cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

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 CANNES 2014 In conversation with Jean-Luc Godard

SNIP FILM GODARD Adieu au Langage [4]

SNIP FILM GODARD Adieu au Langage [2]

Images above © Jean-Paul Battaggia*

SNIP FILM GODARD Cannes interview 2014 [1]

So he was giving interviews. Thank God-ard, this one’s subtitled in Anglais mon brave.

In conversation with Jean-Luc Godard. Filmmaker extraordinaire

FILM GODARD Adieu au Langage [2]

From this page the interview in 2 parts, the short trailer and background info. Interesting to note that God.[Fr.point] doesn’t stoop to digital technology but has the digital ‘footage’ converted back to video tape so he can edit it. I remember reading elsewhere how he got really expert at using this medium. Here brief mention of this practice under the workflow tab, with cinematographer Fabrice Aragno. Under equipment he seems to be saying things like 3D gives you no more, we see the same.

* These are from a set on the webpage. I’ve tried to keep them in the right proportions but it’s easier said than done.
A picture speaks a 1000 words, so couple of images to give a bit of an idea of what 3D involves using SLRs. The rig looks home-made, which is an encouragement young film-makers. And of course a bit more advertising for Canon. Godard talks of filming with an iPhone. I have only just seen how my son can run up a music video on his mobile using on-board apps. Note what Godard says about the equipment side in the interview.

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Fabrice Aragno, Godard | , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Not watching films

This is spurred by reading Why Finish Books? by Tim parks in New York Review of Books (13 March 2012). It’s one of those you’ll lose the argument but have fun in the trying ones.

The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette. Rivette?

My first dabble with Rivette was Jeanne la Pucelle (two disc set, Artificial Eye).

Where before have you seen a whole article dedicated to the idea of finishing a book? This is a kind of verboten in the world of culture. Not exactly a taboo, but admitting to failing with Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or more likely Proust, is so much about exposing one’s failings as a work from the literary canon. Though there are a few brave well-known souls who have admitted to finding a book everyone else says was a master-work everyone has to read as dry and dull as ditch water and that they gave up before page 50. (O.k, I admit to finding quite a few of William Golding hard to get into. Though there will come a time when the wind is up and in the right direction when they will seem like a good read.)

Feeling a little more confident after being urged to consider not finishing books, I’m getting to thinking there could be an equivalent for film. Even not to watch something at all. But hey, we do that for books too. Not read them. Ironically, we might read reams about a film’s qualities or failings or confusions or pointlessnesses, and then decide not to watch it. Or, that in the great scheme of things, and limited time, we have to make decisions about what to watch and what not to. Let’s leave out films we watch by mistake.

I don’t have a great deal of interest in films predominantly about people rehearsing plays. Truffaut’s Le Dernier Metro is an exception. But that wasn’t really all about play rehearsing.

I have this sinking feeling about the just over 12 hours of Rivette’s 01 which is deemed by many his master work.

Seeing the point of using film to portray rehearsals is not quite the same as being prepared to endure the filmic portrayal of them. Particularly perhaps starring Ben Gazzara in a improvisation. Did he do a play one? No idea. Mind you the more I read about 01 the more intriguing it becomes. That’s not to say the full 12 hours is high on my list of priorities.

Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 1) and Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 2) a dialogue (in two parts) by James Crawford and Michael Joshua Rowin, is a very interesting way to convince yourself not to bother with 01. Interesting ideas and clever quotes, my favourite so far is:

All of the Nouvelle Vague directors I hold dear address cinema from its first principles, like students learning the grammar of a foreign language—and then proceed to break, bend, twist, and ignore the ones they find the most limiting. Rivette finds displeasure in the strictures of storytelling soi-disant, and so, furthering his use of the vehicle as metaphor, lets his narrative motor idle, sputter, and eventually stall while he drifts over to the stuff he finds more intriguing. The problem is thus bequeathed to the spectators, who are asked to cast off their ossified conceptions of film’s ontological categories, and let the film resonate and wash about like music.

Writing this and working my way through both essays on 01 at the same time, it’s looking decidedly like the more I read about the film, the more I’m tempted to look at some of it. Strange to think reading about books, films, art, music, means you rarely if ever come to a work with your own eyes first, but after someone much cleverer and more articulate than you has thoroughly dissected it, broken it down, built it up again for you. A reason perhaps why the able few both do the study and then go out and make one of their own, ensuring the authentic first time experience. You thought it up. if you do – novel, play, film – you’re excused being suffused with intertextuality and referentiality and reflexivity. There’s really no escape from them.

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Chabrol, film watching, film [its techniques], francois truffaut, Godard, intertextuality, Jacques Rivette, referentiality, reflexivity, Rohmer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY It Ain’t the Meat (It’s the Motion): Thoughts on movie technique and movie criticism

It Ain’t the Meat (It’s the Motion): Thoughts on movie technique and movie criticism

Jim Emerson, Jim Emerson’s Scanners :: blog, 14 November 2011

November 16, 2011 Posted by | criticism, film directors, film technique, film techniques, film [its techniques], Jim Emerson | , , | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD ESSAY A Bout de Souffle: The Film of the Book

A Bout de Souffle: The Film of the Book

First published in Literature/Film Quarterly 32:3 (2004), 207-212

Can’t see author, but if anyone knows who wrote it, I’ll add it later.

September 24, 2010 Posted by | film adaptation, film analysis, film [its techniques], French cinema, Godard, Jean-Luc Godard | , , , , , , | 1 Comment


July 31, 2010 Posted by | film directors, film still, film [its techniques], Kieslowski, Krzysztof Kieślowski | , , | Leave a comment

FILM EDITING {links in Catherine Grant’s blog}

Catherine Grant’s  latest post in Film Studies for Free has a selection of links to mostly academic articles on editing: Seeing the join : on Continuity editing. This includes:

CHAPTER 1: Film as Art: Creativity, Technology, and Business‘ from Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill, 2010, 9th ed.) by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson

April 19, 2010 Posted by | film editing, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

FILM ON RADIO David Puttnam’s Century of Cinema [BBC Radio 2]

David Puttnam’s Century of Cinema 1/6

[1 hour duration]

This is one for everyone [BBC TV re-views in iPlayer only for UK citizens/radio programmes for the world].

A one-hour programme broadcast Tuesday 19 January 2010. Next programme: Tuesday 26 January 2010.

This post is here for a devious reason: once you have read the post on film essays and cinema/media stylo that isn’t yet ready for posting, you will be able to refer here for examples of film clips on radio.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Film on radio, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR Eric Rohmer 1920 – 2010

The Rohmer post that appeals to me most so far – there are an awful lot of them – is Jim Emerson’s,

“I saw a Rohmer film once…”: The truth behind the Night Moves meme,  11 January 2010. 

And, yes, I saw Night Moves and loved it. It was on British TV again not too long ago. You know that feeling of pleasure when you only realise a bit in to a film [been on a while, missed the beginning….] that you have seen it before – and suddenly remember how much you enjoyed it the first time.

It wasn’t just because Jim managed to find Rohmer meta-film. Well, they all seem to be playing with that one. He quotes a certain Jaime N. Christley at the bottom of his post:

……But I wasn’t incensed by “Night Moves” so much as annoyed by those who picked up the line and waved it about as their only response to Rohmer’s passing.

Lighten up Jaime – or should that be Jamie (J’aime?) This is Jaime’s Rohmer post. Jaime claims to have started up the Night Moves/Rohmer meme in Twitter. What did you do that for Jaime?

Twitter to me is not – of course it’s not – where one watches paint drying but examines someone picking a scab when already told by everyone to stop or else there will be a scar. If you have a pithy clever comment about something or someone write a blog post, for Chris’s sake and let it go. Someone will find it one day.

Jim embedded in his post on Rohmer a French interview with Rohmer from a series Cine TVO (Ontario) Parlons Cinema. Asked about the Harry Moseby dialogue in Night Moves he says he hasn’t seen the film, but understands the point. His films, he says, are about conversations. He then goes on to say:

But you can watch Le Rayon Vert (The Green Ray) three times and you are still saying to yourself, “I hate this girl and can’t see what she is so upset about.” (On repeated watching I became more sympathetic as I saw her as exhibiting classic depression symptoms. The point being that the other characters in the main had no idea what her mental state was, despite all the conversations.)

Although I feel I fall between the two camps – not an ordinary viewer: neither a connoisseur in the fullest sense of the term – I can appreciate a film like Bresson’s Au Hazard Bathazar but not have a comfortable viewing experience because of the use of amateur actors. This is how I feel about the feel of many of Rohmer’s films. There is a contradiction which I have not resolved: Rohmer talks of the difference between making a film about a recent news events (which he is not interested in) and his type of film which is always a conversation. And yet his films are staged and acted to seem like a slice-of-life, with the ennuies and imbecilities, when they are fictions acted in the most part my professional actors. The design of Rohmer’s films are much as if one were to be pulled by the hand to a certain spot on the corner of a street in some town or other to watch something. The fact that the medium is film is only important in that there is this marvellous reproducibility: everyone can be dragged to that street corner. You can’t do that with a book. Well, you can, but not as well.

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Eric Rohmer, film directors, film [its techniques], meta-film, Robert Bresson | , , , , | Leave a comment


Wiki:Philippe Grandrieux

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Grandrieux, Philippe Grandrieux | , , | Leave a comment

FILM TRUFFAUT His Myspace page


You’d expect a man like that with the vision and energy for film to find a way to tap into the social networks beyond the grave!

Here Truffault’s Myspace page, which is full of interesting stuff  produced by Carletto di San Giovanni, whose own myspace is pretty fulsome too.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film editing, film narrative, film theory, film [its techniques], francois truffaut, Truffaut | , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Fellini 8 1/2 – First impressions on a new viewing


There are two ways to watch 8 1/2:  sound on/sound off. Only when the incessant shouting and histrionics of Italian women is removed, is the sheer briliance of the cinematography fully seen: the organised movement of the camera and the magical editing, and also that special thing about the films of geniuses: that almost every frame is a photographic work of art.


First, it is a film which illustrates cool to the nth. degree just by showing Mastroiani with his eyes almost looking over the top of his Raybans.

If we are going to be all technical here, it is the brilliance of the decoupage which has made 8 1/2 a classic. Though, of course, one suspects  much of the filming is ad hoc.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | film directors, film editing, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Camera Movement revisited {by Jakob Isak Nielsen}

Camera Movement Revisited


Jakob Isak Nielsen

in Danish film mag 16:9

April 11, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film editing, film theory, film [its techniques] | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Showing what can’t be filmed {post by David Borwell}

From Film Studies For Free:

Observations on film and Film Art: showing what can’t be filmed.

David Borwell, 4 March 2009, on David Borwell’s website on cinema.

March 22, 2009 Posted by | André Bazin, Bazin, cinéma-vérité, film analysis, Film and psychoanalysis, film directors, film editing, film narrative, film theory, film [its techniques] | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Hitchcock and Psychoanalysis

Hitchcock & Psychoanalysis

March 8, 2009 Posted by | Hitchcock | , , | Leave a comment

Film: A Case for Cognitivism by David Bordwell

This essay, A Case for Cognitivism, from 1989 is introduced with a shorter, later piece, Cognitive Film Theory.

If we want to know how films work upon us, then cognitive theory offers a range of concepts which correlate nicely with notions like norm, form, function, and psychological experience.

January 13, 2009 Posted by | David Bordwell, film theory, film [its techniques] | , , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY: After the death of film – writing the natural world in the digital age

After the eath of Film: Writing the natural world in the digital age


Tess Takahashi

This essay argues that the North American cinematic avant-garde’s interest in celluloid film’s materiality goes to the heart of our culture’s current anxiety about the digital ability to seamlessly transcode, endlessly reproduce and recklessly disseminate images of all stripes. It traces the ways in which celluloid film’s capacity for registering the marks made by the artist’s hand, natural elements and accidents function as writing in the work of filmmakers Greta Snider, David Gatten, Lynn Kirby among others.

January 11, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film editing, film theory, film [its techniques] | | Leave a comment

FILM BOOK: Image and Mind – Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science

Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science
By Gregory Currie

Apparently a book about:

… the nature of film: about the nature of moving images, about the viewer’s relation to film, and about the kinds of narrative that film is capable of presenting. It represents a very decisive break with the semiotic and psychoanalytic theories of film that have dominated discussion over the past twenty years. Professor Currie provides a general theory of pictorial narration and its interpretation in both pictorial and linguistic media, and concludes with an analysis of some ways in which film narrative and literary narrative differ.

Reviewer Robert Hopkins does not seem overly happy with it.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film editing, film theory, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

Concentrating on Kieslowski: The Office

Two pieces on The Office (Urzad 1966) in p.o.v.

Kieslowski’s Grey by Laurence Green

A Visual Kafka in Poland by Ib Bondebjerg

January 9, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film [its techniques], Kieslowski, Krzysztof Kieślowski | , , | Leave a comment

Concentrating on Kieslowski: A Short Podcast about Kieslowski

Sound on Sight

Episode 77 – A Short podcast about Kieslowski

discusses A Short Film About Love, A Short Film About Killing, and  The Double Life of Veronique.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film [its techniques], Kieslowski, Krzysztof Kieślowski | , , | Leave a comment