Varda, Akerman, Vigo, and the philosophy of the flâneur film



Livia Bloom, Museum of the Moving Image 4 August 2008



May 27, 2012 Posted by | film, flâneur | , | Leave a comment