A Lonely Sky

February 21, 2009

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This is a great short film that I found earlier today – a true diamond in the rough – great special effects, great story and great performances all around, including Keir Dullea, who played David Bowman in 2001!
– FlashAddict
– edit – The embedding has been disabled, so just click in the middle of the video box and it will open up a new tab in your browser and take you directly to YouTube to watch the videos…

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In 1947, a test pilot who will risk his life to break the sound barrier, is forced to question his reasons and abilities by a strange, yet familiar man…

http://www.talantisfilms.com


Video Art – Thursday @ Emily Carr

January 16, 2009

Labyrinth – Jim Henson

– behind the scenes making of video
– his son Brian is a master puppeteer
– needs a multitude of people to rehearse in order to match the actor, facial features and voice over to synch
– 75 pound costume giant ogre type monster
– large orc costume for Humongous – weighed several tons
– reminds me of Return of the Jedi behind the scenes footage with 3-4 guys in the Jabba the Hut costume/contraption
– there was one midget pulling back and forth on an oar lever for hours and hours on end to move Jabba’s tail

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Tell it to the Fishes – http://www.Futureshorts.com
– Dylan Moran fand the Indian daughter rom Run Fatboy Run
– great short film
http://www.Futureshorts.com

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Arcade Fire – Miroir, Noir, Neon bible Archives – by Vincent Moon

– long continuous shot as they emerge from their dressing room on their way up to the stage
– they pause in the elevator and breakout into the song even though they are squished together
– at the end of the concert, they walk into the crowd itself like a traveling band
– drummer ripping the magazine in place of hitting a snare and he just had enough pages to last till the end of the song = Serendipity
– Montreal based band and large number of members

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Requiem for a Dream – Darren Aronofsky

– JUICE BY TAPPY – JUICE BY TAPPY – JUICE BY TAPPY
– WOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh…
– WE GOT A WINNER – WE GOT A WINNER
– split screen shot showing conflict between mother and son
– keyhole mask shot looking into the other room showing her son’s drug crazed rant
– Requiem for a Dream title dissolves into dust like heroin (will be used for rest of intro credits shortly)
– son walks the gauntlet of the other retired widows in their lawn chairs in front of the apartment building
– used carrot on a stick type camera shot to look back at characters as they walk (reverse shot wobble cam)
– shows the brutality of drug addiction in the full light of day
– opening sequence sets the tone for the rest of the film – sense of desperation – develops character conflicts
– physically painful to watch this film – which is a powerful and tangible reaction to feel
– adds to the theme about the depths that drug addicts will sink to in order to fuel their habits

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HANDMADE ART – Maya Hayuk

– otherwise known as Miss Tint because she would go to the hardware store and purposely pick out the missed tint paint colours that no one wanted
– Big Vagina Clapping Mouth = epic win!
– massive installation mural is shown at the 4:55 mark of the video
– had no pre-conceived plan for the mural, just let inspiration flow out of her
– likes to do a lot of outdoor environmental work – abandoned corrugated metal buildings
– Barnstormers in North Carolina

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Mister Lonely – Harmony Korine

– otherwise disjointed imagery, themes and plot lines that are linked together into a collective piece

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TRANSIT REMIX – MOMENTFACTORY.COM
– upload website for minute long short films
– impressionistic extrapolation of dream state imagery
– again, otherwise disjointed imagery, themes and plot lines that are linked together into a collective piece
– photography/video overlays
http://www.momentfactory.com

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Michel Gondry

– Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet scene on the couch
– row row row your boat, gently down the stream…merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream
– duality between the nursery rhyme and the dream/memory sequence
– Jim Carrey as a 4 year old boy and Kate Winslet as his babysitter (love the knee high go-go boots)
– false perspective used to show height/size differences
– they take on the aspect of their memory characters – Jim starts acting like a 4 year old

Scene 2
– drive-in sequence as they start erasing his memories
– car disappears – then the fence – then the faces of characters

– similar to Let Forever Be – Chemical Brothers video directed by Michel Gondry as well

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Gummo – Harmony Korine

Rabbit Junkyard scene

– IMBREEDERS – po white trash on display
– SMELLS LIKE WET PUSSY…LIKE A WET LIMP DICK!!!

Tap Scene

– kid looks like the imbred boy from Deliverance
– weightlifting with taped up cutlery as dumbbells
– oh god he’s working out to Madonna’s Like a Prayer
– got his balls popped?!?!?
– this kid has the longest skinniest face I’ve ever seen
– his mother is doing the funky kitchen

Gummo & Spaghetti

– OH MY FUCKING GOD – this is sick
– mmmmmm there’s some good eats there
– love the shot of the spiked up shampoo hair slowly dropping to end the scene!
– was this shot scripted? I highly doubt it, which gives it greater value and emotional attachment
– cinema verite structure = this is a snapshot of poor, uneducated america – this stuff probably really does happen

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GRADIUS III – SNES Video Game by Konami

– the 7-11 in Tsawwassen got a $hit load of money out of my pockets due to this arcade game
– clean + simple + effective = my design/artistic philosophy

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INSOMNIA – by Christopher Nolan

– quote from the original article Pacino: The Legend Speaks – “A scene like that shouldn’t be perfect. It should be spontaneous. That’s what it’s about.”
– this scene actually makes the audience hold its collective breath
– the imperfection of the scene adds to its value – the scene should not be staged – instead it should be allowed to unfold as it naturally would
– theme of chance and its role in film is important to consider and how it can affect the plot
– just the general premise of having the typical premise of a cops and robbers chase scene, yet having it situated on rolling logs completely takes it to a new dimension of complexity

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THE TAKE-AWAY SHOWS – WWW.BLOGOTHEQUE.COM
– cinema verite video documentation of major bands doing live musical performances in speak easy type locales

YEASAYER
– guerilla style type musical performance similar to Arcade Fire – Miroir, Noir, Neon bible Archives – by Vincent Moon – as seen above
– using found musical instruments on site and meshing them into the music
– haha the neighbours came up to complain about the noise level – hilarious $hit!
– erosion of the cult of celebrity
http://www.blogotheque.com

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Self Portrait – Jenny Saville

– definitely in your face painting – no stone left unturned as it were
– interesting and dynamic angles and shapes are created by the folds and curves of the muscles limbs
– makes her look intimidating as she looks down – the scale of the painting as well intimidates the audience (7′ x 9′)
– Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible album cover

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenny_Saville

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The Science of Sleep – Michel Gondry
Dream Sequence

– my classmate isn’t interested in the plot or characters per say but in the costume and set design used for the film
– turns out it was only a dream – windows opening turn out to be his eyes

If you rescue me

– the main character’s brain says, “I’m exhausted…I’m gonna wake up now” – brilliant line!
– recycled material used to create backgrounds and props – just like Urban Source here in Vancouver


Last week’s Reading the Screen class notes

October 24, 2008

MIDTERM – next week 12:30 – 2:00 – then 30 minute break – followed by term paper discussion – covers chapters 1, 2, 3, 10 (lectures and film screenings)

LONELY BOY
– portrait documentary
– repetition of loud screaming girls
– direct cinema / cinema verite

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SHADOW OF A DOUBT – recap scenes
– rhyming/ pattern scenes back at the dinner table – talking about death, money and music
– Little Charlie is care free in the first scene / Uncle Charlie is a bit hesitant and tips over the wine glass
– Merry Widow Serial Killer vs. Merry Widow Waltz
– 2nd scene, Little Charlie is now upset and doesn’t want to hear anything about death
– Uncle Charlie knows that his niece knows about him – he is now menacing and predatory

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CITIZEN KANE – pattern scenes
– scene with reporter and Jedidiah in the hospital
– flashback to the wedding scenes

FIRST MARRIAGE SCENE
– montage of scenes at the breakfast table – signifies passage of time and degradation of the relationship between Charles and Emily
– “people will think what I tell them to think”
– characters are the same and they are eating breakfast at the same time
– swish pan to move from time to time
– distance between the two is slowly getting further apart
– body language changes from loving to confrontational
– she ends up reading the rival newspaper
– less and less dialog happening and also gaining in argument levels to them not even speaking
– shows aging, makeup, clothing (she starts as elegant to more conservative)
– behind him, the background doesn’t change, yet her background changes (signifying that he has never changed)

SECOND MARRIAGE SCENE
– 2nd wife Susan is doing jigsaw puzzles
– in comes Charles lumbering into the grand hall which is completely empty
– Please Charlie…Charlie please!
– jigsaw puzzle slowly gets filled in with her hands having different rings and bracelets
– fire lit, fire not lit
– distance between the two is much larger – they are now yelling just to hear one another (HUH?)
– the scene starts with a massive fire in the hearth yet in the latter scene the massive hearth is cold and empty, like their marriage
– jigsaw puzzles were beautiful sceneries and far away places

DIFFERENT NARRATIVES IN CITIZEN KANE
– multiple people talking about Charles Foster Kane
– had the effect of multiple eulogies by the multiple narrators

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Narrative is a chain of events in cause – effect relationship that occur in time and space (causality and time are essential)

Story = all the events in a narrative both explicit and those inferred or presumed by the audience
Plot = whatever is on the screen that you see
Diagetic = whatever happens to the main characters
Non-Diagetic = what is added that the characters don’t know about (Jaws DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM to build tension in the viewing audience)

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THIS UNFAMILIAR PLACE

“This documentary is a lyrical rumination on a violence and disaster centering on the director_s attempts to get her father to talk about his experiances as a Polish Jew during World War II.”

– hand held camera shot documentary
– earthquake footage from the San Francisco earthquake
– only 2 photos remain from her father’s youth during WWII
– scenes of destruction from news footage and CCTV
– meant to resemble Warsaw during the Nazi invasion?
– see you in the morning…I hope so
– now we see b/w footage from WWII showing Warsaw burning
– voice-over narration was very personal
– mystery that she is trying to figure out above her father’s past
– final scene is at the amusement park – and no one is in the park either (non-diagetic)

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VAGABOND (sans toit ni loi)

– rolling French farm hills with wheat growing on them
– mysterious and off-putting violins soundtrack overture playing
– interspersed clips of the dead woman and cleaning wine marks from the floor and walls
– multiple people in the town have flashbacks about the young girl
– they all envy her – they want to be free like her
– why did the camera pan over to show the young girl coming out of the store in one scene and then the combine in the farm field scene?
– “are you looking at me or my sandwich?”
– aha she’s hiding from the police
– the car repair shop owner got some somethin somethin and we see him crawl out of the tent
– she only became interesting once she died
– female drifters are not unusual in France

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CHARACTERS are the agents of cause and effect – have a physical body/presence on screen (animation or real life) – have a voice – sometimes its just the voice
– have attitudes, skills (crafty / funny / warm), habits, tastes and psychological drives

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THE OLD GREY HARE – Robert Hammond

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3 MISSES – Dir. Paul Dreissen (Netherlands 2000)


Reading the Screen – class notes and film clips

October 17, 2008

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance – Trailer

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance – clip

In-class discussion:

mother earth – many women were interviewed – native culture had women in powerful positions in the tribe as opposed to european cultures

remarkable part of this film showed the canadian military in a negative light – where is the federal government in all of this crisis?
point of view is taken from the natives – she stayed with her people and moved with them the entire time – the lens was always from the mohawk perspective

talking heads and voice overs / staged or scripted?

subject-centred arguments / euphemematic – you get a lot more power of suggestion and widespread opinion

how did the film maker try to deal with euro-centric points of view?
– she did show both sides of view about the bridge
– interviewed the white male doctor who’s first reaction was anger, but who later changed his POV
– mayor of Oka is presented as cowardly and racist vs. the government we see in the native band
– showed the graveyard in the pines looking out at the golf course – camera pulled back and showed the native perspective of white encroachment

http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/film_exhibitions.php?id=8390

My Film Critique and Response:

I had the chance to view the film, “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance” over the weekend seeing as I had missed last week’s screening class. I have to say that I found the film to be a very interesting and engaging piece of film making as well as being a good social commentary on the Oka Crisis as a whole. It succeeded in bringing into perspective the plight of the Mohawk people over the past 270 years in their dealings with White Canadians, the Church in particular and how they had been cheated out of their land. Particular emphasis was placed on the Surete du Quebec and the Mayor of Oka as well who¬† should have rightfully have had an independent inquiry into their strong arm reactions before, during and after the crisis.

Where I do find fault however is in the film maker’s depiction of the Canadian Army. For better or for worse, I believe that the Federal Government made the correct decision to send the Canadian Army to secure the perimeter of the area and to allow both the Mohawks and Surete du Quebec to fall back to pre-established positions. As outsiders to the situation and not having faced the possibility of losing their land or having watched one of their comrades killed in the opening assault, I thought that they showed great restraint at the handling of the situation as a whole (other then the one incident when one of the Mohawks was beaten one night). As far as the comments made by some of the Mohawk warriors laughing at the sight of the soldiers installing barbed wire in the water, imagine being one of the Canadian Army officers trying to keep your men motivated and engaged during what was obviously a very stressful and trying situation. One of the basic tenants of any army is the fact that soldiers need to be constantly tested and kept active. Many an army officer has made his platoon of soldiers dig trenches one day to only cover them all up the very next day.

Another major flaw that I saw in the film was in the handling of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s response to the crisis. As the ultimate Commander in Chief of the Canadian Army forces sent in to contain the situation, he is only seen in one brief clip complaining, “We will not be dictated by armed people, some of whom aren’t even Canadian.” The sentiment of that clip was taken completely out of context, and is shown as to refer to Mulroney’s belief that the Mohawks were not in fact Canadian citizens. The truth of the matter however, given the fact that I grew up during the crisis, is that Mulroney was in fact referring to American Mohawk warriors who had come across the border to join their Canadian tribesmen and were making their own demands as well. Which brings up my earlier point about the barbed wire in the lake; while the chances of weapons being delivered by boat was low, the goal of the drill was to stop the very remote possibility of weapons and other supplies from being delivered to the Treatment Centre over the lake, and also as a means to keep their soldiers active and engaged.

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DOCUMENTARY – these people, places do in fact exist and the viewer accepts the information on the basis of trust

MOCKUMENTARY – fake people, fake story line yet made to look legitimate

Films INSPIRED by a true story!!!

Categorical Documentary – to convey information about the world to audiences

Rhetorical Documentary – to present a persuasive argument, to persuade the audience to adopt an opinion about the subject and to act on that opinion

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compilation – images from archival footage
interviews – talking heads
direct cinema – cinema verite
nature
portrait
synthetic – uses several options
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VIEWER CENTERED ARGUMENT documentary

SOLUTION BASED documentary

“The River” – rhetorical film made in 1938 by the US Federal government as part of The New Deal by FDR to create jobs during the Depression
– the “problem of the land” – narrator speaks poetically rather then lecturing – emotional music to pull at your heart strings
– lot of close ups – intimate camera to get you close to the land

PROGRESS
– yankee doodle dandee music showing logging camps and rivers
– industry – power – might of the country
– reminds me of Soviet propaganda films
– wheat / cotton being loaded onto ships

DANGER
– new scene and new cringing music piece showing clear-cut forests
– “And sent it down the river…”
– water comes downhill and causes floods due to the lack of forests to absorb it
– dum dum dum dum dum = drip drip drip drip drip = raging floods now
– narrator’s voice is now booming to emphasize the poetry of his words
– air raid siren and fog horns go off – RIVER RISING!!!
– men, food, coast guard, medicine needed in every town up and down the rivers all over the country
– lists off the years that the major rivers flooded over their banks

THIN BLUE LINE – by Errol Morris

– 8 years after the murder, Errol Morris – convicted man ended up being freed – Randal Adams
– similar to Truman Capote’s, “In Cold Blood” although they were guilty then
– interview subjects look directly into the camera – up to the audience to decide if they are telling the truth or not
– does reanactments with actors which are beautifully shot (unlike TV ones)
– no old film footage, but uses old photographs, maps, graphs…
– no direct cinema, interviews only
– WHAT IS THE TRUTH HERE?
– audience is always watching and asked to participate
– uses an old feature film which is ridiculous but it works
– unconventional film score – looking for the truth – doesn’t relent

Dallas Law Enforcement interview
– woman officer was there when her partner was shot
– beautiful score -repeating notes of multiple violins and basses
– she is placed right in front of the police car – silhouetted and placed within the headlights
– she couldn’t remember the license plate number
– HC…HC…HC…HC
– blue vega with HC in the plate
– “you expect they would know more then they do” – police officer witness didn’t follow procedure
– speculation = she was sitting in the car drinking her milk shake – re-enactment of her throwing it out the window
– showed forensic diagram showing where the milkshake landed on the ground
– swinging watch – hypnotized her but she couldn’t remember any details but she remember a hit and run plate from earlier in the night

Large woman who was the defense attorney
– Mrs. Miller – THAT’S THE MAN – I SAW THE GUN STICKING OUT OF THE CAR!!!!!
– she’s the one who got him convicted – butt ugly woman with bad blond hair
– jesus she sounds like a dumb shit or at least somewhat mentally retarded
– “Too nosey to know what’s going on”
– by her own admission it was dark within the car, so how could she have gotten such a good look at him?
– “She’s a ho”

LONELY BOY – movie about Paul Anka