cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM SCREENPLAY Nabokov’s Lolita script





SCREENPLAY NABOKOV Lolita [sample]




SCREENPLAY NABOKOV Lolita [sample 2]




O.K., hands up who knew Nabokov had written a screenplay for his novel Lolita?


All explained at Open Culture. Here, 2 of the set of 5 pages included there. Left them larger than I normally would do for a header graphic for ease of reading. Interestingly, Kubrick credited Nabokov as screenwriter even though he hardly used it.


Lolita: A Screenplay has been published by Vintage. Don’t know about you, but its used hardback for me. Screenplays in paperback are not the best bet. If only they did them spiral bound with nice hard covers! C’m on Vintage. Costly but we don’t care.


Blake Bailey, Vice, 7 July 2014 Vladimir Nabokov’s Unpublished ‘Lolita’ Screenplay Notes


Two Views of Lolita


Two abstracts – one Robert Stamm, the other Thomas Allen Nelson, from books what they wrote. These expand the brief summary in Open Culture. Scripty person? You’ll love this.



April 25, 2016 Posted by | Nabokov, Stanley Kubrick | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM DOCUMENTARY Klaus Kinski : Jesus Christ the Saviour





FILM POSTER kinski  Jesus Christ the Saviour




Jesus Christus Erloser


Amanda McAllister, Network Awesome, 12 July 2015

A middle aged man stands alone on a stage, gripping his mic stand like an anchor, earnestly speaking of Jesus and persecution. A wide shot intensifies his isolation as he speaks, a small illumination in a sea of darkness. A single unshed tear clings to his eyelashes before beginning the journey down his cheek.



Well, let her continue the story.


Haven’t had much success playing the embedded video there but it is on YouTube. Komplett. 1:23:54 with credits.


Klaus Kinski Jesus Christus Erlöser


Jesus Christ Saviour: Interview with Peter Geyer


Interview by Pamela Jahn, Electric Sheep, 3 August 2008


Jesus Christ Savior: Klaus Kinski’s 1971 Punk Rock Apocalypse


Marc Campbell, Dangerous Minds, 13 February 2011


Yer pays yer money and takes yer pick of which description you prefer. There’s a quote in this short piece which certainly says it. But who says it? Film embedded there as well.


The Mouth of Madness : Kinski Jesus Christ Saviour


Starting to get in here some of the context. If you didn’t know much about Kinski, saw him in Aguirre and that’s about it, learning about his life is part of the process of grasping this film’s context. German in 1971.


Film Comment Selects 2011: Klaus Kinski: Jesus Christ the Savior


Nick Schrager, The House Next Door, 17 February 2011


One more short description. Add them all together to get the whole thing.


Wiki: Klaus Kinski


Fill out some of the gaps from the wiki. I personally can’t be bothered to read books about his life. Quite easy to construct your own Kinski from these basic facts, the acting and a mishmash of images from the Tin Drum and beyond. The bit about his life during and post-war is of some interest to me, as it connects to so many aspects of German history and culture.

How can you not throw him into a great big imagined pot with all the keynote novels and films about Germany between the wars, during the last war and the process of Germans coming to terms or revolting against their Nazi history.

His acting in Aguirre, Wrath of God and Fitzcaraldo, I found hard to watch even when I hadn’t got a clue who he was. His daughter Pola’s assertion in her autobiography, Kindermund,{1}that she couldn’t watch his films because that was how he behaved at home, is a sort of confirmation of that feeling.

I watched Peter Geyer’s film and then read around it. More and more I felt tempted to forego reality and imagine this was not Kinski reciting his Jesus script but him playing a character trying to do so. So him storming off and the barracking from the young audience – who hated him because they looked upon him as a rich hypocrite – seems at as if part of a script of a mocumentary.



April 19, 2016 Posted by | 1957, Peter Geyer | , | Leave a comment

FILM SHORT Agnes Varda ~ Les 3 Boutons





FILM STILL AGNES VARDA les 3 Boutons




Miu Miu Women’s Tales #10: Les 3 Boutons


Picked this one up from Indewire: Watch: 9-Minute Video Essay On Agnes Varda’s Strong And Feminine Search For Meaning



April 15, 2016 Posted by | Agnes Varda | , , | Leave a comment

FILM RAFELSON ~ 5 Easy Pieces [1970]





FILM Five Easy Pieces




Five Easy Pieces (1970) is a Difficult Film


Wade Sheeler, The Retrospect, 10 March 2016


* Short recent review reminded me of this film.


Five Easy Pieces (1970)


Tim Dirks, Filmsite.


* Wopper. Meticulous. Make a cup of tea, sit back. Can’t find a date on this. Always a hard one : buy the film then read all the stuff, or read then watch. My recommendation is watch it first [or watch it again after all these decades…you were young then….how do you see it now as a 70s classic, etc.]



April 4, 2016 Posted by | Bob Rafelson, Five Easy Pieces [1970] | , | Leave a comment

FILM SCRIPT 10 famous scripts





CARTOON Screenplay reading




10 Famous Film Scripts and What You Can Learn from Them


By Alison Nastasi, Flavorwire, 23 February 2014


Link in each to script itself. Screenplays not script-o-rama transcriptions from films without stage directions.


Chinatown, Blue Velvet, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, Casablanca, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Breathless [you film buffs should have question mark above your heads here..but read on], Jaws, Citizen Kane.


10. Citizen Kane. In case you can’t figure out how to find the link, it’s in two stages. First to Cinephila and Filmmaking, from the link ‘said’, then off that very interesting page to the script itself. Don’t miss the Cinephila post: facsimile title page of Welles’ own war-torn, scribbled on copy dated 9 July 1940 and four photos of the young Welles.



April 2, 2016 Posted by | Citizen Kane, Film script/screenplay | , | Leave a comment

TV DRAMA BBC War and Peace





BBC TV War and Peace cast photo




Rarely put up a review of a TV drama. But this is a classic on BBC’s serial War and Peace.


In Which We Would Never Lie To A British Person


Sickness and Remorse


by Dick Cheney, This Recording, 8 February 2016


Dick Cheney…Sickness and Remorse….for a moment….hard to resist. Dick, a lot of people out there are puzzling over this one. Personally, I would change the surname. Chainlink or something.



March 31, 2016 Posted by | BBC drama, War and Peace | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM PHOTOGRAPHER Bob Willoughby 1927-2004





PHOTOGRAPHER Bob Willoughby


“The man who virtually invented the photojournalistic motion picture still.”


Audrey Hepburn and George Cukor on the set of My Fair Lady, 1963

Audrey Hepburn and George Cukor on the set of My Fair Lady, 1963






Behind the Hollywood Scenes: Bob Willoughby Photography


Bob Willoughby Photography


112 set photos. Full bio.

His body of work, documenting this historic era of filmmaking, is unsurpassed. He captured with wonderful perception the most famous actors and directors of the time on and off the set, in unguarded moments of repose, vulnerability and high drama. He had a unique ability to capture what was essential to each film. Sydney Pollack said in the introduction to Bob’s autobiography: “Sometimes a filmmaker gets a look at a photograph taken on his own set and sees the ‘soul’ of his film in one still photograph. It’s rare, but it happens. It happened to me in 1969, the first time I looked at the work of Bob Willoughby during the filming of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?.”




March 27, 2016 Posted by | Bob Willoughby, Film photography, unit photography | , | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR Ingmar Bergman’s essay The Snakeskin





Ingmar Bergman, Sven Nykvist, Faro 1972

Ingmar Bergman, Sven Nykvist, Faro 1972




The Snakeskin


~ Possibly Bergman’s greatest essay, in which he explains his doubts of cinema and art in general.


Written in 1956. Translated into English in 1972 by Keith Bradfield.


From ingmarbergman.se



March 26, 2016 Posted by | Bergman, Ingmar Bergman | | Leave a comment

FILM VIDEO ESSAY How Alfred Hitchcock Blocks A Scene





FILM STILL VERTIGO from video essay




How Alfred Hitchcock Blocks A Scene


Another one of Evan Puschak’s highly polished video essays.


Aisha Harris in Slate has it down as :


If You’re a Hitchcock Nerd, This Insanely Deep Dive Into a Pivotal Vertigo Scene Is For You


Check out his video on Ansel Adams photography.



March 26, 2016 Posted by | Ansel Adams, Evan Puschak, video essay | , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Style in film: La piscine [1969]





Jaques Deray, La piscine[1969]

Dir. Jaques Deray, La piscine[1969]




Style in film: La piscine


From Classiq



March 24, 2016 Posted by | Jacques Deray, La piscine [1969] | | Leave a comment

PHOTOGRAPHER Francesca Woodman





ART Greg Allum Francesca Woodman [slightly HDR-ish




ART FRANCESCA WOODMAN blur corner room




Francesca Woodman – Laurie Anderson


Enzo Amoruso’s slide show of many of Francesca Woodman’s photographs with 2 tracks, “statue of freedom” and “strange perfumes” from Laurie Anderson’s Transitory Life works quite well. Not being a Laurie Anderson expert, I have absolutely no idea if these are the correct tracks as suggested in the YouTube comments.

Coming to her for the first time, this is quite a good way to do it. Enzo has used a lot of them in the 15 minute video. It seems like a good idea to look at her photographs without wondering too much about who she is and what reputation she has. I have come to her from an visual point of view, if that makes any sense. Saw a blurry one and was struck by it and wanted to see more.

I have learnt who she is but do not want to spend much time on academic analyses of her photography. Listening to some dire presentations on YouTube, one going on for 20 mins. about her taking photographs in corners — no names, no pack-drill — one is drawn nonetheless by this inaccessible tripe to the fact that she was an artist who used a camera. So therein also, perhaps, photographic artist vs. installationist. If that also makes sense. She sets up a shot and then shoots it but not with video.

I feel there are parallels between her process and that of setting up a shot in a film. The mise-en-scene for one of her still images is often as meticulous as one might find in one of the classic films noted for it’s impeccable mis-en-scene.

Discussing the distinction between the artist as photographer and a photographer who is considered an artist of the trade is worthwhile. What’s the difference between Francesca Woodman and the war photography of Don MucCullin, say?



Francesca Woodman


A 39 1/2 min slide show also with music, but more soothing.


Interior geometries on Tumblr


A vast number of Francesca Woodmans. Some not Woodmans. Look enough elsewhere and this all falls into place. Some of these are not in the other places. Because it’s Tumblr, there are a number of repetitions. Most are not attributed or described or dated which would have been good. But hey, it’s Tumblr. Not particularly quick and easy to navigate but another way to get into her photography. ALSO SEE final remarks.


Wiki: Francesca Woodman has a table of Woodman’s photographs including links to where they can be found.


Google Images gives a good idea both of the extent of her work and how it has been taken up by all and sundry. Despite the photos being everywhere, there doesn’t seem to be one place where the vast majority of them are lodged online. And it’s hard work comparing sets of photos with so much duplication and overlap.


My recommendation is to search assiduously for her work online before delving into her life, then perhaps try:


The Woodmans [2010]


1 hr 20 min film based around family recollections, predominantly Dad’s. Both parents artists. Spanish subtitles which spoil it. So far not found a subtitle-free version. It is available on DVD. Watched this several months ago. It is The Woodman’s not Francesca Woodman, so is as well a promo for Mum and Dad’s art while at the same time telling us all about Francesca, which is o.k., but I have my reservations. That’s how they chose to make it, who am I to argue?


Francesca Woodman at SF MoMa- an artist decisively ahead of her time
By hannahkozak


Nice sepia set – half a dozen or so.


Francesca Woodman


by James Catchpole


Seriously essaying with three sets of photos sandwiched into the text.


Francesca Woodman, I’m trying my hand at fashion photography


Jonas Cuénin, The Eye of Photography, 28 February 28 2015


And finally, a great story. The top header photo is not by Francesca Woodman but by Greg Allum a British photographer. He explains in this July 2014 piece on his website:


The Francesca Woodman Conspiracy


If you are not an art expert specialising in Woodman, how do you know if what you are being told is a Woodman actually is? You don’t. It’s context. Because it’s with the others you are more likely to assume, expect, it to be a Woodman.

Searching the videos for good examples presenting a wide selection of Woodman photos, I found two which included the photo Greg says is his. I wrote to him pointing out the first one, then went away and found it again in a second video. He is amazed his photo has spread as a Woodman, but has not so far indicated any interest in proving it is his. In fact as you an see from his post, he has there a set of three Swirling Girls. Why was this particular one taken up and not the other two? Did he only put up the one or all three when he first put them online?

Who first got hold of his Woodmanesque Swirling Girl? The trail is there. Over to you Lloyd? Or is it over to David? Oh, never mind. Is Lloyd still alive?



March 18, 2016 Posted by | Francesca Woodman | , | Leave a comment

FILM ROBERT ALTMAN The Player [1992]





FILM ALTMAN THE PLAYER [RA on set]




How Would Lubitsch Do It?


cinearchive.org


Robert Altman’s ‘The Player’: What Lessons Hollywood Has Learned From The Showbiz Satire


moviephone.com


Untold Stories of Robert Altman’s The Player or Who the Hell is Thereza Ellis?


“If we can just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we’ve got something here.”


Last two by Edward Copeland, Edward Copeland’s Tangents. 2011.



March 11, 2016 Posted by | Robert Altman | | Leave a comment

FILM ADAPTATION And Its Discontents





DIAG Book to film




Part 1: The Process and Reception of Book to Film Adaptations


Part 2: The Process and Reception of Book to Film Adaptations


Part 3: The Process and Reception of Book to Film Adaptations


Steve McCarthy, Motion Brothers, 8 Sept 2014



March 11, 2016 Posted by | film adaptation, Film script/screenplay, screenplay, screenwriting, script, script-writer | | Leave a comment

FILM Movies about photography





Hitchcock's Rear Window

Hitchcock’s Rear Window






40 Movies About Photography Every Photographer Should Watch


20 More Movies About Photography That Every Photographer Should Watch


Each film has a still and a short comment.


Then there’s films about film-making. Two for starters: Truffaut’s Day for Night and Kieslowski’s Amator.



March 11, 2016 Posted by | Films on photography | | Leave a comment

PHOTOGRAPHER Josef Koudelka



PHOTO JOSEPH KOUDELKA The immigrant

Josef Koudelka – A young Gypsy suspected of being guilty takes part in a murder reconstruction, Jarabina, Czechoslovakia, 1963.



Josef Koudelka: the man who risked his life to photograph the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia – in pictures

Guardian 5 November 2014


PHOTOGRAPHER Joseph Koudelka [EXHIBITION]


This selection and the the Koudelka story. Several of the iconic Prague ’68 photographs.


Doubtful Nationalities: A Josef Koudelka Retrospective


Tom McLean · in Culture & Integration · March 6, 2015


* Deals with his Roma photographs, in particular on the header one I’ve posted.


Getty Center > Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful ~ 11 November 2014 – 22 March 2015


A larger display of the same photos in the other exhibition.


Josef Koudelka

Wiki entry

Remember the film The Incredible Lightness of Being based on Milan Kundera’s novel? Here are the images.



March 11, 2016 Posted by | Josef Koudelka | | Leave a comment

PHOTOGRAPHER Ara Guler ~ The Eye of Istanbul




A man looks at an approaching horse cart in Istanbul’s Sehzadebasi neighbourhood



I had intended to post more on individual photographers – either who I knew about already or who were new to me – as much as on films and film subjects. Ara Guler comes into the second category.

Now is the time to catch up a bit.

This article in Middle East Eye profiles the man and includes a couple examples of his work in the text, a trailer for a documentary,  The Eye of Istanbul: The Life and Photographs of Ara Guler, and a further selection of his work in a slide show.




January 21, 2016 Posted by | Ara Guler, photographer, photography | , | Leave a comment

FILM SCRIPT JO SWERLING ~ Hitchcock’s Lifeboat [1944]





FILM HITCHCOCK Lifeboat [1944]




Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Lifeboat’: An Expertly Composed Allegorical Thriller That Deserves More Recognition


Another brilliant essay from Cinephila & Beyond.


The screenplay is embedded as usual. The facsimiles always seem to give that little bit extra somehow. A typewritten one for added heck. Is it a script fetish? I don’t know.


Click on the expand button, top right of screenplay box. If your browser is set for open in new tab, it’ll be in a new tab as the pdf that can also be downloaded. Link in text.


But for the script hounds and film-making fanatics all sorts of other goodies down – oh dear, everyone’s using this now – the rabbit hole. Going by the testimonials which are mighty impressive – even professionals are greatly enamoured with Cinephilia & Beyond.



January 8, 2016 Posted by | film essay, film production, Film script/screenplay, Hitchcock, Jo Swerling | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Wong Kar Wai – In the Mood for Love [2000]










In the Mood For Love


Criterion Collection


YouTube with English subtitles  [was available at 21 Dec so hurry hurry…]


In The Mood For Love: Frames Within Frames


Very fine, perfectly formed 9 min video essay analysis from Evan Puschak @TheNerdWriter



December 22, 2015 Posted by | In the Mood for Love [2000], Wang Kar Wei | , , | Leave a comment

‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’: The Peak of British Comedy





poster-montypythonandtheholygrail



‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’: The Peak of British Comedy


Love a film longform. A pleasing long, compendious one from Cinephilia and Beyond with all those juicy bits about how the film was made.


Add to the pleasure a really pleasant surprise – a facsimile final draft [note the thee hole binder] of the script! Read it in the page, though it’s not comfortable. Better to find the little pdf link to download it.

At the bottom of the script the now famous letter from producer Mark Forstater to Mike White, another producer, the story of which is told in I would like to retain ‘fart in your general direction’ in Letters of Note.

Google Forstater to follow the other story of what happened when Forstater as producer of The Holy Grail, attempted to get more royalties much later on as a result of the stage adaptation Spamalot making oodles.



December 20, 2015 Posted by | Monty Python, Monty Python and the Holy Grail [1975], screenplay, script | | Leave a comment

FILM The French Lieutenant’s Woman book and film





John Fowles  ~ Karol Reisz

John Fowles ~ Karol Reisz






“Secret Energy and Vital Intelligence”: On Karel Reisz’s Adaptation of The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)


Gordon Thomas


Bright Lights Film Journal, 5 October 2015


The French Lieutenant’s Woman – eBook


An earlier COTA post John Fowles, book and film.


It highlights a post by Litlove of the book, and links to the late great Harold Pinter website, where he writes a bit about his approach [and to other screenplays]. O.k., who can list his screenplays? Who forgot he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005?


There is a link to TFTW dialogue script from script-o-rama. The warning I always add is, don’t forget these are transcriptions and do not have the necessary, essential screenwriter stage instructions that the proper script has. Why not try splitting the script up into scenes and add your own directions.


Other COTA posts on Pinter can be found by searching on Pinter. One on his screenplays which was never filmed, ended up as a successful BBC Radio drama, The Pinter Proust Play, with Pinter narrating.



October 9, 2015 Posted by | John Fowles | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment