cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

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

FILM DAVID LYNCH Mulholland Dr.





Mulholland-Drive




o.k. admit it, you’re a fan but if asked to explain what’s going on you would stutter to a halt after about 1 min or three short paragraphs. First watching of course.

Life’s events witnessed can also be baffling too, sometimes irritatingly, at others amusing and strangely enlightening or encouraging in their incomprehensibility.

The classic flaneur half-heard conversations, en passant, are to me one of the greatest treasures. Even the, “And he said…” can have it’s pleasures. So, what did he say? If that’s your way, you’re already typing a dialogue.


~


Three-part handy Mulholland Dr. for Idiots from Will the Blogger, confessed Mulholland Dr. obsessive:


Mulholland Drive Explanation: Part 1


Mulholland Drive Explanation: Part 2 – In Dreams


Mulholland Drive Explanation: Part 3 – Loose Ends


Separated for your convenience.



September 24, 2015 Posted by | David Lynch, Mulholland Drive | , | Leave a comment

FILM vs. DIGITAL





By Car2nist

By Car2nist






The Triumph of Digital Will Be the Death of Many Movies
The 35mm reel is slowly shuffling off this mortal coil

….big studios still make analogue back-ups for their archives—even for films that were shot digitally and will never be shown to the public using a 35mm projector.



Economics and archivists



August 22, 2015 Posted by | film analog/digital | Leave a comment

FILMMAKER GODARD A Weekend with Conjugal Dread





Jean-Luc Godard 1951 Photo: F C Grundlach

Jean-Luc Godard Berlin, 1951. Photo: F C Gundlach



A feed from a Godard forum is a request from Gloria for help using Godard’s Weekend in a course about the road movie.

Two suggestions were made by Francis van den Heuvel:


Un week-end avec Jean-Luc Godard
~ blog La Nouvelle Vague, 25 June 2013


Week End (1967)


Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau, Panorama, 6 June 2006


Notch that one up for a Godard post. Some are not posts about Godard, which I feel a strong desire to make so simply by typing in the letters G-O-D-A-R-D as if I were M. Godard himself in one of those scenes he films of himself typing away on a typewriter with which he accedes to the modern by making it one with electronic memory, so he can type then let the typewriter type as if it’s not him typing. Who is typing him or the machine? God given inspiration. That sort of thing. Noise and cigar smoke. Girl and a gun.

There must be someone out there in the big wide world who has done a thesis on Godard’s typewriters. Almost certainly 12 on his specs through the decades. If I was a young person I’d start with, “He needs to cut it up”, which will lead in six degrees of separation to montage. Type. Cut. Rearrange. Separate. Godard. Odd. God. Ra. Goad. Road! No! Has to be in French for this to work.

Wonder if anyone ever received an anonymous threat letter from Godard – financial backers possibly? – made of cut-out letters of various sizes all jumbled together, but everyone who got one knew immediately who it was from – they’d seen all his films.



August 14, 2015 Posted by | film directors | , | Leave a comment

FILM PERCEPTION Strange Continuity





FILM PHOTO Eisenstein editing




Strange Continuity
~ Throughout evolutionary history, we never saw anything like a montage. So why do we hardly notice the cuts in movies?


Jeffrey M Zacks


Aeon Mag, 16 April 2015


There’s a Q & A section in there. This one is interesting:


Is film editing more about aesthetic conventions or psychological hacks?



July 26, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM SCREENPLAY 10 Scripts to Read Before You Die





10-Scripts-to-Read




10 Scripts to Read Before You Die


Cameron Cubbison


in


Screencraft


17 January 2013


Two of my favourite films in there: Chinatown and Network.

I’m not saying I’m going to wade through Forrest Gump as a script. Or even The Godfather. Films are sometime just fine as films. Chinatown’s one joke still stands up in print, but what you don’t get, even with the stage directions, is the wonderful way the 4 characters are framed in the main shot.

I’ve linked to the Network script somewhere. That is well worth reading. The film is so fast and furious, half the clever bits are missed. You saw Network yonks ago, know it’s good and think you might like to watch it again? Do so, then immediately read the script. That’s my advice.

This is the starting point for thinking about one’s favourite scripts. Or rather one’s favourite films. Bear in mind as I have said dozens of times in posts, that most of the scripts you find online thinking they scripts are actually dialogue transcriptions, which are naturally a fraction of what a script it. It is possible to add in one’s own mise en scene and instructions because the film is familiar. Instructive to do so for a transcription and then get the script proper!


This is of course merely the start point for a ramble through the web for similar offerings.

Here’s a starter:


10 Essential Screenplays Every Aspiring Screenwriter Must Read


As becomes immediately apparent: is it scripts because you write scripts or scripts because you are curious to see the undercarriage of films you love? Or scripts of films that didn’t do justice to the subject and you want to pick at like a large scab to help to see where you thought things went badly wrong. Not that you were going to re-write it yourself…

I tweeted a frantic series about The Imitation Game over many weeks leading up to the Awards season, trying to demonstrate with bits of script how it didn’t deserve an award. No one showed any interest whatsoever. It was a popular film and box-office, but no self-respecting member of the filmoscenti was going to be seen wasting time on that!!

Graham Moore’s screenplay had praise heaped upon it in some quarters. I began to see the elements of a Hollywood story about a scriptwriter there. Not that hasn’t been done so often in various ways. The cynic in me quickly imagining someone was already scribbling a synopsis about a young Hollywood newby desperately trying to work up script from a difficut subject, wondering if he’s taken on too much, can he sell the idea, can he deliver (all things Graham had talked about in his 100s of interviews). I could see possibilities myself and started to rough out a few ideas – a riff on Altman’s The Player. Hey, that’s worth a read. The script of The Player, that is.

(How often, scriptwriters explain, the script is not the film and what you write rarely gets to screen…whereas the novel is your work alone.)

I have linked to The Imitation Games script too, which is a real script in facsimile, from the Harvey Weinstein site. (Never can be sure if scripts are final scripts without doing a bit of research..) I thought it had a lot of questions to answer, both in structural terms and in the way it played liberties with the known facts of the life portrayed, which had me scratching my head through the screening. And showed despite research obviouly having been done (in this case Andrew Hodge’s long biography of Turing), obvious elements were left out altogether because it was a Hollywood script. Comparing the various other attempts at Turing films is instructive too.



July 26, 2015 Posted by | screenplay, script | | Leave a comment