Saturday, May 1, 2010

Les Ordres, Michel Brault. 1974.

How does this film create distance between the viewer and the film? Maybe it’s partly due to the disconnectedness between the stories—Different characters, they don’t know what’s going on, there is no consistency between what the authorities and guards do, and what the people who are held up do... Like the authorities keep doing things that go against the peoples’ expectations...

The prison scenes are in color, while the later interview scenes are in black and white.... But it’s like the colors of the prison are so plain that it’s almost like there is no real color or vitality anyway....

(Will write more later)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Massaker, [Borgmann, Menkes, Slim, Theissen]. 2006.

Interviews with some of the mass murderers. Has to do with the 1975 Lebanese “civil war”—the circumstances and catalysts for this war is not historically clear, but the film does not really go into the political details. Rather, the film is more abstracted.. More psychological, philosophical.

The interviewees recount their experience of the “war” as perpetrators. An exploration of their mindset... The face is blacked out, but the voice and the body is there... The voices merge.. almost becoming one voice.

The viewer is enabled to perceive, by being close to the bodies physically, but not in a natural lighting. It is theatrical: Theatricality, colored lights (yellow, green, red...) The space becomes a stage. At times the interviewee re-enacts a scene... Walls of the room become walls of the houses of victims...

Nietzche quotes:

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”—Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Toni , Jean Renoir. 1935.

This film is an example of the way that there is no difference between documentary and fiction.... Classified as “neorealism,” or rather a precursor to neorealist film, it portrays a reality closer to ordinary life and everyday people, and time that passes more like real-time... Other elements are that Toni is shot on location, there’s minimal editing, and not all the actors are professional.

It’s fictional because the frame makes you focus on particular characters, parts of their body, how their bodies are oriented within the space, for example on the side of the pathway, or against the tree...Theatrical body alignment and postures.

The angle of their gaze, looking at the top left corner of the frame. Marie hold up her hands in fear, elbow high up.. Toni maintains an expression of calm.

Body gestures to convey anger and frustration. Toni’s body is still kind of “opened” up to the camera, for we can see his body is aligned sideways, but his head is turned even more to the left.

A dramatic exit. Camera looks straight at the character, his body placed within the doorframe, he leaves making mocking gestures... In response, the character who lives at the house shrugs with a smile and turns to reach for a bottle of alcohol.

Note the frontal angle of the camera... and the characters’ bodies opened up to the “stage,”.. lighting to mimic light coming from the fire at night...

The construction of details: Vivid sounds from that space, that world... Like the train coming to a halt and continuing, footsteps, Baby drinking milk from a bottle, Parts of nature—

The fluttering of birds wings as they take flight from the brush, before the characters run into the frame from one side.

Splashing of water... Rustling of leaves...

What produces the mechanisms of time? Longer shots with less cuts.. Not much variation in camera angles (it’s very straight and forward-facing)..