Breathless or A bout de souffle is another french film I’ve watched and still can’t figure myself out whether it’s just me or that all of the french films have such perfect lighting and framing. However, I have to admit that the film was a little bit confusing to watch at the beginning because of all the jump cuts that seem to occur so often. And to be honest I don’t really understand why they are there, the only reason I can possibly guess is that maybe the directer, Jean-Luc Godard, intentionally put them there to represent the life of Michel which is unexpected and also it can’t really be controlled. He starts off with the car thief then jumps to the murderer role and somehow ends up being a lover who is almost for the whole film trying to persuade the main actress (Patricia) to sleep with him and run away to Rome with him.

Anyways, to ME, it seems that in the scene where Michel and Patricia are both in the hotel together, jump cuts do not appear anymore. There is a very very long shot that contains no cut at all when Michel is talking to Patricia, the camera movement works really fine with all the tilts and pans from Michel’s face to Patricia’s face. It gives me the feeling here that Patricia is the one who gets to control Michel, and for the whole film it is just like that, Michel is the one who chases over Patricia. For Patricia, she controls everything, even the life of Michel.

The relationship of them reminds me a bit of before sunrise and before sunset. Maybe it’s just me again who feel like that. the relationship of Michel and Patricia is loose, it seems like they are in love but once you look again you don’t really know if they are in love or not. Same as the relationship of Jesse  and Celine (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset) the love of them looks more like they are having a good time together, they don’t know if things will change in the next minute or not and they don’t really care about it.

Scream (I)

November 17, 2009

Scream has picked up the ideas of horror, thriller, crime, mystery and mixed them all up together as a one good film. Apart from the fact that it is a horror/ thriller film, this film is also added a little sense of humors within itself as well. To compare with the last film we have watched it class together, the original halloween, it is obvious to see that as time went by, there are many elements that have been changed and developed. For example, Scream is way bloodier than Halloween, the household technology becomes one of the important subject in the film. Even though we had some scenes that showed the use of telephone in Halloween (when Laurie is picking a phone and hearing her friend dying but she actually though her friend was having sex).

However, the telephone becomes much more powerful in Scream as it is how the killers use to reach to their victims. Another thing that makes Scream different from Halloween is that all the main characters do have inner conflicts and back stories. Sidney Prescott, Billy Loomis and Gale Weathers are sharing this same linked back story and which the audience get to understand it at the end of the film.

But there are also rules of the horror film that both Scream and Halloween did follow perfectly the example for this is the idea of the virginity. All the innocent ones get to survive and the rest just have to die. The idea of using government (in this case ‘the police officer) as a symbolic of something incapable, Dewey is nice but somehow he always accidentally shocked other characters in Scream, he is also sort of hopeless, he does not help anything or anyone really. We as the audience always get the sense of how his sister, Tatum Riley, seems to have the power over him, even when he is at the police station.

The Terminator [1984]

November 9, 2009

One of the best well known action movies of all times, directed by James Cameron and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn. Without any doubt the red robotic eye along with the silver skeleton have became one of the remarkable elements of the film that were continued to be used over and over again in the other episodes of the Terminator.

The first thing that is nice about The Terminator 1 is that even though it is an(a) action/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller, still the main character that drives the story in this film is a female. Sarah corner, the girl who fails to fit in the society she is living somehow becomes the reason that the cyborg and one man are sent back from the future, one aim is to kill and the other is to protect.

Sarah Corner’s character arc is obvious. At the beginning of the film we see her as a normal girl who just wants to make a live, she even says to Reese (the man that is sent to protect) he might misunderstood or something, she has no belief in herself and also has lack of hope at the same rime. However, as the story gets further, she changes. There are many scenes that support this idea for example the scene where she makes bombs for Reese, the driving scene and definitely the ending scene where she destroys the terminator by herself. I also like the point that apart from the males, this movie has shown that females can also represent the braveness and the strength too.

For Reese, al though he is counted as the hero for this film (even though he dies at the end), however we can still see so many soft sides of him, he expresses his feeling to Sarah a lot, and the more he speaks, it’s just like we receiving more pains and emotions from him. But it makes sense a lot if we look back a bit and focus on one of the main points of this movie, was it about the contrast of the cyborg and the human beings? on in the easier words, the robot and the soul?

Los Cronocrimenes or Timecrimes directed by Nacho Vigalondo proves that an excellent  science fiction film does not have to come with the word ‘high budget’. Nacho Vigalondo did a great job for telling. Although the plot for Timcrimes seem to be complex and easy to get misunderstood, the director still managed to get it done beautifully. The theme of this film is about looping back in time, which is very simple but classic in a way. I assume that another thing Nacho Vigalondo has pointed out to the audience in this film is about how a man can create such problem which later on causes him to solve it all by himself. It is also very easy to notice the character arc within this film. Hector one as a dummy and it goes up to Hector three, the killer. etc.
At the beginning of the film there was no sign of Sci-Fi it in but once it reaches ACT 2 the audience now realize that they are actually watching a film where the informations are being given bit by bit. There was no rapid cut or even a fast pace in this film but still the film does grab the audience attention.
However apart from the fact that Timecrimes seems to have a complex plot, I still think that the film is a little bit easy to predict. The audience start to get the idea of double up characters since we have Hector 2 and still the story keeps going on with this point and reaches Hector 3. So for me I think it’s more like watching something you’ve already understood but you are still watching it because you want to know how well and smooth the director would link it all up. In conclude, the film is nice, it was easy to watch and understand even though it is complex.

Charley Varrick

October 27, 2009

charley_varrick Apart from Dirty Harry, Charley Varrick is another film that is directed by Don Siegel. Despite the fact that these two movies are both crime dramas, I also found that there are some similarities hidden in the films, for example; the use of female characters and also a sense of film noir in the movies. First of all, I think it is fair and safe enough to say (in here) that Don Siegel does not focus much on the role of female. For me it seems like the women are there only to support the ideas of film noir. They are used in the film as either a sexual symbol or someone that receives the impact of violence. For instance, Dirty Harry does not even have the main actress within the film! the only reason female (extra) characters were used in this film is to show to nudity which emphasizes the stereotype of Harry. Now for Charley Varrick, same as Dirty Harry there are also scenes that use women as a sexual symbol, such as the scene where Molly is entering a brothel, and the passport-making scene where we have a sexy-looking passport maker. Charley Varrick’s wife, Nadine, who we may count as the main actress (?) is also died at the very beginning of the film. It’s not that she is only shot by a gun but Varrick himself has also burned her right after she passed away (to be honest, I’m not even sure if she has already died or not, since it was so obvious to see that she was still breathing when Charley is taking of the ring from her finger). however, this shows and supports the idea of Charley is following the code (the code of crime drama), he left his wife burning, he also did not care about his partner (the scorpio guy from Dirty Harry) and therefore, it leads him to success in his criminal career.

Dirty Harry

October 14, 2009

At the very first scene of the movie we have a long list of the police officers that died in the line of duty. This simply shows how taught the world is, we get the idea that maybe good people cannot survive in this world, only the taught ones that will manage to keep going. However, Harry’s name is not on the list and this sorts of giving us a clue that Harry does not belong in this list of modest people. Later on the film states even clearer when we have a shot of Harry walking on the rooftop, this can be understood that Harry is way above the law.

The next thing we can easily notice is the setting. There are so many buildings in this film, contrastingly with the previous film ‘Unforgiven’ I have analyzed, which is about the old style of cowboy in western, Dirty Harry shows the new period of western therefore the setting seems to be more like an urban western style. However, there is also a scene in Dirty Harry that uses the old style of the western setting as a symbolic, it is when the bad guy in the film is getting killed. In this scene the setting of a lake, moutains and rocks is similar to the scene in Unforgiven, which is also the scene when someone is getting killed.

The main character, Harry, represents the stereotype of a rebel or a taught man. However, the film presents him as a good rebel who became like this because of the society and the environment around him that turned him into this way. Harry is the character that does not play by rules but in the end he gets the result. This ideas of him show clearly in the first sequence we see him. The first time we see Harry is when he enters the door, chewing gum and walking to the dead body. He does not even wear black suits like others serious characters in the film, his suit is rather brown or grey and it shows that he is not like others.

In conclusion, Dirty Harry is an enjoyable film to watch. The film is easy to follow and the score music is really good at building tension. Clint Eastwood did an excellent job on acting And the film is both modern and classic in a way.

Unforgiven

October 14, 2009

Unforgiven is a drama westerns film produced, directed and also starred by Clint Eastwood. Unlike his other previous films, Clint Eastwood turns Unforgiven into a strong westerns style, however the content of the film is unique and different from the westerns genre. In Unforgiven, it’s not about how a character beats up someone and then he becomes a hero. Although violence is playing  a big role of driving a story but Clint Eastwood goes for something even deeper which is about the guiltiness.

Through out the film we see scenes that support this idea of guiltiness over and over again. Most of them come right after the violence. For example in the scene where Ned Logan gives the gun to William Munny to finish up the killing cause he can’t do it by himself. At first we see the moment of hesitation in Will’s eyes, however he does receives the gun. After the gun has fired and the character is dying, the sympathetic shows out explicitly on Will’s face. He even yells at someone to give the dying kid some water. At this moment we feel that he’s regret and sorry for what he has done. He wants to help even though he knows it’s only a little tiny help.

The Act 1 of this film is obviously clear. We first see Will at his house as a clumsy pig farmer and a father of two children. We take this as his ordinary world although the film tells the truth to the audience that Will used to be a killer before. After the kid asked Will to join him,  His first reaction is refuse. However (like other movies) at the end Will joins the kid in order to solve his finance problem.
and lastly when Will, Ned and the kid are riding horses through the forest, the mood and tone of the film change a little bit and therefore we know that they are entering the new world and the journey is getting started.

9

September 29, 2009

The animated film ‘9’ directed by Shane Acker with the aid of producing by Tim Burton is based on the story about 9 rag dolls which each contains the souls of their creator. The story tends to move really fast, most of the time we see the use of fast paced, especially in the fighting scenes where the rag dolls and the machines are attaching each other.

The theme for this movie is straight, which is about survival and team work. Since each dolls contains different powers and weaknesses therefore the only way they will survive these whole situations and conflicts is for them to stay together and work as a team.

 

9

 

The color in 9 is so much of a Tim Burton Style which is slightly the same tone as ” the nightmare before christmas”. However, the lighting also helps give more meaning towards the character, for example, where the character 9 always holds the beacon which in a way lights up all their hopes and believes through their journey, in contrast, the machines; they are all lit up with red light source, which simplifies the death, evil, or blood.

From the information I’ve learned, the original version of 9 were meant to be a none-dialog animated film, but was later on changed to make it easier for the mass audience, never the less, from my opinion I would prefer this film to be a MOS film, because it would make the already perfected mise en scene stand out more, and shows more the work of body language.

Killer of Sheep.

September 29, 2009

Instead of making an ordinary gangster film like other movies in the mid 70s, Charles Burnett chooses to pick up on the ideas of life, family love and survival in a harsh world as his themes. The name of the film ‘Killer of Sheep’ can be simply identified as the role of the main character in the film, Stan, who works at the slaughterhouse as a killer of sheep. On the other hand if we look deeper in an abstract way, the sheep can be symbolized as the innocence.

The story begins with the scene of the boy getting beat up, the father then comes in and says to the boy; to be a man and fight back or if the next time you come back I’ll beat you up myself. From the first dialogue, it shows that not only the adults that are living in a harsh world, even the kids are living it too. And because we never see this boy again further in the film, it can suggest that the boy is Stan, the main character which has grown up and became the actual killer of sheep who works at the slaughterhouse.

The use of slow pace in this film allows the audience to feel the repetition or the routine in each characters’ lives. Through out the whole film there is no character development or solutions to their problems, however, despite the fact that the characters are living in a harsh world; they also tend to find a way to appreciate the little details in their lives, for example, in the scene where  Stan and his friends are holding cups against their cheeks to feel the warmth from the cups, as well as the scene where the daughter is playing with her father and her mother looks at her in a warm passionate way.

The film ends with its name “Killer of sheep”; as it once again cuts back at the slaughter house with stan in it. Nothing has changed and this provides the idea of life just goes on.

The film ‘En regardant le film’ directed by Zhang Yimou begins with the close up shot of a boy smiling, without using any dialogue we can tell that he is the main character of the film. Once he turns back the camera cuts to another shot which is the shot of the kids running to the same direction and this sort of gives a hint to the audience that something important is about to happen.

The main theme of this film is about the contrast between the old traditional life style and the civilized life style, the use of shots and camera angles helps to support the theme perfectly. For example in the scene where the out door theater is being set up, the director chooses to use only close up and medium shots to focus on the little details such as the technical elements; the screen, the speaker, the film projector etc. At the same time we can also see reactions and emotions of the kids in the village through these types of shot as well.

The use of wide shot in En regadant le film is rare to find, there are only 2-3 wide shots that are shown in the film, however each of them does state out clearly about how the lives of these people in the village is like. They live in the middle of nowhere, the hills are around them and this is the extremely important point because it allows the audience to understand how important the movie night is to these people.

Another interesting subject for this film is the color, even though the whole film is shot in color but the color appears to be grey and even greenish sometimes. I suggest the reason for this is because the director wanted the audience to get the idea of the uncivilized life there fore he avoided to use bright color which normally refers to something fresh and new.