For a portion of my spring break I went to Chicago. While I was there I went to the Chicago Art Institute and saw, among other things, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. I basically laughed out loud when I looked at it because I thought of all the stories we wrote in our class. Anyway, it was fun to see DMF in the the real world. Good times.
Here is the information on my final video project:
Working Title: Something along the lines of “I Live Here: My Life as a Communications Major”
Basic Concept: A mockumentary about life as a communications major. it will have a basis in truth, but will be exaggerated for comedic effect. It will have live footage as well as taped interviews with the major and her roommates or friends. Clocks and time will also play a role in the film, alluding to the vast amount of time spent on projects or in McEwen.
This Sunday we watched Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
One thing that really intrigued me about the film from even the very first seen was how slowly and calmly the movie flowed, but how loud the surrounding situations were and characters were. In the opening scene Bill Murray’s character is heading into the city and there is very soothing music playing in the background but the city is alive with color and motion. The two contrasting ideas sort of model the confusion of the the two main characters. The voices of the Japanese people also drastically contrast the voices of the American characters. The Japanese are very energetic, loud and fast talkers while the two leads speak more somberly, with a slower pace.
The audio was very raw, with lots of almost white noise types of effects under the actor’s lines and in between scenes. There was a lot of “dead space” where none of the actors were talking, but it was full of some sort of noise that helped to pull the scene along.
I really like the angles things were shot at in this movie. Sometimes the camera was on the floor shooting up or near the ceiling shooting down giving a more full feeling to the shot and letting the viewer see things from a place their eyes usually don’t take them too!
The humor of the film, while not my particular taste, was well placed. There were many moments that were ironic or out of place that kept the film from being too somber or boring. One moment I did really like was when Bill Murray’s character is standing in the elevator at the start of the film and he is a head taller than all the Japanese people.
Overall I thought that the elements of the film were well crafted, they kept the film from being too much of one thing or another and instead created its own category for itself.
Last night, at our screening, we watched Gimme Shelter, a Rolling Stones documentary. The Albert and David Maysles directed 1970 film followed the Rolling Stones preparation for and live performance at the Altamont free concert of 1969. This full length documentary was the first to use “direct cinema.”
One of the first things I noticed about the film was the use of natural lighting and sound. There were shots that were completely bathed in red light coming from the stage lights. Other shots were so dark it was hard to see what they were. The sound was not perfect, there was background noise during the songs and speeches. These two aspects added to roughness of the idea of the film. People were breaking out in fights and sleeping on the ground, something like that does not lend itself to crystal clear audio and lighting.
The camera movements were hand-held, but very easy to view,and got very up close and personal with the band members. One thing I noticed was that oftentimes the camera person would be out of focus for multiple frames and the viewer would actually see them move into and out of focus. This was very much unlike I had seen before. I attribute that to the fact that they had tapes that held less than 25 minutes and they were constantly switching them out, therefore could not waste anymore time focusing before filming. However, I enjoyed this effect and thought it added character to the piece. The cameras also worked very closely to the subject, often working like a follow spot would for a concert.
I LOVED the clothing in this film. If I could go back to one decade and steal clothing it would probably be the 60s. As far as the plot goes, I found it slightly confusing because they kept jumping between songs and story, which made it hard to figure out when things happened. The full length songs were enjoyable, but sometimes too much for someone who is not that big of a Rolling Stones fan.