December

As you may or may not have noticed this journal has been quiet for the month of December. I have been piled under work again – the mentally and physically draining type – but I have just appropriated part of a film archive/library which includes some rare and expensive films which will help this journal no end. The number of films is somewhere in the region of 70-90 films but I will have to sort it out before I can be sure on the number (plus I need to build a self!). Although Christmas is always a busy time I am free enough t0 be able to get back to writing and editing pieces etc soon. (hurrah)

Basic Film Techniques Round-Up

Currently my head is lost to Locke’s Political Philosophy and Empiricism and will be for the next week or two. So here is just a round-up of some basic film techniques I’ve gone through. Feel free to add a comment on a technique you feel i should cover. Coming up in this section are the jump cut, shot-reverse-shot, match on action and others.

Here is the list of articles I’ve done so far:

Match-Cut

The Kuleshov Effect

Elliptical Editing

Up and Coming…

As i may have mentioned somewhere else due to the strains of normal life, working or other wise, i have had to slow down the rate of articles and short notes i am able to write however up and coming is some more studies into the discourse of Hollywood [and the language and signs of cinema in general] and a full article on Blade Runner from a psychoanalytical prospective as well as a reading of Baudrillard in connection with Blade Runner. The film Dear Diary well also be analysed shortly and hopefully Moretti’s new film as well. So stick around and enjoy even though the pace is sadly to be slowed down i will attempt to create more full articles.

New Member of The Motley View crew

Everyone give an imaginary round of applause to Vedette Bianciotti who becomes a [semi?] regular member of this journal. Me and Vedette are collaborating on a few tongue-in-cheek studies of the myth or discourse of Hollywood and hope you enjoy them. The Barthes inspired studies of Hollywood discourse will cover some obvious and not-so obvious ground and Vedette will start on the Geographical location of Hollywood.

Short Excerpt Concerning Psychoanalysis and Science Fiction

Concerning why psychoanalysis is an interesting match with science fiction film i came across an exposition concerning Freud’s position regarding why dreams were valued highly. Freud’s position is explained thus:

‘A dream is an escape-hatch or safety-valve through which repressed desires, fears, or memories seek an outlet into the conscious mind. The emotion in question is censored by the conscious mind and so had to enter the dream in disguise, like a person barred from a club who gets in by dressing up as somebody else’ (1.)

Science Fiction replaces the dream, Andre Bazin noted that films are much like dreams, in the sense that they can, as all fiction can, become a safety valve through which the tensions are bled through and organised into symbols, ideas and actions. Repressed desires and tensions are played out and resolved through the narrative of invading aliens and machines. I will further augment this position with a look at Them (1954) and other sci-fi films in the future.

 

(1.)  Peter Barry, Beginning Theory, Manchester: Manchester University Press, (1995), p. 99.

Thoughts… On Genre

In light of some advice and the fact i feel that i need to comprehensively explain my point concerning the nature of genre i have decided to delay the completion of my article arguing for film noir to be understood as a genre. I will instead produce a series of articles explaining and exploring what genre is. I will put forth my belief that at its very core genre is a family-resemblance concept and that therefore film noir should be understood as a genre rather than just a ‘feeling’ or stylistic collective.

Short Note on Screen Composition in Fatal Attraction

Just a little while ago I  was finally able to produce high quality screen-shots of films that I have been analysing. Before I was not able to create pictures of quality but now I am able and therefore I am free to create more in-depth analyses with photographs that portray that which I am examining. Here’s just a little excerpt that I didn’t feel would fit without the precise photograph:

As the function of the close-up or pan-to is to uncover something of importance then the composition of a phone behind the bars of a balustrades is meant to be indicative of the emotional state of the characters. The bars indicate a sense of imprisonment and powerlessness in the ego of Dan. The odd positioning of the phone on the stairs also indicates how the phone calls Dan is receiving, and his relationship with Alex, is something that is “in-the-way” and an obstacle. This scene becomes both a symbol of Dan’s imprisonment and powerlessness.

Thought Process

Yesterday i was thinking about a past post concerning film noir while I was watching Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog (1949). In it I explored the nature of character and characterization in The Matlese Falcon (1941). This morning I received a very interesting comment from Tony D’Ambra, the man behind the rather good Film Noir.net, concerning a few points he wished to pull up. One major point he made was his belief that The Maltese Falcon‘s Sam Spade was a true film noir P.I.  On further contemplation I believe that I should inlight of my own post concerning the nature of genre make a short note on the Film in-question. Although I believe that Sam Spade lacks that spiral into death or dishonour that a femme fatal brings it is true that I was concentrating too much on that precise element of film noir (it happens to be one of the most fruitful elements of film noir due to the ability of the critic to analyse it from several different angles) for my analysis of The Matlese Falcon. As I mentioned in my post concerning the nature of genre, all genre’s are family-resemblance concepts and therefore certain elements can be missing or excluded from a film because an element is not definitivly included in all.

In the Coming Weeks and Days…

I will be re-watching and analyizing six Alfred Hitchcock classics.

North by Northwest (1959) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053125/

Strangers on a Train (1951) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044079/

The Wrong Man (1956) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051207/

Stage Fright (1950) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042994/

I Confess (1953) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045897/

“Dial M for Murder” (1954) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046912/

On a personal note…

These are some films i would recommend you take a look at:

1. Carlo Diario (1993) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109382/

2. A Bout de Souffle (1959) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053472/

3. Tampopo (1985) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092048/

4. Double Indemnity (1944) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036775/

5. Apocalypse Now (1979) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078788/

6. Westworld (1973) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070909/

7. French Connection (1971) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067116/

8. Battleship Potemkin (1925) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015648/

9.  The End Of St. Petersburg (1927) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018066/

10. Blade Runner (1982) http://www.imdb.com/find?s=all&q=blade+runner

 

I found that because i had read The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad that Apocalypse Now was a much richer viewing. Some of those films are expensive to find, especially in the UK, however if you see them cheap, for rent or at a local movie theatre then i highly recommend viewing them. Luckily with ‘internet rental’, such as Blockbuster Lovefilm etc, it is easier to take a punt on a rare/odd/arty film without having to spend £20 on a film you may not like. In the coming weeks and months i will do an introduction, synopsis and review of these films.