The Craft of War: BLIND

December 28, 2008

Cool World of Warcraft fan film that was posted yesterday – check it out:

The view from my balcony over Christmas

December 26, 2008

sexy time

So I was sick and snowbound for the xmas holidays and this is what I’ve been doing…

December 26, 2008

Watching movies of course!!!

Man on Wire – Trailer

On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between New York’s twin towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released.

Following six and a half years of dreaming of the towers, Petit spent eight months in New York City planning the execution of the coup. Aided by a team of friends and accomplices, Petit was faced with numerous extraordinary challenges: he had to find a way to bypass the WTC’s security; smuggle the heavy steel cable and rigging equipment into the towers; pass the wire between the two rooftops; anchor the wire and tension it to withstand the winds and the swaying of the buildings. The rigging was done by night in complete secrecy. At 7:15 AM, Philippe took his first step on the high wire 1,350 feet above the sidewalks of Manhattan…

James Marsh’s documentary brings Petit’s extraordinary adventure to life through the testimony of Philippe himself, and some of the co-conspirators who helped him create the unique and magnificent spectacle that became known as “the artistic crime of the century.”

Hamlet 2 – trailer

In this irreverent comedy, a failed actor-turned-worse-high-school-drama teacher (Steve Coogan) rallies his Tucson, AZ students as he conceives and stages a politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Sigur Ros – Glósóli

December 16, 2008

Such a beautiful video from a great band from Iceland – enjoy!

The Battle of Algiers

December 16, 2008

All I have to say is wow…what a powerful film – this was the final film that we watched for my Reading the Screen class at Emily Carr this semester and it was by far the most eye opening and prescient given the situation around the world right now. Please take the time to watch this film by Gillo Pontecorvo as it will definitely leave a lasting impression on you:


Full Film – clip 1/13 – keep watching each successive clip to watch the entire film:

Reading The Screen – class notes from 2 weeks ago

December 1, 2008

been lazy again – my bad – here are my class notes from 2 weeks ago…

THE SHOT = smallest unit in film

– overshot = protective shooting to make sure all of the angles were covered (Shane is an example)
– Edwin S. Porter in 1903 = The Great Train Robbery (introduced cross-cutting / parallel editing)
– cutting back and forth between the sheriff, the townspeople and the robbers

D.W. Griffith – Intolerance was his masterpiece

– cutting to continuity – walking cycle across the room can be condensed for example from beginning to end
– establishing shot – how you introduce a story – geography shot (Lawrence of Arabia opening shot)
– cut to a full shot for example to zoom closer in as you bring in main characters
– in classical editing, the more information you place in the frame, the longer you hold the frame
– edit for dramatic intensity
– used closeup for intensity whereas before it was used solely for information
– thematic cutting / montage – different timelines intercut to break up linear storyline
– contemporary films showcase this primarily in romantic comedies now (usually short and doesn’t involve dialog)

Roger Spottiswood?
– when the audience absorbs all the information they need to receive, that’s when you need to cut
– if you cut too early, they will wonder what they are looking at – if you cut too late, they will get bored

– they embraced the camera in order to educate the world about communist ideology


– thought Griffith was brilliant but thought closeup could stand on its own
– especially if it is juxtaposed with another closeup
– inspired by Pavlovian theory about feeding dogs – putting meaning together with bell ringing and feeding the dog

– put one closeup with another closeup = greater meaning
– audiences fill in meaning when faced with ambiguity
– built stories around completely separate images by editing them together to make meaning

– the essence of existence is constant change / conflict is the synthesis of opposites
A + B = C (Thesis + Anti-Thesis = Synthesis) / light versus dark / mass of people versus single person
– if you photograph reality, then you create a truer reality in jolting the audience (masses being exploited by the bourgeois)
– compiling these shots was very different from German films
– they used long shots and takes to follow the scene

ODESSA step scene


Enter The Dragon (similar scene)

– Orson Welles 1948 – married to Rita Hayworth at the time (broke up by the end of shooting)
– 24 two way mirrors and 80 regular mirrors were used to create the shots

What happens when you join two pieces of film together?

Graphic connection
– match cut (similar position, colour, lighting,
– mildly discontinuous (contrasting shots to play off of each other – Pulp Fiction diner scene – clash in their positioning as they talk in the scene)

Rhythmic connection
– 24 frames per second and if you set cuts to specific number of frames for editing
– intense shots tend to be shorter and to decrease tension, shots become longer
– many experimental films base their editing on graphic and rhythmic editing (Ballet Mechanique)

Spatial relations
– editing creates space for the audience – they need to understand where they are in the plot, location, timeline…
– if you provide with important information, the audience will fill in the blanks
– cross cutting like in The Godfather part 2 between 1950’s Nevada to 1910 New York

Temporal relations
– constructs and manipulates story time
– Incident at Owl Creek is best example of this
– assumption that sequential scenes are linear, but this isn’t always the case
– elliptical editing = an action is presented so that it is edited to speed up the process
– punctuation cut (fade in, fade out to important information)
– empty frames (man walks up 2 stairs then man walks out of frame, then show top of stairs and walking on last 2 steps)
– cutaway (man walks up the stairs then cut to inside his apartment)
– overlapping editing (prolong the action in different angles, perspectives longer than it would happen in real life)
– jump cut (signifies spatial and temporal cutting)
– if the camera moves into a close up then the camera would ned to move 30 degrees or else it will be a jump shot

TRIUMPH OF THE WILL – Leni Riefenstahl

– Adolf Hitler’s muse film maker

Continuity Editing
– you need to tell a story clearly and it needs to be edited to reinforce the continuity
– graphic continuity is respected – important people, settings are in the centre third of the frame
– respect for cause and effect of what will happen to these characters
– spatial continuity 180 degree axis and when we film characters, the camera cannot cross this line otherwise the scene is flipped
– same principle applies to cars
– match cut = action that compresses time and space
– reverse shot = dialog scene cutting from person to person (helps audience if people’s eyelines are the same)
– cheat shot = Lord of the Rings type of effect to play with perspectives, sizing…
– in action films, you can cross the line, provided that the last shot is on the line (Mad Max)

– writer Nora Effron and Director Rob Reiner – diner scene

– onlooker who is watching the whole scene and they have the last line, which makes us laugh so hard = Rob Reiner’s mom
– classic example of not crossing the 180 degree line as well – also with Billy Crystal looking over at the end and then editing to Rob Reiner’s mom

– clean straight cut
– fade in / fade out
– dissolve = taking 2 frames of film super imposed = more significant link between the 2 scenes
– wipe = like a windshield wiper (also flips – 1968 version of Thomas Crown Affair is a good example of this)

A PLACE IN THE SUN – dir. George Stevens

– good use of dissolves to link different scenes together


– film is so strong due to its editing

The Heart of the World (2000) – dir. Guy Madden

– inspired by Elita Queen of Mars (Russian silent film)


– very few times were all of the characters in the same shot to show distance between them