Understanding Movies, 9th Edition [9th ed.] 0130408131, 9780130408136

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Understanding Movies, 9th Edition [9th ed.]
 0130408131, 9780130408136

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In

Memoriam

Lynn R . J o n e s 1939-1970

Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face ofheav'n so fine That all the world will be in love with Night And pay no worship to the garish Sun. —WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

C o tttc w i s

P r e f a c e

,xi

Acknowledgments

Overview

xii

2 2

Realism a n d Formalism The Shots

II 13

The Angles

18

Light a n d Dark Color

22

Lenses, Filters, Stocks, Opticals, a n d Gauges 36

The Cinematographer 42

Further Reading 2

yVlist* o n S c e n e Overview

43

44

The Frame

44

Composition a n d Design Territorial Space

77

Proxemic Patterns

Open a n d Closed Forms Further Reading

56

66

92

83

28

C o n t e n t s

3

JW o v e »n e n t 9 3 Overview

94

Kinetics

95

The Moving Camera

112

Mechanical Distortions of Movement Further Reading

123

132

4

133

editing Overview

134

Continuity

134

D. W. Griffith a n d Classical Cutting

138

Soviet Montage and the Formalist Tradition Andre Bazin a n d the Tradition of Realism

155 168

Hitchcock's North by Northwest: Storyboard Version Further Reading

206

5 S o u n d

207

Overview

208

Historical Background Sound Effects Music

208

215

219

Musicals a n d Opera Spoken Language Further Reading

226 230 244

6 .Acting Overview

245 246

Stage a n d Screen Acting The American Star System Styles of Acting Casting

276

287

Further Reading

293

247 259

I8l

C o n t e n t s

7 B c a m a Overview

2 ° 5 296

Time, Space, a n d Language The Director

296

305

Settings a n d Decor

311

Costumes and Makeup Further Reading

324

332

8

Story Overview

333 334

Narratology

336

The Spectator

339

T h e Classical P a r a d i g m

343

Realistic Narratives

348

Formalistic Narratives

352

Nonfictional Narratives Genre a n d Myth

356

362

Further Reading

372

9

Writing Overview

373 374

The Screenwriter

374

The Screenplay

383

North by Northwest: R e a d i n g V e r s i o n Figurative C o m p a r i s o n s Point of View

393

401

Literary Adaptations Further Reading

405 409

10 CTdeoIogy Overview

411

412

The Left-Center-Right Model

417

387

ix

C o n t e n t s

Culture, Religion, a n d Ethnicity Feminism Gay Liberation Tone

427

437 444

450

Further Reading

453

TKeoi*v

455

Overview

456

Theories of Realism

457

Formalist Film T h e o r i e s The Auteur Theory

464 470

Eclectic a n d S y n t h e t i c T h e o r i e s Structuralism and Semiology Historiography

487

Further Reading

492

477 480

12 SyntHesis:

Citizen Kane

Photography

495

Mise e n S c e n e Movement Editing

505

Sound

507

Acting

509

Drama

511

Story Writing

516 518

Ideology Theory

499 501

522 524

Further Reading

529

531

G l o s s a r y

CJndet*:

545

4 9 3

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. — M A R C E L PROUST, NOVELIST AND ART CRITIC

Cineliteracy i s l o n g o v e r d u e i n A m e r i c a n e d u c a t i o n , a n d n o t j u s t a t t h e college level. A c c o r d i n g to The Television and Video Almanac, t h e average A m e r i c a n family w a t c h e s a b o u t seven h o u r s of television p e r day. T h a t ' s a lot of t i m e w a t c h i n g m o v i n g images. Yet, for t h e m o s t p a r t , we watch t h e m uncritically, passively, allowing t h e m to wash over us, rarely analyzing h o w they w o r k on us, h o w they can s h a p e o u r values. T h e following c h a p t e r s may b e o f use i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g h o w television a n d movies c o m m u n i c a t e , a n d t h e c o m p l e x n e t w o r k o f lang u a g e systems they use. My p u r p o s e is n o t to t e a c h viewers h o w to r e s p o n d to m o v i n g images, b u t t o suggest s o m e o f t h e r e a s o n s p e o p l e r e s p o n d a s they d o . In this n i n t h e d i t i o n , I have r e t a i n e d t h e s a m e p r i n c i p l e of o r g a n i z a t i o n as the earlier editions, structuring the chapters a r o u n d the realism-formalism d i c h o t o m y . E a c h c h a p t e r isolates t h e various l a n g u a g e systems a n d s p e c t r u m o f t e c h n i q u e s u s e d by filmmakers in conveying m e a n i n g . Naturally, t h e c h a p t e r s d o n ' t p r e t e n d t o b e exhaustive: T h e y ' r e essentially s t a r t i n g p o i n t s . T h e y p r o g r e s s from t h e m o s t n a r r o w a n d specific aspects o f c i n e m a ( p h o t o g r a p h y a n d m o v e m e n t ) t o t h e m o s t abstract a n d c o m p r e h e n s i v e (ideology a n d theo r y ) . T h e c h a p t e r s a r e n o t tightly i n t e r d e p e n d e n t : T h e y can b e r e a d o u t o f s e q u e n c e . Inevitably, s u c h a looseness of o r g a n i z a t i o n involves a c e r t a i n a m o u n t of o v e r l a p p i n g , b u t I have t r i e d to k e e p this to a m i n i m u m . T e c h n i c a l t e r m s a r e b o l d f a c e d t h e f i r s t t i m e they a p p e a r i n e a c h c h a p t e r , w h i c h m e a n s t h a t they a r e d e f i n e d in t h e Glossary. E a c h c h a p t e r has b e e n u p d a t e d t o reflect r e c e n t d e v e l o p m e n t s i n the field. I have also i n c l u d e d m a n y n e w p h o t o s a n d c a p t i o n s , m o s t of t h e m from r e c e n t l y released movies. xi

T h e final c h a p t e r , "Synthesis: Citizen Kane," is a r e c a p i t u l a t i o n of t h e m a i n ideas of t h e previous c h a p t e r s , a p p l i e d to a single movie. T h e c h a p t e r can also serve as a r o u g h m o d e l for a t e r m paper. VCR a n d DVD have allowed film analysis to be m u c h m o r e systematic, b e c a u s e a movie in cassette or disk form can be r e p e a t e d m a n y times. In my own courses, I r e q u i r e my s t u d e n t s to select a s c e n e — p r e f e r a b l y u n d e r t h r e e m i n u t e s — a n d analyze all its c o m p o n e n t s a c c o r d i n g to t h e c h a p t e r s of this b o o k . Of c o u r s e , a t e r m p a p e r is n o t likely to be as d e t a i l e d as the Citizen Kane analysis, b u t t h e s a m e m e t h o d o l o g y c a n be applied. If t h e c h a p t e r s a r e r e a d in a different s e q u e n c e , t h e t e r m p a p e r c a n be o r g a n i z e d i n a c o r r e s p o n d i n g m a n n e r . For e x a m p l e , m a n y p e o p l e w o u l d p r e f e r to b e g i n an analysis with story or t h e m e , a n d t h e n p r o c e e d to m a t t e r s of style a n d t e c h n i q u e . Citizen Kane is an ideal c h o i c e b e c a u s e it i n c l u d e s virtually every t e c h n i q u e t h e m e d i u m is c a p a b l e of, in a d d i t i o n to b e i n g o n e of t h e m o s t critically a d m i r e d films in history a n d a p o p u l a r favorite a m o n g s t u d e n t s . A w o r d a b o u t t h e p h o t o s in this b o o k . Most of t h e illustrations a r e publicity p h o t o s , t a k e n with a 3 5 - m m still c a m e r a . T h e y a r e n o t f r a m e e n l a r g e m e n t s from t h e movie itself, f o r s u c h e n l a r g e m e n t s r e p r o d u c e poorly. T h e y a r e g e n e r a l l y t o o h a r s h l y c o n t r a s t i n g a n d lacking i n detail c o m p a r e d t o t h e m o v i n g i m a g e on a l a r g e s c r e e n . W h e n e x a c t i t u d e was necessary, as in t h e series from The Seven Samurai ( 9 - 1 4 ) or t h e e d i t e d s e q u e n c e f r o m Potemkin ( 4 - 1 8 ) , I i n c l u d e d actual b l o w u p s from t h e movies themselves. Most of t h e t i m e , however, I p r e f e r r e d to use publicity p h o t o s b e c a u s e of t h e i r s u p e r i o r technical resolution.

I w o u l d like to t h a n k t h e following friends a n d o r g a n i z a t i o n s for t h e i r h e l p , advice, a n d criticism: M a r y A r a n e o , Scott E y m a n , Jon F o r m a n , Dave Wittkowsky, t h e staff of The Observer, t h e Case W e s t e r n R e s e r v e University Film Society, a n d m y s t u d e n t s a t C.W.R.U. I ' m grateful t o I n g m a r B e r g m a n , w h o was k i n d e n o u g h to allow me to use t h e f r a m e e n l a r g e m e n t s from Persona; a n d Akira Kurosawa, w h o graciously c o n s e n t e d to my u s i n g e n l a r g e m e n t s f r o m The Seven Samurai. I would also like to a c k n o w l e d g e a n d t h a n k t h e following individuals a n d institutions for t h e i r assistance in allowing me to use materials u n d e r t h e i r copyright: A n d r e w Sarris, for p e r m i s s i o n to q u o t e from " T h e Fall a n d Rise of t h e Film Director," in Interviews with Film Directors (New York: Avon Books, 1967); Kurosawa P r o d u c t i o n s , T o h o I n t e r n a t i o n a l Co., Ltd., a n d A u d i o B r a n d o n Films for p e r m i s s i o n to use t h e frame e n l a r g e m e n t s from The Seven Samurai; from North by Northwest, T h e M G M Library of Film Scripts, written by E a r n e s t L e h m a n (Copyright © 1959 by Loews I n c o r p o r a t e d . R e p r i n t e d by p e r m i s s i o n of t h e Viking Press, I n c . ) ; Albert. J. La Valley, Focus on Hitchcock (© 1972. R e p r i n t e d by p e r m i s s i o n of Prentice-Hall, Inc., E n g l e w o o d Cliffs, New Jersey); Albert Maysles, in Documentary Explorations, e d i t e d by G. Roy Levin ( G a r d e n City, N.Y.: D o u b l e -

X

iii

day & C o m p a n y , Inc., 1971); Vladimir Nilsen, The Cinema as a Graphic Art (New York: Hill a n d W a n g , a Division of Farrar, Straus a n d G i r o u x ) ; Maya D e r e n , "Cine m a t o g r a p h y : T h e Creative Use of Reality," in The Visual Arts Today, e d i t e d by Gyorgy Kepes ( M i d d l e t o w n , C o n n : Wesleyan University Press, 1960); Marcel C a r n e , from The French Cinema, by Roy A r m e s (San Diego, Cal.: A. S. B a r n e s & Co., 1966); R i c h a r d Dyer M a c C a n n , " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " Film: A Montage of Theories (New York: E. P. D u t t o n & Co., I n c . ) , copyright © 1966 by R i c h a r d Dyer MacC a n n , r e p r i n t e d with permission; V. I. Pudovkin, Film Technique ( L o n d o n : Vision, 1954); A n d r e Bazin, What Is Cinema? (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967); M i c h e l a n g e l o A n t o n i o n i , "Two S t a t e m e n t s , " in Film Makers on Film Making, e d i t e d by H a r r y M. G e d u l d ( B l o o m i n g t o n : University o f l n d i a n a Press, 1969); A l e x a n d r e Astruc, from The New Wave, e d i t e d by P e t e r G r a h a m ( L o n d o n : Seeker & W a r b u r g , 1968, a n d New York: D o u b l e d a y & C o . ) ; Akira Kurosawa, from T h e Movies As M e d i u m , e d i t e d by Lewis Jacobs (New York: Farrar, Straus a n d G i r o u x , 1970); P a u l i n e Kael, 1 Lost It al the Movies (New York: B a n t a m Books, 1966). L o u i s GIANNETTI

Cleveland,

Ohio

2

Overview T h e t h r e e styles of film: r e a l i s m , classicism, a n d f o r m a l i s m . T h r e e b r o a d t y p e s of cine m a : d o c u m e n t a r i e s , fiction films, a n d a v a n t - g a r d e movies. T h e signified a n d t h e signifier: h o w form s h a p e s c o n t e n t i n m o v i e s . Subject m a t t e r p l u s t r e a t m e n t e q u a l c o n t e n t . T h e s h o t s : a p p a r e n t d i s t a n c e o f t h e c a m e r a from t h e subject. T h e a n g l e s : l o o k i n g u p , d o w n , or at e y e level. Lighting styles: h i g h key, low key, high c o n t r a s t . T h e s y m b o l i s m of light a n d d a r k n e s s . Color s y m b o l i s m . H o w l e n s e s distort t h e subject m a t t e r : t e l e p h o t o s , wide-angle, a n d s t a n d a r d l e n s e s . Filtered reality: m o r e d i s t o r t i o n s . Special effects a n d t h e optical printer. T h e c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r : t h e film director's m a i n visual collaborator.

Even b e f o r e t h e t u r n of t h e last century, movies b e g a n to d e v e l o p in two major directions: t h e realistic a n d t h e formalistic. In t h e mid-1890s in F r a n c e , t h e L u m i e r e b r o t h e r s d e l i g h t e d a u d i e n c e s with t h e i r s h o r t movies dealing with everyday o c c u r r e n c e s . S u c h films as The Arrival of a Train ( 4 - 3 ) fascin a t e d viewers precisely b e c a u s e they s e e m e d t o c a p t u r e t h e flux a n d s p o n t a n e ity of events as they w e r e viewed in real life. At a b o u t t h e s a m e t i m e , G e o r g e s Melies was c r e a t i n g a n u m b e r of fantasy films t h a t e m p h a s i z e d purely i m a g i n e d events. Such movies as A Trip to the Moon (4-4) w e r e typical m i x t u r e s of whimsical narrative a n d trick p h o t o g r a p h y . In m a n y respects, t h e L u m i e r e s can be r e g a r d e d as t h e f o u n d e r s of t h e realist t r a d i t i o n of c i n e m a , a n d Melies of t h e formalist t r a d i t i o n . Realism a n d formalism are g e n e r a l r a t h e r t h a n absolute t e r m s . W h e n used to suggest a t e n d e n c y toward e i t h e r polarity, such labels can be helpful, b u t in t h e e n d t h e y ' r e j u s t labels. Few films are exclusively formalist in style, a n d fewer yet a r e completely realist. T h e r e is also an i m p o r t a n t difference between realism a n d reality, a l t h o u g h this distinction is often forgotten. Realism is a particular style, w h e r e a s physical reality is t h e s o u r c e of all t h e raw materials of film, b o t h realistic a n d formalistic. Virtually all movie directors go to t h e p h o t o g r a p h able world for t h e i r subject matter, b u t w h a t they do with this m a t e r i a l — h o w they s h a p e a n d m a n i p u l a t e it—is what d e t e r m i n e s t h e i r stylistic e m p h a s i s . Generally s p e a k i n g , realistic films a t t e m p t to r e p r o d u c e t h e surface of reality with a m i n i m u m of d i s t o r t i o n . In p h o t o g r a p h i n g objects a n d events, t h e filmmaker tries to suggest t h e c o p i o u s n e s s of life itself. Both realist a n d formalist film d i r e c t o r s m u s t select ( a n d h e n c e , e m p h a s i z e ) c e r t a i n details from t h e c h a o t i c sprawl of reality. But t h e e l e m e n t of selectivity in realistic films is less obvious. Realists, in s h o r t , try to p r e s e r v e t h e illusion t h a t t h e i r film world is u n m a n i p u l a t e d , a n objective m i r r o r o f t h e actual world. Formalists, o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , m a k e n o such p r e t e n s e . T h e y deliberately stylize a n d distort t h e i r raw m a t e r i a l s so t h a t only t h e very naive w o u l d mistake a m a n i p u l a t e d i m a g e of an object or e v e n t for t h e real t h i n g . Style is p a r t of t h e show.

1 - la. The Perfect Storm (U.S.A., 2000), with George Clooney, directed by Wolfgang Petersen. (Warner Bros.) Realism a n d F o r m a l i s m . Critics and theorists have c h a m p i o n e d film as the most realistic of all the arts in capturing how an experience actually looks and sounds, like this thrilling recreation of a ferocious storm at sea. A stage director would have to suggest the storm symbolically, with stylized lighting and off-stage sound effects. A novelist would have to recreate the event with words, a painter with pigments brushstroked onto a flat canvas. But a film director can create the event with much greater credibility by plunging the c a m e r a (a proxy for us) in the middle of the most terrifying ordeals without actually putting us in h a r m ' s way. In short, film realism is m o r e like "being there" than any other artistic m e d i u m or any other style of presentation. Audiences can experience the thrills without facing any of the dangers. Dames presents us with another type of experience entirely. The choreographies of Busby Berkeley are triumphs of artifice, far removed from the real world. Depression-weary audie n c e s flocked to movies like this precisely to get away from everyday reality. They wanted magic and e n c h a n t m e n t , not reminders of their real-life problems. Berkeley's style was the most formalized of all choreographers. He liberated the c a m e r a from the narrow confines of the proscenium arch, soaring overhead, even swirling amongst the dancers, and juxtaposing shots from a variety of vantage points throughout the musical numbers. He often photographed his dancers from unusual angles, like this bird's-eye s h o t . S o m e t i m e s he didn't even bother using dancers at all, preferring a uniform contingent of good-looking young w o m e n who are used primarily as semi-abstract visual units, like bits of glass in a shifting kaleidoscope of formal patterns. Audiences were e n c h a n t e d . l-lb. Dames (U.S.A., 1934), choreographed by Busby Berkeley, directed by Ray Enright. (Warner Bros.)

1-2. Classification c h a r t of styles a n d t y p e s of film. Critics and scholars categorize movies according to a variety of criteria. Two of the most c o m m o n m e t h o d s of classification are by style and by type. The three principal styles—realism, classicism, and formalism—might be regarded as a continuous spectrum of possibilities, rather than airtight categories. Similarly, the three types of movies—documentaries, fiction, and a v a n t - g a r d e films—are also t e r m s of convenience, for they often overlap. Realistic films like Distant Thunder (1-4) can s h a d e into the documentary. Formalist movies like The Seventh Seal ( 1 - 6 ) have a personal quality suggesting the traditional domain of the avant-garde. Most fiction films, especially those produced in America, tend to conform to the classical p a r a d i g m . Classical cinema-can be viewed as an intermediate style that avoids the e x t r e m e s of realism and formalism—though most movies in the classical form lean toward o n e of~~:he other style.

We rarely n o t i c e t h e style in a realistic movie; t h e artist t e n d s to be selfeffacing, invisible. S u c h filmmakers a r e m o r e c o n c e r n e d with what's b e i n g shown r a t h e r t h a n h o w it's m a n i p u l a t e d . T h e c a m e r a is used conservatively. It's essentially a r e c o r d i n g m e c h a n i s m t h a t r e p r o d u c e s t h e surface of tangible objects with as little c o m m e n t a r y as possible. S o m e realists aim for a r o u g h look in t h e i r images, o n e t h a t d o e s n ' t prettify t h e materials with a self-conscious beauty of form. "If it's t o o pretty, it's false," is an implicit a s s u m p t i o n . A h i g h p r e m i u m is p l a c e d on simplicity, spontaneity, a n d d i r e c t n e s s . T h i s is n o t to suggest t h a t t h e s e movies lack artistry, however, for at its best, t h e realistic c i n e m a specializes in art t h a t c o n c e a l s art. Formalist movies a r e stylistically flamboyant. T h e i r d i r e c t o r s a r e conc e r n e d with e x p r e s s i n g t h e i r u n a b a s h e d l y subjective e x p e r i e n c e of reality, n o t h o w o t h e r p e o p l e m i g h t see it. Formalists are often r e f e r r e d to as expressionists, b e c a u s e t h e i r self-expression is at least as i m p o r t a n t as t h e subject m a t t e r itself. Expressionists a r c often c o n c e r n e d with spiritual a n d psychological t r u t h s , which they feel can be conveyed best by distorting t h e surface of t h e material world. T h e c a m e r a is u s e d as a m e t h o d of c o m m e n t i n g on t h e subject matter, a way of e m p h a s i z i n g its essential r a t h e r t h a n its objective n a t u r e . Formalist movies have a h i g h d e g r e e of m a n i p u l a t i o n , a stylization of reality.

4

5

M o s t realists w o u l d claim t h a t t h e i r m a j o r c o n c e r n is with content r a t h e r t h a n form o r t e c h n i q u e . T h e s u b j e c t m a t t e r i s always s u p r e m e , a n d a n y t h i n g t h a t d i s t r a c t s f r o m t h e c o n t e n t i s viewed with s u s p i c i o n . I n its m o s t e x t r e m e f o r m , t h e realistic c i n e m a t e n d s t o w a r d d o c u m e n t a r y , with its e m p h a s i s o n p h o t o g r a p h i n g actual events a n d p e o p l e ( 1 - 3 ) . T h e formalist cinema, on the o t h e r h a n d , tends t o emphasize t e c h n i q u e a n d expressiveness. T h e most e x t r e m e e x a m p l e o f this style o f f i l m m a k i n g i s f o u n d i n t h e a v a n t - g a r d e c i n e m a ( 1 - 7 ) .

1-3. Hearts and Minds (U.S.A., 1 9 7 5 ) , directed by Peter Davis. The emotional impact of a d o c u m e n t a r y image usually derives from its truth rather than its beauty. Davis's indictment of America's devastation of Vietnam consists primarily of TV newsreel footage. This photo shows s o m e Vietnamese children running from an accidental b o m b ing raid on their community, their clothes literally burned off their bodies by napalm. "First they b o m b as much as they please," a Vietnamese observes, "then they film it." It was images such as these that eventually turned the majority of Americans against the war. Fernando Solanas and Octavio Gettino, Third World filmmakers, have pointed out, "Every image that d o c u m e n t s , bears witness to, refutes or d e e p e n s the truth of a situation is something more than a film image or purely artistic fact; it b e c o m e s something which the System finds indigestible." Paradoxically, in no country except the United States would such self-damning footage be allowed on the public airwaves—which are controlled, or at least regulated, by gove r n m e n t s . No other country has a First A m e n d m e n t , guaranteeing freedom of expression. (Warner

Bros.)

6

P h o t o g f c i p h y

S o m e o f t h e s e movies a r e totally abstract; p u r e f o r m s ( t h a t is, n o n r e p r e s e n t a tional colors, lines, a n d s h a p e s ) c o n s t i t u t e t h e o n l y c o n t e n t . M o s t f i c t i o n f i l m s fall s o m e w h e r e b e t w e e n t h e s e two e x t r e m e s , in a m o d e critics refer to as classical cinema ( 1 - 5 ) . Even t h e t e r m s form a n d content a r e n ' t as clear-cut as t h e y m a y s o m e times s e e m . A s t h e f i l m m a k e r a n d a u t h o r V l a d i m i r Nilsen p o i n t e d o u t : " A p h o t o g r a p h i s b y n o m e a n s a c o m p l e t e a n d w h o l e reflection o f reality: t h e p h o t o graphic picture represents only o n e or a n o t h e r selection from t h e sum of physical a t t r i b u t e s of t h e o b j e c t p h o t o g r a p h e d . " T h e f o r m of a s h o t — t h e way in which a s u b j e c t is p h o t o g r a p h e d — i s its t r u e c o n t e n t , n o t necessarily w h a t t h e subject is p e r c e i v e d to be in reality. T h e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s t h e o r i s t Marshall

1 -4. Distant Thunder (India, 1973), directed by Satyajit Ray. In most realistic films, there is a close correspondence of the images to everyday reality. This criterion of value necessarily involves a comparison between the internal world of the movie with the external milieu that the filmmaker has chosen to explore. The realistic c i n e m a tends to deal with people from the lower social echelons and often explores moral issues. The artist rarely intrudes on the materials, however, preferring to let t h e m speak for themselves. Rather than focusing on extraordinary events, realism tends to emphasize the basic experiences of life. It is a style that excels in making us feel the humanity of others. Beauty of form is often sacrificed to capture the texture of reality as it's ordinarily perceived. Realistic images often s e e m unmanipulated, haphazard in their design. They frequently convey an intimate snapshot quality—people caught unawares. Generally, the story materials are loosely organized and include m a n y details that don't necessarily forward the plot but are offered for their own sake, to heighten the sense of authenticity. (Cinema 5)

7

M c L u h a n p o i n t e d o u t t h a t t h e c o n t e n t o f o n e m e d i u m i s actually a n o t h e r m e d i u m . F o r e x a m p l e , a p h o t o g r a p h (visual i m a g e ) d e p i c t i n g a m a n e a t i n g an a p p l e (taste) involves two different m e d i u m s : Each c o m m u n i c a t e s i n f o r m a t i o n — c o n t e n t — i n a d i f f e r e n t way. A verbal d e s c r i p t i o n of t h e p h o t o g r a p h of t h e m a n e a t i n g t h e a p p l e w o u l d involve yet a n o t h e r m e d i u m ( l a n g u a g e ) , w h i c h c o m m u n i c a t e s i n f o r m a t i o n i n yet a n o t h e r m a n n e r . I n e a c h case, t h e p r e cise i n f o r m a t i o n is d e t e r m i n e d by t h e m e d i u m , a l t h o u g h superficially all t h r e e have t h e s a m e c o n t e n t . In l i t e r a t u r e , t h e naive s e p a r a t i o n of f o r m a n d c o n t e n t is called " t h e h e r e s y of p a r a p h r a s e . " F o r e x a m p l e , t h e c o n t e n t of Hamlet can be f o u n d in a college o u t l i n e , yet n o o n e w o u l d seriously suggest t h a t t h e play a n d o u t l i n e a r e t h e s a m e " e x c e p t in f o r m . " To p a r a p h r a s e artistic i n f o r m a t i o n is inevitably to c h a n g e its c o n t e n t as well as its f o r m . Artistry can n e v e r be g a u g e d by subject

1-5. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (U.S.A., 1 9 3 6 ) , with Gary Cooper (with tuba), directed by Frank Copra. Classical c i n e m a avoids the e x t r e m e s of realism and formalism in favor of a slightly stylized presentation that has at least a surface plausibility. Movies in this form are often h a n d s o m e l y m o u n t e d , but the style rarely calls attention to itself. The images are d e t e r m i n e d by their relevance to the story and characters, rather than a desire for authenticity or formal beauty alone. The implicit ideal is a functional, invisible style: The pictorial e l e m e n t s are subordinated to the presentation of characters in action. Classical c i n e m a is story oriented. The narrative line is seldom allowed to wander, nor is it broken up by authorial intrusions. A high p r e m i u m is placed on the e n t e r t a i n m e n t value of the story, which is often s h a p e d to conform to the conventions of a popular genre. Often the characters are played by stars rather than u n k n o w n players, a n d their roles are s o m e t i m e s tailored to showcase their personal charms. The h u m a n materials are p a r a m o u n t in the classical cinema. The characters are generally appealing a n d slightly romanticized. The audience is encouraged to identify with their values a n d goals.

(Columbia Pictures)

8

P h o t o g

f a p K y

m a t t e r a l o n e . T h e m a n n e r o f its p r e s e n t a t i o n — i t s forms—is t h e t r u e c o n t e n t o f p a i n t i n g s , l i t e r a t u r e , a n d plays. T h e s a m e a p p l i e s t o movies. T h e great F r e n c h critic A n d r e Bazin n o t e d , " O n e way o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g b e t t e r what a film is t r y i n g to say is to k n o w h o w it is saying it." T h e A m e r i c a n critic H e r m a n G. W e i n b e r g e x p r e s s e d t h e m a t t e r succinctly: " T h e way a story is told is p a r t of t h a t story. You c a n tell t h e s a m e story badly or well; you c a n also tell it well e n o u g h or magnificently. It d e p e n d s on w h o is telling t h e story." Realism a n d realistic a r e m u c h o v e r t a x e d t e r m s , b o t h in life a n d in movies. We use t h e s e t e r m s to e x p r e s s so m a n y different ideas. F o r e x a m p l e , p e o p l e often praise t h e "realism" of t h e b o x i n g m a t c h e s in Raging Bull. W h a t they really m e a n i s t h a t t h e s e scenes a r e powerful, i n t e n s e , a n d vivid. T h e s e traits owe very little to realism as a style. In fact, t h e b o x i n g m a t c h e s a r e e x t r e m e l y stylized. T h e i m a g e s a r e often p h o t o g r a p h e d i n d r e a m y slow m o t i o n ,

1 -6. The Seventh Seal ( S w e d e n , 1 9 5 7 ) , with Bengt Ekerot and Max von Sydow, cinematography by Cunnar Fischer, directed by Ingmar Bergman. The formalist cinema is largely a director's cinema: We're often aware of the personality of the filmmaker. There is a high degree of manipulation in the narrative materials, a n d the visual presentation is stylized. The story is exploited as a vehicle for the filmmaker's personal obsessions. Formalists are not much concerned with how realistic their images are, but with their beauty or p o w e r . The most artificial genres—musicals, sci-fi, fantasy films—are generally classified as formalist. Most movies of this sort deal with extraordinary characters a n d events—such as this mortal g a m e of chess b e t w e e n a medieval knight a n d the figure of Death. This style of c i n e m a excels in dealing with ideas—political, religious, philosophical— a n d is often the chosen m e d i u m of propagandistic artists. Its texture is densely symbolic: Feelings are expressed through forms, like the dramatic high-contrast lighting of this shot. Most of the great stylists of the cinema are formalists, ijanus Films)

1 - 7 . Allures (U.S.A., 1 9 6 1 ) , directed by Jordan Belson. In the avant-garde cinema, subject matter is often suppressed in favor of abstraction and an emphasis on formal beauty for its own sake. Like m a n y artists in this idiom, Belson began as a painter and was attracted to film because of its temporal and kinetic dimensions. He was strongly influenced by such European avant-garde artists as Hans Richter, who championed the "absolute film"—a graphic cinema of pure forms divorced from a recognizable subject matter. Belson's works are inspired by philosophical concepts derived primarily from Oriental religions, but these are essentially private sources and are rarely presented explicitly in films themselves. Form is the true content of Belson's movies. His animated images are mostly geometrical shapes, dissolving and contracting circles of light, and kinetic swirls. His patterns expand, congeal, flicker, and split off into other shapes, only to re-form and explode again. It is a cinema of uncompromising self-expression—personal, often inaccessible, a n d iconoclastic. (Pyramid Films)

with lyrical c r a n e shots, w e i r d a c c o m p a n y i n g s o u n d effects (like hissing s o u n d s a n d j u n g l e s c r e a m s ) , staccato e d i t i n g i n b o t h t h e i m a g e s a n d t h e s o u n d . T r u e , t h e subject m a t t e r i s b a s e d o n actual life—the brief b o x i n g c a r e e r o f t h e A m e r ican m i d d l e w e i g h t c h a m p i o n of t h e 1940s, Jake La Motta. B u t t h e stylistic treatm e n t o f t h e s e b i o g r a p h i c a l m a t e r i a l s i s extravagantly subjective ( l - 8 a ) . At t h e o p p o s i t e e x t r e m e , t h e special effects in lotal Recall a r e so u n c a n nily realistic t h a t we w o u l d swear they w e r e real if we d i d n ' t k n o w b e t t e r . In t h e s c e n e p i c t u r e d ( l - 8 b ) , for e x a m p l e , w e sec a p l u m p b a l d c h a r a c t e r magically t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o A r n o l d S c h w a r z e n e g g e r after h e r e m o v e s his lifelike h e a d p i e c e . S u c h fantasy m a t e r i a l s can b e p r e s e n t e d with a s t o n i s h i n g "realism" t h a n k s t o t h e b r i l l i a n c e o f D r e a m Q u e s t , o n e o f t h e m o s t p r e s t i g i o u s special effects o r g a n i z a t i o n s in A m e r i c a . 9

1 -8a. (United

Raging Bull (U.S.A., 1980), with Robert De Niro, directed by Martin Scorsese. Artists)

l-8b. Total Recall (U.S.A., 1990), with Arnold Schwarzenegger, directed by Paul Verhoeven. cm-Star Pictures)

Realism and formalism are best used as stylistic terms rather than terms to describe the nature of the subject matter. For example, although the story of Raging Bull is based on actual events, the boxing m a t c h e s in the film are stylized. In this photo, the badly bruised Jake La Motta resembles an agonized warrior, crucified against the ropes of the ring. The camera floats toward him in lyrical slow motion while the soft focus obliterates his consciousness of the arena. In Total Recall on the other hand, the special effects are so realistic they almost convince us that the impossible is possible. If special effects look fake, our pleasure is diminished. In short, it's quite possible to present fantasy materials in a realistic style. It's equally possible to present realitybased materials in an expressionistic style.

10

P K o t o g i - a p k y

F o r m a n d c o n t e n t a r e best u s e d a s relative t e r m s . T h e y a r e useful concepts for t e m p o r a r i l y isolating specific aspects of a movie for t h e p u r p o s e s of closer e x a m i n a t i o n . S u c h a s e p a r a t i o n is artificial, of c o u r s e , yet this t e c h n i q u e can yield m o r e d e t a i l e d insights i n t o t h e w o r k of art as a w h o l e . By b e g i n n i n g with an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e basic c o m p o n e n t s of t h e film m e d i u m — i t s various l a n g u a g e systems, as it w e r e — w e will see h o w f o r m a n d c o n t e n t in t h e cine m a , as in t h e o t h e r arts, a r e ultimately t h e s a m e .

The

Skots

T h e shots a r e d e f i n e d b y t h e a m o u n t o f subject m a t t e r t h a t ' s i n c l u d e d within t h e frame of t h e s c r e e n . In actual practice, however, s h o t d e s i g n a t i o n s vary considerably. A m e d i u m shot for o n e d i r e c t o r m i g h t be c o n s i d e r e d a closeu p b y a n o t h e r . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e l o n g e r t h e shot, t h e less precise a r e t h e design a t i o n s . I n g e n e r a l , shots a r e d e t e r m i n e d o n t h e basis o f h o w m u c h o f t h e h u m a n figure is in view. T h e s h o t is n o t necessarily d e f i n e d by t h e d i s t a n c e b e t w e e n t h e c a m e r a a n d t h e object p h o t o g r a p h e d , for i n s o m e instances certain lenses d i s t o r t distances. F o r e x a m p l e , a telephoto lens can p r o d u c e a closeup on t h e s c r e e n , yet t h e c a m e r a in s u c h shots is generally q u i t e d i s t a n t from t h e subject matter. A l t h o u g h t h e r e a r e m a n y different k i n d s o f s h o t s i n t h e c i n e m a , m o s t of t h e m a r e s u b s u m e d u n d e r t h e six basic categories: (1) t h e e x t r e m e long shot, (2) t h e long shot, (3) t h e full shot, (4) t h e m e d i u m shot, (5) t h e close-up, a n d (6) t h e e x t r e m e close-up. T h e deep-focus shot is usually a variation of t h e l o n g or extreme long shot (1-9). T h e extreme long shot is t a k e n f r o m a g r e a t d i s t a n c e , s o m e t i m e s as far as a q u a r t e r of a m i l e away. It's a l m o s t always an e x t e r i o r s h o t a n d shows m u c h o f t h e l o c a l e . E x t r e m e l o n g s h o t s also s e r v e a s spatial f r a m e s o f refere n c e for t h e c l o s e r s h o t s a n d for this r e a s o n a r e s o m e t i m e s c a l l e d establish-

1-9. Okaeri (Japan, 1995), directed by Makoto Shinozaki. The setting d o m i n a t e s most e x t r e m e long shots. H u m a n s are dwarfed into visual insignificance, making t h e m appear unimportant and vulnerable. Shinozaki's desperate lovers seem oppressed even by Nature—vast, stark, merciless. (Dimension

Films)

1-10. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (U.S.A., 1 9 9 4 ) , with Robert De Niro (under wraps) and Kenneth Branagh, directed by Branagh. At its most distant range, the long shot e n c o m p a s s e s roughly the s a m e a m o u n t of space as the staging area of a large theater. Setting can d o m i n a t e characters unless they're located near the foreground. Lighting a long shot is usually costly, time consuming, and labor intensive, especially if it's in d e e p focus, like this shot. The laboratory had to be m o o d y and scary, yet still sufficiently clear to enable us to see back into the "depth" of the set. Note how the lighting is layered, punctuated with patches of gloom and accusatory shafts of light from above. To complicate matters, whenever a director cuts to closer shots, the lighting has to be adjusted accordingly so that the transitions between cuts appear smooth and unobtrusive. Anyone w h o has ever visited a movie set knows that people are waiting most of the time— usually for the director of photography (D.P.) to a n n o u n c e that the lighting is finally ready and the scene can now be photographed, rmstarPictures)

ing s h o t s . I f p e o p l e a r e i n c l u d e d i n e x t r e m e l o n g s h o t s , they usually a p p e a r a s m e r e s p e c k s o n t h e s c r e e n ( 1 - 9 ) . T h e m o s t effective u s e o f t h e s e s h o t s i s o f t e n f o u n d i n e p i c films, w h e r e l o c a l e plays a n i m p o r t a n t r o l e : w e s t e r n s , w a r films, s a m u r a i films, a n d h i s t o r i c a l m o v i e s . T h e long .shot. (1-10) is p e r h a p s t h e m o s t c o m p l e x in t h e c i n e m a , a n d t h e t e r m itself o n e o f t h e m o s t i m p r e c i s e . Usually, long-shot r a n g e s c o r r e s p o n d a p p r o x i m a t e l y t o t h e d i s t a n c e b e t w e e n t h e a u d i e n c e a n d t h e stage i n t h e live theater. T h e closest r a n g e within this c a t e g o r y is t h e full shot, w h i c h j u s t barely i n c l u d e s t h e h u m a n b o d y i n full, with t h e h e a d n e a r t h e t o p o f t h e frame a n d t h e feet n e a r t h e b o t t o m . T h e medium shot c o n t a i n s a figure from t h e k n e e s or waist u p . A functional shot, it's useful for s h o o t i n g exposition scenes, for c a r r y i n g m o v e m e n t , a n d for d i a l o g u e . T h e r e a r c several variations of t h e m e d i u m shot. T h e two-shot c o n t a i n s two figures from t h e waist up ( 1 - 1 1 ) . T h e three-shot c o n t a i n s t h r e e figures; b e y o n d t h r e e , t h e s h o t t e n d s to b e c o m e dffull shot, Unless t h e o t h e r figures are in t h e b a c k g r o u n d . T h e over-the-shoulder shot usually c o n t a i n s two figures, o n e with p a r t o f his o r h e r back t o t h e c a m e r a , t h e o t h e r facing t h e c a m e r a . 12

1-11. As Good As It Gets (U.S.A., 1997), with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, directed by James L. Brooks. Above all, the m e d i u m shot is the shot of the couple, romantic or otherwise. Generally, twoshots have a split focus rather than a single dominant: The bifurcated composition usually emphasizes equality, two people sharing the s a m e intimate space. The m e d i u m two-shot reigns s u p r e m e in such genres as romantic comedies, love stories, and buddy films, (wstar Pictures)

T h e close-up shows very little if any locale a n d c o n c e n t r a t e s on a relatively small o b j e c t — t h e h u m a n face, for e x a m p l e . Because the close-up magnifies t h e size of an object, it t e n d s to elevate t h e i m p o r t a n c e of things, often suggesting a symbolic significance. T h e extreme close-up is a variation of this shot. T h u s , instead of a face, t h e e x t r e m e close-up m i g h t show only a p e r s o n ' s eyes or m o u t h . T h e deep-focus shot is usually a l o n g s h o t consisting of a n u m b e r of focal distances a n d p h o t o g r a p h e d in d e p t h ( 1 - 1 0 ) . S o m e t i m e s called a wide-angle shot b e c a u s e it r e q u i r e s a wide-angle lens to p h o t o g r a p h , this type of s h o t capt u r e s objects at close, m e d i u m , a n d l o n g r a n g e s simultaneously, all of t h e m in s h a r p focus. T h e objects in a deep-focus s h o t a r e carefully a r r a n g e d in a succession of p l a n e s . By u s i n g this layering t e c h n i q u e , t h e d i r e c t o r c a n g u i d e t h e _ v i e w e r ' s e y e from o n e d i s t a n c e to a n o t h e r . Generally, t h e eye travels from a close range to a m e d i u m to a l o n g .

T h e angle from which an object is p h o t o g r a p h e d can often serve as an a u t h o r i a l c o m m e n t a r y on t h e subject matter. If t h e a n g l e is slight, it c a n serve as a subtle f o r m of e m o t i o n a l c o l o r a t i o n . If t h e a n g l e is e x t r e m e , it can r e p r e s e n t t h e major m e a n i n g o f a n i m a g e . T h e a n g l e i s d e t e r m i n e d b y w h e r e t h e camera is p l a c e d , n o t t h e subject p h o t o g r a p h e d . A p i c t u r e of a p e r s o n p h o 1 3

" P h o t o g r a p h y

t o g r a p h e d from a h i g h a n g l e actually suggests an o p p o s i t e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n from an i m a g e of t h e s a m e p e r s o n p h o t o g r a p h e d from a low a n g l e . T h e subject matt e r c a n be identical in t h e two i m a g e s , yet t h e i n f o r m a t i o n we derive from b o t h clearly shows t h a t t h e f o r m is t h e c o n t e n t , t h e c o n t e n t t h e form. F i l m m a k e r s i n t h e realistic t r a d i t i o n t e n d t o avoid e x t r e m e a n g l e s . M o s t of t h e i r s c e n e s a r e p h o t o g r a p h e d f r o m eye level, r o u g h l y five to six feet off t h e g r o u n d — a p p r o x i m a t e l y t h e way an actual o b s e r v e r m i g h t view a s c e n e . Usually t h e s e d i r e c t o r s a t t e m p t to c a p t u r e t h e c l e a r e s t view of an object. Eyelevel shots a r e s e l d o m intrinsically d r a m a t i c , b e c a u s e t h e y t e n d t o b e t h e n o r m . Virtually all d i r e c t o r s u s e s o m e eye-level shots, especially in r o u t i n e exposition scenes. F o r m a l i s t d i r e c t o r s a r e n o t always c o n c e r n e d with t h e clearest i m a g e o f a n object, b u t with t h e i m a g e t h a t best c a p t u r e s a n object's expressive e s s e n c e . E x t r e m e a n g l e s involve d i s t o r t i o n s . Yet m a n y filmmakers feel t h a t by d i s t o r t i n g t h e surface realism of an object, a g r e a t e r t r u t h is a c h i e v e d — a symbolic t r u t h . B o t h realist a n d formalist d i r e c t o r s k n o w t h a t t h e viewer t e n d s t o identify with t h e c a m e r a ' s lens. T h e realist wishes t o m a k e t h e a u d i e n c e forget t h a t t h e r e ' s a c a m e r a at all. T h e formalist is constantly calling a t t e n t i o n to it. 1-12. Bonnie and Clyde (U.S.A., 1 9 6 7 ) , with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty directed by Arthur Penn. High angles tend to m a k e people look powerless, trapped. The higher the angle, the m o r e it tends to imply fatality. The c a m e r a ' s angle can be inferred by the background of a shot: High angles usually show the ground or floor; low angles the sky or ceiling. Because we tend to associate light with safety, high-key lighting is generally n o n t h r e a t e n i n g a n d reassuring. But not always. We have been socially conditioned to believe that danger lurks in darkness, so w h e n a traumatic assault takes place in broad daylight, as in this scene, the effect is doubly scary b e c a u s e it's so u n e x p e c t e d . (Warner Bros.)

1-13. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (U.S.A., 1 9 9 5 ) , with George Wilbur, directed by Joe Chappelle. Extreme low angles can m a k e characters s e e m threatening and powerful, for they loom above the c a m e r a — a n d us—like towering giants. We are collapsed in a position of m a x i m u m vulnerability—pinned to the ground, d o m i n a t e d . (Dimension Films)

T h e r e a r e five basic angles in t h e c i n e m a : (1) t h e bird's-eye view, (2) t h e high a n g l e , (3) t h e eye-level shot, (4) t h e low a n g l e , a n d (5) t h e o b l i q u e angle. As in t h e case of s h o t d e s i g n a t i o n s , t h e r e are m a n y i n t e r m e d i a t e kinds of angles. F o r e x a m p l e , t h e r e can be a c o n s i d e r a b l e difference b e t w e e n a low a n d e x t r e m e low a n g l e — a l t h o u g h usually, of c o u r s e , such differences t e n d to be m a t t e r s of d e g r e e . Generally s p e a k i n g , t h e m o r e e x t r e m e t h e a n g l e , t h e m o r e distracting a n d c o n s p i c u o u s it is in t e r m s of t h e subject m a t t e r b e i n g p h o t o g r a p h e d . T h e bird's-eye view is p e r h a p s t h e m o s t d i s o r i e n t i n g a n g l e of all, for it involves p h o t o g r a p h i n g a s c e n e from directly o v e r h e a d ( 1 - l b ) . Because we seld o m view events from this perspective, t h e subject m a t t e r of such shots m i g h t initially s e e m u n r e c o g n i z a b l e a n d abstract. For this reason, filmmakers t e n d to avoid this type of c a m e r a setup. In certain contexts, however, this a n g l e can be highly expressive. In effect, bird's-eye shots p e r m i t us to h o v e r above a s c e n e like all-powerful g o d s . T h e p e o p l e p h o t o g r a p h e d s e e m antlike a n d insignificant. O r d i n a r y high-angle shots a r e n o t so e x t r e m e , a n d t h e r e f o r e n o t so diso r i e n t i n g . T h e c a m e r a i s p l a c e d o n a crane, o r s o m e n a t u r a l h i g h p r o m o n tory, b u t t h e s e n s e o f a u d i e n c e o m n i p o t e n c e i s n o t o v e r w h e l m i n g . H i g h a n g l e s give a viewer a s e n s e of a g e n e r a l overview, b u t n o t necessarily o n e i m p l y i n g d e s t i n y o r fate. H i g h a n g l e s r e d u c e t h e h e i g h t o f t h e objects p h o t o g r a p h e d a n d usually i n c l u d e t h e g r o u n d o r floor a s b a c k g r o u n d . M o v e m e n t is slowed d o w n : T h i s a n g l e t e n d s to be ineffective for c o n v e y i n g a sense of l 5

16

P h o t o g r a p h y

s p e e d , useful for s u g g e s t i n g t e d i o u s n e s s . T h e i m p o r t a n c e o f s e t t i n g o r envir o n m e n t i s i n c r e a s e d : T h e locale often s e e m s t o swallow p e o p l e . H i g h a n g l e s r e d u c e t h e i m p o r t a n c e of a subject. A p e r s o n s e e m s h a r m l e s s a n d insignificant p h o t o g r a p h e d from a b o v e . T h i s a n g l e is also effective for c o n v e y i n g a c h a r a c ter's self-contempt. S o m e f i l m m a k e r s avoid a n g l e s b e c a u s e t h e y ' r e t o o m a n i p u l a t i v e a n d j u d g m e n t a l . In t h e movies of t h e J a p a n e s e m a s t e r Yasttjiro O z u , t h e c a m e r a is usually p l a c e d f o u r feet f r o m t h e floor—as if an o b s e r v e r w e r e viewing t h e events s e a t e d J a p a n e s e style. O z u t r e a t e d his c h a r a c t e r s as e q u a l s ; his a p p r o a c h d i s c o u r a g e s u s from viewing t h e m e i t h e r c o n d e s c e n d i n g l y o r sentimentally. F o r t h e m o s t p a r t , they a r e o r d i n a r y p e o p l e , d e c e n t a n d c o n s c i e n t i o u s . B u t O z u lets t h e m reveal themselves. H e believed t h a t value j u d g m e n t s a r e i m p l i e d t h r o u g h t h e u s e o f angles, a n d h e k e p t his c a m e r a n e u t r a l a n d d i s p a s s i o n a t e . Eye-level

1-14. How Green Was My Valley ( U . S . A . , 1 9 4 1 ) , cinematography by Arthur Miller, directed by John Ford. Lyricism is a vague but indispensable critical term suggesting subjective e m o t i o n s and a sensuous richness of expression. Derived from the word lyre, a harplike stringed instrument, lyricism is m o s t often associated with music and poetry. Lyricism in movies also suggests a rhapsodic exuberance. Though lyrical qualities can be independent of subject matter, at its best, lyricism is a stylistic externalization of a film's basic concept. John Ford was o n e of the s u p r e m e m a s t e r s of the big studio era, a visual lyricist of the first rank. He disliked overt e m o t i o n s in his movies. He preferred conveying feelings through forms. Stylized lighting effects and formal compositions such as this invariably e m b o d y intense emotions. "Pictures, not words, should tell the story," Ford insisted. (Twentieth Century-Fox)

shots p e r m i t u s t o m a k e u p o u r own m i n d s a b o u t what k i n d o f p e o p l e a r e b e i n g presented. Low angles have t h e o p p o s i t e effect of h i g h . T h e y i n c r e a s e h e i g h t a n d t h u s a r e useful for s u g g e s t i n g verticality. M o r e practically, they i n c r e a s e a s h o r t a c t o r ' s h e i g h t . M o t i o n i s s p e e d e d u p , a n d i n s c e n e s o f v i o l e n c e especially, low a n g l e s c a p t u r e a sense of c o n f u s i o n . E n v i r o n m e n t is usually m i n i m i z e d in low a n g l e s , a n d often t h e sky or a c e i l i n g is t h e only b a c k g r o u n d . Psychologically, low a n g l e s h e i g h t e n t h e i m p o r t a n c e of a subject. T h e figure l o o m s t h r e a t e n i n g l y over t h e spectator, w h o i s m a d e t o feel i n s e c u r e a n d d o m i n a t e d . A p e r s o n p h o t o g r a p h e d from b e l o w inspires fear a n d awe ( 1 - 1 3 ) . F o r this r e a s o n , low a n g l e s a r e often u s e d i n p r o p a g a n d a f i l m s o r i n s c e n e s d e p i c t ing heroism. An oblique angle involves a lateral tilt of t h e c a m e r a . W h e n t h e i m a g e is p r o j e c t e d , t h e h o r i z o n i s skewed ( 1 - 1 5 ) . P e o p l e p h o t o g r a p h e d a t a n o b l i q u e a n g l e will look as t h o u g h t h e y ' r e a b o u t to fall to o n e side. T h i s a n g l e is s o m e times u s e d for point-of-view shots—to suggest t h e i m b a l a n c e of a d r u n k , for e x a m p l e . Psychologically, o b l i q u e angles suggest t e n s i o n , transition, a n d i m p e n d i n g m o v e m e n t . T h e n a t u r a l h o r i z o n t a l a n d vertical lines o f a s c e n e a r e c o n v e r t e d i n t o u n s t a b l e d i a g o n a l s . O b l i q u e angles are n o t used often, for they can d i s o r i e n t a viewer. In scenes d e p i c t i n g violence, however, they can be effective in c a p t u r i n g precisely this sense of visual anxiety. 1-15. Shallow Grave (Great Britain, 1994), with Kerry Fox, Ewan McGregor, and Christopher Eccleston; directed by Danny Boyle. Oblique angles, s o m e t i m e s known as "Dutch tilt" shots, produce a sense of irresolution, of visual anxiety. The scene's normal horizontal and vertical lines are tilted into tense, unresolved diagonals. Such shots are generally employed in thrillers, especially in scenes such as this that are m e a n t to throw the spectator off balance with a shocking revelation. (Gmmercy Pictures)

18

Generally s p e a k i n g , t h e cinematographer (who is also k n o w n as t h e d i r e c t o r of p h o t o g r a p h y , or D.P.) is r e s p o n s i b l e for a r r a n g i n g a n d c o n t r o l l i n g t h e lighting of a film a n d t h e quality of t h e p h o t o g r a p h y . Usually t h e cinem a t o g r a p h e r e x e c u t e s t h e specific o r g e n e r a l i n s t r u c t i o n s o f t h e director. T h e i l l u m i n a t i o n of m o s t movies is s e l d o m a casual matter, for lights can be u s e d with p i n p o i n t accuracy. T h r o u g h t h e use of spotlights, which a r e highly selective in t h e i r focus a n d intensity, a d i r e c t o r c a n g u i d e t h e viewer's eyes to any a r e a of t h e p h o t o g r a p h e d i m a g e . M o t i o n p i c t u r e lighting is s e l d o m static, for even t h e slightest m o v e m e n t o f t h e c a m e r a o r t h e subject c a n cause t h e lighting to shift. Movies take so l o n g to c o m p l e t e , primarily b e c a u s e of t h e e n o r m o u s c o m p l e x i t i e s involved i n l i g h t i n g e a c h new shot. T h e c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r m u s t m a k e allowances for every m o v e m e n t within a c o n t i n u o u s take. E a c h different color, s h a p e , a n d t e x t u r e reflects or a b s o r b s differing a m o u n t s of light. If an i m a g e is p h o t o g r a p h e d in d e p t h , an even g r e a t e r c o m p l i c a t i o n is involved, for t h e lighting m u s t also b e i n d e p t h . F u r t h e r m o r e , c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s d o n ' t have at t h e i r disposal m o s t of t h e d a r k r o o m t e c h n i q u e s of a still p h o t o g r a p h e r : variable p a p e r , d o d g i n g , a i r b r u s h i n g , c h o i c e o f d e v e l o p m e n t , e n l a r g e r f i l t e r s , etc. In a c o l o r film, t h e subtle effects of lights a n d d a r k s a r e often o b s c u r e d , for c o l o r t e n d s to o b l i t e r a t e s h a d i n g s a n d flatten images: D e p t h is n e g a t e d . T h e r e a r e a n u m b e r of different styles of lighting. Usually d e s i g n a t e d as a l i g h t i n g key, t h e style is g e a r e d to t h e t h e m e a n d m o o d of a film, as well as its genre. C o m e d i e s a n d musicals, for e x a m p l e , t e n d to be lit in high key, with b r i g h t , even i l l u m i n a t i o n a n d few c o n s p i c u o u s shadows. T r a g e d i e s a n d m e l o d r a m a s a r e usually lit in high contrast, with h a r s h shafts of lights a n d d r a m a t i c streaks of blackness. Mysteries, thrillers, a n d g a n g s t e r films a r e generally in low key, with diffused shadows a n d a t m o s p h e r i c pools of light ( 1 - 1 6 ) . Each lighting key is only an a p p r o x i m a t i o n , a n d s o m e images consist of a c o m b i n a t i o n of l i g h t i n g styles—a low-key b a c k g r o u n d with a few h i g h - c o n t r a s t e l e m e n t s in t h e f o r e g r o u n d , for e x a m p l e . Movies s h o t in studios a r e generally m o r e stylized a n d theatrical, w h e r e a s l o c a t i o n p h o t o g r a p h y t e n d s t o use available illumination, with a m o r e n a t u r a l style of lighting. Lights a n d d a r k s have h a d symbolic c o n n o t a t i o n s since t h e d a w n o f h u m a n i t y . T h e Bible is filled with l i g h t - d a r k symbolism. R e m b r a n d t a n d Caravaggio u s e d l i g h t - d a r k contrasts for psychological p u r p o s e s as well. In g e n e r a l , artists have u s e d d a r k n e s s to suggest fear, evil, t h e u n k n o w n . L i g h t usually suggests security, virtue, t r u t h , joy. Because of these c o n v e n t i o n a l symbolic associations, s o m e filmmakers deliberately reverse l i g h t - d a r k e x p e c t a t i o n s ( 1 - 1 2 ) . H i t c h c o c k ' s movies a t t e m p t to j o l t viewers by e x p o s i n g t h e i r shallow sense of security. He staged m a n y of his most violent scenes in t h e g l a r i n g light. L i g h t i n g can also be used to subvert subject matter. Paul Brickman's Risky Business is a coming-of-age comedy, a n d like m o s t e x a m p l e s of its g e n r e , t h e a d o l e s c e n t h e r o ( T o m Cruise) t r i u m p h s over t h e System a n d its hypocritical morality. But in this movie, t h e naive h e r o l e a r n s to play t h e g a m e a n d b e c o m e s a w i n n e r by b e i n g even m o r e hypocritical t h a n t h e u p h o l d e r s of the System.

• Color Plate 1. Edward Scissorhands (U.S.A., 1990), with Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton. Color, like virtually every other film technique, can be used realistically or formalistically. Burton is one of the foremost expressionists of the c o n t e m p o r a r y cinema, a conjuror of magical worlds of color and light and myth and imagination. His worlds are created in the sealed-off confines of the studio, far removed from the contaminations of prosaic reality. (Twentieth

Century-Fox)

» Color Plate 2. Aliens (U.S.A., 1986), with Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn, directed by James Cameron. Although the futuristic setting of this sci-fi film contains some supernatural elements, it uses color in a rigorously realistic manner. Aliens is a testosterone world of cold, hard surfaces, heavy-metal technology, and blue-gray fluorescence. This is not a place for children a n d other gentle creatures. The colors are radically m u t e d , mostly military tans a n d drab earth colors. Only the red filter adds a note of alarm and urgency. (Twentieth

Century-Fox)

> Color Plate 3. American Beauty ( U . S . A . , 1 9 9 9 ) , with Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari, directed by Sam Mendes. Red is a color that's often linked with sex, but the dramatic context d e t e r m i n e s w h e t h e r the red (and the sex) is seductive or repellent. In this film, the unhappily married protagonist (Spacey) escapes the banality of his suburban hell by fantasizing about a flirtatious teenager (Suvari), a friend of his daughter. He often imagines her nude, covered with red rose petals— a symbol of his fiercely aroused sexuality, his reawakening m a n h o o d . (DreamWorks Pictures)

I Color Plate 4. Savage Nights (France, 1 9 9 3 ) , with Cyril Collard directed by Collard. But red is also the color of danger. Of violence. Of blood. Blood is a HIV, a precursor of AIDS. This movie explores the sadomasochistic positive bisexual (Collard) w h o has unprotected sex with two lovers, Maybe She's Color blind. (Cramercy Pictures)

and Romane Bohringer, major transmitter of behavior of an HIVincluding Bohringer.

I Color Plate 5. The Age of Innocence (U.S.A., 1993), with Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis, directed by Martin Scorsese. Bright colors tend to be cheerful, so directors often desaturate t h e m , especially if the subject m a t t e r is sober or grim. Based on the great American novel by Edith Wharton, this movie explores a forbidden love a m o n g New York's u p p e r crust in the 1870s. The film's images s e e m almost w a s h e d in sepia, like faded photos. The colors are tastefully subdued, correct, almost repressed, reflecting the conservative values of the society itself. (Columbia Pictures)

I Color Plate 6. Life Is Beautiful (Italy, 1998), with Roberto Benigni, directed by Benigni. This movie begins as a slapstick comedy, a n d the colors are w a r m a n d sunny, typical of Mediterranean settings. But as the Nazi Holocaust spreads southward, our hero, an Italian Jew (Benigni), is arrested a n d shipped to a German concentration c a m p by rail (pictured). The colors begin to pale. O n c e inside the death c a m p , virtually all the color is drained from the images. Only a few faded flickers of skin tones occasionally p u n c t u a t e the a s h e n pallor of the Camp a n d its prisoners. (Miramax Films)

I Color Plate 7. Married to the Mob (U.S.A., 1988), with Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine, directed by Jonathan Demme. Gangster variations. Both of these movies (CP.7 and CP.8) explore the world of organized crime. The tone of each is radically different, d e t e r m i n e d in part by the color palette of each. D e m m e ' s likable Mafia c o m e d y is a cartoon version. Like most cartoons, the colors are gaudy and deliciously trashy. W h o would ever guess that Modine (an F.B.I, agent) is an outsider? (Orion Pictures)

• Color Plate 8. The Godfather (U.S.A., 1972), with Marlon Brando (red rose), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The Godfather is a far more realistic treatment, photographed by the great Gordon Willis, who is famous for his low-key lighting magic. The colors are not only subdued, they're suffocating in airless dark rooms. In this shadowy world, only an occasional wisp of color is allowed to escape—a vibrant red rose, pale yellow light filtering discreetly through the blinds, a few splotches of mottled flesh tones. The rest is darkness. (Paramount

I Color Plate 9. Johns (U.S.A., 1996), with David Arquette and Lukas Haas, directed by Scott Silver. Color cliches. In order to avoid being predictable, imaginative filmmakers often torpedo popular stereotypes by using color antiromantically. Movies set in Hollywood usually emphasize its lush glamour, but Johns explores the world of two street prostitutes (pictured) as they crisscross the dusty side streets of an unfamiliar Hollywood, bleached under the scorching sun. This is not the Tinseltown of tourist brochures but the real-life boulevard of broken d r e a m s . In this photo, the p r e d o m i n a n t color is white—hot, glaring, pitiless. Note the almost total a b s e n c e of green vegetation. (First Look Pictures) » Color Plate 10. Four Weddings and a Funeral (Great Britain, 1994), with Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant, directed by Mike Newell. This romantic c o m e d y goes to e x t r e m e lengths to avoid being sappy and sentimental. Hence this weird concluding s c e n e of love t r i u m p h a n t at last, which takes place in a cold London downpour, blue with shivers and shudders a n d chill. (Gramercy

Pictures)

> Color Plate 11. The Little Mermaid (U.S.A., 1989), directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. We live in a golden age of animation, e n c o m p a s s i n g m a n y styles and an extraordinarily broad range of colors. From the very beginning in the 1930s, the Disney organization was in the forefront in developing color as an expressive emotional language in animation. Disney is still in the vanguard. Note the subtle violets in this photo, the sinister yet slightly c a m p y blacks, and the playful squiggle of pink to the left—a pure abstract expressionist whimsy. (Walt

Disney

Pictures)

I Color Plate 12. Chicken Run (Great Britain, 2000), directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park. There's hardly a primary color in all of Chicken Run, a clay-animation fable of infinite subtlety, not only in its color spectrum, but its sophisticated script a n d witty dialogue as well. Note the elongated shadows and sculptural side-lighting: The image looks as though it was photographed in the "magic hour." Of course, in a studio, any time can be the magic hour. (DreamWorks Pictures)

> Color Plate 13. Saving Private Ryan (U.S.A., 1998), with Tom Hanks, directed by Steven Spielberg. Different wars, different colors. Location has much to do with what colors are permissible in a movie. These two war films (CP. 13 and CP. 14) have totally different looks, each determined by its setting. Saving Private Ryan deals with the World War II era and is set in battletorn Europe. The documentarylike images are d o m i n a t e d by grays and have a dusty, worn look, as though even nature has exhausted itself after too m a n y years of death and destruction.

(DreamWorks

Pictures)

I Color Plate 14. Platoon (U.S.A., 1986), with Tom Berenger directed by Oliver Stone. The war in Vietnam was fought in part in the jungles of that bomb-pocked tropical land. The lush, colorful foliage often conceals unspeakable horrors, and the atrocities are c o m m i t t e d by both sides. During battle, nature is violently defiled, exploding into a blazing inferno of heat and flames, radiating red, yellow, a n d scorching white. (Orion

Pictures)

> Color Plate 15. Shakespeare in Love (Great Britain, 1998), with Cwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, directed by John Madden. The richly textured c o s t u m e s of this period picture are rendered in all their luxurious opulence by the movie's Renaissance-style colors and lighting effects. The British are u n s u r p a s s e d masters of period films, thanks to their magnificent heritage in live theater, most notably producing the plays of Shakespeare. (Miramax Films)

> Color Plate 16. The Road Warrior (Australia, 1982), with Vernon Welles, directed by George Miller. S o m e c o s t u m e s are pastiches of various styles, as in this sci-fi picture, which is set in a desolate, post-apocalyptic desert landscape. This bleak setting is strewn with debris and the discarded artifacts of a former civilization. Black is often the color of villainy, but in this movie, the villainy is wittily undercut by such campy touches as the off-the-shoulder feathers and a red-tinged Mohawk m a n e . Scary. And weirdly funny.

(Warner Bros.)

» Color Plate 17. Titanic (U.S.A., 1997), with Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio, written and directed by James Cameron. As the "unsinkable" ocean liner slowly surrenders to the frigid waters of the Atlantic, the scenes get darker, colder, and m o r e desperate. The colors, so richly luxurious in the earlier scenes, begin to fade with the light as they're swallowed by the enveloping waters. But the young lovers, radiating h u m a n i t y with their w a r m fleshtones and halo lighting, cling to each other like a b e a c o n of h o p e in the final stages of the w o u n d e d ship's watery descent. They're like d o o m e d tragic lovers of a nineteenth-century romantic novel. (Twentieth

Century-Fox/Paramount

Pictures)

» Color Plate 18. Dark Victory (U.S.A., 1939), with Bette Davis and George Brent, directed by Edmund Goulding, "colorized" by Turner Entertainment. "Tell me the truth now. Do you think this suit is too blue?" (Warner Bros./Turner Entertainment)

1-16. Red (France/Poland/Switzerland, 1994), with Irene Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant, cinematography by Piotr Sobocinski, directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. During the Hollywood big studio era, cinematographers developed the technique of t h r e e p o i n t lighting, which is still widely practiced throughout the world. With three-point lighting, the key light is the primary source of illumination. This light creates the d o m i n a n t of an image—that area that first attracts our eye because it contains the most compelling contrast, usually of light and shadow. Generally, the d o m i n a n t is also the area of greatest dramatic interest, the shot's focal point of action, either physical or psychological. Fill lights, which are less intense than the key, soften the harshness of the main light source, revealing subsidiary details that would otherwise be hidden by shadow. The backlights separate the foreground figures from their setting, heightening the illusion of three-dimensional depth in the image. Three-point m e t h o d s tend to be most expressive with low-key lighting such as this. When a shot is bathed with high-key illumination, the three sources of light are more equally distributed over the surface of the image, and hence are more bland photographically. (MiramaxFilms) 19

1-19. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (U.S.A., 1990), with R. A. Mihailoff, directed by Jeff Burr. Many people would argue that the backlit low-key lighting of (a) is m o r e frightening than frontal lighting of (b). Horrific as Leatherface's features are, at least we know w h a t we have to deal with, w h e r e a s the faceless killer (a) conjures unspeakable u n s e e n terrors. (New Line cinema)

light over t h e e n t i r e surface of t h e picture. Overexposure has b e e n most effectively used in n i g h t m a r e a n d fantasy s e q u e n c e s . S o m e t i m e s this t e c h n i q u e can suggest a kind of h o r r i b l e glaring publicity, a sense of e m o t i o n a l e x a g g e r a t i o n .

Colot* C o l o r i n f i l m d i d n ' t b e c o m e c o m m e r c i a l l y w i d e s p r e a d u n t i l t h e 1940s. T h e r e w e r e m a n y e x p e r i m e n t s i n c o l o r b e f o r e this p e r i o d , however. S o m e o f Melies's movies, for e x a m p l e , w e r e p a i n t e d by h a n d in assembly line fashion, with e a c h p a i n t e r r e s p o n s i b l e for c o l o r i n g a m i n u t e a r e a of t h e filmstrip. T h e original version of The Birth of a Nation (1915) was p r i n t e d on various t i n t e d stocks t o suggest different m o o d s : T h e b u r n i n g o f A t l a n t a was t i n t e d r e d , t h e n i g h t scenes b l u e , t h e e x t e r i o r love scenes pale yellow. Many silent filmmakers used this t i n t i n g t e c h n i q u e to suggest different m o o d s . Sophisticated film c o l o r was d e v e l o p e d in t h e 1930s, b u t for m a n y years a major p r o b l e m was its t e n d e n c y to prettify e v e r y t h i n g . If c o l o r e n h a n c e d a sense of b e a u t y — i n a musical or a historical e x t r a v a g a n z a — t h e effects w e r e often a p p r o p r i a t e . T h u s , t h e best feature films of t h e early years of c o l o r w e r e usually those with artificial or exotic settings. Realistic d r a m a s w e r e t h o u g h t to be u n s u i t a b l e vehicles for color. T h e earliest color processes t e n d e d also to e m p h a s i z e garishness, a n d often special c o n s u l t a n t s h a d to be called in to harm o n i z e t h e c o l o r s c h e m e s o f c o s t u m e s , m a k e u p , a n d decor. 22

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l-20a. Braveheart (U.S.A., Gibson, directed by Gibson.

1995), with Sophie Marceau and Mel (Paramount

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Art historians often distinguish between a "painterly" and a "linear" style, a distinction that's also useful in the photographic arts. A p a i n t e r l y style is soft-edged, sensuous, and romantic, best typified by the Impressionist landscapes of Claude Monet a n d the voluptuous figure paintings of Pierre Auguste Renoir. Line is deemphasized: Colors and textures s h i m m e r in a hazily defined, radiantly illuminated environment. On the other hand, a linear style emphasizes drawing, sharply defined edges, and the supremacy of line over color and texture. In the field of painting, a linear style typifies such artists as Leonardo Da Vinci and the French classicist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

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Movies can also be photographed in a painterly or linear style, depending on the lighting, the lenses, and filters. The shot from Braveheart might almost have been painted by Renoir. Cinematographer John Toll used soft focus lenses and w a r m "natural" backlighting (creating a halo effect around the characters' heads) to produce an intensely romantic lyricism. Wyler's post-World War II masterpiece, The Best Years of Our Lives, was photographed by the great Gregg Toland. Its linear style is austere, deglamourized, shot in razorsharp deep-focus. It was a style suited to the times. The postwar era was a period of disillusionment, sober reevaluations, and very few sentimental illusions. The high-key cinematography is polished, to be sure, but it's also simple, matter-of-fact, the invisible servant of a serious subject matter. l-20b. The Best Years of Our Lives (U.S.A., 1946), with Harold Russell, Teresa Wright, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Hoagy Carmichael (standing), and Fredric March; directed by William Wyler. (RKO).

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r a p h y

F u r t h e r m o r e , e a c h c o l o r process t e n d e d to specialize in a c e r t a i n base h u e — r e d , b l u e , o r yellow, usually—whereas o t h e r colors o f t h e s p e c t r u m were s o m e w h a t d i s t o r t e d . It was well i n t o t h e 1950s b e f o r e t h e s e p r o b l e m s w e r e resolved. C o m p a r e d with t h e subtle c o l o r p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e h u m a n eye, however, a n d d e s p i t e t h e a p p a r e n t precision o f m o s t present-day c o l o r processing, c i n e m a t i c c o l o r is still a relatively c r u d e a p p r o x i m a t i o n . T h e m o s t f a m o u s c o l o r films t e n d t o b e expressionistic. M i c h e l a n g e l o A n t o n i o n i ' s a t t i t u d e was fairly typical: "It is n e c e s s a r y to i n t e r v e n e in a c o l o r film, to take away t h e usual reality a n d r e p l a c e it with t h e reality of t h e m o m e n t . " In Red Desert ( p h o t o g r a p h e d by Carlo Di P a l m a ) , A n t o n i o n i sprayp a i n t e d n a t u r a l locales t o e m p h a s i z e i n t e r n a l psychological states. I n d u s t r i a l wastes, river p o l l u t i o n , m a r s h e s , a n d l a r g e s t r e t c h e s o f t e r r a i n w e r e p a i n t e d gray t o suggest t h e ugliness o f c o n t e m p o r a r y i n d u s t r i a l society a n d t h e h e r o i n e ' s d r a b , wasted e x i s t e n c e . W h e n e v e r r e d a p p e a r s i n t h e m o v i e , i t suggests sexual passion. Yet t h e r e d — l i k e t h e loveless sexuality—is an ineffective c o v e r u p of t h e pervasive gray.

1 -21. This Is Elvis (U.S.A., 1981), with Elvis Presley, directed by Malcolm Leo and others. Documentaries are often photographed on the run. Cinematographers don't usually have a c h a n c e to a u g m e n t the lighting, but have to capture the images as best they can under conditions that are almost totally uncontrolled. Many documentaries are photographed with handheld c a m e r a s for m a x i m u m portability and with fast film stocks, which can register images using only a m b i e n t light. The images are valued not for their formal beauty, which is usually negligible (or nonexistent), but for their authenticity and spontaneity. Such images offer us privileged m o m e n t s of intimacy that are all the more powerful because they're not simulated. They're the real thing. (WarnerBros.)

1-22. From Here to Eternity (U.S.A., 1 9 5 3 ) , with Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster, directed by Fred Zinnemann. The expert cinematographers of the big-studio era were adept in revealing a surprising a m o u n t of detail even in scenes that take place at night, as in this photo. The preponderance of shadow in this shot clearly establishes the nighttime milieu, but note how an offscreen street lamp conveniently manages to illuminate the characters' facial expressions and body language. (They're both very drunk, sitting in the middle of a dirt road.) Sometimes studio-era D.P.s preferred to use the day-for-night filter, which gives the illusion of an evening setting even though the scene was originally photographed in daylight. To many present-day audiences, however, day-fornight shots look artificial, too bright and crisp to be convincing. (Columbia Pictures)

C o l o r t e n d s to be a s u b c o n s c i o u s e l e m e n t in film. It's strongly e m o tional in its a p p e a l , expressive a n d a t m o s p h e r i c r a t h e r t h a n intellectual. Psychologists have discovered t h a t m o s t p e o p l e actively a t t e m p t t o i n t e r p r e t t h e lines of a c o m p o s i t i o n , b u t they t e n d to a c c e p t color passively, p e r m i t t i n g it to suggest m o o d s r a t h e r t h a n objects. Lines a r e associated with n o u n s ; c o l o r with adjectives. L i n e is s o m e t i m e s t h o u g h t to be m a s c u l i n e ; c o l o r f e m i n i n e . Both lines a n d colors suggest m e a n i n g s , t h e n , b u t i n s o m e w h a t different ways. Since earliest times, visual artists have used color for symbolic p u r poses. C o l o r symbolism is p r o b a b l y culturally a c q u i r e d , t h o u g h its i m p l i c a t i o n s a r e surprisingly similar in o t h e r w i s e differing societies. In g e n e r a l , cool colors ( b l u e , g r e e n , violet) t e n d to suggest tranquility, aloofness, a n d serenity. Cool colors also have a t e n d e n c y to r e c e d e in an i m a g e . W a r m colors (red, yellow, o r a n g e ) suggest aggressiveness, violence, a n d s t i m u l a t i o n . T h e y t e n d t o c o m e forward in most images. 25

1 -23. Crime and Punishment (U.S.A., 1935), with Peter Lorre (center), cinematography by Lucien Ballard, directed by Josef von Sternberg. Sternberg was a m a s t e r of atmospheric lighting effects and closely supervised the photography of his films. His stories are unfolded primarily in terms of light and shade, rather than conventional dramatic m e a n s . "Every light has a point where it is brightest, and a point toward which it wanders to lose itself completely," he explained. "The journey of rays from that central core to the outposts of blackness is the adventure and d r a m a of light." Note how the closed form of the mise en scene a n d the light encircling the protagonist (Lorre) produce an accusatory effect, a sense of e n t r a p m e n t . (Paramount Pictures)

S o m e filmmakers deliberately exploit color's n a t u r a l t e n d e n c y to garishness. Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits features m a n y bizarre c o s t u m e s a n d settings to suggest t h e tawdry b u t fascinating g l a m o u r of t h e world of show business. B o b Fosse's Cabaret is set in G e r m a n y a n d shows t h e early rise of t h e Nazi party. T h e colors are s o m e w h a t n e u r o t i c , with e m p h a s i s on such 1930s favorites as p l u m , acid g r e e n , p u r p l e , a n d florid c o m b i n a t i o n s , like gold, black, a n d pink. Black-and-white p h o t o g r a p h y in a color film is s o m e t i m e s u s e d for symbolic p u r p o s e s . S o m e f i l m m a k e r s a l t e r n a t e w h o l e e p i s o d e s i n black a n d white with e n t i r e s e q u e n c e s in color. T h e p r o b l e m with this t e c h n i q u e is its facile symbolism. T h e j o l t i n g black-and-white s e q u e n c e s a r e t o o obviously "significant" in t h e m o s t arty sense. A m o r e effective variation is simply n o t to use t o o m u c h color, to let black a n d white p r e d o m i n a t e . In De Sica's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, w h i c h is set in Fascist Italy, t h e early p o r t i o n s of t h e movie are

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1-24. Starman (U.S.A., 1984), with Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges, directed by John Carpenter. Not every shot in a movie is photographed in the s a m e style. Many of the earlier portions of this sci-fi film are photographed in a plain, functional style. After the earthling protagonist (Allen) falls in love with an appealing and hunky alien (Bridges), the photographic style b e c o m e s more romantic. The city's lights are etherealized by the shimmering soft-focus photography. The halo effect around the lovers' h e a d s reinforces the air of e n c h a n t m e n t . The gently falling snowflakes conspire to e n h a n c e the magical m o m e n t . These aren't just lovers, these are soul mates. (Columbia Pictures)

r i c h l y r e s p l e n d e n t i n s h i m m e r i n g golds, reds, a n d a l m o s t every s h a d e o f g r e e n . As political r e p r e s s i o n b e c o m e s m o r e b r u t a l , t h e s e colors a l m o s t i m p e r c e p t i b l y b e g i n t o wash o u t , u n t i l n e a r t h e e n d o f t h e film t h e i m a g e s a r e d o m i n a t e d b y whites, blacks, a n d blue-grays (see also Color Plate 6 ) . In t h e 1980s, a new c o m p u t e r t e c h n o l o g y was d e v e l o p e d , allowing black-and-white movies to be " c o l o r i z e d " — a p r o c e s s t h a t p r o v o k e d a howl of p r o t e s t from m o s t film artists a n d critics. T h e colorized versions of s o m e genres, like p e r i o d films, musicals, a n d o t h e r forms of light e n t e r t a i n m e n t , a r e n o t d a m a g e d t o o seriously by this process, b u t t h e t e c h n i q u e is a disaster in carefully p h o t o g r a p h e d black-and-white films, like Citizen Kane, with its film noir l i g h t i n g style a n d brilliant deep-focus p h o t o g r a p h y (see C h a p t e r 12, "Synthesis: Citizen Kane "). C o l o r i z a t i o n also throws off t h e c o m p o s i t i o n a l b a l a n c e of s o m e shots, c r e a t i n g n e w dominants. In t h e s h o t from Dark Victory ( C P . 18), for e x a m p l e , t h e d o m i n a n t is B r e n t ' s b l u e suit, w h i c h is i r r e l e v a n t to t h e d r a m a t i c c o n t e x t . In t h e original black-and-white version, Davis is t h e d o m i n a n t , h e r d a r k outfit contrasting with t h e white fireplace t h a t frames h e r figure. Distracting visual d o m i n a n t s u n d e r c u t t h e d r a m a t i c i m p a c t o f s u c h scenes. W e k e e p t h i n k i n g B r e n t ' s suit must be i m p o r t a n t . It is, b u t only to t h e c o m p u t e r .

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Because t h e c a m e r a ' s lens is a c r u d e m e c h a n i s m c o m p a r e d to t h e h u m a n eye, s o m e of t h e m o s t striking effects in a movie i m a g e c a n be a c h i e v e d t h r o u g h t h e d i s t o r t i o n s of t h e p h o t o g r a p h i c process itself. Particularly with r e g a r d t o size a n d d i s t a n c e , t h e c a m e r a lens d o e s n ' t m a k e m e n t a l a d j u s t m e n t s b u t r e c o r d s things literally. F o r e x a m p l e , w h a t e v e r is p l a c e d closest to t h e camera's lens will a p p e a r l a r g e r t h a n an object at a g r e a t e r distance. H e n c e , a coffee c u p c a n totally o b l i t e r a t e a h u m a n b e i n g if the c u p is in front of t h e lens a n d t h e h u m a n is s t a n d i n g at long-shot r a n g e . Realist filmmakers t e n d to use n o r m a l , or s t a n d a r d , lenses to p r o d u c e a m i n i m u m of d i s t o r t i o n . T h e s e lenses p h o t o g r a p h subjects m o r e or less as they a r e p e r c e i v e d b y t h e h u m a n eye. F o r m a l i s t filmmakers often p r e f e r lenses a n d filters that intensify given qualities a n d s u p p r e s s o t h e r s . C l o u d f o r m a t i o n s , for e x a m p l e , c a n b e e x a g g e r a t e d t h r e a t e n i n g l y o r softly diffused, d e p e n d i n g o n what k i n d of lens or filter is used. Different s h a p e s , colors, a n d lighting intensities can be radically a l t e r e d t h r o u g h t h e use of specific optical modifiers. T h e r e a r e literally d o z e n s o f different lenses, b u t m o s t o f t h e m a r e s u b s u m e d u n d e r t h r e e major categories: those i n t h e s t a n d a r d ( n o n d i s t o r t e d ) r a n g e , t h e telep h o t o lenses, a n d t h e wide angles. T h e telephoto lens is often used to get close-ups of objects from e x t r e m e distances. For e x a m p l e , no c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r is likely to want to get close e n o u g h to a lion to p h o t o g r a p h a close-up with a s t a n d a r d lens. In cases such as t h e s e , t h e t e l e p h o t o is used, t h u s g u a r a n t e e i n g t h e safety of t h e c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r while still p r o d u c i n g t h e necessary close-up. T e l e p h o t o s also allow cinem a t o g r a p h e r s to work discreetly. In c r o w d e d city locations, for e x a m p l e , passersby a r c likely to stare at a movie c a m e r a . T h e t e l e p h o t o p e r m i t s t h e cinem a t o g r a p h e r to r e m a i n h i d d e n — i n a truck, for e x a m p l e — w h i l e he or she s h o o t s close shots t h r o u g h a windshield or window. In effect, t h e lens works like a t e l e s c o p e , a n d b e c a u s e of its l o n g focal l e n g t h , it is s o m e t i m e s called a long lens. T e l e p h o t o lenses p r o d u c e a n u m b e r of side effects t h a t a r e s o m e t i m e s e x p l o i t e d by d i r e c t o r s for symbolic use. Most l o n g lenses a r e in s h a r p focus on o n e d i s t a n c e p l a n e only. Objects p l a c e d b e f o r e o r b e y o n d t h a t d i s t a n c e blur, g o o u t of f o c u s — a n expressive t e c h n i q u e , especially to t h e formalist filmmaker ( 1 - 2 5 ) . T h e l o n g e r t h e lens, t h e m o r e sensitive it is to distances; in t h e case of e x t r e m e l y l o n g lenses, objects p l a c e d a m e r e few i n c h e s away from t h e selected focal p l a n e can be o u t of focus. T h i s d e l i b e r a t e b l u r r i n g of p l a n e s in t h e backg r o u n d , f o r e g r o u n d , o r b o t h c a n p r o d u c e s o m e striking p h o t o g r a p h i c a n d a t m o s p h e r i c effects. T h e focal d i s t a n c e of l o n g lenses can usually be adjusted while shooting, a n d thus, t h e d i r e c t o r is a b l e to n e u t r a l i z e p l a n e s a n d g u i d e t h e viewer's eye to various distances in a s e q u e n c e — a t e c h n i q u e called rack focusing, or selective focusing. In The Graduate, d i r e c t o r Mike Nichols used a slight focus shift i n s t e a d of a c u t w h e n he w a n t e d t h e viewer to look first at t h e y o u n g h e r o i n e , w h o t h e n b l u r s o u t of focus, t h e n at h e r m o t h e r , w h o is s t a n d i n g a few feet

1 - 2 5 . Dog Star Man (U.S.A., 1 9 5 9 - 1 9 6 4 ) , directed by Stan Brakhage. Avant-garde filmmakers are often antiillusionist—they a t t e m p t to break down the realism of an image by calling attention to its artificiality and its material properties. A movie image is printed on a strip of celluloid, which can be manipulated, even violated. In this sequence, a baby e m e r g e s from the m o u t h of a n o t h e r baby. Brakhage is playing with the idea of what's "behind" a film image. (Anthology Film Archives) 29

1-26. Six Degrees of Exaggeration. The lens of each of these six shots provides a c o m m e n tary on the relationship of the characters to their surroundings.

l - 2 6 a . Scream (U.S.A., 1996), with Courteney Cox, directed by Wes Craven. Some telephoto lenses are so precise they can focus on a thin slice of action that's only a few inches deep. Note how the gun and Cox's hands are radically blurred. So is the background behind her. Our eyes are forced to concentrate on the face of the character during a decisive m o m e n t of her life. (Dimension Films)

l-26b. Too Beautiful for You (France, 1989), with Carole Bouquet and Gerard Depardieu, directed by Bertrand Blier. Moderate telephoto lenses are often used to e n h a n c e the lyrical potential of an image. Although not so e x t r e m e a telephoto as (a), Blier's lens converts the reflections on the autos' rooftops into rhapsodic brushstrokes of light, heightening the erotic ecstasy of the characters. (Orion Pictures)

l-26c. King of the Hill (U.S.A., 1993), with Jesse Bradford deft) and Jeroen Krabbe, directed by Steven Soderbergh. A ne'er-do-well father (Krabbe) has just told his young son that he'll have to stay h o m e alone for several weeks while the father tries to hustle a living on the road. The boy's anxiety and fear are intensified by his sharp focus, the father's r e m o t e n e s s by his somewhat blurred presentation. If Soderbergh wanted to emphasize the father's feelings, the boy would be in soft focus and the father in sharp. If the director wanted to stress the equality of their emotions, he would have used a wide-angle lens, which would render both characters in sharp focus. (Cramercy

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l-26d. Schindler'S List (U.S.A., 1993), with Liam Neeson (outstretched arms), directed by Steven Spielberg. Wide-angle lenses are used whenever deep-focus photography is called for. Objects a few feet from the lens as well as those in the "depth" of the background are in equal focus, reinforcing the interconnectedness of the visual planes. This movie deals with a German industrialist (Neeson) who saved the lives of h u n d r e d s of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust. Because d e e p focus allows for the repetition of visual motifs into infinity, Spielberg is able to suggest that Jews all over Europe were being herded in a similar manner, but their fate was not so lucky as Schindler'S jews.

(Universal Pictures)

l - 2 6 e . Publicity p h o t o of Rumble in the Bronx (U.S.A., 1996), with Jackie Chan, directed by Stanley Tong. Extreme wide-angle lenses exaggerate distances between depth planes, a useful symbolic technique. As distorted by the wide-angle lens, Chan's fist is nearly as large as his head and his feet seem to be standing in another county. (New I .me Cinema)

1-26F. Runaway Bride (U.S.A., 1999), with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, directed by Garry Marshall. Check out the lights in the background. A shrewdly chosen filter m a k e s t h e m look blurry, floating dreamily like woozy fireflies. Do we need to hear the dialogue to know that these two are falling for each other? Do we need to be told that the movie is a romantic c o m e d y ? The filtered photography says it all. (Paramount

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and

Touchstone

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PHofogj*cipKy

off in a doorway. T h e focus-shifting t e c h n i q u e suggests a c a u s e - e f f e c t relations h i p a n d parallels t h e h e r o i n e ' s s u d d e n realization t h a t h e r boyfriend's secret mistress is h e r own m o t h e r . In The French Connection, William Friedkin u s e d selective focus in a s e q u e n c e s h o w i n g a criminal u n d e r surveillance. He r e m a i n s in s h a r p focus while t h e city crowds of his e n v i r o n m e n t a r e an undiff e r e n t i a t e d blur. At strategic m o m e n t s in t h e s e q u e n c e , Friedkin shifted t h e focus p l a n e from t h e c r i m i n a l to t h e d o g g e d detective w h o is tailing h i m in t h e crowd. L o n g lenses also flatten images, d e c r e a s i n g t h e sense of d i s t a n c e b e t w e e n d e p t h p l a n e s . Two p e o p l e s t a n d i n g yards a p a r t m i g h t look i n c h e s away w h e n p h o t o g r a p h e d with a t e l e p h o t o lens. W i t h very l o n g lenses, distance p l a n e s are so c o m p r e s s e d t h a t t h e i m a g e c a n r e s e m b l e a flat surface of abstract p a t t e r n s . W h e n a n y t h i n g moves toward or away from t h e c a m e r a in such shots, t h e m o b i l e object d o e s n ' t s e e m to be m o v i n g at all. In Marathon Man, t h e h e r o (Dustin H o f f m a n ) r u n s d e s p e r a t e l y toward t h e c a m e r a , b u t b e c a u s e o f t h e f l a t t e n i n g o f t h e l o n g lens, h e s e e m s a l m o s t t o b e r u n n i n g i n p l a c e r a t h e r t h a n m o v i n g toward his d e s t i n a t i o n . T h e wide-angle lenses, also called " s h o r t lenses," have s h o r t focal l e n g t h s a n d wide angles of view. T h e s e a r e t h e lenses used in deep-focus shots, for they p r e s e r v e a s h a r p n e s s of focus on virtually all distance p l a n e s . T h e d i s t o r t i o n s involved i n s h o r t lenses a r e b o t h l i n e a r a n d spatial. T h e wider t h e a n g l e , t h e m o r e lines a n d s h a p e s t e n d to w a r p , especially at t h e e d g e s of t h e i m a g e . Dist a n c e s b e t w e e n various d e p t h p l a n e s a r e also e x a g g e r a t e d with t h e s e lenses: Two p e o p l e s t a n d i n g a foot away from e a c h o t h e r can a p p e a r yards a p a r t in a wide-angle i m a g e .

1 -27. Filmstrips of t h e four principal g a u g e s u s e d in movies, e x p r e s s e d in m i l l i m e t e r s wide. Photographic quality d e p e n d s in part on the gauge of the film used to photograph and project the images. (1) Suitable for projecting in an average-sized room, 8 mm and Super 8 mm are primarily for h o m e use. (2) The gauge ordinarily used in schools and m u s e u m s is 16 m m ; if projected in extremely large halls, 16-mm images tend to grow fuzzy and the color tends to fade. (3) The standard gauge for the vast majority of movie theaters is 35 m m . (4) For epic subjects requiring a huge screen, 70 mm is generally used: the images retain their linear sharpness and color saturation even in e n o r m o u s theaters. (1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

P K o t o g f a p h y

M o v e m e n t toward or away from t h e c a m e r a is e x a g g e r a t e d w h e n p h o t o g r a p h e d with a s h o r t lens. Two or t h r e e o r d i n a r y steps can s e e m like u n h u manly l e n g t h y s t r i d e s — a n effective t e c h n i q u e w h e n a d i r e c t o r wants to e m p h a size a c h a r a c t e r ' s s t r e n g t h , d o m i n a n c e , or ruthlessness. T h e fish-eye lens is t h e most e x t r e m e wide-angle modifier; it creates s u c h severe d i s t o r t i o n s t h a t t h e lateral p o r t i o n s of t h e s c r e e n s e e m reflected in a s p h e r e , as t h o u g h we w e r e l o o k i n g t h r o u g h a crystal ball. L e n s e s a n d filters c a n b e u s e d for purely cosmetic p u r p o s e s — t o m a k e an a c t o r or actress taller, slimmer, y o u n g e r , or older. Josef von S t e r n b e r g s o m e times c o v e r e d his lens with a t r a n s l u c e n t silk stocking to give his i m a g e s a gauzy, r o m a n t i c a u r a . A few g l a m o u r actresses b e y o n d a certain a g e even h a d clauses in t h e i r c o n t r a c t s s t i p u l a t i n g t h a t only beautifying soft-focus lenses c o u l d be used for t h e i r close-ups. T h e s e optical modifiers e l i m i n a t e small facial wrinkles a n d skin b l e m i s h e s . T h e r e a r e even m o r e f i l t e r s t h a n t h e r e are lenses. S o m e t r a p light a n d refract it in s u c h a way as to p r o d u c e a d i a m o n d l i k e sparkle in t h e i m a g e . Many f i l t e r s a r e used t o s u p p r e s s o r h e i g h t e n certain colors. C o l o r f i l t e r s can b e espe-

1-28. Kids (U.S.A., 1995), with Yakira Peguero and Leo Fitzpatrick, directed by Larry Clark. Fast film stocks are highly sensitive to light and can record images with no additional illumination except w h a t ' s available on a set or location—even at night. These stocks tend to produce harsh light-dark contrasts, an a b s e n c e of details, and images so grainy that they can a p p e a r m o r e painterly than linear. Fast stocks are especially effective in fiction films that purport to be realistic and documentarylike, such as this controversial depiction of s o m e urban teenagers a n d their high-risk sexual practices.

(Excalibur Films)

1-29. Pas De Deux (Canada, 1968), directed by Norman McLaren. The optical printer is an invaluable piece of e q u i p m e n t , particularly to the formalist filmmaker, because, a m o n g other things, it allows the superimposition of two or more realities within a unified space. This film uses a technique called chronophotography, in which the m o v e m e n t s of two dancers are staggered and overlayed by the optical printer to produce a stroboscopic effect: As the dancers move, they leave a ghostly imprint on the screen. (National Film Board

of

Canada)

cially striking in e x t e r i o r scenes. R o b e r t A l t a i a n ' s McCabe and Mrs. Miller ( p h o t o g r a p h e d by Vilmos Z s i g m o n d ) uses g r e e n a n d b l u e filters for m a n y of t h e e x t e r i o r scenes, yellow a n d o r a n g e for interiors. T h e s e f i l t e r s e m p h a s i z e t h e bitter cold o f t h e w i n t e r setting a n d t h e c o m m u n a l w a r m t h o f t h e r o o m s inside t h e primitive b u i l d i n g s . T h o u g h t h e r e a r e a n u m b e r of different kinds of film stocks, m o s t of t h e m fall within t h e two basic categories: fast a n d slow. Fast stock is highly sensitive to light a n d in s o m e cases can register images with no i l l u m i n a t i o n e x c e p t what's available on location, even in n i g h t t i m e s e q u e n c e s ( 1 - 2 8 ) . Slow stock is relatively insensitive to light a n d r e q u i r e s as m u c h as ten times m o r e illumination t h a n fast stocks. Traditionally, slow stocks a r e c a p a b l e of c a p t u r i n g colors precisely, w i t h o u t w a s h i n g t h e m out. Fast stocks a r e c o m m o n l y associated with d o c u m e n t a r y movies, for with t h e i r g r e a t sensitivity to light, t h e s e stocks can r e p r o d u c e images of events while t h e y ' r e actually o c c u r r i n g . T h e d o c u m e n t a r i s t i s able t o p h o t o g r a p h p e o p l e a n d places w i t h o u t having to set up c u m b e r s o m e lights. Because of this light sensitivity, fast stocks p r o d u c e a grainy i m a g e in which lines t e n d to be fuzzy a n d colors t e n d to wash o u t . In a black-and-white film, lights a n d d a r k s c o n t r a s t sharply a n d m a n y variations of gray can be lost. Ordinarily, t e c h n i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s such as t h e s e w o u l d have no place in a b o o k of this sort, b u t t h e c h o i c e of stock can p r o d u c e c o n s i d e r a b l e psychological a n d aesthetic differences in a movie. Since t h e early 1960s, m a n y fiction filmmakers have switched to fast stocks to give t h e i r i m a g e s a d o c u m e n t a r y sense of urgency. T h e optical printer is an e l a b o r a t e m a c h i n e t h a t p r o d u c e s m a n y special effects in t h e c i n e m a . It i n c l u d e s a c a m e r a a n d p r o j e c t o r precisely a l i g n e d , a n d 34

P K o t o g i* ci p K y

35

1-30. Multiplicity (U.S.A., 1996), with (from left to right) Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton, and Michael Keaton; directed by Harold Ramis. The American c i n e m a has always been on the cutting edge of film technology, especially in the area of special effects. Computer-generated images have allowed filmmakers to create fantasy worlds of the utmost realism. In this movie, for example, Keaton plays a m a n w h o has lost his wife and his job, and must clone himself in order to function effectively. C o m p u t e r artist Dan Madsen created a film reality that obviously has no counterpart in the outside physical world. Critic Stephen Prince has observed that such technological a d v a n c e m e n t s as c o m p u t e r - g e n e r a t e d images have radically u n d e r m i n e d the traditional distinctions b e t w e e n realism a n d formalism in film theory. See Stephen Prince, "True Lies: Perceptual Realism, Digital Images, and Film Theory," in Film Quarterly (Spring,

1996).

(Columbia Pictures)

it p e r m i t s t h e o p e r a t o r to r e p h o t o g r a p h all or a p o r t i o n of an existing frame of a film. D o u b l e e x p o s u r e , or t h e s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n of two i m a g e s , is o n e of t h e most i m p o r t a n t of t h e s e effects, lor it p e r m i t s t h e d i r e c t o r to p o r t r a y two levels of reality s i m u l t a n e o u s l y . F o r this r e a s o n , t h e t e c h n i q u e is often u s e d in fantasy a n d d r e a m s e q u e n c e s , a s well a s i n s c e n e s d e a l i n g with t h e s u p e r n a t u r a l . T h e o p t i c a l p r i n t e r c a n also p r o d u c e multiple e x p o s u r e s , o r t h e s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n o f m a n y i m a g e s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y . M u l t i p l e e x p o s u r e s a r c useful for s u g g e s t i n g m o o d , t i m e lapses, a n d a n y s e n s e o f m i x t u r e — o f t i m e , places, objects, events. T h e o p t i c a l p r i n t e r c a n c o m b i n e o n e a c t o r with m o v i n g i m a g e s o f o t h e r s i n a different time a n d place.

1-31. Twentieth C e n t u r y - F o x publicity p h o t o of Marilyn M o n r o e ( 1 9 5 3 ) . Cinematographers often c o m m e n t that the camera "likes" certain individuals and "doesn't like" others, even though these others might be good-looking people in real life. Highly photogenic performers like Marilyn Monroe are rarely uncomfortable in front of the camera. Indeed, they often play to it, ensnaring our attention. Photographer Richard Avedon said of Marilyn, "She understood photography, and she also understood what m a k e s a great photograph—not the technique, but the content. She was more comfortable in front of the c a m e r a than away from it." Philippe Halsman went even further, pointing out that her open mouth and frequently open decolletage were frankly invitational: "She would try to seduce the camera as if it were a h u m a n being. . . . She knew that the camera lens was not just a glass eye but a symbol of the eyes of millions of m e n , so the camera stimulated her Strongly."

(Twentieth

Century-Fox)

T h e c i n e m a is a collaborative e n t e r p r i s e , t h e result of t h e c o m b i n e d efforts of m a n y artists, t e c h n i c i a n s , a n d b u s i n e s s p e o p l e . Because t h e c o n t r i b u tions of t h e s e individuals vary from film to film, it's h a r d to d e t e r m i n e w h o ' s r e s p o n s i b l e for w h a t in a movie. Most sophisticated viewers a g r e e t h a t t h e director is generally t h e d o m i n a n t artist in t h e best movies. T h e p r i n c i p a l collaborators—actors, writers, c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s — p e r f o r m a c c o r d i n g t o t h e d i r e c t o r ' s unifying sensibility. But directorial d o m i n a n c e is an act of faith. Many films a r e s t a m p e d by t h e p e r s o n a l i t i e s of o t h e r s — a prestigious star, for e x a m p l e , or a skillful e d i t o r w h o m a n a g e s to m a k e sense o u t of a d i r e c t o r ' s b o t c h e d footage. C i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s s o m e t i m e s c h u c k l e sardonically w h e n a d i r e c t o r ' s visual style is p r a i s e d by critics. S o m e d i r e c t o r s d o n ' t even b o t h e r l o o k i n g t h r o u g h t h e viewfinder a n d leave s u c h m a t t e r s a s c o m p o s i t i o n , angles, a n d lenses u p t o t h e c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r . W h e n d i r e c t o r s i g n o r e t h e s e i m p o r t a n t formal e l e m e n t s , they t h r o w away s o m e of t h e i r m o s t expressive pictorial o p p o r t u nities a n d function m o r e like stage d i r e c t o r s , w h o a r e c o n c e r n e d with d r a m a t i c

1-32. The Emigrants (Sweden, 1972), with Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow, photographed and directed by Jan Troell. If we were to view a scene similar to this in real life, we would probably concentrate most of our attention on the people in the wagon. But there are considerable differences between reality a n d cinematic realism. Realism is an artistic style. In selecting materials from the chaotic sprawl of reality, the realist filmmaker necessarily eliminates s o m e details and e m p h a s i z e s others into a structured hierarchy of visual significance. For example, the stone wall in the foreground of this shot occupies more space than the h u m a n s . Visually, this dominance suggests that the rocks are m o r e important than the people. The unyielding stone wall symbolizes divisiveness and exclusion—ideas that are appropriate to the dramatic context. If the wall were irrelevant to the theme, Troell would have eliminated it and selected other details from the copiousness of reality—details that would be more pertinent to the dramatic Context.

(Warner Bros.)

r a t h e r t h a n visual v a l u e s — t h a t is, with t h e script a n d t h e a c t i n g r a t h e r t h a n t h e p h o t o g r a p h i c quality of t h e i m a g e itself. On t h e o t h e r h a n d , a few c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s have b e e n p r a i s e d for t h e i r artistry w h e n in fact t h e effectiveness of a film's images is largely d u e to t h e d i r e c t o r ' s pictorial skills. H i t c h c o c k p r o v i d e d individual f r a m e drawings for m o s t of t h e shots in his films, a t e c h n i q u e called storyboarding. His c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s f r a m e d u p a c c o r d i n g t o H i t c h c o c k ' s precise sketches. H e n c e , w h e n H i t c h c o c k c l a i m e d t h a t h e n e v e r l o o k e d t h r o u g h t h e viewfinder, h e m e a n t t h a t h e a s s u m e d his c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r h a d followed i n s t r u c t i o n s . S w e e p i n g s t a t e m e n t s a b o u t t h e role o f t h e c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r a r e impossible to m a k e , for it varies widely from film to film a n d from d i r e c t o r to direc37

38

P h o l o g K a p K y

tor. In actual practice, virtually all c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s a g r e e t h a t t h e style of t h e p h o t o g r a p h y s h o u l d b e g e a r e d t o t h e story, t h e m e , a n d m o o d o f t h e f i l m . William Daniels h a d a prestigious r e p u t a t i o n as a g l a m o u r p h o t o g r a p h e r at MGM a n d for m a n y years was k n o w n as "Greta G a r b o ' s c a m e r a m a n . " Yet Daniels also s h o t Erich von S t r o h e i m ' s harshly realistic Greed, a n d t h e cinem a t o g r a p h e r won an A c a d e m y Award for his work in Jules Dassin's Naked City, which is virtually a s e m i d o c u m e n t a r y . D u r i n g t h e big-studio era, m o s t c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s believed t h a t t h e aesthetic e l e m e n t s of a film s h o u l d be m a x i m i z e d — b e a u t i f u l p i c t u r e s with b e a u t i ful p e o p l e was t h e goal. Today s u c h views a r e c o n s i d e r e d rigid a n d d o c t r i n a i r e . S o m e t i m e s i m a g e s a r e even c o a r s e n e d if s u c h a t e c h n i q u e is c o n s i d e r e d a p p r o priate t o t h e d r a m a t i c materials. F o r e x a m p l e , Vilmos Z s i g m o n d , w h o p h o t o g r a p h e d Deliverance, d i d n ' t w a n t t h e r u g g e d forest setting to a p p e a r too pretty

1-33. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Spain, 1 9 8 8 ) , with Carmen Maura, directed by Pedro Almodovar. What's wrong with this photo? For one thing, the character is not centered in the composition. The image is asymmetrical, apparently off balance because the "empty" space on the right takes up over half the viewing area. Visual artists often use "negative space" such as this to create a vacuum in the image, a sense of something missing, something left unsaid. In this case, the pregnant protagonist (Maura) has just been d u m p e d by her lover. He is an unworthy swine, but inexplicably, perversely, she still loves him. His a b a n d o n m e n t has left a painful e m p t y place in her life. (Orion Pictures)

P h o f o g i - o p h y

39

b e c a u s e beautiful visuals w o u l d c o n t r a d i c t t h e D a r w i n i a n t h e m e o f t h e film. H e w a n t e d to c a p t u r e w h a t T e n n y s o n d e s c r i b e d as " n a t u r e r e d in t o o t h a n d claw." Accordingly, Z s i g m o n d s h o t on overcast days as m u c h as possible to e l i m i n a t e t h e b r i g h t b l u e skies. H e also a v o i d e d reflections i n t h e water b e c a u s e they t e n d t o m a k e n a t u r e l o o k c h e e r f u l a n d inviting. 'You d o n ' t m a k e beautiful c o m p o s i tions j u s t for t h e sake of m a k i n g c o m p o s i t i o n s , " c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r Laszlo Kovacs has insisted. C o n t e n t always d e t e r m i n e s f o r m ; f o r m s h o u l d b e t h e embodiment of content. "Many times, w h a t you d o n ' t see is m u c h m o r e effective t h a n w h a t you do see," G o r d o n Willis has n o t e d . Willis is arguably t h e m o s t r e s p e c t e d of all A m e r i c a n c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s , a specialist in low-key l i g h t i n g styles. He p h o t o g r a p h e d all t h r e e of Francis F o r d C o p p o l a ' s Godfather films—which m a n y traditionalists c o n s i d e r t o o d a r k . B u t Willis was a i m i n g for poetry, n o t realism. Most of t h e i n t e r i o r scenes w e r e very d a r k to suggest an a t m o s p h e r e of evil a n d secrecy (C.P.8). Willis's p r e f e r e n c e for low levels of light has b e e n e n o r m o u s l y influential i n t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y c i n e m a . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , m a n y f i l m m a k e r s today r e g a r d low-key l i g h t i n g as intrinsically m o r e "serious" a n d "artistic," w h a t e v e r t h e subject m a t t e r . T h e s e needlessly d a r k movies a r e often i m p e n e t r a b l y o b s c u r e w h e n s h o w n o n t h e television s c r e e n i n VCR o r DVD f o r m a t s . Conscie n t i o u s f i l m m a k e r s often s u p e r v i s e t h e transfer from film to v i d e o b e c a u s e e a c h m e d i u m r e q u i r e s different l i g h t i n g intensities. Generally, low-key i m a g e s m u s t b e l i g h t e n e d for v i d e o a n d DVD. S o m e film d i r e c t o r s a r e totally i g n o r a n t of t h e t e c h n o l o g y of t h e came r a a n d leave s u c h m a t t e r s entirely t o t h e c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r . O t h e r f i l m m a k e r s a r e very s o p h i s t i c a t e d i n t h e art o f t h e c a m e r a . F o r e x a m p l e , Sidney L u m e t , w h o is b e s t k n o w n for d i r e c t i n g s u c h realistic New York City d r a m a s as The Pawnbroker, Dog Day Afternoon, a n d Serpico, always m a k e s w h a t he calls a "lens c h a r t " or a "lens plot." In L u m e t ' s Prince of the City, for i n s t a n c e , t h e story centers on a Serpicolike u n d e r c o v e r c o p w h o is g a t h e r i n g i n f o r m a t i o n on police c o r r u p t i o n . L u m e t u s e d n o " n o r m a l " lenses i n t h e movie, only e x t r e m e telep h o t o s a n d wide-angle lenses, b e c a u s e h e w a n t e d t o c r e a t e a n a t m o s p h e r e o f distrust a n d p a r a n o i a . H e w a n t e d t h e space t o b e d i s t o r t e d , u n t r u s t w o r t h y . " T h e lens tells t h e story," L u m e t e x p l a i n e d , even t h o u g h superficially t h e film's style is gritty a n d realistic. T h e r e a r e s o m e g r e a t movies t h a t a r e p h o t o g r a p h e d c o m p e t e n t l y , b u t w i t h o u t distinction. Realist d i r e c t o r s a r e especially likely to p r e f e r an u n o b t r u sive style. Many of t h e works of Luis B u n u e l , for e x a m p l e , can only be d e s c r i b e d as "professional" in t h e i r c i n e m a t o g r a p h y . B u n u e l was rarely i n t e r e s t e d in form a l b e a u t y — e x c e p t occasionally to m o c k it. Rollie T o t h e r o h , w h o p h o t o g r a p h e d m o s t o f C h a p l i n ' s works, m e r e l y set u p his c a m e r a a n d let C h a p l i n t h e a c t o r take over. P h o t o g r a p h i c a l l y s p e a k i n g , t h e r e a r e few m e m o r a b l e shots in his films. W h a t m a k e s t h e i m a g e s c o m p e l l i n g is t h e g e n i u s of C h a p l i n ' s acting. T h i s p h o t o g r a p h i c a u s t e r i t y — s o m e w o u l d c o n s i d e r it poverty—is especially a p p a r e n t in t h o s e r a r e scenes w h e n C h a p l i n is off c a m e r a .

l-34a. Muriel's Wedding (Australia, 1995), with Toni Collette (with flowers), directed by P. J. Hogan. (Miramax Films)

l-34b. Kafka (U.S.A., 1991), with Jeremy Irons (left), directed by Steven Soderbergh. (Miramax

Films)

Cinematography is very important, but it usually can't m a k e or break a movie—only m a k e it better or worse. For example, the low-budget Muriel's Wedding was shot mostly on location using available lighting. The photography is adequate, but nothing more. In this shot, for instance, the protagonist (Collette) has the key light on her, but the background is too busy and the depth layers of the image are compressed into an undifferentiated messy blur. Nonetheless, the movie was an international hit and was widely praised by critics, thanks mostly to Collette's endearing performance, a funny script, and Hogan's exuberant direction. No o n e complained about the lackluster photography. On the other hand, the cinematography of Kafka is ravishing—bold, theatrical, richly textured. This shot alone must have taken m a n y hours to set up. But the movie was a failure, both with the public and with most critics. In short, not all beautifully photographed movies continued 40



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l-34c. Days of Heaven (U.S.A., 1978), written and directed by Terrence Malick. (A

Paramount

Picture)

are great. And not all great movies are beautifully photographed. Many of them—especially realistic films—are plain and straightforward. Realists often don't want you to notice the photography. They want you to concentrate on what's being photographed, not on how it's being photographed. Perhaps an ideal synthesis is found in a movie like Days of Heaven. Malick's powerful allegory of h u m a n frailty and corruption is written in a spare, poetic idiom. The actors are also first-rate, needy, and touching in their d o o m e d vulnerability. The film was photographed by Nestor Almendros, who won a well-deserved Oscar for his cinematography. The story is set in the early twentieth century in a lonely wheat-growing region of the American midwest. Malick w a n t e d the setting to suggest a lush Garden of Eden, a lost paradise. Almendros suggested that virtually the entire movie could be shot during the "magic hour." This is a term used by photographers to d e n o t e dusk, roughly the last hour of the day before the sun yields to night. During this fleeting interlude, shadows are soft and elongated, figures are lit from the side rather than from above, r i m m e d with a golden halo, and the entire landscape is bathed in a luminous glow. Naturally, shooting one hour a day was expensive and time-consuming. But they got what they wanted: Whether focusing on a close-up of a locust munching on a stalk of wheat, or an e x t r e m e long shot of a rural sunset, the images are rapturous in their lyricism. We feel a sense of poignant loss when the characters must leave this land of milk a n d honey.

But t h e r e a r e far m o r e f i l m s i n w h i c h t h e only i n t e r e s t i n g o r artistic quality is t h e c i n e m a t o g r a p h y . F o r e v e r y g r e a t w o r k like Fritz L a n g ' s You Only Live Once, L e o n S h a m r o y h a d to p h o t o g r a p h f o u r or five b o m b s of t h e ilk of Snow White and the Three Stooges. L e e G a r m e s p h o t o g r a p h e d several of v o n S t e r n b e r g ' s visually o p u l e n t films, b u t he also was r e q u i r e d to s h o o t My Friend Irma Goes West, a p i e c e of g a r b a g e .

42

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I n this c h a p t e r , w e ' v e b e e n c o n c e r n e d with visual i m a g e s largely a s t h e y relate to the art a n d technology of cinematography. But the c a m e r a must have m a t e r i a l s t o p h o t o g r a p h — o b j e c t s , p e o p l e , settings. T h r o u g h t h e m a n i p u l a t i o n o f t h e s e m a t e r i a l s , t h e d i r e c t o r i s a b l e t o convey a m u l t i t u d e o f i d e a s a n d e m o t i o n s spatially. T h i s a r r a n g e m e n t of objects in s p a c e is r e f e r r e d to as a d i r e c t o r ' s mise en scene—the s u b j e c t of t h e following c h a p t e r .

FURTHER READING ALTON, JOHN, Painting with Light (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1 9 9 5 ) . Reprint of a classic work. COE, BRIAN, The History ofMovie Photography ( L o n d o n : Ash & Grant, 1 9 8 1 ) . COPJEC, JOAN, cd. Shades of Noir ( L o n d o n a n d New York: Routledge, 1 9 9 4 ) . Essays on t h e origins a n d persistence of film noir. EYMAN, SCOTT, Five American Cinematographers ( M e t u c h e n , N.J., a n d L o n d o n : Scarecrow Press, 1987). Interviews with Karl Struss, J o s e p h R u t t e n b e r g , J a m e s W o n g Howe, Linwood D u n n , a n d William Clothier. FIELDING, RAYMOND, The Techniques of Special Effects Cinematography (New York: Hastings H o u s e , 1 9 6 5 ) . Somewhat dated, b u t still valuable. FINCH, CHRISTOPHER, Special Effects: Creating Movie Magic (New York: Abbeville, 1 9 8 4 ) . Lavishly illustrated. MASCELI.I, JOSEPH, The Five C's of Cinematography (Hollywood: C i n e / G r a p h i c s , 1 9 6 5 ) . A practical m a n u a l . SGHAEFER, DENNIS, a n d LARRY SALVATO, eds., Masters of Light (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). Excellent collection of interviews with c o n t e m p o r a r y cinematographers. SCHECHTER, HAROLD, AND DAVID EvERlTT, Film Tricks: Special Effects in Movies (New York: Dial, 1980). YOUNG, FREDDIE, The Work of the Motion Picture Cameraman (New York: Hastings H o u s e , 1972). Technical emphasis.

44

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OvefV i ew Mise e n s c e n e : H o w t h e visual m a t e r i a l s a r e staged, f r a m e d , a n d p h o t o g r a p h e d . T h e f r a m e ' s a s p e c t ratio: d i m e n s i o n s o f t h e s c r e e n ' s h e i g h t a n d w i d t h . Film, TV, v i d e o . F u n c t i o n s o f t h e f r a m e : e x c l u d i n g t h e irrelevant, p i n p o i n t i n g t h e particular, s y m b o l i z ing o t h e r e n c l o s u r e s . T h e s y m b o l i c i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h e g e o g r a p h y o f t h e f r a m e : t o p , b o t t o m , center, a n d e d g e s . W h a t ' s off-frame a n d why. H o w i m a g e s a r e s t r u c t u r e d : c o m p o s i t i o n a n d d e s i g n . W h e r e w e l o o k first: t h e d o m i n a n t . T h e territorial i m p e r a t i v e : H o w s p a c e c a n b e u s e d t o c o m m u n i c a t e i d e a s a b o u t power. Staging p o s i t i o n s vis-a-vis t h e c a m e r a a n d w h a t t h e y suggest. H o w m u c h r o o m for m o v e m e n t : tight a n d l o o s e framing. Proxemic p a t t e r n s a n d h o w they define the relationships b e t w e e n people. Camera proxemics a n d the shots. O p e n a n d closed forms: w i n d o w s or p r o s c e n i u m f r a m e d i m a g e s ? T h e fifteen e l e m e n t s o f a m i s e e n s c e n e analysis.

Mise e n s c e n e ( p r o n o u n c e d m e e z o n sen, with t h e s e c o n d syllable nasalized) was originally a F r e n c h theatrical t e r m m e a n i n g "placing on stage." T h e p h r a s e refers to t h e a r r a n g e m e n t of all t h e visual e l e m e n t s of a theatrical p r o d u c t i o n within a given playing a r e a — t h e stage. T h i s a r e a c a n be d e f i n e d by t h e proscen i u m a r c h , w h i c h encloses t h e stage in a k i n d of p i c t u r e frame; or t h e acting a r e a can b e m o r e fluid, e x t e n d i n g even i n t o t h e a u d i t o r i u m . N o m a t t e r w h a t t h e confines of t h e stage may b e , its mise en s c e n e is always in t h r e e d i m e n sions. Objects a n d p e o p l e a r e a r r a n g e d in actual space, which has d e p t h as well as h e i g h t a n d w i d t h . T h i s space is also a c o n t i n u a t i o n of t h e s a m e space t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e o c c u p i e s , no m a t t e r h o w m u c h a t h e a t e r d i r e c t o r tries to suggest a s e p a r a t e "world" o n t h e stage. In movies, m i s e en s c e n e is s o m e w h a t m o r e c o m p l i c a t e d , a b l e n d of t h e visual c o n v e n t i o n s of t h e live t h e a t e r with t h o s e of p a i n t i n g . Like t h e stage d i r e c t o r , t h e filmmaker a r r a n g e s objects a n d p e o p l e within a given t h r e e d i m e n s i o n a l s p a c e . B u t o n c e this a r r a n g e m e n t i s p h o t o g r a p h e d , it's c o n v e r t e d i n t o a t w o - d i m e n s i o n a l imageoithe real t h i n g . T h e s p a c e in t h e "world" of the movie is n o t the same as that occupied by the audience. Only the image exists in t h e s a m e physical a r e a , like a p i c t u r e in an a r t gallery. Mise en s c e n e i n t h e m o v i e s r e s e m b l e s t h e a r t o f p a i n t i n g i n t h a t a n i m a g e o f f o r m a l patt e r n s a n d s h a p e s is p r e s e n t e d on a flat surface a n d is e n c l o s e d within a f r a m e . B u t c i n e m a t i c mise en s c e n e is also a fluid c h o r e o g r a p h i n g of visual e l e m e n t s that are constantly in flux.

Each movie image is e n c l o s e d by the frame of the screen, which defines t h e world of t h e film, s e p a r a t i n g it from the actual world of the d a r k e n e d auditor i u m . Unlike t h e p a i n t e r or still p h o t o g r a p h e r , the filmmaker d o e s n ' t conceive of t h e framed compositions as self-sufficient statements. Like d r a m a , film is a tem-

2-1. Manhattan (U.S.A., 1979), with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, directed by Allen. Mise en s c e n e is a c o m p l e x analytical t e r m , e n c o m p a s s i n g four distinct formal e l e m e n t s : (1) the staging of the action, (2) the physical setting and decor, (3) the m a n n e r in which t h e s e materials are framed, a n d (4) the m a n n e r in which they are photographed. The art of mise en s c e n e is indissolubly linked with the art of cinematography. In this shot, for e x a m ple, the story c o n t e n t is simple: The characters are conversing, getting to know each other, b e c o m i n g attracted. Gordon Willis's tender, low-key lighting, c o m b i n e d with the beauty of the setting—the sculpture garden of New York's Museum of Modern Art—provides the scene with an intensely romantic a t m o s p h e r e . (UnitedArtists)

p o r a l as well as spatial art, a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y t h e visuals a r e constantly in flux. T h e c o m p o s i t i o n s a r e b r o k e n d o w n , r e d e f i n e d , a n d r e a s s e m b l e d before o u r eyes. A single-frame i m a g e from a movie, t h e n , is necessarily an artificially frozen m o m e n t t h a t was n e v e r i n t e n d e d to be yanked from its c o n t e x t in time a n d m o t i o n . For critical p u r p o s e s , it's s o m e t i m e s necessary to analyze a still frame in isolation, b u t t h e viewer o u g h t t o m a k e d u e allowances for t h e d r a m a t i c c o n t e x t . flic frame functions as the basis of c o m p o s i t i o n in a movie image. Unlike t h e p a i n t e r or still p h o t o g r a p h e r , however, t h e filmmaker d o e s n ' t fit t h e frame to t h e c o m p o s i t i o n , b u t t h e c o m p o s i t i o n s to a single-sized frame. T h e ratio of t h e frame's h o r i z o n t a l a n d vertical d i m e n s i o n s — k n o w n as t h e aspect ratio— r e m a i n s c o n s t a n t t h r o u g h o u t t h e movie. Screens c o m e in a variety of aspect ratios, especially since t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n of widescreen in t h e early 1950s. Prior to that time, m o s t movies w e r e s h o t in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, t h o u g h even in t h e silent e r a filmmakers were constantly e x p e r i m e n t i n g with different-sized screens (2-6). 45

2-2. Notorious (U.S.A., 1946), with Leopoldine Konstantine, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains; directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock always regarded himself as a formalist, calculating his effects with an extraordinary degree of precision. He believed that an unmanipulated reality is filled with irrelevancies: "I do not follow the geography of a set, I follow the geography of the screen," he said. The space around actors must be orchestrated from shot to shot. "I think only of that white screen that has to be filled up the way you fill up a canvas. That's why 1 draw rough setups for the cameram a n . " Here, the mise en scene is a perfect analogue of the heroine's sense of entrapment, without violating the civilized veneer d e m a n d e d by the dramatic context. The dialogue in such instances can be perfectly neutral, for the psychological tensions are conveyed by the placem e n t of the c a m e r a and the way the characters are arranged in space. (RKO>

Today, m o s t movies a r e p r o j e c t e d in o n e of two a s p e c t ratios: t h e 1.85:1 ( s t a n d a r d ) a n d t h e 2.35:1 ( w i d e s c r e e n ) . S o m e films originally p h o t o g r a p h e d i n w i d e s c r e e n a r e c r o p p e d d o w n to a c o n v e n t i o n a l a s p e c t r a t i o after t h e i r initial c o m m e r c i a l r e l e a s e . T h i s a p p a l l i n g p r a c t i c e is c o m m o n p l a c e in movies t h a t a r e r e d u c e d from 3 5 m m t o 1 6 m m , t h e s t a n d a r d g a u g e u s e d i n m o s t n o n c o m m e r cial e x h i b i t i o n s like t h o s e a t colleges a n d m u s e u m s . T h e m o r e imaginatively t h e w i d e s c r e e n is u s e d , t h e m o r e a movie is likely to suffer w h e n its a s p e c t ratio is violated in this m a n n e r . Generally, at least a t h i r d of t h e i m a g e is h a c k e d away by l o p p i n g off t h e e d g e s of t h e frame. T h i s k i n d of c r o p p i n g c a n result in m a n y visual absurdities: A s p e a k e r at t h e e d g e of t h e f r a m e m i g h t be totally a b s e n t in t h e "revised" c o m p o s i t i o n , o r a n a c t o r m i g h t r e a c t i n h o r r o r a t s o m e t h i n g t h a t n e v e r even c o m e s i n t o view. W h e n s h o w n o n television—which has a n a s p e c t ratio of a p p r o x i m a t e l y 1.33:1—some of t h e greatest w i d e s c r e e n films c a n actually s e e m clumsy a n d p o o r l y c o m p o s e d . In t h e traditional visual arts, frame d i m e n s i o n s a r e g o v e r n e d by t h e n a t u r e of t h e subject matter. T h u s , a p a i n t i n g of a skyscraper is likely to be vertical in s h a p e a n d w o u l d be f r a m e d accordingly. A vast p a n o r a m i c s c e n e w o u l d probably be m o r e h o r i z o n t a l in its d i m e n s i o n s . But in movies, t h e frame ratio is s t a n d a r d i z e d a n d isn't necessarily g o v e r n e d by t h e n a t u r e of t h e materials b e i n g 46

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p h o t o g r a p h e d . This is n o t to say that all film images are t h e r e f o r e inorganic, however, for in this r e g a r d t h e filmmaker can be likened to a s o n n e t e e r , w h o chooses a rigid form precisely b e c a u s e of t h e technical c h a l l e n g e s it presents. Much of t h e e n j o y m e n t we derive in r e a d i n g a s o n n e t results from t h e tension between t h e subject m a t t e r a n d t h e form, which consists of f o u r t e e n intricately r h y m e d lines. W h e n t e c h n i q u e a n d subject m a t t e r a r e fused in this way, aesthetic pleasure is h e i g h t e n e d . T h e s a m e p r i n c i p l e can be a p p l i e d to framing in film. T h e c o n s t a n t size of t h e movie f r a m e is especially h a r d to o v e r c o m e in vertical c o m p o s i t i o n s . A sense of h e i g h t m u s t be conveyed in spite of t h e d o m i nantly h o r i z o n t a l s h a p e o f t h e s c r e e n . O n e m e t h o d o f o v e r c o m i n g t h e p r o b l e m is t h r o u g h masking. In his 1916 d r a m a , Intolerance, D. W. Griffith b l o c k e d o u t p o r t i o n s of his i m a g e s t h r o u g h t h e use of black masks. T h e s e in effect conn e c t e d t h e d a r k e n e d p o r t i o n s o f t h e s c r e e n with t h e d a r k n e s s o f t h e a u d i t o r i u m . To e m p h a s i z e t h e s t e e p fall of a soldier from a wall, t h e sides of t h e i m a g e were m a s k e d o u t . To stress t h e vast h o r i z o n of a location, Griffith m a s k e d o u t t h e lower t h i r d of t h e i m a g e — t h u s c r e a t i n g a w i d e s c r e e n effect. Many k i n d s of masks a r e u s e d in this movie, i n c l u d i n g d i a g o n a l , circular, a n d oval s h a p e s . S o m e years later, t h e Soviet d i r e c t o r Eisenstein u r g e d t h e a d o p t i o n of a s q u a r e s c r e e n , o n w h i c h m a s k e d i m a g e s c o u l d b e p r o j e c t e d i n w h a t e v e r s h a p e was a p p r o p r i a t e t o t h e subject matter. N o o n e p i c k e d u p o n t h e idea.

2-3. Air Force One (U.S.A., 1997), with Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, directed by Wolfgang Petersen. The movie frame temporarily defines the acting area for the duration of the shot. Whoever controls the space within the frame's limits controls the action. Notice how the villain (Oldman, always in top form when he's bad) dominates the President of the United States (Ford, of course), forcing him into the lower right corner of the mise en scene, seemingly on the brink of being pushed totally off screen. In instances such as these, the darkness off frame symbolizes the Oblivion Of death. (Columbia Pictures)

2-4. Lawrence of Arabia (Great Britain, 1962), with Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole, directed by David Lean. The widescreen aspect ratio provides s o m e big problems when transferred to a video format. There are several solutions, but all of t h e m have drawbacks. The crudest solution is simply to slice off the edges of the film image and concentrate on the middle, the assumption being that the center is where the d o m i n a n t focus is likely to be. This shot would just barely contain the faces of the two characters and nothing past the center of their heads—an uncomfortably tight squeeze. A second solution is called "pan and scan" in which a TV c a m e r a scans the scene, panning to one or the other character as each speaks—like watching a tennis match on rough seas. A similar approach is to reedit the scene by cutting to each character, thus isolating t h e m into their own separate space cubicles. But the essence of the shot d e m a n d s that we see both characters at the s a m e time. The d r a m a lies in the subtle interactions of the characters, and this interaction would be lost by editing. A fourth solution is called "letterboxing"—simply to include the entire movie image and block out the top and bottom of the TV screen. Many people object to this method, complaining that nearly half the screen is thus left empty, making an already small screen smaller. (Columbia Pictures)

In t h e silent movie era, t h e iris (a circular or oval mask that can o p e n up or close in on a subject) was r a t h e r overused. In t h e h a n d s of a master, however, t h e iris can be a powerful d r a m a t i c s t a t e m e n t . In The Wild Child, Francois Truffaut u s e d an iris to suggest t h e i n t e n s e c o n c e n t r a t i o n of a y o u n g boy: T h e surr o u n d i n g blackness is a m e t a p h o r of how t h e y o u n g s t e r "blocks o u t " his social e n v i r o n m e n t while focusing on an object immediately in front of h i m . As an aesthetic device, t h e frame p e r f o r m s in several ways. T h e sensitive d i r e c t o r is j u s t as c o n c e r n e d with what's left o u t of t h e frame as with what's i n c l u d e d . T h e frame selects a n d delimits the subject, e d i t i n g o u t all irrelcvancies a n d p r e s e n t i n g us with only a "piece" of reality. T h e materials i n c l u d e d within a s h o t a r e unified by t h e frame, which in effect imposes an o r d e r on t h e m . T h e frame is thus essentially an isolating device, a t e c h n i q u e t h a t p e r m i t s t h e direct o r to confer special a t t e n t i o n on what m i g h t be o v e r l o o k e d in a wider c o n t e x t . T h e movie frame can function as a m e t a p h o r for o t h e r types of enclosures. S o m e d i r e c t o r s use t h e frame voyeuristically. In m a n y of t h e films of H i t c h c o c k , for e x a m p l e , t h e f r a m e is l i k e n e d to a window t h r o u g h which t h e a u d i e n c e may satisfy its i m p u l s e to pry i n t o t h e i n t i m a t e details of t h e charact e r s ' lives. In fact, Psycho a n d Rear Window use this p e e p i n g t e c h n i q u e literally. C e r t a i n a r e a s within t h e f r a m e c a n suggest symbolic ideas. By p l a c i n g 48

2-5. The Honeymooners ( 1 9 5 5 ) , with Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, produced by CBS television. Video and television are actually different m e d i u m s . Video is a m e t h o d of transmission from a n o t h e r m e d i u m , usually a movie or a live theater production. In other words, video is a s e c o n d h a n d recording that inevitably diminishes the original artistic form. However, seeing a movie or play on video is better than not seeing it at all. Broadcast television, on the other hand, is an art that has evolved its own set of rules, including an aspect ratio that resembles the pre-1950 movie screen. Note how tightly framed this comic sketch is: The TV camera stays pretty much in the medium-shot range, and the performers confine their m o v e m e n t s to just a few square feet of space. Blown up to fit a big movie screen, these images would probably look c r a m p e d and visually crude, notwithstanding the brilliance of the actors, ICBS)

an object or a c t o r within a p a r t i c u l a r section of t h e f r a m e , t h e f i l m m a k e r can radically alter his o r h e r c o m m e n t o n t h a t object o r character. P l a c e m e n t within t h e f r a m e is a n o t h e r i n s t a n c e of h o w f o r m is actually c o n t e n t . E a c h of t h e m a j o r sections o f t h e f r a m e — c e n t e r , t o p , b o t t o m , a n d s i d e s — c a n b e e x p l o i t e d for such symbolic p u r p o s e s . T h e central p o r t i o n s of the screen are generally reserved for the m o s t i m p o r t a n t visual e l e m e n t s . T h i s a r e a is instinctively r e g a r d e d by most p e o p l e as t h e intrinsic c e n t e r of interest. W h e n we take a s n a p s h o t of a friend, we generally c e n t e r his or h e r figure within t h e confines of t h e viewfinder. Since c h i l d h o o d , we have b e e n t a u g h t t h a t a d r a w i n g m u s t be b a l a n c e d , with t h e m i d d l e serving as t h e focal p o i n t . T h e center, t h e n , is a k i n d of n o r m : We expect d o m i n a n t visual e l e m e n t s to be p l a c e d t h e r e . Precisely b e c a u s e of this e x p e c t a t i o n , objects in t h e c e n t e r t e n d to be visually u n d r a m a t i c . Central d o m i n a n c e is generally favored w h e n t h e subject m a t t e r is intrinsically c o m p e l l i n g . Realist filmmakers prefer c e n t r a l d o m i n a n c e b e c a u s e formally it's t h e most u n o b t r u s i v e k i n d of framing.

2-6. Napoleon (France, 1927), directed by Abel Gance. Napoleon is the most famous widescreen experiment of the silent era. Its triptych s e q u e n c e s such as the French army's march into Italy (pictured)—were shot in what Gance called "Polyvision." The process involved the coordination of three cameras so as to photograph a 160' p a n o r a m a — t h r e e times wider than the conventional aspect ratio. (Universal Pictures)

a

2-7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (U.S.A./ Great Britain, 1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick. The widescreen is particularly suited to capturing the vastness of a locale. If this image were cropped to a conventional aspect ratio (b) m u c h of the feel of the infinity of space would be sacrificed. We tend to scan an image from left to right, and therefore, in Kubrick's composition (a), the astronaut s e e m s to be in danger of slipping off into the endlessness of space. If the composition is turned upside down, however (c), the astronaut s e e m s to be c o m i n g h o m e into the safety of the spacecraft, IMCM)

c

b

2-8. The Indian in the Cupboard (U.S.A., 1995), with Litefoot, directed by Frank Oz. The mise en scene of the live theater is usually scaled in proportion to the h u m a n figure. Cinematic mise en scene can be microscopic or cosmic ( 2 - 7 ) with equal ease, thanks to the magic of special effects. In this photo, for example, the mise en scene represents only a few inches of space. Its scale is defined not by the h u m a n figure but by the tennis shoe that the three-inch-tall character is standing on. (Paramount Pictures/Columbia

Pictures)

T h e viewer is allowed to c o n c e n t r a t e on the subject m a t t e r without b e i n g distracted by visual e l e m e n t s t h a t s e e m off center. However, even formalists use the m i d d l e of t h e screen for d o m i n a n c e in r o u t i n e expository shots. T h e a r e a n e a r t h e t o p of t h e frame can suggest ideas d e a l i n g with power, authority, a n d aspiration. A p e r s o n placed h e r e s e e m s to control all the visual e l e m e n t s below, a n d for this r e a s o n , authority figures a r e often p h o t o g r a p h e d in this m a n n e r . T h i s d o m i n a n c e can also apply to objects—a palace, the t o p of a m o u n t a i n . If an unattractive c h a r a c t e r is placed n e a r t h e top of the screen, he or she can s e e m t h r e a t e n i n g a n d d a n g e r o u s , s u p e r i o r t o t h e o t h e r figures within t h e frame ( 2 - 3 ) . However, these generalizations a r e t r u e only w h e n t h e o t h e r figures are a p p r o x i m a t e l y t h e s a m e size or smaller t h a n the d o m i n a t i n g figure. T h e t o p of t h e f r a m e is n o t always u s e d in this symbolic m a n n e r . In s o m e i n s t a n c e s , this is simply t h e m o s t sensible a r e a to p l a c e an object. In a m e d i u m s h o t of a figure, for e x a m p l e , t h e p e r s o n ' s h e a d is logically g o i n g to b e n e a r t h e t o p o f t h e s c r e e n , b u t obviously this k i n d o f f r a m i n g i s n ' t m e a n t t o b e symbolic. It's m e r e l y r e a s o n a b l e , since t h a t ' s w h e r e w e ' d expect t h e h e a d t o a p p e a r i n m e d i u m s h o t s . Mise e n s c e n e i s essentially a n a r t o f t h e l o n g a n d e x t r e m e l o n g s h o t , for w h e n t h e subject m a t t e r is d e t a i l e d in a c l o s e r s h o t , t h e d i r e c t o r has fewer c h o i c e s c o n c e r n i n g t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f visual e l e m e n t s . T h e a r e a s n e a r t h e b o t t o m o f the frame t e n d t o suggest m e a n i n g s o p p o s i t e from t h e t o p : s u b s e r v i e n c e , vulnerability, a n d powerlessness. Objects a n d figures p l a c e d in t h e s e positions s e e m to be in d a n g e r of slipping o u t of 52

2-9. Tokyo Story (Japan, 1953), directed by Yasujiro Ozu. Ozu's mise en scene is usually formal, its compositional weights balanced with exquisite delicacy Note how the diagonal thrust of the tree branches (in an image otherwise c o m p o s e d of stately verticals and horizontals) counteracts the weight of the three figures on the right. The s c e n e is staged within a prosceniumlike enclosure—a frame within a frame—reinforcing its ceremonial dignity. Ozu exploits these formal compositions as ironic foils to the h u m a n materials: The intense emotions of the characters are often at odds with the decorum prescribed by such social rituals. "The Ozu scene is balanced, asymmetrical, pleasing to the eye; it is at the s a m e time rigid a n d uncompromising, as all e m p t y compositions are," Donald Richie has pointed out. "When the actor enters and behaves in a way contrary to the expectations created by such a formal decor, the result is an often touching spontaneity. This composition, then, exists but to be broken." (New Yorker rums)

t h e f r a m e entirely. For this r e a s o n , t h e s e a r e a s a r e often e x p l o i t e d symbolically to suggest d a n g e r . W h e n t h e r e are two or m o r e figures in t h e frame a n d they a r e a p p r o x i m a t e l y t h e s a m e size, t h e f i g u r e n e a r e r t h e b o t t o m o f t h e s c r e e n t e n d s t o b e d o m i n a t e d b y t h o s e above. T h e left a n d r i g h t e d g e s o f t h e f r a m e t e n d t o suggest insignificance, b e c a u s e t h e s e a r e t h e a r e a s farthest r e m o v e d from t h e c e n t e r o f t h e s c r e e n . Objects a n d figures p l a c e d n e a r t h e e d g e s a r e literally close to t h e d a r k n e s s outside t h e f r a m e . Many d i r e c t o r s use this d a r k n e s s to suggest t h o s e symbolic ideas traditionally associated with t h e lack o f l i g h t — t h e u n k n o w n , t h e u n s e e n , a n d t h e fearful. In s o m e instances, t h e blackness o u t s i d e t h e frame can symbolize oblivion o r even d e a t h . I n movies a b o u t p e o p l e w h o w a n t t o r e m a i n anonym o u s a n d u n n o t i c e d , t h e d i r e c t o r s o m e t i m e s deliberately places t h e m off center, n e a r t h e "insignificant" e d g e s of t h e s c r e e n . 5 3

2-10. Greed (U.S.A., 1924), with Gibson Gowland and Jean Hersholt, directed by Erich von Stroheim. Highly symmetrical designs are generally used when a director wishes to stress stability and h a r m o n y In this photo, for example, the carefully balanced weights of the design reinforce these (temporary) qualities. The visual elements are neatly juxtaposed in units of twos, with the two beer-filled glasses forming the focal point. The main figures balance each other, as do the two converging brick walls, the two pairs of curtains, the two windows, the two people in each window, the s h a p e of the picture above the m e n , and the s h a p e of the resting dog below them, (MGM)

Finally, t h e r e a r e s o m e instances w h e n a d i r e c t o r places t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t visual e l e m e n t s c o m p l e t e l y off frame. Especially w h e n a c h a r a c t e r is associated with d a r k n e s s , mystery, or d e a t h , this t e c h n i q u e can be highly effective, for t h e a u d i e n c e is m o s t fearful of what it c a n ' t see. In t h e early p o r t i o n s of Fritz L a n g ' s M, for e x a m p l e , t h e psychotic child-killer is n e v e r seen directly. We can only sense his p r e s e n c e , for he lurks in t h e d a r k n e s s o u t s i d e t h e light of t h e frame. Occasionally, we catch a glimpse of his s h a d o w s t r e a k i n g across t h e set, a n d w e ' r e aware o f his p r e s e n c e b y t h e e e r i e t u n e h e whistles w h e n h e ' s e m o tionally excited or upset. T h e r e a r e two o t h e r off-frame areas t h a t can b e e x p l o i t e d for symbolic p u r p o s e s : t h e space b e h i n d t h e set a n d t h e space in front of t h e c a m e r a . By n o t s h o w i n g us w h a t is h a p p e n i n g b e h i n d a closed door, t h e filmmaker c a n p r o voke t h e viewer's curiosity, c r e a t i n g an u n s e t t l i n g effect, for we t e n d to fill in 5 4

2-11. Midnight Express (U.S.A., 1978), with Brad Davis (hands raised), directed by Alan Parker. All the compositional e l e m e n t s of this shot contribute to a sense of e n t r a p m e n t . The protagonist is totally surrounded, not only by the ring of soldiers who have their guns poised for a kill, but also by an outer ring of compositional weights—the airplane above, the stairs and railing to the left, the bench and huddled bystanders at the lower portions of the frame, and the three g u n m e n sealing off the right. The high angle and the gridlike lines of the concrete runway reinforce the sense of e n t r a p m e n t . The image might almost be entitled NO EXIT. (Columbia

Pictures)

s u c h v a c u u m s with vivid i m a g i n i n g s . T h e final shot from H i t c h c o c k ' s Notorious is a g o o d e x a m p l e . T h e h e r o h e l p s t h e d r u g g e d h e r o i n e past a g r o u p of Nazi a g e n t s to a waiting a u t o . T h e r a t h e r s y m p a t h e t i c villain ( C l a u d e Rains) escorts t h e two, h o p i n g his c o l l e a g u e s w o n ' t b e c o m e suspicious. In a deep-focus long shot, we see t h e t h r e e p r i n c i p a l s in t h e f o r e g r o u n d while t h e Nazi a g e n t s remain near the o p e n d o o r of the house in the u p p e r background—watching, w o n d e r i n g . T h e h e r o maliciously locks t h e villain o u t o f t h e car, t h e n drives o u t of f r a m e , leaving t h e villain s t r a n d e d w i t h o u t an e x p l a n a t i o n . His colleagues call o u t his n a m e , a n d h e i s forced t o r e t u r n t o t h e h o u s e , d r e a d i n g t h e worst. H e climbs t h e stairs a n d r e e n t e r s t h e h o u s e with t h e suspicious a g e n t s , w h o t h e n close t h e d o o r b e h i n d t h e m . H i t c h c o c k n e v e r d o e s show u s what h a p p e n s b e h i n d the door. T h e a r e a in front of t h e c a m e r a can also c r e a t e u n s e t t l i n g effects of this sort. In J o h n H u s t o n ' s The Maltese Falcon, for e x a m p l e , we witness a m u r d e r 55

2-12. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (U.S.A., 1989), with Alison Doody, Harrison Ford, and Sean Connery; directed by Steven Spielberg. Why is this shot funny? For o n e thing, the mise en scene is absurdly symmetrical. The Jones boys, father and son, have been reduced to the ignominy of parallel placement. Even their ropes are fastidiously parallel. They are imprisoned by the closed form: sealed off on the left by the fireplace and the standing w o m a n , on the right by the table and chair. Their hats a n d ties are miraculously intact, even though they have been taken prisoners. The prissy n e a t n e s s and balance of the mise en scene are symbolic of their total subjugation. But of course, you can't hold a good m a n down for long—not to speak of two good m e n . (Paramount Pictures)

w i t h o u t ever s e e i n g t h e killer. T h e victim is p h o t o g r a p h e d in a m e d i u m s h o t as a g u n e n t e r s t h e frame j u s t in front of t h e c a m e r a . N o t until t h e e n d of t h e movie do we discover t h e identity of t h e off-frame killer.

A l t h o u g h t h e p h o t o g r a p h a b l e materials of movies exist in t h r e e d i m e n sions, o n e of t h e p r i m a r y p r o b l e m s facing the filmmaker is m u c h like t h a t conf r o n t i n g t h e p a i n t e r : t h e a r r a n g e m e n t o f shapes, colors, lines, a n d t e x t u r e s o n a flat r e c t a n g u l a r surface. In t h e classical c i n e m a , this a r r a n g e m e n t is generally h e l d i n s o m e k i n d o f b a l a n c e o r h a r m o n i o u s e q u i l i b r i u m . T h e desire for bala n c e i s a n a l o g o u s t o p e o p l e b a l a n c i n g o n t h e i r feet, a n d i n d e e d t o m o s t m a n u f a c t u r e d s t r u c t u r e s , which a r e b a l a n c e d o n t h e surface o f t h e e a r t h . Instinctively, we a s s u m e t h a t b a l a n c e is t h e n o r m in m o s t h u m a n e n t e r p r i s e s . In movies, however, t h e r e a r e s o m e i m p o r t a n t e x c e p t i o n s to this rule. W h e n a visual artist wishes to stress a lack of e q u i l i b r i u m , m a n y of t h e s t a n d a r d c o n v e n t i o n s of classical c o m p o s i t i o n are deliberately violated. In movies, t h e 56

2-13a. Once Were Warriors Owen, directed by Lee Tamahori.

(New

Zealand,

1994), with

Temuera Morrison and Rena

(Fine Line Features)

The movie frame is not an ornamental mounting for a self-contained image, as it is with a painting or a drawing. The cinematic frame s e g m e n t s and isolates the photographic fragm e n t from its larger context, providing a subtle c o m m e n t a r y on the subject matter. Once Were Warriors is a harrowing account of a wife batterer, and the frame in this shot suggests a symbolic prison, with the wife trapped in the s a m e confined space with her volatile husband. Note how he d o m i n a t e s most of the playing space, while she is crowded to the right, literally up against the wall in fear. Similarly, the shot from The End of August at the Hotel Ozone is taken from behind an adult character as he nearly obliterates our view of a scared youngster. Compositions such as this would not be found in the fields of painting or live theater because the frame in those m e d i u m s is essentially a neutral surround of the subject matter. In movies, the frame (temporarily) presents us with a frozen m o m e n t of truth which will soon dissolve into another composition. 2-13b.

The End of August at the Hotel Ozone (Czechoslovakia,

Schmidt.

(New Line Cinema)

1969), directed by Jan

58

j \ \ i s c t' i\ S c e n e

dramatic c o n t e x t is usually t h e d e t e r m i n i n g (actor in c o m p o s i t i o n . W h a t is superficially a b a d c o m p o s i t i o n m i g h t actually be highly effective, d e p e n d i n g on its psychological c o n t e x t . Many films a r e c o n c e r n e d with n e u r o t i c c h a r a c ters or events t h a t a r e o u t of joint. In such cases, t h e d i r e c t o r m i g h t well i g n o r e t h e c o n v e n t i o n s of classical c o m p o s i t i o n . I n s t e a d of c e n t e r i n g a c h a r a c t e r in the image, his or h e r spiritual m a l a d j u s t m e n t can be conveyed symbolically by p h o t o g r a p h i n g t h e subject a t t h e e d g e o f t h e frame. I n this m a n n e r , t h e f i l m m a k e r throws off t h e visual b a l a n c e a n d p r e s e n t s us with an i m a g e that's psychologically m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e t o t h e d r a m a t i c c o n t e x t ( 1 - 3 3 ) . T h e r e a r e no set r u l e s a b o u t these m a t t e r s . A classical filmmaker like Buster K e a t o n u s e d mostly b a l a n c e d c o m p o s i t i o n s . F i l m m a k e r s o u t s i d e t h e classical t r a d i t i o n t e n d to favor c o m p o s i t i o n s t h a t a r e asymmetrical or off center. In movies a variety of t e c h n i q u e s can be u s e d to convey t h e s a m e ideas a n d e m o t i o n s . S o m e filmmakers favor visual m e t h o d s , o t h e r s favor d i a l o g u e , still o t h e r s e d i t i n g or acting. Ultimately, whatever works is right ( 2 - 1 4 ) . T h e h u m a n eye automatically a t t e m p t s t o h a r m o n i z e t h e f o r m a l elem e n t s of a c o m p o s i t i o n i n t o a unified w h o l e . T h e eye can d e t e c t as m a n y as seven or e i g h t major e l e m e n t s of a c o m p o s i t i o n simultaneously. In m o s t cases, however, t h e eye d o e s n ' t w a n d e r p r o m i s c u o u s l y over t h e surface o f a n i m a g e b u t is g u i d e d to specific areas in s e q u e n c e . T h e d i r e c t o r a c c o m p l i s h e s this t h r o u g h t h e use of a dominant contrast, also k n o w n as t h e dominant. T h e d o m i n a n t is t h a t a r e a of an i m a g e t h a t i m m e d i a t e l y attracts o u r a t t e n t i o n b e c a u s e of a c o n s p i c u o u s a n d c o m p e l l i n g contrast. It stands o u t in s o m e k i n d of isolation from t h e o t h e r e l e m e n t s within t h e i m a g e . I n black-and-white movies, t h e d o m i n a n t c o n t r a s t is generally achieved t h r o u g h a juxtaposition of lights a n d d a r k s . F o r e x a m p l e , if t h e d i r e c t o r wishes t h e viewer to look first at an a c t o r ' s h a n d r a t h e r t h a n his face, t h e l i g h t i n g o f t h e h a n d w o u l d b e h a r s h e r t h a n t h a t o f t h e face, w h i c h w o u l d be lit in a m o r e s u b d u e d m a n n e r . In c o l o r films, t h e d o m i n a n t is often a c h i e v e d by having o n e c o l o r stand o u t from t h e o t h e r s . After we take in t h e d o m i n a n t , o u r eye t h e n scans t h e subsidiary contrasts t h a t t h e artist has a r r a n g e d to act as c o u n t e r b a l a n c i n g devices. O u r eyes a r e s e l d o m at rest with visual c o m p o s i t i o n s , t h e n , even with p a i n t i n g s or still p h o t o g r a p h s . We l o o k s o m e w h e r e first, t h e n we look at t h o s e areas of d i m i n i s h i n g interest. N o n e of this is a c c i d e n t a l , for visual artists deliberately s t r u c t u r e t h e i r i m a g e s so a specific s e q u e n c e is followed. In short, m o v e m e n t in film isn't c o n f i n e d only to objects a n d p e o p l e t h a t a r e literally in m o t i o n . In m o s t cases, t h e visual i n t e r e s t of t h e d o m i n a n t c o r r e s p o n d s with t h e d r a m a t i c i n t e r e s t o f t h e i m a g e . Because f i l m s have t e m p o r a l a n d d r a m a t i c contexts, however, t h e d o m i n a n t is often m o v e m e n t itself, a n d what s o m e aestheticians call intrinsic interest. Intrinsic interest simply m e a n s t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e , t h r o u g h t h e c o n t e x t of a story, knows t h a t an object is m o r e i m p o r t a n t d r a m a t ically t h a n it a p p e a r s to be visually. T h u s , even t h o u g h a g u n m i g h t o c c u p y only a small p o r t i o n of t h e surface of an i m a g e , if we k n o w t h a t t h e g u n is dramatically i m p o r t a n t , it will a s s u m e d o m i n a n c e in t h e p i c t u r e d e s p i t e its visual insignificance.

2-14a. Macbeth (U.S.A./Great Britain, 1971), with Francesca Annis and Jon Finch, directed by Roman Polanski. Movie images are generally scanned in a structured sequence of eye-stops. The eye is first attracted to a dominant contrast that compels our most immediate attention by virtue of its conspicuousness, and then travels to the subsidiary areas of interest within the frame. In this photo, for example, the eye is initially attracted to the face of Lady Macbeth, which is lit in high contrast and is surrounded by darkness. We then scan the brightly lit "empty" space between her and her husband. The third area of interest is Macbeth's thoughtful face, which is lit in a more subdued manner. The visual interest of this photo corresponds to the dramatic context of the film, for Lady Macbeth is slowly descending into m a d n e s s and feels spiritually alienated and isolated from her husband. (Columbia Pictures)

2-14b. Macbeth (U.S.A., 1948), with Peggy Webber, directed by Orson Welles. Realists and formalists solve problems in different ways, with different visual techniques. Polanski's presentation of Lady Macbeth's m a d n e s s is conveyed in a relatively realistic manner, with e m p h a s i s on acting and subtle lighting effects. Welles took a more formalistic approach, using physical correlatives to convey interior states, such as the iron fence's knifelike blades, which almost s e e m to pierce Webber's body. The fence is not particularly realistic or even functional: Welles exploited it primarily as a symbolic analogue of her inner torment. Neither approach is better or worse. It all depends on how well it's done. (Republic Pictures)

59

2-15. The Decline of the American Empire (Canada, 1986), with (clockwise from upper left) Louise Portal, Dominique Michel, Dorothee Berryman, Genevieve Rioux; directed by Denys Arcand. A group of w o m e n work out, talk, and laugh in a health club while the m e n in their lives prepare a g o u r m e t meal in an a p a r t m e n t . The circular design in this shot reinforces the air of c a m a r a d e r i e a m o n g the w o m e n . The shot's design e m b o d i e s their shared experiences and interconnectedness: literally, a relaxed circle of friends. (Cinepiex odeon Films)

M o v e m e n t is a l m o s t always an a u t o m a t i c d o m i n a n t contrast, p r o v i d e d t h a t t h e o t h e r e l e m e n t s in t h e i m a g e a r e stationary. Even a third-rate d i r e c t o r can g u i d e t h e viewer's eyes t h r o u g h t h e use of m o t i o n . For this r e a s o n , lazy filmmakers i g n o r e t h e p o t e n t i a l r i c h n e s s of t h e i r images a n d rely solely on m o v e m e n t a s a m e a n s o f c a p t u r i n g t h e viewer's a t t e n t i o n . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , m o s t d i r e c t o r s will vary t h e i r d o m i n a n t s , s o m e t i m e s e m p h a s i z i n g m o t i o n , o t h e r times using m o v e m e n t as a subsidiary c o n t r a s t only. T h e i m p o r t a n c e of m o t i o n varies with t h e k i n d of s h o t u s e d . M o v e m e n t t e n d s to be less distracting in t h e l o n g e r shots b u t highly c o n s p i c u o u s in t h e closer r a n g e s . Unless t h e viewer has t i m e to e x p l o r e t h e surface of an i m a g e at leisure, visual confusion can result w h e n t h e r e a r e m o r e t h a n e i g h t o r n i n e m a j o r c o m positional e l e m e n t s . If visual confusion is t h e d e l i b e r a t e i n t e n t i o n of an i m a g e — a s in a battle s c e n e , for e x a m p l e — t h e d i r e c t o r will s o m e t i m e s o v e r l o a d t h e c o m p o s i t i o n to p r o d u c e this effect ( 2 - 2 2 ) . In g e n e r a l , t h e eye struggles to

2-16a. She's the One (U.S.A., 1996), with Mike McClone and Jennifer Aniston, directed by Edward Burns. (Twentieth Century-Fox) Parallelism is a c o m m o n principle of design, implying similarity, unity, and mutual reinforcement. The composition of the shot from She's the One links the characters romantically. They're placed in parallel positions with similar gestures. Both are seated at a bar, with their chins resting against their left hands, both with slightly e m b a r r a s s e d , b e m u s e d expressions. The shot might almost be titled: Made for Each Other. Symmetrical parallelism is rarely found in nature: Usually the parallel e l e m e n t s betray a h u m a n hand, s o m e t i m e s with deliberate comical effect, as in m a n y of the shots of Men in Black. 2-16b.

Men in Black (U.S.A.,

Barry Sonnenfeld.

(Columbia Pictures)

1996), with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, directed by

2-17. Superman (U.S.A./Great Britain, 1978), with Glenn Ford, directed by Richard Donner. Because the top half of the frame tends to be intrinsically heavier than the bottom, directors usually keep their horizon well above the middle of the composition. They also place most of the visual weights in the lower portions of the screen. When a filmmaker wishes to emphasize the vulnerability of the characters, however, the horizon is often lowered, and s o m e t i m e s the heaviest visual e l e m e n t s are placed above the characters. In this witty shot, for example, the parents of little Clark Kent are astonished—and visually imperiled—by the s u p e r h u m a n strength of their adopted son. (Warner Bros.)

unify various e l e m e n t s i n t o an o r d e r e d p a t t e r n . F o r e x a m p l e , even in a comp l e x d e s i g n , t h e eye will c o n n e c t similar s h a p e s , colors, t e x t u r e s , etc. T h e very r e p e t i t i o n of a formal e l e m e n t can suggest t h e r e p e t i t i o n of an e x p e r i e n c e . T h e s e c o n n e c t i o n s f o r m a visual r h y t h m , forcing t h e eye to l e a p over t h e surface of t h e d e s i g n to perceive t h e overall b a l a n c e . Visual artists often refer to c o m p o s i t i o n a l e l e m e n t s as lueights. In m o s t cases, especially in classical c i n e m a , t h e artist distributes t h e s e weights h a r m o n i o u s l y over t h e surface of t h e i m a g e . In a totally symmetrical d e s i g n — a l m o s t n e v e r f o u n d in fiction m o v i e s — t h e visual weights a r e d i s t r i b u t e d evenly, with t h e c e n t e r of t h e c o m p o s i t i o n as t h e axis p o i n t . Because m o s t c o m p o s i t i o n s a r e asymmetrical, however, t h e weight of o n e e l e m e n t is c o u n t e r p o i s e d with a n o t h e r . A s h a p e , for e x a m p l e , c o u n t e r a c t s t h e w e i g h t of a color. Psychologists a n d art theorists have discovered t h a t certain p o r t i o n s of a c o m p o s i t i o n a r e intrinsically w e i g h t e d . T h e G e r m a n a r t hist o r i a n H e i n r i c h Wolfflin, for i n s t a n c e , p o i n t e d o u t t h a t we t e n d to scan pict u r e s from left to right, all o t h e r c o m p o s i t i o n a l e l e m e n t s b e i n g e q u a l . Especially in classical c o m p o s i t i o n s , t h e i m a g e is often m o r e heavily w e i g h t e d on t h e left to c o u n t e r a c t t h e intrinsic heaviness of t h e right. T h e u p p e r p a r t of t h e c o m p o s i t i o n is heavier t h a n t h e lower. For this r e a s o n , skyscrapers, c o l u m n s , a n d obelisks t a p e r u p w a r d o r they w o u l d a p p e a r top-heavy. I m a g e s s e e m m o r e b a l a n c e d w h e n t h e c e n t e r of gravity is k e p t low, with most of t h e weights in t h e lower p o r t i o n s of t h e s c r e e n . A l a n d s c a p e is seld o m divided horizontally at t h e m i d p o i n t of a c o m p o s i t i o n , or t h e sky w o u l d 62

2-18. Jules and Jim (France, 1961), with Henri Serre, Jeanne Moreau, and Oskar Werner; directed by Francois Truffaut. Compositions grouped into units of three, five, a n d seven tend to suggest dynamic, unstable relationships. Those organized in units of two, four, or six, on the other hand, tend to imply fixed, h a r m o n i o u s relationships. This triangular composition is organically related to the t h e m e of the movie, which deals with the shifting love relationships between the three characters. The w o m a n is almost invariably at the apex of the triangle: She likes it that way. (/anus Films)

a p p e a r t o o p p r e s s t h e e a r t h . Epic f i l m m a k e r s like Eisenstein a n d F o r d c r e a t e d s o m e of t h e i r m o s t d i s q u i e t i n g effects with precisely this t e c h n i q u e : T h e y let t h e sky d o m i n a t e t h r o u g h its intrinsic heaviness. T h e t e r r a i n a n d its i n h a b i t a n t s s e e m o v e r w h e l m e d from above (see 1-9). Isolated figures a n d objects t e n d to be heavier t h a n t h o s e in a cluster. S o m e t i m e s o n e o b j e c t — m e r e l y by virtue of its i s o l a t i o n — c a n b a l a n c e a w h o l e g r o u p of o t h e r w i s e e q u a l objects. In m a n y movies, t h e p r o t a g o n i s t is shown a p a r t from a hostile g r o u p , yet t h e two s e e m evenly m a t c h e d d e s p i t e t h e arithmetical differences. T h i s effect is conveyed t h r o u g h t h e visual w e i g h t of t h e h e r o i n isolation ( 3 - 1 3 ) . Psychological e x p e r i m e n t s have revealed t h a t certain lines suggest directional m o v e m e n t s . A l t h o u g h vertical a n d horizontal lines s e e m to be visually at rest, if m o v e m e n t is perceived, h o r i z o n t a l lines t e n d to m o v e from left to right, 63

2-19. The Graduate (U.S.A., 1967), with Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman, directed by Mike Nichols. Viewers can be m a d e to feel insecure or isolated when a hostile foreground element (Bancroft) c o m e s between us and a figure we identify with. In this scene, our hero, Benjamin Braddock, college graduate, feels threatened. An older w o m a n , a friend of his parents, tries to seduce him—he thinks. He's not sure. His feelings of e n t r a p m e n t and i m m i n e n t violation are conveyed not by his words, which are s t a m m e r i n g and e m b a r r a s s e d , but by the mise en scene. Blocked off in front by her s e m i n u d e body, he is also virtually confined at his rear by the window frame—an enclosure within an enclosure (the room) within the enclosure of the movie frame.

(Avco Embassy Pictures)

vertical lines, from b o t t o m to t o p . Diagonal or o b l i q u e lines a r e m o r e d y n a m i c — t h a t is, in transition. T h e y t e n d to sweep u p w a r d . T h e s e psychological p h e n o m e n a a r e i m p o r t a n t to t h e visual artist, especially t h e filmmaker, for t h e d r a m a t i c c o n t e x t is n o t always c o n d u c i v e to an overt expression of e m o t i o n . For e x a m p l e , if a d i r e c t o r wishes to show a c h a r a c t e r ' s inward agitation within a calm context, this quality can be conveyed t h r o u g h the d y n a m i c use of line: An i m a g e c o m p o s e d of tense d i a g o n a l s can suggest t h e c h a r a c t e r ' s i n n e r t u r m o i l , despite t h e a p p a r e n t lack of d r a m a in t h e action. S o m e of t h e m o s t expressive c i n e m a t i c effects can be achieved precisely t h r o u g h this tension b e t w e e n t h e compositional e l e m e n t s of an i m a g e a n d its d r a m a t i c c o n t e x t ( 2 - 2 1 ) . A skeletal s t r u c t u r e u n d e r l i e s m o s t visual c o m p o s i t i o n s . T h r o u g h o u t t h e ages, artists have especially favored S a n d X s h a p e s , t r i a n g u l a r designs, a n d circles. T h e s e designs are often used simply b e c a u s e they a r e t h o u g h t to be i n h e r e n t l y beautiful. Visual artists also use certain c o m p o s i t i o n a l f o r m s to 64

2-20. The Grifters (U.S.A., 1990), with John Cusack and Anjelica Huston, directed by Stephen Frears. Every shot can be looked at as an ideological cell, its mise en s c e n e a graphic illustration of the power relationships b e t w e e n the characters. W h e r e the characters are placed within the frame is m o r e than an aesthetic choice—it's profoundly territorial. In this film, the protagonist (Cusack) has an unresolved Oedipal conflict with his m o t h e r (Huston). They are in an almost constant struggle for d o m i n a n c e . The mise en s c e n e reveals w h o ' s the stronger. In a p r e d o m i n a n t l y light field, the darker figure d o m i n a t e s . The right side of the frame is h e a v i e r — m o r e d o m i n a n t — t h a n the left. The standing figure towers over the s e a t e d figure. The top of the frame (Huston's realm) d o m i n a t e s the center and b o t t o m . She's a killer. (Miramax

Films)

e m p h a s i z e symbolic c o n c e p t s . For e x a m p l e , b i n a r y s t r u c t u r e s e m p h a s i z e parallelism—virtually any two-shot will suggest t h e c o u p l e , d o u b l e s , s h a r e d space ( 2 - 3 1 ) . Triadic c o m p o s i t i o n s stress t h e d y n a m i c interplay a m o n g t h r e e m a i n e l e m e n t s . C i r c u l a r c o m p o s i t i o n s can suggest security, e n c l o s u r e , t h e female principle (2-15). Design is generally fused with a t h e m a t i c idea, at least in t h e best movies. In Jules and Jim, for e x a m p l e , Truffaut consistently u s e d t r i a n g u l a r designs, for t h e film deals with a trio of c h a r a c t e r s w h o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s a r e constantly shifting yet always i n t e r r e l a t e d . T h e f o r m of t h e i m a g e s in this case is a symbolic r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e r o m a n t i c triangle o f t h e d r a m a t i c c o n t e n t . T h e s e t r i a n g u l a r designs d y n a m i z e t h e visuals, k e e p i n g t h e m off b a l a n c e , subject to c h a n g e ( 2 - 1 8 ) . Generally, designs consisting of units of t h r e e , five, a n d seven t e n d to p r o d u c e t h e s e effects. Designs c o m p o s e d of two, four, or six units s e e m m o r e stable a n d b a l a n c e d ( 2 - 1 0 ) . 65

2 - 2 1 a. The 400 Blows (France, 1959), with Jean-Pierre Leaud, directed by Franqois Truffaut. The space between the main characters and the camera is usually kept clear so we can view the characters without impediment. But s o m e t i m e s filmmakers deliberately obscure our view to make a dramatic or psychological point. The reckless young protagonist of The 400 Blows tries to act tough most of the time, and that usually m e a n s : Stay cool, and don't let them see you cry. When the dramatic context or the character's nature d o e s n ' t permit the film artist to express emotions openly, they can s o m e t i m e s be conveyed through purely visual m e a n s . Here, the youth's anxiety and tenseness are expressed through a variety of formal techniques. His inward agitation is conveyed by the diagonal lines of the fence. His s e n s e of e n t r a p m e n t is suggested by the tight framing (sides, top, bottom), the shallow focus (rear), and the obstruction of the fence itself (foreground), qanus Films) 2 - 2 1 b. Gattaca (U.S.A., 1997), with Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, directed by Andrew Niccol. Similar techniques can be used even in less obviously dramatic scenes. For example, why do these two look scared and trapped? There are at least three reasons: I) the dramatic context of the story, which leads us to believe they have good reason to feel paranoid: 2) the acting, which de-emphasizes the beauty of the performers in favor of expressing a d e e p e n i n g anxiety and increasing terror; and 3) the mise en scene, which confines t h e m in a tight frame, pins them down in a high angle shot, and corners t h e m in a dark alcove, with the shadow of an imprisoning cage superimposed over their pale features. (Columbia Pictures)

So far we've b e e n c o n c e r n e d with it relates to t h e s t r u c t u r i n g of p a t t e r n s on m o s t movie i m a g e s deal with t h e illusion tor must k e e p t h e s e spatial c o n s i d e r a t i o n s 66

t h e art of mise en s c e n e primarily as a two-dimensional surface. But since o f v o l u m e a n d d e p t h , t h e f i l m direcin m i n d while c o m p o s i n g t h e visuals.

2-22. Big (U.S.A., 1988), with Jared Rushton and Tom Hanks, directed by Penny Marshall In shots emphasizing disorder or confusion, the film director s o m e t i m e s deliberately overloads the composition to produce a sense of visual chaos. In this photo, for example, the lines, shapes, and compositional weights form no discernible design. (Twentieth Century-Fox)

It's o n e t h i n g to c o n s t r u c t a p l e a s i n g a r r a n g e m e n t of s h a p e s , lines, colors, a n d t e x t u r e s ; b u t movie i m a g e s must also tell a story in t i m e , a story t h a t generally involves h u m a n b e i n g s a n d t h e i r p r o b l e m s . Unlike n o t e s o f music, t h e n , forms in film a r e n o t usually p u r e — t h e y refer specifically to objects in reality. D i r e c t o r s generally e m p h a s i z e v o l u m e in t h e i r i m a g e s precisely b e c a u s e they wish to avoid an abstract, flat look in t h e i r c o m p o s i t i o n s . In m o s t cases, f i l m m a k e r s c o m p o s e o n t h r e e visual p l a n e s : t h e f o r e g r o u n d , t h e m i d g r o u n d , a n d t h e b a c k g r o u n d . N o t only d o e s this t e c h n i q u e suggest a sense of d e p t h , it can also radically a l t e r t h e d o m i n a n t c o n t r a s t of an i m a g e , s e r v i n g as a k i n d of qualifying characteristic, e i t h e r subtle or c o n s p i c u o u s . F o r e x a m p l e , a figure is often p l a c e d in t h e m i d g r o u n d of a c o m p o s i t i o n . W h a t e v e r is p l a c e d in t h e f o r e g r o u n d will c o m m e n t on t h e figure in s o m e way ( 2 - 2 1 ) . S o m e foliage, for i n s t a n c e , is likely to suggest a n a t u r a l n e s s a n d b l e n d i n g with n a t u r e . A gauzy c u r t a i n i n t h e f o r e g r o u n d c a n suggest mystery, eroticism, a n d femininity. T h e c r o s s h a t c h i n g of a w i n d o w f r a m e can suggest self-division. A n d so o n , with as m a n y f o r e g r o u n d qualifiers as t h e d i r e c t o r a n d c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r can t h i n k of. T h e s e s a m e p r i n c i p l e s apply t o b a c k g r o u n d s , a l t h o u g h objects p l a c e d i n t h e s e a r e a s t e n d t o yield i n d o m i n a n c e t o mid- a n d f o r e g r o u n d r a n g e s . O n e o f t h e m o s t e l e m e n t a r y , yet crucial, decisions t h e f i l m d i r e c t o r m a k e s is w h a t s h o t to use vis-a-vis t h e materials p h o t o g r a p h e d . T h a t is, how m u c h detail s h o u l d b e i n c l u d e d within t h e frame? H o w close s h o u l d t h e came r a get to t h e s u b j e c t — w h i c h is a n o t h e r way of saying h o w close s h o u l d we get to t h e subject, since t h e viewer's eye t e n d s to identify with t h e c a m e r a ' s lens. T h e s e a r e n o t m i n o r p r o b l e m s , for t h e a m o u n t o f space i n c l u d e d within t h e frame c a n radically affect o u r r e s p o n s e t o t h e p h o t o g r a p h e d materials. With

68

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any given subject, t h e filmmaker can use a variety of shots, e a c h of which i n c l u d e s or e x c l u d e s a given a m o u n t of s u r r o u n d i n g space. But h o w m u c h space is j u s t r i g h t in a shot? W h a t ' s t o o m u c h or t o o little? Space is a m e d i u m of c o m m u n i c a t i o n , a n d t h e way we r e s p o n d to objects a n d p e o p l e within a given a r e a is a c o n s t a n t s o u r c e of i n f o r m a t i o n in life as well as in t h e movies. In virtually any social situation, we receive a n d give off signals relating to o u r use of space a n d those p e o p l e w h o s h a r e it. Most of us a r e n ' t particularly conscious of this m e d i u m , b u t we instinctively b e c o m e a l e r t e d w h e n e v e r we feel t h a t certain social c o n v e n t i o n s a b o u t space a r e b e i n g violated. F o r e x a m p l e , w h e n p e o p l e e n t e r a movie theater, they t e n d to seat themselves at a p p r o p r i a t e intervals from e a c h other. But what's a p p r o p r i a t e ? A n d w h o o r what defines it? Why do we feel t h r e a t e n e d w h e n s o m e o n e takes a seat n e x t to us in a nearly e m p t y t h e a t e r ? After all, t h e seat isn't ours, a n d t h e o t h e r p e r s o n has p a i d for t h e privilege of sitting wherever he or s h e wishes. Is it p a r a n o i d to feel anxiety in such a situation, or is it a n o r m a l instinctive response?

2-23. The Godfather Part II (U.S.A., 1974), with Troy Donahue, Al Pacino, and Talia Shire; directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Backgrounds are rarely neutral territory, especially in shots that are in deep focus and in movies that are photographed on location. In this scene, a ne'er-do-well spoiled sister defies her authoritarian brother (Pacino) by insisting on marrying a sleazy lounge lizard, w h o m the brother scarcely deigns to acknowledge. The image is split in half, with the brother dominating his sister from the top right, even though he's in the background. The sleazoid is isolated on the left by the imprisoning curved fireplace from above and a correspondingly curved chair that keeps him distanced from his precious prey. Their touching h a n d s is a brave gesture of solidarity, though far too feeble to withstand the brother's wrath. He will prevail, as Usual.

(Paramount Pictures)

2-24a. The Blue Angel (Germany, by Josef von Sternberg, (jams Films)

1930), with Marlene Dietrich (left foreground), directed

Density of texture refers to the a m o u n t of visual detail in a picture. How much information does the filmmaker pack into the image and why? Most movies are moderately textured, d e p e n d i n g on the a m o u n t of light thrown on the subject m a t t e r Some images are stark, w h e r e a s others are densely textured. The degree of density is often a symbolic analogue of the quality of life in the world of the film. The cheap cabaret setting of The Blue Angel is chaotic and packed, swirling in s m o k e and cluttered with tawdry o r n a m e n t s . The atmosphere s e e m s almost suffocating. The stark futuristic world of THX 1138 is sterile, empty. 2-24b.

THX 1138 (U.S.A.,

George Lucas.

(Warner Bros.)

1971), with Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence, directed by

70

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A n u m b e r of psychologists a n d a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s — i n c l u d i n g K o n r a d L o r e n z , R o b e r t S o m m e r s , a n d E d w a r d T . Hall—have e x p l o r e d t h e s e a n d related q u e s t i o n s . T h e i r findings are especially revealing in t e r m s of h o w space is u s e d in c i n e m a . In his study On Aggression, for e x a m p l e , L o r e n z discusses h o w m o s t a n i m a l s — i n c l u d i n g h u m a n s — a r e territorial. T h a t is, they lay claim to a given a r e a a n d d e f e n d it from o u t s i d e r s . This t e r r i t o r y is a k i n d of p e r s o n a l haven of safety a n d is r e g a r d e d by t h e o r g a n i s m as an e x t e n s i o n of itself. W h e n living c r e a t u r e s a r e t o o tightly p a c k e d i n t o a given space, t h e result can be stress, t e n s i o n , a n d anxiety. In m a n y cases, w h e n this territorial i m p e r a t i v e is violated, t h e i n t r u s i o n c a n p r o v o k e aggressive a n d violent behavior, a n d s o m e times a battle for d o m i n a n c e e n s u e s over c o n t r o l of t h e territory. Territories have a spatial hierarchy of power. T h a t is, t h e m o s t d o m i n a n t organism of a c o m m u n i t y is literally given m o r e space, whereas t h e less d o m i n a n t are c r o w d e d together. T h e a m o u n t of space an organism occupies is generally p r o p o r t i o n e d to t h e d e g r e e of c o n t r o l it enjoys within a given territory. T h e s e spatial principles can be seen in m a n y h u m a n c o m m u n i t i e s as well. A classroom, for e x a m p l e , is usually divided into a t e a c h i n g area a n d a s t u d e n t seating area, b u t t h e p r o p o r t i o n of space allotted to t h e authority figure is g r e a t e r t h a n that allotted to each of those b e i n g instructed. T h e spatial s t r u c t u r e of virtually any k i n d of territory u s e d by h u m a n s betrays a discernible c o n c e p t of authority. No m a t t e r h o w egalitarian we like to think ourselves, most of us c o n f o r m to these spatial c o n v e n t i o n s . W h e n a distinguished p e r s o n e n t e r s a c r o w d e d r o o m , for e x a m p l e , most p e o p l e instinctively m a k e r o o m for h i m or her. In fact, they're giving that p e r s o n far m o r e r o o m t h a n they themselves occupy. But w h a t has all this g o t to do with movies? A g r e a t d e a l , for space is o n e o f t h e p r i n c i p a l m e d i u m s o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n i n f i l m . T h e way t h a t p e o p l e are a r r a n g e d in space can tell us a lot a b o u t t h e i r social a n d psychological relationships. In film, d o m i n a n t c h a r a c t e r s a r e a l m o s t always given m o r e space to o c c u p y t h a n o t h e r s — u n l e s s t h e film deals with t h e loss of p o w e r or t h e social insignificance of a character. T h e a m o u n t of space t a k e n up by a c h a r a c t e r in a movie d o e s n ' t necessarily relate t o t h a t p e r s o n ' s actual social d o m i n a n c e , b u t t o his o r h e r d r a m a t i c i m p o r t a n c e . A u t h o r i t a r i a n f i g u r e s like kings generally o c c u p y a l a r g e r a m o u n t of space t h a n peasants; b u t if a film is primarily a b o u t p e a s a n t s , they will d o m i n a t e spatially. In s h o r t , d o m i n a n c e is d e f i n e d c o n t e x t u ally in film—not necessarily t h e way it's perceived in real life. T h e movie f r a m e is also a k i n d of territory, t h o u g h a t e m p o r a r y o n e , existing only for t h e d u r a t i o n of t h e shot. T h e way space is s h a r e d within t h e frame is o n e of t h e m a j o r tools of t h e metteur en scene, w h o can d e f i n e , adjust, a n d r e d e f i n e h u m a n r e l a t i o n s h i p s b y e x p l o i t i n g spatial c o n v e n t i o n s . F u r t h e r m o r e , o n c e a r e l a t i o n s h i p has b e e n established, t h e d i r e c t o r c a n g o o n t o o t h e r m a t t e r s simply by c h a n g i n g t h e c a m e r a setup. T h e film director, in o t h e r words, is n o t c o n f i n e d to a spatial a r e a that's p e r m a n e n t t h r o u g h o u t t h e s c e n e . A m a s t e r of mise en s c e n e can e x p r e s s shifting psychological a n d social n u a n c e s with a single s h o t — b y e x p l o i t i n g t h e space b e t w e e n c h a r a c t e r s , t h e

2-25a. Grand Illusion (France, 1937), with (center to right) Erich von Stroheim, Pierre Fresnay, and Jean Gabin; directed by Jean Renoir. Tight and loose framing derive their symbolic significance from the dramatic context: They're not intrinsically meaningful. In Renoir's World War 1 masterpiece, for example, the tight frame, in effect, b e c o m e s a symbolic prison, a useful technique in films dealing with e n t r a p m e n t , confinement, or literal imprisonment. (Janus Films)

2-25b. What's Love Got to Do With It (U.S.A., 1993), with Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. directed by Brian Gibson. In this scene, the Fishburne character has just suffered a traumatic shock, and Bassett tries to comfort him by holding him close. The tightly framed shot provides nurturing intimacy: Moving the c a m e r a so close to the characters suggests a protective buffer against the hostile outside world. The tight framing doesn't confine, it cocoons the characters. (©Touchstone Pictures. All Rights Reserved.)

2 - 2 6 a , b, c. The full front position is the most intimate type of staging; the most accessible, direct, and clear; and often the most aggressive, especially if the actors are moving toward the camera. 2-26a. Sons of the Desert (U.S.A., 1933), with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, directed by William Setter Actors almost never look at the camera, but there have been a few exceptions, especially a m o n g comic performers. Like Eddie Murphy in our own time, Oliver Hardy was a supreme master of this technique. Whenever Stan does something really d u m b (which usually results in a loss of dignity for his partner), Ollie turns to the camera—to us—trying to restrain his exasperation, appealing to our sympathy as fellow superior beings. Only we can truly appreciate the profound depths of his patience. The dimwitted Stanley, totally puzzled as usual, is standing in a quarter-turn position, absorbed by other matters entirely, wondering how he'll defend himself against Ollie's inevitable another-fine-mess accusation. (MCM> 2-26b. Leaving Las Vegas (U.S.A., 1996), with Nicolas Cage and Elizabeth Shue, directed by Mike Figgis. The full front position offers us an intimate view of the characters, especially in close-up: we can explore their faces as spiritual landscapes. In complex shots such as this, we are privy to m o r e information than the characters themselves. The Cage character is too a s h a m e d to look directly at his companion, and he recounts his sad story with his back turned to her. We are allowed an intimate view of his melancholy face as well as her compassionate expression as she listens.

(United Artists)

2-26c. Armageddon (U.S.A., 1999), with Bruce Willis front and center), directed by Michael Bay. The full front position can also be confrontational, for the characters appear to face us straight on, without flinching. What could be more appropriate for a group of space warriors w h o are preparing to save the planet as we know it? (Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer. Inc.)

2-27. U-Turn ( U . S . A . , 1 9 9 7 ) , with Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez, directed by Oliver Stone. The profile position catches characters unaware as they face each other or look off frame left or right. We're allowed u n i m p e d e d freedom to stare, to analyze. Less intimate than the full-front or quarter-turn position, the profile view is also less emotionally involving. We view the characters from a detached, neutral perspective, cmstarpictures)

d e p t h planes within the images, the intrinsically weighted areas of t h e frame, a n d t h e d i r e c t i o n t h e c h a r a c t e r s a r e facing vis-a-vis t h e c a m e r a . An actor can be p h o t o g r a p h e d in any of five basic positions, e a c h conveying different psychological u n d e r t o n e s : (1) ///// front—lacing the camera; (2) the quarter turn; (3) profile—looking off frame left or right; (4) t h e three-quarter turn; a n d (5) hack to camera. Because the viewer identifies with t h e c a m e r a ' s lens, t h e p o s i t i o n i n g of t h e actor vis-a-vis t h e c a m e r a will d e t e r m i n e m a n y of o u r reactions. T h e m o r e we see of t h e actor's face, the g r e a t e r o u r sense of privileged intimacy; t h e less we see, t h e m o r e mysterious a n d inaccessible t h e actor will seem. T h e full-front p o s i t i o n is t h e m o s t i n t i m a t e — t h e c h a r a c t e r is l o o k i n g in o u r d i r e c t i o n , inviting o u r complicity. I n m o s t cases, o f c o u r s e , a c t o r s i g n o r e t h e c a m e r a — i g n o r e us—yet o u r privileged position allows u s t o o b s e r v e t h e m with t h e i r defenses d o w n , t h e i r vulnerabilities e x p o s e d . O n t h o s e r a r e occasions w h e n a c h a r a c t e r a c k n o w l e d g e s o u r p r e s e n c e by a d d r e s s i n g t h e c a m e r a , t h e sense of intimacy is vastly i n c r e a s e d , for in effect we a g r e e to b e c o m e his or h e r c h o s e n c o n f i d a n t s . O n e o f t h e greatest m a s t e r s o f this t e c h n i q u e was Oliver Hardy, w h o s e f a m o u s slow b u r n was a d i r e c t p l e a for sympathy a n d u n d e r s t a n d ing (2-26a). T h e q u a r t e r t u r n is t h e favored position of m o s t f i l m m a k e r s , for it p r o vides a h i g h d e g r e e of intimacy b u t with less e m o t i o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t t h a n t h e full-front position. T h e profile position i s m o r e r e m o t e . T h e c h a r a c t e r seems

73

74

]W i s e

en

S c e n e

u n a w a r e o f b e i n g o b s e r v e d , losl i n his o r h e r own t h o u g h t s ( 2 - 2 7 ) . T h e t h r e e q u a r t e r t u r n is m o r e a n o n y m o u s . This position is useful for conveying a c h a r a c ter's unfriendly or antisocial feelings, for in effect, t h e c h a r a c t e r is partially t u r n i n g his o r h e r b a c k o n us, rejecting o u r i n t e r e s t ( 2 - 2 8 ) . W h e n a c h a r a c t e r has his or h e r back to t h e c a m e r a , we c a n only guess w h a t ' s t a k i n g p l a c e internally. T h i s p o s i t i o n is often u s e d to suggest a c h a r a c t e r ' s a l i e n a t i o n from t h e world. It is useful in conveying a sense of c o n c e a l m e n t , mystery. We w a n t to see more (2-29). T h e a m o u n t o f o p e n space within t h e t e r r i t o r y o f t h e frame c a n b e e x p l o i t e d for symbolic p u r p o s e s . Generally s p e a k i n g , t h e closer the shot, the m o r e c o n f i n e d t h e p h o t o g r a p h e d figures a p p e a r t o b e . S u c h shots a r e usually r e f e r r e d to as tightly f r a m e d . Conversely, t h e longer, loosely f r a m e d shots t e n d

2-28. Night Moves (U.S.A., 1975), with Gene Hackman (extreme right, in three-quarterturn position), directed by Arthur Penn. The three-quarter-turn position is a virtual rejection of the camera, a refusal to cooperate with our desire to see more. This type of staging tends to m a k e us feel like voyeurs prying into the private affairs of the character, w h o s e e m s to wish we'd go away. In this shot, Penn's mise en scene e m b o d i e s a sense of alienation: Each character is imprisoned in his or her own space cubicle. They look buried alive. (Warner Bros.)

2-29. Red Desert (Italy, 1964), with Carlo Chionetti, Monica Vitti, and Richard Harris (back to camera); directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. When characters turn their backs to the camera, they s e e m to reject us outright or to be totally unaware of our existence. We long to see and analyze their facial expressions, but we're not permitted this privilege. The character remains an enigma. Antonioni is one of the s u p r e m e masters of mise en scene, expressing complex interrelationships with a m i n i m u m of dialogue. The protagonist in this film (Vitti) is just recovering from an emotional breakdown. She is still anxious and fearful, even of her h u s b a n d (Chionetti). In this shot, she s e e m s trapped, like a w o u n d e d and exhausted animal, between her h u s b a n d and his business associate. Note how the violent splashes of red paint on the walls suggest a hemorrhaging effect. (Rizzoli Film)

to suggest f r e e d o m . Prison films often use tightly f r a m e d close-ups a n d m e d i u m shots b e c a u s e t h e f r a m e functions as a k i n d of symbolic p r i s o n . In A Condemned Man Escapes, for e x a m p l e , R o b e r t Bresson b e g i n s t h e m o v i e with a close-up of t h e h e r o ' s h a n d s , w h i c h a r e b o u n d by a p a i r of h a n d c u f f s . T h r o u g h o u t t h e f i l m , t h e p r i s o n e r m a k e s e l a b o r a t e p r e p a r a t i o n s t o e s c a p e , a n d Bresson preserves t h e tight f r a m i n g t o e m p h a s i z e t h e sense o f c l a u s t r o p h o b i a t h a t t h e h e r o f i n d s u n e n d u r a b l e . T h i s spatial t e n s i o n i s n o t released until t h e e n d o f t h e movie w h e n t h e p r o t a g o n i s t d i s a p p e a r s i n t o t h e f r e e d o m o f t h e d a r k n e s s outside t h e p r i s o n walls. His t r i u m p h a n t e s c a p e is p h o t o g r a p h e d in a loosely f r a m e d l o n g s h o t — t h e only o n e in t h e film—which also symbolizes his sense of spiritual release. F r a m i n g a n d spatial m e t a p h o r s o f this k i n d a r e c o m m o n i n films d e a l i n g with t h e t h e m e of c o n f i n e m e n t — e i t h e r literal, as in R e n o i r ' s Grand Illusion ( 2 - 2 5 a ) , or psychological, as in The Graduate ( 2 - 1 9 ) . 75

2-30. Keaton, Branagh, Publicity

Publicity photo for Much Ado About Nothing (Great Britain, 1993), with Michael Keanu Reeves, Robert Sean Leonard, Kate Beckinsale, Emma Thompson, Kenneth and Denzel Washington; directed by Branagh. photos often f e a t u r e p e r f o r m e r s w h o look d i r e c t l y into the c a m e r a , i n v i t i n g us to

join t h e i r w o r l d , s e d u c i n g us with their f r i e n d l y s m i l e s . Of c o u r s e , during the m o v i e itself,

actors almost never look into the c a m e r a . We a r e m e r e l y a l l o w e d to be v o y e u r s w h i l e t h e y S t u d i o u s l y i g n o r e Our e x i s t e n c e .

(The Samuel Goldwyn Company)

Often a d i r e c t o r can suggest ideas of e n t r a p m e n t by e x p l o i t i n g perfectly n e u t r a l objects a n d lines on t h e set. In s u c h cases, t h e formal characteristics of these literal objects t e n d to close in on a figure, at least w h e n viewed on t h e flat s c r e e n ( 2 - 2 8 ) . M i c h e l a n g e l o A n t o n i o n i is a m a s t e r of this t e c h n i q u e . In Red Desert, for e x a m p l e , t h e h e r o i n e ( M o n i c a Vitti) describes a m e n t a l breakd o w n suffered by a friend s h e o n c e knew. T h e a u d i e n c e suspects s h e ' s s p e a k i n g of h e r own b r e a k d o w n , however, for t h e surface of t h e i m a g e implies constriction: While s h e talks, s h e ' s riveted to o n e position, h e r figure f r a m e d by t h e lines of a d o o r w a y b e h i n d her, suggesting a coffinlike e n c l o s u r e . W h e n figures a r e f r a m e d within a frame in this m a n n e r , a sense of c o n f i n e m e n t is usually e m p h a s i z e d (see also 2 - 2 9 ) .

j \ \ ise

c n

S c e n e

77

Territorial space within a frame can be m a n i p u l a t e d with c o n s i d e r a b l e psychological complexity. W h e n a figure leaves t h e f r a m e , for e x a m p l e , t h e c a m e r a can adjust to this s u d d e n v a c u u m in t h e c o m p o s i t i o n by p a n n i n g slightly to m a k e allowances for a n e w b a l a n c e of weights. Or t h e c a m e r a can r e m a i n stationary, t h u s s u g g e s t i n g a sense of loss symbolized by t h e e m p t y space t h a t t h e c h a r a c t e r formerly o c c u p i e d . Hostility a n d suspicion b e t w e e n two c h a r a c t e r s c a n be conveyed by k e e p i n g t h e m at t h e e d g e s of t h e c o m p o s i tion, with a m a x i m u m of space b e t w e e n t h e m ( 2 - 3 1 d ) or by h a v i n g an intrusive c h a r a c t e r force his o r h e r physical p r e s e n c e i n t o t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r ' s territory, which is t e m p o r a r i l y d e f i n e d by t h e confines of t h e frame.

Spatial c o n v e n t i o n s vary from c u l t u r e to c u l t u r e , as a n t h r o p o l o g i s t Edward T. Hall d e m o n s t r a t e d in such studies as The Hidden Dimension a n d The Silent Language. Hall discovered that p r o x e m i c p a t t e r n s — t h e relationships of o r g a n i s m s within a given s p a c e — c a n be influenced by e x t e r n a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . Climate, noise level, a n d t h e d e g r e e of light all t e n d to alter t h e space b e t w e e n individuals. P e o p l e i n Anglo-Saxon a n d N o r t h e r n E u r o p e a n cultures t e n d t o use m o r e space t h a n those in w a r m e r climates. Noise, danger, a n d lack of light t e n d t o m a k e p e o p l e move closer together. Taking these cultural a n d c o n t e x t u a l considerations i n t o a c c o u n t , Hall subdivided t h e way p e o p l e use space into four major p r o x e m i c p a t t e r n s : (1) the intimate, (2) t h e personal, (3) t h e social, (4) t h e public distances. I n t i m a t e distances r a n g e from skin c o n t a c t t o a b o u t e i g h t e e n i n c h e s away. T h i s is t h e d i s t a n c e of physical i n v o l v e m e n t — o f love, c o m f o r t , a n d tend e r n e s s b e t w e e n individuals. W i t h s t r a n g e r s , such distances w o u l d b e r e g a r d e d as intrusive. Most p e o p l e w o u l d r e a c t with suspicion a n d hostility if t h e i r space w e r e i n v a d e d b y s o m e o n e they d i d n ' t k n o w very well. I n m a n y c u l t u r e s , m a i n t a i n i n g an i n t i m a t e d i s t a n c e in public is c o n s i d e r e d b a d taste. T h e p e r s o n a l d i s t a n c e r a n g e s r o u g h l y from e i g h t e e n i n c h e s away t o a b o u t f o u r feet away. Individuals can t o u c h if necessary, since they a r e literally a n a r m ' s - l e n g t h a p a r t . T h e s e distances t e n d t o b e r e s e r v e d for friends a n d a c q u a i n t a n c e s r a t h e r t h a n lovers or m e m b e r s of a family. P e r s o n a l distances p r e s e r v e t h e privacy b e t w e e n individuals, yet t h e s e r a n g e s d o n ' t necessarily suggest e x c l u s i o n , as i n t i m a t e distances a l m o s t always d o . Social distances r a n g e from four feet to a b o u t twelve feet. T h e s e are the distances usually r e s e r v e d for i m p e r s o n a l business a n d casual social g a t h e r i n g s . It's a friendly r a n g e in m o s t cases, yet s o m e w h a t m o r e formal t h a n t h e p e r s o n a l d i s t a n c e . Ordinarily, social distances a r e necessary w h e n t h e r e a r e m o r e t h a n t h r e e m e m b e r s of a g r o u p . In s o m e cases, it w o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d r u d e for two individuals to p r e s e r v e an i n t i m a t e or p e r s o n a l d i s t a n c e within a social situation. S u c h b e h a v i o r m i g h t b e i n t e r p r e t e d a s standoffish.

2 - 3 1 a. Like Water for Chocolate (Mexico, directed by Alfonso Arau. (Miramax Films)

1992), with Lumi Cavazos and Marco Leonardi,

2 - 3 1 a, b, c, d. Although each of these photos portrays a conversation between a m a n and a w o m a n , each is staged at a different proxemic range, suggesting totally different undertones. The intimate proxemics of Like Water for Chocolate are charged with erotic energy: The characters are literally flesh to flesh. In Return to Paradise, the characters are strongly attracted to each other, 2-31b.

Return to Paradise (U.S.A.,

Joseph Ruben.

1998), with Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche, directed by

(Polygram Films)

continued 78



2-31c. Your Friends & Neighbors (U.S.A., directed by Neil LaBute. (Gramercy Pictures) 2-31

1998), with Ben Stiller and Catherine Keener,

continued

but they remain at a more discreet personal proxemic range, with each respecting the other's space. The characters in Your Friends & Neighbors are m o r e wary, especially the w o m a n , who s e e m s to find her blowhard date extremely resistible. The characters in Zabriskie Point are barely on speaking terms. The social proxemic range between t h e m implies a lot of suspicion and reserve. Psychologically, they're miles apart. Each of these shots contains similar subject matter, but the real content of each is defined by its form—in this case, the proxemic ranges between the actors. 2-31d. Zabriskie Point (U.S.A., Michelangelo Antonioni. (MGM)

1970), with Rod Taylor and Daria Halprin, directed by

c

d

2-32. Persona (Sweden, 1966), with Liv Ullmann, directed by Ingmar Bergman. Throughout this scene, which contains no dialogue, Bergman uses space to c o m m u n i c a t e his ideas—space within the frame and the space implied between the c a m e r a (us) and the subject. The character is in a hospital room watching the news on television (a). Suddenly, she sees a horrifying scene of a Buddhist m o n k setting himself on fire to protest the war in Vietn a m . She retreats to the corner of the room, to the very edge of the frame (b). Bergman then cuts to a closer shot (c), intensifying our emotional involvement. The full horror of her reaction is conveyed by the e x t r e m e close-up (d), bringing us into an intimate proximity with her. (United

Artists)

Public distances e x t e n d from twelve feet to twenty-five feet a n d m o r e . T h i s r a n g e t e n d s t o b e formal a n d r a t h e r d e t a c h e d . Displays o f e m o t i o n a r e c o n s i d e r e d b a d form a t t h e s e distances. I m p o r t a n t public f i g u r e s a r e generally seen in t h e p u b l i c r a n g e , a n d b e c a u s e a c o n s i d e r a b l e a m o u n t of space is involved, p e o p l e generally m u s t e x a g g e r a t e t h e i r g e s t u r e s a n d raise t h e i r voices to be u n d e r s t o o d clearly. Most p e o p l e adjust to p r o x e m i c p a t t e r n s instinctively. We d o n ' t usually say to ourselves, "This p e r s o n is i n v a d i n g my i n t i m a t e space" w h e n a s t r a n g e r h a p p e n s to stand e i g h t e e n i n c h e s away from us. However, unless w e ' r e in a combative m o o d , we involuntarily t e n d to step away in s u c h c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Obviously, social c o n t e x t is also a d e t e r m i n i n g factor in p r o x e m i c p a t t e r n s . In a c r o w d e d subway car, for e x a m p l e , virtually e v e r y o n e is in an i n t i m a t e r a n g e , yet we generally p r e s e r v e a p u b l i c a t t i t u d e by n o t s p e a k i n g to t h e p e r s o n w h o s e b o d y is literally p r e s s e d against o u r own. 80

; \ \ i s e

G o d a r d a n d Truffaut, to c a p t u r e a g r e a t e r sense of discovery a n d surprise, w o u l d occasionally i n s t r u c t t h e i r players t o m a k e u p t h e i r d i a l o g u e while a s c e n e was actually b e i n g p h o t o g r a p h e d . T h e flexible t e c h n o l o g y i n t r o d u c e d by c i n e m a verite allowed t h e s e d i r e c t o r s to c a p t u r e an u n p r e c e d e n t e d d e g r e e of spontaneity. In Truffaut's The 400 Blows, for e x a m p l e , t h e youthful p r o t a g o nist (Jean-Pierre L e a u d ) is interviewed by a prison psychologist a b o u t his family life a n d sexual habits. D r a w i n g heavily on his own e x p e r i e n c e , L e a u d ( w h o wasn't i n f o r m e d of t h e q u e s t i o n s in a d v a n c e ) answers t h e m with d i s a r m i n g frankness. Truffaut's c a m e r a is able to c a p t u r e t h e boy's hesitations, his e m b a r rassment, a n d his c h a r m i n g m a c h o b r a v a d o . I n o n e f o r m o r a n o t h e r , improvisation has b e c o m e a valuable t e c h n i q u e in t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y c i n e m a . S u c h filmmakers as R o b e r t A l t m a n , Rainei W e r n e r Fassbinder, a n d M a r t i n Scorsese have u s e d it with brilliant results. I

z_

Casting a m o v i e is a l m o s t an art in itself. It r e q u i r e s an a c u t e sensitivity to a player's type, a c o n v e n t i o n i n h e r i t e d from t h e live theater. Most stage a n d s c r e e n p e r f o r m e r s a r e classified a c c o r d i n g t o role categories: l e a d i n g m e n , 287

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l e a d i n g ladies, c h a r a c t e r actors, j u v e n i l e s , villains, light c o m e d i a n s , t r a g e d i a n s , i n g e n u e s , singing actors, d a n c i n g actors, a n d s o o n . T y p i n g c o n v e n t i o n s a r e rarely violated. F o r e x a m p l e , even t h o u g h h o m e l y p e o p l e obviously fall in love, r o m a n t i c roles a r e a l m o s t always p e r f o r m e d by attractive players. Similarly, a u d i e n c e s a r e n o t likely to be p e r s u a d e d by a player with an all-American i c o n o g r a p h y (like T o m H a n k s ) cast in E u r o p e a n roles. N o r is o n e likely to a c c e p t a p e r f o r m e r like Klaus Kinski as t h e boy n e x t door, unless o n e lives in a very weird n e i g h b o r h o o d . Of c o u r s e , a player's r a n g e is a l l - i m p o r t a n t in determ i n i n g his o r h e r type. S o m e , like G l e n n Close, have e x t r e m e l y b r o a d r a n g e s , w h e r e a s o t h e r s , like A r n o l d Swartzenegger, a r e c o n f i n e d to variations of t h e s a m e type. T y p e c a s t i n g was a l m o s t invariable in t h e silent c i n e m a . In p a r t , this was b e c a u s e c h a r a c t e r s t e n d e d toward allegorical types r a t h e r t h a n u n i q u e individuals a n d often w e r e even identified with a label: " T h e M a n , " " T h e Wife," " T h e Mother," " T h e V a m p , " a n d so o n . B l o n d e players w e r e usually cast in p a r t s e m p h a s i z i n g purity, e a r t h y b r u n e t t e s in erotic roles. Eisenstein insisted t h a t players o u g h t to be cast strictly to type a n d was i n c l i n e d to favor n o n p r o f e s s i o n als b e c a u s e of t h e i r g r e a t e r authenticity. W h y use an a c t o r to i m p e r s o n a t e a fact o r y worker, he asked, w h e n a filmmaker can use a real factory w o r k e r instead? But t r a i n e d actors t e n d t o r e s e n t b e i n g typed a n d often a t t e m p t t o b r o a d e n t h e i r r a n g e . S o m e t i m e s i t works, s o m e t i m e s i t d o e s n ' t . H u m p h r e y B o g a r t is a g o o d e x a m p l e . F o r years, he was s t e r e o t y p e d as a t o u g h , cynical gangster, until h e j o i n e d forces with d i r e c t o r J o h n H u s t o n , w h o cast h i m a s t h e h a r d - b o i l e d detective Sam S p a d e in The Maltese Falcon. H u s t o n w e a n e d h i m even f u r t h e r from his type in The Treasure of the Sierra Maclre, in which B o g a r t played a crafty p a r a n o i d , t h e p r o s p e c t o r F r e d C. D o b b s . T h e a c t o r totally reversed his i m a g e in The African Queen, in which he played C h a r l i e Allnut, a lovable a n d funny d r u n k w h o s e vulnerability e n d e a r e d h i m t o a u d i e n c e s a n d w o n B o g a r t an A c a d e m y Award for best actor. But in Beat the Devil, H u s t o n ' s cele b r a t e d casting instincts d e s e r t e d h i m w h e n h e u s e d B o g a r t i n a role b e y o n d his p o w e r s — a s a s o p h i s t i c a t e d a d v e n t u r e r s t r a n d e d with a s h a b b y a s s o r t m e n t of r o g u e s a n d l o o n s . T h e witty t o n g u e - i n - c h e e k d i a l o g u e fell flat in B o g a r t ' s selfc o n s c i o u s p e r f o r m a n c e . A p o l i s h e d player like Cary G r a n t c o u l d have a c t e d t h e p a r t with m u c h g r e a t e r believability a n d grace. "Casting is c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , " H i t c h c o c k p o i n t e d o u t . O n c e a role has b e e n cast, especially with a personality star, t h e essence of t h e fictional c h a r a c ter is already established. In a sense, stars a r e m o r e "real" t h a n o t h e r c h a r a c ters, which is why m a n y p e o p l e refer to a c h a r a c t e r by t h e a c t o r ' s n a m e , r a t h e r t h a n b y t h e n a m e o f t h e p e r s o n i n t h e story. After w o r k i n g with H i t c h c o c k o n t h e script of Strangers on a Train, t h e novelist R a y m o n d C h a n d l e r r i d i c u l e d t h e d i r e c t o r ' s m e t h o d of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n : "His i d e a of c h a r a c t e r is r a t h e r primitive," C h a n d l e r c o m p l a i n e d : "Nice Y o u n g M a n , " "Society Girl," " F r i g h t e n e d W o m a n , " a n d s o o n . Like m a n y literary types, C h a n d l e r believed that characterization m u s t be c r e a t e d t h r o u g h l a n g u a g e . Lie was insensitive to t h e o t h e r

6-33. Bicycle Thief (Italy, 1948), with Enzo Staiola and Lamberto Maggiorani, directed by, Vittorio De Sica. One of the most famous casting coups in film history is De Sica's selection of Maggiorani and Staiola as an impoverished laborer and his idolizing son. Both were nonprofessionals. Maggiorani actually was a laborer and had difficulty finding a factory job after this movie. When De Sica was trying to finance the film, one producer agreed to put up the m o n e y provided that the leading role was played by Cary Grant! De Sica couldn't imagine an elegant and graceful actor like Grant in the role, and the director wisely went elsewhere for his financing. (Audio-Brandon

Films)

o p t i o n s available to a filmmaker. F o r e x a m p l e , H i t c h c o c k was a c u n n i n g e x p l o i t e r of t h e star system—a t e c h n i q u e t h a t has n o t h i n g to do with l a n g u a g e . F o r his l e a d i n g ladies, for i n s t a n c e , he favored e l e g a n t b l o n d e s with an u n d e r stated sexuality a n d r a t h e r aristocratic, ladylike m a n n e r s — i n s h o r t , t h e Society Girl type. B u t t h e r e a r e g r e a t individual differences b e t w e e n s u c h h e r o i n e s as J o a n F o n t a i n e , I n g r i d B e r g m a n , a n d G r a c e Kelly, t o m e n t i o n only t h r e e o f Hitchcock's famous blondes. H i t c h c o c k ' s casting is often m e a n t to deceive. His villains w e r e usually actors of e n o r m o u s p e r s o n a l c h a r m — l i k e James Mason in North by Northwest. H i t c h c o c k c o u n t e d o n t h e a u d i e n c e ' s goodwill t o w a r d a n established star, perm i t t i n g his " h e r o e s " to b e h a v e in ways t h a t can only be d e s c r i b e d as morally d u b i o u s . In Rear Window, for e x a m p l e , James Stewart is literally a voyeur, yet we c a n ' t b r i n g ourselves to c o n d e m n such a w h o l e s o m e type as J i m m y Stewart, t h e all-American boy (see 4 - 2 0 ) . A u d i e n c e s also a s s u m e t h a t a star will r e m a i n in t h e m o v i e until t h e f i n a l reel, a t which p o i n t it's p e r m i s s i b l e — t h o u g h s e l d o m

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6-34a. Romeo and Juliet (U.S.A., 1936), with Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer, directed by George Cukor Cukor's version of Shakespeare's play is an example of the disasters that can befall a movie w h e n a director casts against type. The lovers are a far cry from the youngsters called for in the original. Shearer was thirtyseven w h e n she played the thirteenyear-old Juliet; Howard as Romeo was forty-four. At fifty-five, John Barrymore was preposterous as Mercutio, Romeo's firebrand friend. The spectacle of middle-aged adults behaving so childishly m a k e s the whole dramatic action seem ludicrous. (MGM)

6-34b. Romeo and Juliet (Great Britain/ Italy, 1968), with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Zeffirelli's version of the play is much more successful because he cast to type and awarded the roles to two teenagers. To be sure, Cukor's actors speak the lines better, but Zeffirelli's look truer. The differences between the ages of an actor and character are far more important on screen than on stage, for the cinematic close shot can be merciless in revealing age. (Paramount Pictures)

a d v i s a b l e — t o kill h i m or h e r off. B u t in Psycho, t h e J a n e t t . e i g h c h a r a c t e r is b r u tally m u r d e r e d i n t h e f i r s t t h i r d o f t h e f i l m — a s h o c k i n g violation o f c o n v e n t i o n t h a t jolts a u d i e n c e s o u t o f t h e i r c o m p l a c e n c y . S o m e t i m e s H i t c h c o c k cast awkw a r d , self-conscious a c t o r s in roles r e q u i r i n g a n o t e of evasive anxiety, like Farley G r a n g e r in Rope a n d Strangers on a Train. In cases s u c h as t h e s e , b a d a c t i n g is precisely w h a t is called for—it's p a r t of t h e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . M a n y filmmakers believe t h a t c a s t i n g is so i n t e g r a l to c h a r a c t e r , t h e y d o n ' t e v e n b e g i n w o r k o n a script u n t i l they k n o w w h o ' s p l a y i n g t h e m a j o r 290

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6-35. The White Balloon (Islamic Republic of Iran, 1995), with Aida Mohammadhhani, directed by Jafar Panahi. Iranian filmmakers have received considerable international acclaim for their sensitive portrayal of children. Their movies about grownups—especially w o m e n — a r e so crippled by censorship that it's virtually impossible for these artists to explore m a t u r e t h e m e s without appearing downright silly. According to Iranian Islamic codes, a w o m a n can be intimate only with the i m m e d i a t e m e m b e r s of her family. Therefore, strict dress codes require w o m e n to cover their hair in public, and wear loose-fitting outer g a r m e n t s to cloak their body curves. Needless to say, realistic portrayals of w o m e n have suffered. Actors playing h u s b a n d and wife cannot have any physical contact on the screen unless they're married in real life. Even in the privacy of their home, female characters' hair must remain covered, since the audience would not be intimate with the actress playing the part. That's why scenes of female characters sleeping with their head scarves on or family dining scenes showing w o m e n with covered hair are c o m m o n p l a c e in the postrevolutionary cinema. Even when the movie's plots are set before the 1979 revolution, female characters' h e a d s still must be covered. The restrictions have m a d e c o n t e m p o r a r y American or European films, with their more permissive t h e m e s and enticing looks, virtually impossible to import, for movie imports are entirely controlled by the government. (October Films)

roles. Yasujiro O z u c o n f e s s e d , " I c o u l d n o m o r e write, n o t k n o w i n g w h o t h e a c t o r was g o i n g t o b e , t h a n a n artist c o u l d p a i n t , n o t k n o w i n g w h a t c o l o r h e was u s i n g . " Billy W i l d e r always t a i l o r e d his d i a l o g u e to fit t h e p e r s o n a l i t y of his players. W h e n M o n t g o m e r y Clift b a c k e d o u t of playing t h e l e a d in Sunset Boulevard, W i l d e r r e w r o t e t h e p a r t t o f i t William H o l d e n , w h o b r o u g h t totally d i f f e r e n t character n u a n c e s to the role. Like p h o t o g r a p h y , m i s e e n s c e n e , m o v e m e n t , e d i t i n g , a n d s o u n d , acti n g is a k i n d of l a n g u a g e system. T h e filmmaker uses a c t o r s as a m e d i u m for

6-36. The Crying Game (Ireland/Great Britain, 1992), with Jaye Davidson and Stephen Rea, written and directed by Neil Jordan. Unfamiliar performers enjoy an obvious superiority over stars—the public has no way of guessing what kind of people they're playing. Nonprofessional players and little-known actors can surprise us with astonishing revelations. In this movie, the character surprises send the story spinning into totally new directions. If the main characters had been played by personality stars, the audience would have guessed in advance what m a k e s the characters tick, for the star system is a form of precharacterization. With actors like Davidson and Rea, we must judge the characters only as their bizarre tale unfolds. (Miramax rums)

c o m m u n i c a t i n g ideas a n d e m o t i o n s . Merely by casting a p e r f o r m e r like L a m b e r t o M a g g i o r a n i r a t h e r t h a n Gary G r a n t , Vittorio D e Sica radically a l t e r e d t h e artistic i m p a c t of Bicycle Thief. N o t that Maggiorani is a b e t t e r a c t o r t h a n G r a n t . Q u i t e t h e reverse is t r u e , b u t t h e i r artistic skills are n o t in q u e s t i o n h e r e . W h a t is involved is t h e u t t e r a u t h e n t i c i t y of M a g g i o r a n i as o p p o s e d to t h e c o m p l e x i c o n o g r a p h y of G r a n t , an i c o n o g r a p h y rich in glamour, wit, a n d sophisticat i o n — a n d h e n c e totally i n a p p r o p r i a t e for t h e role. As we have s e e n , strongly i c o n o g r a p h i c stars such as G a r y C o o p e r a n d Marilyn M o n r o e e m b o d y a c o m p l e x n e t w o r k of e m o t i o n a l a n d ideological values, a n d these values are p a r t of t h e f i l m m a k e r ' s artistic s t a t e m e n t . In analyzing t h e a c t i n g in a movie, we s h o u l d c o n s i d e r w h a t type of actors a r e f e a t u r e d a n d w h y — a m a t e u r s , professionals, o r p o p u l a r stars? H o w a r e t h e actors t r e a t e d by t h e d i r e c t o r — a s c a m e r a material or as artistic collaborators? H o w m a n i p u l a t i v e is t h e editing? Or a r e t h e actors allowed to recite t h e i r d i a l o g u e without a lot of cuts? Does t h e film h i g h l i g h t t h e stars or d o e s t h e d i r e c t o r e n c o u r a g e e n s e m b l e playing? W h a t a b o u t t h e star's i c o n o g r a p h y ? 292

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6-37. Erin Brockovich (U.S.A., 2000), with Julia Roberts, directed by Steven Soderbergh. "Show me an actor with no personality, and I'll show you s o m e o n e who isn't a star," Katharine Hepburn once observed. In the c o n t e m p o r a r y cinema, Julia Roberts radiates personality. She is the only female star who consistently places a m o n g the top ten box office attractions in America. Beloved by the public for her spectacular good looks and captivating smile, she is an accomplished performer in straight dramatic roles. But she really shines in comedies, where her acting style is so s p o n t a n e o u s it hardly looks like she's working. (Universal Studios)

D o e s h e o r s h e e m b o d y c e r t a i n c u l t u r a l values o r d o e s t h e star c h a n g e radically from film to film, t h u s p r e v e n t i n g any i c o n o g r a p h i c b u i l d u p ? If t h e star is h i g h l y i c o n o g r a p h i c , w h a t values d o e s h e o r s h e e m b o d y ? H o w d o e s this cult u r a l i n f o r m a t i o n f u n c t i o n w i t h i n t h e w o r l d o f t h e movie? W h a t style o f a c t i n g p r e d o m i n a t e s ? H o w realistic o r stylized i s t h e a c t i n g style? W h y w e r e t h e s e a c t o r s cast? W h a t d o t h e y b r i n g with t h e m t o e n h a n c e t h e i r c h a r a c t e r s ?

/ FURTHER READING

BLUM, RICHARD A., American Film Acting: The Stanislavski Heritage (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1984). History of M e t h o d Acting in America.

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CARDULLO, BERT, et al. eds. Playing to the Camera (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1 9 9 8 ) . A collection of articles a n d interviews. DMYTRYK, EDWARD, a n d JEAN PORTER, On Screen Acting ( L o n d o n : Focal Press, 1 9 8 4 ) . Practical emphasis. DYER, RICHARD, Stars ( L o n d o n : British Film Institute, 1 9 7 9 ) . A systematic analysis, well-written. NAREMORE, JAMES, Acting in the Cinema (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1 9 8 8 ) . Comprehensive. OLIVIER, LAURENCE, Ijiurmce Olivier on Acting (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1 9 8 6 ) . Ross, LILLIAN, a n d HELEN Ross, The Player: A Profile of an Art (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1 9 6 2 ) . A collection of interviews with actors from stage, screen, a n d TY. SCHICKEL, RICHARD, The Stars (New York: Dial Press, 1 9 6 2 ) . See also Richard Griffith, The Movie Stars ( G a r d e n City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1 9 7 0 ) . Studies by two of America's best film critics. SHIPMAN, DAVID, The Great Movie Stars, Vol. I, The Golden Years (New York: B o n a n z a Books, 1 9 7 0 ) ; Vol. II, The International Years (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1 9 7 2 ) . Encyclopedic coverage, with sane, well-written evaluations. ZUCKER, CAROLE, ed., Making Visible the Invisible (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1 9 9 0 ) . A collection of essays on film acting.

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Overview Live theater and m o v i e s : a c o m p a r i s o n . H o w time, space, and language are u s e d in each m e d i u m . S c e n e versus shot. Acting in e a c h m e d i u m . Nudity. Stage adaptations in c i n e m a : p r o b l e m s and challenges. The role of the director in film and live theater. The auteur theory. The role of the spectator in e a c h m e d i u m : active versus passive. The m o v a b l e camera's variable points of v i e w and shifting perspectives. Settings and decor: dressing the story. Actual locations versus the studio. Process shots, miniatures, and special effects. The key influence of German e x p r e s s i o n i s m . Realisms. The glory days of t h e H o l l y w o o d studios: MGM, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century-Fox, Paramount Pictures. Studio wizardry of Fellini and company. C o s t u m e s and m a k e u p . The ideology of clothing.

Many p e o p l e cling to t h e naive belief t h a t d r a m a a n d film a r e two aspects of t h e s a m e art, only d r a m a is "live," w h e r e a s movies a r e " r e c o r d e d . " Certainly, t h e r e a r e u n d e n i a b l e similarities b e t w e e n t h e two arts. Most obviously, b o t h use action as a p r i n c i p a l m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a t i o n : W h a t p e o p l e do is a m a j o r s o u r c e of m e a n i n g . Live t h e a t e r a n d movies a r e also collaborative e n t e r p r i s e s , involving t h e c o o r d i n a t i o n o f writers, d i r e c t o r s , actors, a n d t e c h n i c i a n s . D r a m a a n d film a r e b o t h social arts, e x h i b i t e d b e f o r e g r o u p s o f p e o p l e , a n d experie n c e d publicly as well as individually. But films a r e n o t m e r e r e c o r d i n g s of plays. T h e l a n g u a g e systems of e a c h a r e f u n d a m e n t a l l y different. F o r t h e m o s t p a r t , movies have a far b r o a d e r r a n g e of t e c h n i q u e s at t h e i r disposal.

In t h e live theater, t i m e is less flexible t h a n in movies. T h e basic unit of c o n s t r u c t i o n in t h e t h e a t e r is t h e s c e n e , a n d t h e a m o u n t of d r a m a t i c t i m e t h a t elapses d u r i n g a s c e n e is r o u g h l y e q u a l to t h e l e n g t h of time it takes to perf o r m . T r u e , s o m e plays traverse m a n y years, b u t usually t h e s e years t r a n s p i r e " b e t w e e n c u r t a i n s . " W e ' r e i n f o r m e d t h a t it is "seven years later" e i t h e r by a stage d i r e c t i o n or by t h e d i a l o g u e . T h e basic u n i t of c o n s t r u c t i o n in movies is t h e shot. Because t h e average shot lasts only ten or fifteen s e c o n d s ( a n d can be as brief as a fraction of a s e c o n d ) , t h e c i n e m a t i c s h o t can l e n g t h e n or s h o r t e n t i m e m o r e subtly. D r a m a has t o c h o p o u t h u g e blocks o f t i m e b e t w e e n t h e relatively few s c e n e s a n d acts; films can e x p a n d or c o n t r a c t t i m e b e t w e e n t h e m a n y h u n d r e d s of shots. T h e a t r i c a l t i m e is usually c o n t i n u o u s . It moves forward. T e m p o r a l dislocations like t h e flashback are r a r e in t h e live theater, b u t c o m m o n p l a c e in movies. Space in t h e live t h e a t e r is also d e p e n d e n t on t h e basic u n i t of t h e s c e n e . T h e action takes p l a c e in a unified a r e a t h a t has specific limits, usually d e f i n e d by t h e p r o s c e n i u m a r c h . D r a m a , t h e n , a l m o s t always deals with closed forms: We d o n ' t i m a g i n e t h a t t h e action is b e i n g c o n t i n u e d in t h e wings or t h e

7-la. The Refic (U.S.A., 1996), vWrh Penelope Ann Miller, directed by Peter Hyams. Microspace. On stage, this shot would not be very effective: The audience would be too far away to assimilate a m e r e few inches of visual drama. On film, the shot is powerfully suspenseful because its mise en scene is defined (temporarily) by the frame, which foregrounds the subject matter in an intense close-up. The stage director's space is much m o r e restricted, and uniform from scene to scene. Movie directors can get very close or very far away with equal ease. (Paramount Pictures)

7-lb. Fantastic Voyage (U.S.A., 1966), art direction by Jack Martin Smith and Dale Hennesy, special effects by Art Cruickshank, directed by Richard Fleischer. Screen space can explore even microscopic areas: literally, through microcinematography, or figuratively, through special effects. The principal setting of this film—the interior of a h u m a n body—couldn't possibly be duplicated on stage. To perform a delicate brain operation, several scientists are reduced to the size of bacteria. They travel through the patient's bloodstream in a miniaturized submarine. This photo shows the crew's only survivors floating in the area of the optic nerve as they frantically search for the patient's eye so they can escape from his body before they return to normal size. (Twentieth Century-Fox)

7-2. Richard III (Great Britain, 1995), with Ian McKellen, directed by Richard Loncraine. Epic stories can be treated on the stage, but they are always stylized. Theatrical space is too constricted for a realistic presentation. On stage, when the depraved Richard 111 s c r e a m s in the thick of battle, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" we don't really expect to see one, or even m a n y soldiers. In the movie version, not only do we get horses, we also see t h o u s a n d s of soldiers (updated to the fascist 1930s) clashing to the death. (United Artists)

d r e s s i n g r o o m s of t h e theater. T h e " p r o s c e n i u m a r c h " in film is t h e frame—a m a s k i n g device t h a t isolates objects a n d p e o p l e only temporarily. Movies d e a l with a series of space f r a g m e n t s . B e y o n d t h e frame of a given shot, a n o t h e r a s p e c t of t h e action waits to be p h o t o g r a p h e d . A close-up of an object, for e x a m p l e , is generally a detail of a s u b s e q u e n t long shot, which will give us t h e c o n t e x t of t h e close-up. In t h e theater, it's m o r e difficult to w i t h h o l d i n f o r m a tion in this m a n n e r . In t h e live theater, t h e viewer r e m a i n s in a s t a t i o n a r y p o s i t i o n . T h e dist a n c e b e t w e e n t h e a u d i e n c e a n d t h e stage i s c o n s t a n t . O f c o u r s e , a n a c t o r c a n m o v e closer to an a u d i e n c e , b u t c o m p a r e d to t h e fluid space in t h e c i n e m a , dist a n c e variation in t h e live t h e a t e r is negligible. T h e film viewer, on t h e o t h e r h a n d , identifies with t h e c a m e r a ' s lens, which is n o t i m m o b i l i z e d in a chair. T h i s identification p e r m i t s t h e viewer to " m o v e " in any d i r e c t i o n a n d from any d i s t a n c e . An e x t r e m e close-up allows us to c o u n t t h e lashes of an eyelid; t h e extreme long shot p e r m i t s us to see miles in e a c h d i r e c t i o n . In s h o r t , t h e cine m a allows t h e s p e c t a t o r to feel m o b i l e . T h e s e spatial differences d o n ' t necessarily favor o n e m e d i u m over t h e o t h e r . In t h e live theater, space is t h r e e d i m e n s i o n a l , is o c c u p i e d by tangible p e o p l e a n d objects, a n d i s t h e r e f o r e m o r e realistic. T h a t is, o u r p e r c e p t i o n o f s p a c e is essentially t h e s a m e as in real life. T h e living p r e s e n c e of actors, with t h e i r subtle i n t e r a c t i o n s — b o t h with o t h e r actors a n d t h e a u d i e n c e — i s impossible to d u p l i c a t e in film. Movies provide us with a two-dimensional image of s p a c e a n d objects, a n d n o i n t e r a c t i o n exists b e t w e e n t h e s c r e e n actors a n d t h e a u d i e n c e . F o r this r e a s o n , nudity is n o t so controversial an issue on t h e screen 298

7-3. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (Brazil, 1977), with Jose Wilker, Sonia Braga, and Mauro Mendonca; directed by Bruno Baretto. Nudity is c o m m o n in movies, rare in the live theater. A naked actor on stage usually triggers off a public outcry, but because movies are "only pictures," nudity seldom provokes much controversy except in puritanical communities. As a result, c i n e m a has been able to exploit n a k e d n e s s as a symbolic c o m m e n t , a way of exploring universal impulses. For example, this "naughty" sex farce deals with a w o m a n w h o loves two men, one a ghost. Her first h u s b a n d (Wilker) was charming, exciting, and totally irresponsible. He died during o n e of his many sexual escapades, but his ghost—visible only to us and his former w i f e returns to enjoy his conjugal prerogatives. Dona Flor's second h u s b a n d is decent and reliable, a good provider, a rock of stability. He's also stupifyingly dull. To be totally happy, Dona Flor must satisfy both needs— for a d y n a m o in the b e d r o o m and a pillar of society in the outside world. She accordingly manages to arrange an amiable, if somewhat ghostly, m e n a g e a trois. (Carnaval/New Yorker Films)

as in t h e live t h e a t e r . On stage t h e n a k e d p e o p l e a r e real, w h e r e a s in movies t h e y ' r e "only p i c t u r e s " ( 7 - 3 ) . T h e stage player i n t e r a c t s with viewers, establishing a d e l i c a t e r a p p o r t with e a c h different a u d i e n c e . T h e s c r e e n player, o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , i s inexorably fixed o n celluloid: H e o r she c a n ' t readjust t o e a c h a u d i e n c e , for t h e worlds o f t h e s c r e e n a n d t h e viewer a r e n ' t c o n n e c t e d a n d c o n t i n u o u s a s they are in t h e live theater. Movies often s e e m d a t e d b e c a u s e a c t i n g styles c a n ' t be adjusted t o n e w e r a u d i e n c e s . Stage actors, o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , c a n m a k e even a two-thousand-year-old play s e e m fresh a n d relevant, for while t h e w o r d s r e m a i n t h e s a m e , t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n a n d delivery can always b e c h a n g e d t o c o n f o r m with c o n t e m p o r a r y a c t i n g styles. Because of t h e spatial differences, t h e viewer's participatioti is different i n e a c h m e d i u m . I n t h e theater, t h e a u d i e n c e generally m u s t b e m o r e active. All t h e visual e l e m e n t s a r e p r o v i d e d within a given space, so t h e viewer m u s t sort o u t w h a t ' s essential from w h a t ' s i n c i d e n t a l . D i s r e g a r d i n g for t h e m o m e n t t h e i m p o r t a n c e of l a n g u a g e in t h e theater, d r a m a is a m e d i u m of low visual sat299

7-4. Pickpocket (France, 1959), directed by Robert Bresson. In the live drama, if a small prop (like a wallet) is important, it must be highlighted conspicuously or the audience will fail to notice its existence, much less its importance. In the cinema, small articles can be isolated from their context. In this photo, Bresson captures a pickpocket's swift stroke as he lifts a wallet from a pedestrian on a busy walkway. This snapshot quality is difficult to produce on stage: The conventions of the medium are at odds with the essence of the subject matter.

(New Yorker Films)

u r a t i o n . T h a t is, t h e a u d i e n c e m u s t fill in certain m e a n i n g s in t h e a b s e n c e of visual detail. A m o v i e a u d i e n c e , on t h e o t h e r h a n d , is generally m o r e passive. All t h e n e c e s s a r y details a r e p r o v i d e d by close-ups a n d by e d i t e d juxtapositions. Film, t h e n , is a m e d i u m of h i g h visual s a t u r a t i o n — t h a t is, t h e p i c t u r e s a r e densely d e t a i l e d with i n f o r m a t i o n , r e q u i r i n g little or no filling in. A l t h o u g h b o t h d r a m a a n d film a r e eclectic arts, t h e t h e a t e r is a narr o w e r m e d i u m , o n e specializing i n s p o k e n l a n g u a g e . Most o f t h e m e a n i n g s i n t h e t h e a t e r a r e f o u n d i n words, which a r e densely s a t u r a t e d with i n f o r m a t i o n . F o r this r e a s o n , d r a m a is generally c o n s i d e r e d a writer's m e d i u m . T h e p r i m a c y of t h e text m a k e s it a special b r a n c h of l i t e r a t u r e . In t h e live theater, we t e n d to h e a r b e f o r e we see. T h e film d i r e c t o r R e n e Clair o n c e n o t e d t h a t a b l i n d person c o u l d still g r a s p t h e essentials of m o s t stage plays. Movies, on t h e o t h e r h a n d , a r e generally r e g a r d e d as a visual art a n d a d i r e c t o r ' s m e d i u m , for it is t h e d i r e c t o r w h o creates t h e i m a g e s . Clair o b s e r v e d t h a t a d e a f p e r s o n c o u l d still g r a s p m o s t of t h e essentials of a film. B u t these g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s a r e relative, for s o m e m o v i e s — m a n y of t h e works of Welles, for e x a m p l e — a r e densely satur a t e d , b o t h visually a n d aurally. B e c a u s e plays stress t h e p r i m a c y of l a n g u a g e , o n e of t h e m a j o r p r o b lems in adapting them to the screen is determining how m u c h of the language is n e c e s s a r y in a p r e d o m i n a n t l y visual art like movies. G e o r g e C u k o r ' s version of S h a k e s p e a r e ' s Romeo and Juliet (6-34a) was a conservative film a d a p t a t i o n . Virtually all t h e d i a l o g u e was r e t a i n e d , even t h e e x p o s i t i o n a n d p u r e l y functional s p e e c h e s of no p a r t i c u l a r p o e t i c merit. T h e result is a respectful b u t often t e d i o u s film in which t h e visuals merely illustrate t h e l a n g u a g e . O f t e n , images a n d d i a l o g u e c o n t a i n t h e s a m e i n f o r m a t i o n , p r o d u c i n g a n overblown, static quality t h a t actually c o n t r a d i c t s t h e swift sense of action in t h e stage play. Zeffirelli's film version of this play is m u c h m o r e successful. Verbal e x p o s i t i o n was c u t a l m o s t c o m p l e t e l y a n d r e p l a c e d (just as effectively) by visual e x p o s i t i o n . Single lines w e r e p r u n e d meticulously from s o m e o f t h e s p e e c h e s w h e r e t h e s a m e i n f o r m a t i o n c o u l d b e conveyed b y images. Most o f t h e g r e a t

7-5. All About Eve (U.S.A., 1950), with Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, and George Sanders; written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. All About Eve is about the New York live theater and its fascinatingly neurotic denizens. It's one of the few movies that could probably be converted into an effective stage play, for its action consists mostly of talk—glorious talk. Mankiewicz,, who was fondly described by one critic as "Old Joe, the Talk Man," is above all a verbal- stylist, a master of sophisticated dialogue and bitchy repartee. (Twentieth Century-Fox)

p o e t r y was p r e s e r v e d b u t often with nonsynchronous visuals to e x p a n d — n o t d u p l i c a t e — t h e l a n g u a g e . T h e e s s e n c e of S h a k e s p e a r e ' s play is f o u n d in t h e impulsive haste of its youthful p r o t a g o n i s t s , t h e d o m i n o l i k e swiftness of t h e c h a i n of events, a n d t h e violence of m u c h of t h e a c t i o n . Zeffirelli h e i g h t e n e d t h e s e characteristics b y kineticizing m a n y o f t h e scenes. T h e f i g h t s e q u e n c e s are often p h o t o g r a p h e d with a h a n d - h e l d c a m e r a that l u r c h e s a n d swirls with t h e c o m b a t a n t s as they spill o n t o t h e streets of V e r o n a . Zeffirelli's movie, t h o u g h technically less faithful to t h e stage script, is actually m o r e Shakes p e a r e a n i n spirit t h a n t h e scrupulously literal version o f Cukor. O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , s o m e t i m e s an a d a p t a t i o n can be too c i n e m a t i c , like t h e L u h r m a n n version of this play ( 7 - 1 3 ) . B o t h t h e a t e r a n d c i n e m a are audiovisual m e d i u m s , t h e n , b u t they differ in t h e i r stress of certain conventions. T h e two m a j o r s o u r c e s of i n f o r m a t i o n i n t h e live t h e a t e r a r e a c t i o n a n d d i a l o g u e . W e o b s e r v e w h a t p e o p l e d o a n d what they say. T h e a t r i c a l action is restricted primarily to objective l o n g shots, to use a c i n e m a t i c m e t a p h o r . O n l y fairly large actions a r e effective: t h e d u e l b e t w e e n H a m l e t a n d L a e r t e s , A m a n d a h e l p i n g L a u r a to dress in The Glass 30

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Menagerie, a n d s o o n . E x t r e m e l o n g - s h o t r a n g e s — t o c o n t i n u e t h e c i n e m a t i c m e t a p h o r — m u s t b e stylized i n t h e live t h e a t e r . T h e e p i c b a t t l e s o f S h a k e s p e a r e ' s plays w o u l d l o o k r i d i c u l o u s if s t a g e d realistically. Likewise, c l o s e - u p a c t i o n s w o u l d b e m i s s e d b y all b u t t h o s e i n t h e f r o n t rows u n l e s s t h e a c t i o n s w e r e e x a g g e r a t e d a n d stylized b y t h e a c t o r s . E x c e p t for t h e m o s t i n t i m a t e t h e a t e r s , c l o s e - u p a c t i o n s i n t h e live d r a m a h a v e t o b e v e r b a l i z e d . T h a t is, t h e m o s t

7-6. Publicity p h o t o for Magnum Force (U.S.A., 1973), with Clint Eastwood and Adele Yoshioka, directed by Ted Post. In the live theater, actors are selected not only on the basis of their looks and talent, but also on how well they match up with the other actors on stage. Theatrical directors must always conceive of their productions in t e r m s of an e n s e m b l e effect. In the cinema, these considerations are secondary. In this movie, Eastwood, who stands 6' 4", is romantically paired with Adele Yoshioka, who is 5' 4". On stage, this height discrepancy would be a sight gag, but on the screen (or more accurately, off screen), the problem was easily resolved through the art of exclusion. (Warner Bros.)

7 - 7 . Twister (U.S.A., 1996), with Bill Paxton, directed by Jan De Bont. The cinema is well suited to dealing with the relationship between people and nature—a rare t h e m e in the live theater, which tends to favor interior settings. Thanks to special effects, movies can even go beyond nature—by creating an approaching tornado that in no way endangers the actor who Seems to be Standing in harm's way. (Warner Bros, and Universal City Studio)

subtle actions a n d r e a c t i o n s of stage c h a r a c t e r s a r e usually c o n v e y e d by lang u a g e r a t h e r t h a n by visual m e a n s . We know of H a m l e t ' s a t t i t u d e toward C l a u d i u s primarily t h r o u g h H a m l e t ' s soliloquies a n d d i a l o g u e . O n t h e close-up level of a c t i o n , t h e n , w h a t we see on stage is often n o t w h a t p e o p l e d o , b u t w h a t they talk a b o u t d o i n g , o r w h a t ' s b e e n d o n e . Because of t h e s e visual p r o b l e m s , m o s t plays avoid actions r e q u i r i n g vast or m i n u t e spaces. T h e a t r i c a l a c t i o n is usually c o n f i n e d to t h e long- a n d full-shot r a n g e . If vast or tiny spaces a r e r e q u i r e d , t h e t h e a t e r t e n d s to r e s o r t to unrealistic c o n v e n t i o n s : to ballets a n d stylized t a b l e a u x for e x t r e m e long-shot actions, a n d to t h e c o n v e n t i o n of verbal a r t i c u l a t i o n for close-up actions. Movies, o n t h e / o t h e r h a n d , can m o v e easily a m o n g all t h e s e r a n g e s . F o r this r e a s o n , t h e c i n e m a often d r a m a t i z e s t h e a c t i o n t h a t takes place o n stage only "between the curtains." T h e h u m a n b e i n g i s c e n t r a l t o t h e aesthetic o f t h e t h e a t e r : W o r d s must b e r e c i t e d b y p e o p l e ; conflicts m u s t b e e m b o d i e d b y actors. T h e c i n e m a i s n o t s o d e p e n d e n t o n h u m a n s . T h e aesthetic o f film i s b a s e d o n p h o t o g r a p h y , a n d a n y t h i n g t h a t can be p h o t o g r a p h e d can be t h e subject m a t t e r of a movie. F o r this r e a s o n , a d a p t i n g a play to t h e s c r e e n , a l t h o u g h difficult, is h a r d l y impossible, for m u c h o f w h a t can b e d o n e o n t h e stage c a n b e d u p l i c a t e d o n t h e s c r e e n . T o a d a p t m o s t movies t o t h e stage, however, w o u l d b e m u c h t o u g h e r . Movies with e x t e r i o r l o c a t i o n s w o u l d be a l m o s t automatically r u l e d o u t , of c o u r s e : H o w w o u l d o n e g o a b o u t a d a p t i n g j o h n F o r d ' s epic w e s t e r n s like Stage303

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coach? But even films with i n t e r i o r locations w o u l d p r o b a b l y be impossible to translate i n t o theatrical t e r m s . T r u e , t h e words w o u l d p r e s e n t n o p r o b l e m , a n d s o m e a c t i o n s w o u l d b e transferable. B u t h o w w o u l d you d e a l with t h e t i m e a n d space dislocations of Richard Lester's Beatles film, A Hard Day's Night? T h e m e a n d c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n in J o s e p h Losey's The Servant are c o m m u n i c a t e d primarily t h r o u g h t h e use o f c a m e r a a n g l e s — i m p o s s i b l e t o d u p l i c a t e i n t h e t h e a t e r ( 1 1 - 9 ) . T h e t h e m e of B e r g m a n ' s The Silence is conveyed primarily t h r o u g h i m a g e s o f e m p t y c o r r i d o r s , d o o r s , a n d windows. H o w c o u l d you transfer this t e c h n i q u e t o t h e stage? We s h o u l d n ' t a s s u m e from this t h a t t h e best m e t h o d of a d a p t i n g a play for t h e s c r e e n is to " o p e n it u p " — t o substitute e x t e r i o r locations for i n t e r i o r s . C i n e m a d o e s n ' t always m e a n e x t r e m e l o n g shots, sweeping p a n s , a n d flashy e d i t i n g . H i t c h c o c k o n c e o b s e r v e d t h a t m a n y filmed versions of plays fail p r e cisely b e c a u s e t h e tight, c o m p a c t s t r u c t u r e of t h e original is lost w h e n t h e film d i r e c t o r "loosens i t u p " with i n a p p r o p r i a t e c i n e m a t i c t e c h n i q u e s ( 7 - 1 1 ) . Particularly w h e n a play e m p h a s i z e s a sense of c o n f i n e m e n t , e i t h e r physical or psyc h o l o g i c a l — a n d a g r e a t m a n y of t h e m d o — t h e best a d a p t o r s r e s p e c t t h e spirit of t h e original by finding filmic equivalents.

7-8. The Dead (U.S.A., 1987), with Donal McCann and Anjelica Huston, directed by John Huston. The c i n e m a can be a m e d i u m of subtle nuances as well as epic events. This faithful adaptation of J a m e s Joyce's famous short story is comprised almost exclusively of "little things"—a touch of the hand, a wistful sidelong glance, a private m o m e n t of bitterness. On stage, such fragile materials would be considered hopelessly undramatic. But because the c a m e r a can move into the intimate ranges, such details can be woven into a poetic fabric of sheerest delicacy. (Vestron Pictures)

7-9. Tootsie (U.S.A., 1982), with Dustin Hoffman, directed by Sydney Pollack. In the live theater, actors can't m a k e elaborate cost u m e changes unless they have enough time—usually between act breaks. In movies, c o s t u m e and m a k e u p changes can take as long as necessary, since lengthy preparations can be edited out. Much of the c o m e d y of Tootsie revolves around a difficult and obsessively perfectionist actor n a m e d Michael Dorsey (Hoffman). Eventually no one wants to hire him because he's "such a pain in the ass to work with." Undaunted, he disguises himself as a middleaged actress n a m e d Dorothy Michaels and lands him/herself a juicy role on a daytime soap opera. Dorothy turns out to be a hugely popular TV personality, much beloved by the public and by her associates at work. Some of the funniest episodes in the movie deal with the quick changes Michael must m a k e whenever s o m e o n e unexpectedly shows up at his door while he's out of character. In actuality, Hoffman was required to sit for hours as m a k e u p specialists and costumers helped him to b e c o m e Dorothy. In addition to being one of the greatest films to explore the world of actors, Tootsie is also a classic of the feminist cinema. In the process of playing Dorothy, Michael discovers his best self, as he grudgingly a d m i t s late in the film: "I was a much better m a n when 1 was a w o m a n than w h e n I was a m a n . " Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels is one of Hoffman's most brilliant creations. Sydney Pollack claims he hated directing the movie because Hoffman "was such a pain in the ass to work with." (Columbia Pictures)

In t h e mid-1950s, t h e F r e n c h p e r i o d i c a l Cahiers du Cinema p o p u l a r i z e d t h e auteur t h e o r y , a view t h a t stressed t h e d o m i n a n c e of t h e d i r e c t o r in film art (see C h a p t e r 1 1 , " T h e o r y " ) . A c c o r d i n g t o this view, w h o e v e r c o n t r o l s t h e m i s e e n s c e n e — t h e m e d i u m o f t h e story—is t h e t r u e " a u t h o r " o f a m o v i e . T h e o t h e r c o l l a b o r a t o r s (writers, c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r , a c t o r s , editor, etc.) a r e m e r e l y t h e d i r e c t o r ' s t e c h n i c a l assistants. N o d o u b t t h e a u t e u r critics e x a g g e r a t e d t h e prim a c y o f t h e d i r e c t o r , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n A m e r i c a , w h e r e m a n y film d i r e c t o r s w e r e a t t h e m e r c y o f t h e H o l l y w o o d s t u d i o system, w h i c h t e n d e d t o e m p h a s i z e g r o u p work r a t h e r t h a n individual expression a n d publicized stars r a t h e r than directors. N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e a u t e u r critics w e r e essentially c o r r e c t a b o u t t h e m o s t artistically significant films. Even today, t h e m o s t a d m i r e d movies—from w h a t e v e r c o u n t r y — t e n d t o be d i r e c t o r ' s films. To refer to a movie as " g o o d e x c e p t for its d i r e c t i o n " is as cont r a d i c t o r y as r e f e r r i n g to a play as " g o o d e x c e p t for its script." Of c o u r s e , we c a n 305

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enjoy a poorly directed movie or a badly written play, b u t what we enjoy are usually t h e s e c o n d a r y aspects of t h e a r t — a t o u c h i n g p e r f o r m a n c e , a striking set. G o o d acting a n d stylish c a m e r a w o r k have often r e d e e m e d rubbish material. S u c h enjoyable e l e m e n t s generally r e p r e s e n t t h e individual t r i u m p h of a gifted interpretive artist (actor, set designer, c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r , etc.) over the mediocrity of t h e d o m i n a n t artist—the d i r e c t o r in film, the writer in t h e live theater. On t h e stage, t h e n , t h e d i r e c t o r is essentially an interpretive artist. If we see a r o t t e n p r o d u c t i o n of King Lear, we d o n ' t dismiss S h a k e s p e a r e ' s play, b u t only a specific i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h e play. T r u e , t h e stage d i r e c t o r creates certain p a t t e r n s of m o v e m e n t , a p p r o p r i a t e gestures for actors, a n d spatial relationships, b u t all of t h e s e visual e l e m e n t s take s e c o n d place to t h e l a n g u a g e of t h e script, which is c r e a t e d by t h e playwright. T h e theatrical d i r e c t o r ' s relation to t h e text is

7-10. The Little Foxes (U.S.A., 1941), with Dan Duryea and Carl Benton Reid, directed by William Wyler. Andre Bazin believed that in adapting a play a filmmaker's greatest challenge is translating the artificial space of the theater into the realistic space of the cinema without losing the essence of the original. For example, in Lillian Hellman's stage play, this scene between a devious father and his creepy son takes place in the s a m e living room set as most of the other scenes. Wyler's presentation is at once more effective and realistic. The two characters are shaving in the family b a t h r o o m while they haltingly probe the possibility of swindling a relative. Neither wants to reveal himself; neither looks at the other directly. Instead, they address each other by looking in their respective mirrors, their backs turned. "There is a hundred times m o r e cinema, and of a better kind, in a shot in The Little Foxes," Bazin claimed, "than in all the outdoor dolly shots, natural locations, exotic geography, and flipsides of sets with which the screen so far has tried to m a k e up for stagey origins."

307

similar to t h e stage actor's relation to a role: He or she can a d d m u c h to what's written d o w n , b u t what is c o n t r i b u t e d is usually s e c o n d a r y to t h e text itself. T h e stage d i r e c t o r is a k i n d of go-between for t h e a u t h o r a n d t h e p r o d u c t i o n staff. T h a t is, t h e d i r e c t o r is r e s p o n s i b l e for t h e g e n e r a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h e script a n d usually defines t h e limits for t h e o t h e r i n t e r p r e t i v e artists: actors, d e s i g n e r s , t e c h n i c i a n s . T h e d i r e c t o r m u s t see to it t h a t all t h e p r o d u c tion e l e m e n t s a r e h a r m o n i z e d a n d s u b o r d i n a t e d t o a n overall i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . His o r h e r i n f l u e n c e i s s t r o n g e r d u r i n g rehearsals t h a n i n t h e actual p e r f o r m a n c e . O n c e t h e c u r t a i n o p e n s b e f o r e a n a u d i e n c e , t h e d i r e c t o r i s powerless t o c o n t r o l w h a t t h e n takes place. O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , s c r e e n d i r e c t o r s have a g o o d d e a l m o r e c o n t r o l over t h e f i n a l p r o d u c t . T h e y t o o d o m i n a t e t h e p r e p r o d u c t i o n activities, b u t u n l i k e t h e stage director, t h e filmmaker c o n t r o l s virtually every a s p e c t of t h e finished work as well. T h e d e g r e e of precision a film d i r e c t o r can achieve is impossible o n t h e stage, for movie d i r e c t o r s can r e p h o t o g r a p h p e o p l e a n d objects u n t i l they get exactly w h a t they want. As we have s e e n , films c o m m u n i cate primarily t h r o u g h m o v i n g images, a n d it's t h e d i r e c t o r w h o d e t e r m i n e s m o s t of t h e visual e l e m e n t s : t h e c h o i c e of shots, angles, l i g h t i n g effects, filters, optical effects, framing, c o m p o s i t i o n , c a m e r a m o v e m e n t s , a n d e d i t i n g . Furt h e r m o r e , t h e d i r e c t o r usually a u t h o r i z e s t h e c o s t u m e a n d set d e s i g n s a n d t h e c h o i c e of locales. T h e differences i n c o n t r o l a n d precision c a n best b e illustrated p e r h a p s b y e x a m i n i n g t h e i r h a n d l i n g o f t h e mise e n s c e n e . Stage d i r e c t o r s a r e m u c h m o r e restricted: T h e y m u s t work within o n e s t a t i o n a r y set p e r s c e n e . All patt e r n s of m o v e m e n t take p l a c e within this given a r e a . Because this is a t h r e e d i m e n s i o n a l space, they have t h e a d v a n t a g e of d e p t h as well as b r e a d t h to w o r k with. T h r o u g h t h e use o f p l a t f o r m s , they can also exploit h e i g h t o n t h e stage. T h e t h e a t r i c a l d i r e c t o r m u s t use c e r t a i n space c o n v e n t i o n s t o assure m a x i m u m clarity. T h u s , with a p r o s c e n i u m stage, t h e a u d i e n c e p r e t e n d s it's p e e p i n g into a r o o m w h e r e o n e wall has b e e n r e m o v e d . Naturally, no f u r n i t u r e is p l a c e d against this "wall," n o r do players t u r n t h e i r backs against it for very l o n g periods or t h e i r d i a l o g u e w o u l d n ' t be a u d i b l e . If a t h r u s t stage is u s e d , t h e a u d i e n c e s u r r o u n d s t h e a c t i n g a r e a o n t h r e e sides, forcing t h e p e r f o r m e r s t o r o t a t e t h e i r m o v e m e n t s a n d s p e e c h e s so t h a t no side is n e g l e c t e d . T h i s c o n v e n t i o n is necessary t o e n s u r e m a x i m u m clarity. In t h e c i n e m a , t h e d i r e c t o r converts t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l space i n t o a two-dimensional i m a g e of space. Even with deep-focus p h o t o g r a p h y , " d e p t h " is n o t literal ( 7 - 1 2 ) . But t h e flat i m a g e has c e r t a i n a d v a n t a g e s . A c a m e r a can be p l a c e d virtually a n y w h e r e , so t h e film d i r e c t o r is n o t c o n f i n e d to a s t a t i o n a r y set with a given n u m b e r of "walls." T h e eye-level l o n g s h o t m o r e or less c o r r e s p o n d s to t h e theatrical p r o s c e n i u m a r c h . But in movies, t h e close-up also constitutes a given s p a c e — i n effect a c i n e m a t i c " r o o m l e t " with its own "walls" ( t h e f r a m e ) . E a c h shot, t h e n , r e p r e s e n t s a n e w given space with different ( a n d temp o r a r y ) confines. F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e m o v a b l e c a m e r a p e r m i t s t h e d i r e c t o r t o r e a r r a n g e t h e "walls" m a n y times for m a x i m u m expressiveness with no sacrifice of clarity. T h u s , in film, a c h a r a c t e r can e n t e r t h e f r a m e from below, from

7-11 a. A Streetcar Named Desire (U.S.A., 1951), with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, directed by Elia Kazan. (Twentieth

Century-Fox)

There are no hard and fast rules about "opening up" a stage play w h e n adapting it as a movie. S o m e t i m e s it's better not to e x p a n d the original, as Elia Kazan discovered w h e n he tried to convert this famous Tennessee Williams drama into a screenplay. Originally Kazan intended to dramatize the events leading up to the introduction of the protagonist, the fragile Blanche Dubois (Leigh). On stage, these sordid events are merely discussed, not shown. But Kazan's e x p e r i m e n t didn't work. More was lost than gained, as he admitted: "The force of the play had c o m e precisely from its compression, from the fact that Blanche was trapped in these two small rooms where she couldn't escape if she wanted to." Kazan decided to shoot the story almost exclusively in those two c r a m p e d rooms. The movie was a huge success, winning m a n y awards. On the other h a n d . Driving Miss Daisy was a success in part because the play was o p e n e d up. On stage, Alfred Uhry's period d r a m a was a simple three-character sketch, with virtually no sets, and the actors p a n t o m i m i n g their props. The screenplay (also written by Uhry) o p e n e d up the action, adding new characters and providing realistic sets for the scenes. Critics almost universally preferred the movie to the stage play because the screen version is more richly textured, more rooted in a particular time and place. The movie won a Best Picture Oscar, as well as an Acade m y Award for Uhry's screenplay.

7-lib. Driving Miss Daisy (U.S.A., 1989), with Dan Aykroyd, Jessica Tandy, and Morgan Freeman; directed by Bruce Beresfard. (Warner Bros.) 308

7-12. Ikiru, also k n o w n as To Live (Japan, 1952), directed by Akira Kurosawa. On the stage, the size of objects is constant; in movies, it's relative. In this deep-focus shot, for example, the materials of three depth planes are precisely aligned to produce an ironic contrast. The protagonist (Takashi Shimura, whose picture a d o r n s the Buddhist altar) was a lowly bureaucrat who did s o m e t h i n g really significant with his existence only in the final m o n t h s of his life, w h e n he realized he was dying of cancer. In the flashback portions of the movie, his battered hat is a symbol of his humility and dogged perseverance. His funeral wake (pictured) is a rigid, dismal affair, a t t e n d e d primarily by the d e c e a s e d ' s fellow bureaucrats. The placement of the camera in this photo implicitly contrasts the unpretentious hat with the chagrined faces of the office workers with the formal photograph and altar. Because each viewer in the live theater has a unique perspective on the stage, spatial techniques like this are rare. In movies, they are c o m m o n , for the c a m e r a d e t e r m i n e s one perspective for all. (Brandon Films)

above, from any side, a n d from any a n g l e . By dollying or c r a n i n g , a c a m e r a c a n also take us " i n t o " a set, p e r m i t t i n g objects to pass by us. Because t h e stage d i r e c t o r ' s mise en s c e n e is c o n f i n e d to t h e u n i t of t h e s c e n e , a c e r t a i n a m o u n t of c o m p r o m i s e is inevitable. He or s h e m u s t c o m b i n e a m a x i m u m of expressiveness with a m a x i m u m of clarity—not always an easy task. Film d i r e c t o r s have to m a k e fewer c o m p r o m i s e s of this sort, for they have a g r e a t e r n u m b e r of "scene-lets" at t h e i r disposal: Most movies average well over a t h o u s a n d shots. T h e film d i r e c t o r can give us a half d o z e n shots of t h e s a m e o b j e c t — s o m e e m p h a s i z i n g clarity, o t h e r s e m p h a s i z i n g expressiveness. S o m e shots c a n show a c h a r a c t e r with his or h e r back to t h e c a m e r a : T h e s o u n d t r a c k g u a r a n t e e s t h e clarity of t h e c h a r a c t e r ' s s p e e c h ( 2 - 1 3 b ) . A c h a r a c ter can b e p h o t o g r a p h e d t h r o u g h a n o b s t r u c t i o n o f s o m e k i n d — a p a n e o f glass or t h e d e n s e foliage of a forest. Because t h e c i n e m a t i c s h o t n e e d n o t be lengthy, clarity can be s u s p e n d e d t e m p o r a r i l y in favor of expressiveness. 309

310

I) r 11 m n

T h e s e generalizations are postulated on the a s s u m p t i o n that the stage is essentially realistic in its h a n d l i n g of time a n d space, whereas t h e c i n e m a is basically formalistic. But the differences are relative, of course. In fact, an a r g u m e n t could be m a d e t h a t S t r i n d b e r g ' s expressionistic plays—The Dream Play, for examp l e — a r e m o r e f r a g m e n t e d a n d subjective t h a n a realistic movie like Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr., which emphasizes t h e continuity of time a n d space. In a d a p t i n g a stage play, t h e filmmaker is c o n f r o n t e d with t h o u s a n d s of choices, petty a n d m o n u m e n t a l . T h e s e can alter t h e original in ways n e v e r d r e a m e d of by t h e original d r a m a t i s t . Even with classic texts, a f i l m m a k e r can e m p h a s i z e t h e psychological, t h e social, o r t h e epic, b e c a u s e t h e s e a r e determ i n e d in large m e a s u r e by t h e way space is used in movies. A f i l m m a k e r can stage t h e action on s t u d i o sets or in a n a t u r a l setting, b u t t h e c h o i c e will significantly alter t h e m e a n i n g of t h e work.

7-13. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (U.S.A., 1996), with Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Baz Lurhmann. Sometimes a movie can be too cinematic—blasting away in six directions at once. Director Lurhmann wanted to m a k e a truly youthful film—passionate, fast, and impulsive, like the teenage protagonists of Shakespeare's play. Speech after speech was slashed away to m a k e room for violent displays like this. The setting was switched to a contemporary Latin Americ a n e s q u e city. Two of America's most gifted young actors were brought on to play the leads, DiCaprio a n d the elegant Claire Danes. But their speeches are reduced to bare bones, and often the actors are leaping, running, or climbing so strenuously that even w h a t ' s left is an indistinguishable vocal blur. It's like Shakespeare on steroids. Sometimes it's better to just let Shakespeare's language c o m m a n d the spotlight. (Twentieth century-Fox)

D

t*a m a

311

In t h e best movies a n d stage p r o d u c t i o n s , settings a r e n o t m e r e l y backd r o p s for t h e a c t i o n , b u t symbolic e x t e n s i o n s o f t h e t h e m e a n d characterization. Settings can convey an i m m e n s e a m o u n t of i n f o r m a t i o n , especially in t h e c i n e m a . Stage sets are generally less d e t a i l e d t h a n film sets, for t h e a u d i e n c e is too distant from t h e stage to perceive m a n y small details. T h e d i r e c t o r in this m e d i u m m u s t generally work with fewer sets, usually o n e p e r act. Inevitably, t h e stage d i r e c t o r m u s t settle for less precision a n d variety t h a n s c r e e n d i r e c t o r s , w h o have virtually no limits of this kind, especially w h e n s h o o t i n g on location. Spatial c o n s i d e r a t i o n s force stage d i r e c t o r s t o m a k e c o n s t a n t c o m p r o mises with t h e i r sets. If they use too m u c h of t h e u p s t a g e (rear) area, t h e audie n c e w o n ' t be a b l e to see or h e a r well. If they use h i g h p l a t f o r m s to give an a c t o r d o m i n a n c e , they t h e n have t h e p r o b l e m o f g e t t i n g t h e a c t o r b a c k o n t h e m a i n level quickly a n d plausibly. Stage d i r e c t o r s m u s t also use a constant-sized space: Settings a r e usually c o n f i n e d to "long shots." If they w a n t to suggest a vast field, for e x a m p l e , they m u s t r e s o r t to certain c o n v e n t i o n s . T h e y can stage an a c t i o n in s u c h a way as to suggest t h a t t h e playing a r e a is only a small c o r n e r of t h e field. Or they c a n stylize t h e set with t h e aid of a cyclorama, which gives t h e illusion of a vast sky in t h e b a c k g r o u n d . If they want to suggest a c o n f i n e d a r e a , they c a n do so only for s h o r t p e r i o d s , for an a u d i e n c e grows restless w h e n actors a r e restricted to a small playing a r e a for l o n g p e r i o d s . Stage d i r e c t o r s can use vertical, h o r i z o n t a l , a n d o b l i q u e lines in a set to suggest psychological states; b u t t h e s e lines (or colors o r objects) c a n n o t b e c u t o u t from scenes w h e r e they a r e i n a p p r o p r i a t e , as they c o u l d be in a movie. T h e film d i r e c t o r has far m o r e f r e e d o m i n t h e u s e o f settings. Most important, of course, the cinema permits a director to shoot outdoors—an e n o r m o u s a d v a n t a g e . T h e m a j o r works o f a n u m b e r o f g r e a t d i r e c t o r s w o u l d have b e e n i m p o s s i b l e w i t h o u t this f r e e d o m : Griffith, E i s e n s t e i n , K e a t o n , Kurosawa, A n t o n i o n i , F o r d , De Sica, Renoir. Epic films w o u l d be virtually i m p o s s i b l e w i t h o u t t h e e x t r e m e l o n g shots o f vast e x p a n s e s o f l a n d . O t h e r g e n r e s , particularly t h o s e r e q u i r i n g a d e g r e e o f stylization o r d e l i b e r a t e u n r e ality, h a v e b e e n associated with t h e s t u d i o : musicals, h o r r o r films, a n d m a n y p e r i o d films. S u c h g e n r e s often stress a k i n d of m a g i c a l , sealed-off u n i v e r s e , a n d i m a g e s t a k e n from real life t e n d to clash with t h e s e essentially claustrop h o b i c qualities. However, t h e s e a r e m e r e l y g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s . T h e r e a r e s o m e w e s t e r n s t h a t have b e e n s h o t mostly i n d o o r s a n d s o m e musicals t h a t have b e e n p h o t o g r a p h e d in actual locations. If a location is extravagantly beautiful, t h e r e ' s no r e a s o n why a r o m a n t i c musical c a n ' t e x p l o i t such a setting. T h e Paris locations of Minnelli's Gigi a r e a g o o d e x a m p l e of h o w actual locations c a n e n h a n c e a stylized g e n r e ( 6 - 3 2 ) . In s h o r t , it all d e p e n d s on h o w it's d o n e . As t h e F r e n c h historian G e o r g e s S a d o u l p o i n t e d o u t , " T h e d i c h o t o m y b e t w e e n t h e s t u d i o a n d t h e street, t h e antithesis b e t w e e n L u m i e r e a n d Melies, a r e false o p p o s i t i o n s w h e n o n e a t t e m p t s t o find i n t h e m t h e s o l u t i o n t o t h e p r o b l e m s o f realism a n d

7 - 1 4 a . Publicity p h o t o of Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (U.S.A., 1993), directed by Leslie Harris (standing left, with clipboard). The appeal of actual locations, of course, is that they're a lot cheaper than sets that have to be constructed. Location shooting also gives a movie an irrefutable authenticity: It's the real thing. For low-budget neophyte filmmakers like Harris, these twin virtues m a k e actual locations irresistible. (Miramax Films)

7-14b. The Keep (U.S.A., 1983), with Scott Glenn, directed by Michael Mann. The main appeal of studio sets is usually their lack of reality, best illustrated by such fantasy films as The Keep. Studio sets like these allow the filmmaker to create a magical, ethereal world, o n e w h e r e even the drifting fog does what the director tells it to do. In short, the studio is a control freak's paradise, where nothing is left to chance. (Paramount Pictures)

Drama

3

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art. Films c o m p l e t e l y o u t s i d e t i m e have b e e n shot o u t of d o o r s ; c o m p l e t e l y realistic films have b e e n shot in t h e studio." In set d e s i g n , as in o t h e r aspects of movies, t h e t e r m s realism a n d formalism a r e simply c o n v e n i e n t critical labels. Most sets tend toward o n e style or t h e other, b u t few a r e p u r e e x a m p l e s . F o r i n s t a n c e , in The Birth of a Nation, Griffith p r o u d l y p r o c l a i m s that a n u m b e r of his scenes a r e historical facsimiles of real places a n d events—like F o r d ' s T h e a t e r w h e r e L i n c o l n was assassinated, o r t h e signing o f t h e E m a n c i p a t i o n P r o c l a m a t i o n . T h e s e scenes w e r e m o d e l e d o n actual p h o t o g r a p h s of t h e p e r i o d . Yet Griffith's facsimiles w e r e c r e a t e d in a stud i o . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , real locations can b e e x p l o i t e d t o c r e a t e a s o m e w h a t artificial—formalistic—effect. F o r e x a m p l e , in s h o o t i n g Ten Days That Shook the World, Eisenstein h a d t h e W i n t e r Palace at his disposal for several m o n t h s . Yet t h e images i n t h e movie a r e b a r o q u e : richly t e x t u r e d a n d formally c o m p l e x . A l t h o u g h Eisenstein c h o s e actual locations for t h e i r authenticity, they a r e n e v e r j u s t p i c t u r e s q u e b a c k g r o u n d s to t h e action. E a c h s h o t is carefully d e s i g n e d . E a c h exploits t h e i n h e r e n t form of t h e setting, c o n t r i b u t i n g significantly to t h e aesthetic i m p a c t of t h e s e q u e n c e . Realistic or formalistic? Realism is n e v e r a s i m p l e t e r m . In movies, it's used to d e s c r i b e a variety of styles. S o m e critics use modifiers like "poetic realism," " d o c u m e n t a r y realism," a n d "studio realism" to m a k e finer distinctions. T h e n a t u r e of b e a u t y in realism is also a c o m p l e x issue. Beauty of form is an i m p o r t a n t c o m p o n e n t of poetic realism. T h e early works of Fellini, such as The Nights ofCabiria, a r e h a n d somely m o u n t e d a n d slightly stylized to a p p e a l to o u r visual sense. Similarly, J o h n F o r d s h o t n i n e of his w e s t e r n s in M o n u m e n t Valley, U t a h , b e c a u s e of its s p e c t a c u l a r beauty. A m o n g o t h e r t h i n g s , F o r d was a g r e a t l a n d s c a p e artist. Many realistic films s h o t in t h e s t u d i o a r e also slightly stylized to e x p l o i t this " i n c i d e n t a l " visual beauty. In o t h e r realistic films, b e a u t y — i n this c o n v e n t i o n a l sense—plays a lesser role. A major c r i t e r i o n of aesthetic value in a movie like P o n t e c o r v o ' s Battle of Algiers is its d e l i b e r a t e r o u g h n e s s . T h e story deals with t h e s t r u g g l e for liberation of t h e Algerian p e o p l e from t h e i r F r e n c h colonial m a s t e r s . It was s h o t entirely in t h e streets a n d h o u s e s of Algiers. T h e setting is rarely e x p l o i t e d for its aesthetic beauty. In fact, P o n t e c o r v o ' s lack of f o r m a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , his refusal to yield an i n c h in m a t t e r s of "style," is his p r i n c i p a l virtue as an artist. T h e m o r a l p o w e r o f t h e materials takes p r e c e d e n c e over formal c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . T h e setting's b e a u t y is in its t r u t h , fn films such as t h e s e , style ( t h a t is, distortion) is r e g a r d e d as prettification, a form of insincerity, a n d t h e r e f o r e ugly. Even o u t r i g h t ugliness can be a c r i t e r i o n of aesthetic beauty. T h e g a u d y sets a n d d e c o r in Touch of Evil arc o r g a n i c to t h e n a t u r e of t h e materials. T o t h e u n s y m p a t h e t i c , t h e cult o f realism verges o n m a d n e s s . But t h e r e ' s a m e t h o d to it. F o r e x a m p l e , J o h n H u s t o n s h o t The African Queen in t h e tropics b e c a u s e he knew he w o u l d n ' t have to w o r r y a b o u t a t h o u s a n d little details, s u c h as h o w to get t h e a c t o r s to sweat a lot or h o w to get t h e i r c l o t h e s to stick to t h e i r b o d i e s . P e r h a p s t h e m o s t famous, if n o t i n f a m o u s , e x a m p l e of this passion for a u t h e n t i c i t y is Erich von S t r o h e i m , w h o d e t e s t e d s t u d i o sets. In Greed, he insisted t h a t his actors actually live in a seedy b o a r d i n g h o u s e to get

7-15. P r o d u c t i o n p h o t o of The Sands of Iwo Jima (U.S.A., 1949), with John Wayne (front and center), directed by Allan Dwan. Because a studio allows a director more control and precision than an actual location, s o m e filmmakers use the so-called process s h o t in scenes requiring exterior locations. This technique involves the rear projection of a moving image on a translucent screen. Live actors and a portion of a set are placed in front of this screen, and the entire action and background are then photographed by a camera that is synchronized with the rear projector. The finished product (b) looks reasonably authentic, although backgrounds tend to look suspiciously washed out and flat in comparison to foreground elements.

(Republic Pictures)

7-16. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Germany, 1919), with Conrad Veidt and Werner Krauss (wearing hat); production design by Hermann Warm, Walter Rohrig, and Walter Reimann; directed by Robert Wiene. The German Expressionist m o v e m e n t of the post-World War 1 era emphasized visual design above all. The m o v e m e n t ' s main contributions were in the live theater, the graphic arts, and the cinema. It is a style steeped in anxiety and terror. The sets are deliberately artificial: flat, obviously painted, with no a t t e m p t to preserve the conventions of perspective and scale. They are m e a n t to represent a state of mind, not a place. The lighting and set designs are carefully coordinated, with one shading off into the other. Horizontal and vertical lines are avoided in favor of diagonals, which produce a sense of instability and visual anguish. The jerky, machinelike acting is m e a n t to convey the essence of depersonalization. (Museum of Modern Art)

the "feel" of the film's low-life selling. I le forced t h e m to wear shabby c l o t h i n g a n d d e p r i v e d t h e m of all t h e a m e n i t i e s t h a t t h e i r c h a r a c t e r s w o u l d lack in actuality. P e r h a p s b e c a u s e of t h e severe h a r d s h i p s his cast a n d crew suffered, t h e movie's a u t h e n t i c i t y is i n c o n t e s t a b l e . Spectacle films usually r e q u i r e t h e m o s t e l a b o r a t e sets. Historical r e c o n s t r u c t i o n s o f a n c i e n t R o m e o r Egypt a r e e n o r m o u s l y expensive t o build, a n d they c a n m a k e or b r e a k a film in this g e n r e b e c a u s e spectacle is t h e major a t t r a c t i o n . P e r h a p s t h e m o s t f a m o u s sets of this type a r e f o u n d in t h e Babylonian story of Griffith's Intolerance. T h e u n p r e c e d e n t e d m o n u m e n t a l i t y of t h e s e sets is w h a t skyrocketed Griffith's b u d g e t to an all-time high of $1.9 m i l l i o n — a n a s t r o n o m i c a l figure by 1916 s t a n d a r d s , hefty even by today's. T h e b a n q u e t s c e n e for Belsha/./.ar's feast a l o n e cost a r e p u t e d $250,000 a n d e m p l o y e d over 4,000 extras. T h e story r e q u i r e d t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n of a walled city so vast t h a t for years it r e m a i n e d a s t a n d i n g m o n u m e n t — c a l l e d "Griffith's Folly" by cynics in 3 l 5

7-17a.

Siegfried (Germany, 1924), with Paul Richter, directed by Fritz Lang.

The heyday of the German Expressionist m o v e m e n t was the 1920s, but its influence has been e n o r m o u s , especially in the United States, as can be seen in these two photos. The great stage director Max Reinhardt was a seminal influence. In his theory of design, Reinhardt advocated an ideal of "landscapes imbued with soul." The declared aim of most German Expressionists was to eliminate nature for a state of absolute abstraction. Fritz Lang's stylized set was created in a studio, w h e r e a s Burton's is out of doors, but both emphasize twisted tree trunks, tortured branches shorn of greenery, drifting fog, desiccated leaves, and a hallucinatory a t m o s p h e r e of dread and angst.See Lotte Eisner, The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), a copiously illustrated analysis. 7-17b. Sleepy Hollow (U.S.A., 1999), with Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, and Marc Pickering; directed by Tim Burton. (Paramount pictures and Mandalay Pictures)

7-18. Barton Fink (U.S.A., 1991), with John Turturro and Jon Polito, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. A m o n g the m a n y pleasures of this period picture are the stunning Art Deco sets and furnisffings. Art Deco is a style that dominated the Americas and Europe from about 1925 to roughly 1945. Streamlined, spare of adornment, elegantly curved, or playfully zig-zagging, Art Deco was considered the cutting edge of modern design. In fact, in the United States, the style was often referred to as "Moderne" in the 1 930s, the heyday of Art Deco. It was sleek and sophisticated, often m a k i n g use of such modern industrial materials as plastic (sometimes called Bakelite or Lucite in the 1930s), a l u m i n u m , chrome.'and glass-block. Lighting sources were frequently indirect, emanating from wall sconces or streaming dramatically through translucent walls of glass that curved exuberantly in defiance of right-angled sobriety. Stylized statuary, usually slender female nudes or powerfully muscled seminude males, epitomized the glamour of being very avant-garde and incredibly cool. (Twentieth century-Fox)

t h e t r a d e . T h e set e x t e n d e d nearly t h r e e - q u a r t e r s of a mile in l e n g t h . T h e c o u r t was f l a n k e d by e n o r m o u s c o l o n n a d e s s u p p o r t i n g pillars fifty feet h i g h , e a c h o n e s u p p o r t i n g a h u g e statue o f a n e r e c t e l e p h a n t g o d . B e h i n d t h e c o u r t w e r e towers a n d r a m p a r t s , t h e i r tops p l a n t e d with cascading flowers a n d exotic trees r e p r e s e n t i n g Belshazzar's famous h a n g i n g g a r d e n s . T h e o u t e r walls o f t h e city were 200 feet h i g h , yet w e r e wide e n o u g h for two c h a r i o t s to r o a r past e a c h o t h e r o n t h e r o a d t h a t p e r c h e d o n t o p . Astonishingly, this a n d o t h e r sets i n t h e film w e r e built w i t h o u t a r c h i t e c t u r a l p l a n s . As Griffith k e p t m a k i n g a d d i t i o n a l suggestions, his a r t d i r e c t o r , F r a n k " H u c k " W o r t m a n , a n d his crew k e p t e x p a n d i n g t h e set from day to day. Expressionistic sets are usually c r e a t e d in t h e studio, w h e r e t h e c o n t a m i n a t i o n s of reality c a n n o t p e n e t r a t e . Magic, n o t realism, is t h e aim. Melies is t h e prototypical e x a m p l e . He was called "the J u l e s V e r n e of films" b e c a u s e his feats of prestidigitation a s t o n i s h e d t h e public. T h e first in a l o n g line of special effects wizards, Mclics usually p a i n t e d his sets, often with trompe-l'oeil perspectives to 317

7-19. Miniature set for Letter From an Unknown Woman (U.S.A., 1948), directed by Max Ophtils, Period films often benefit from the slight sense of unreality of studio sets. If a set is n e e d e d only for establishing purposes, miniatures are often constructed. These scaled-down sets can be as tall as six or eight feet, depending on the a m o u n t of detail and realism n e e d e d . Note the two studio floodlights behind the houses of this miniature and the flat, two-dimensional a p a r t m e n t dwellings on the horizon in the upper right. (Universal Pictures)

suggest d e p t h . He c o m b i n e d live actors with fanciful settings to p r o d u c e a d r e a m l i k e a t m o s p h e r e . He used a n i m a t i o n , m i n i a t u r e s , a n d a wide r a n g e of optical tricks, c h a r m i n g his a u d i e n c e s with vistas of i m a g i n a r y realms (4^1). Expressionistic sets a p p e a l to o u r sense of t h e m a r v e l o u s . T h e work of D a n i l o D o n a t i , Italy's best k n o w n designer, is a g o o d e x a m p l e . T h e e x t r a v a g a n t artificiality of t h e sets a n d c o s t u m e s in such movies as Fellini's Satyricon, Amarcord, a n d Casanova a r e p u r e p r o d u c t s of t h e i m a g i n a t i o n — F e l l i n i ' s as well as D o n a t i ' s . T h e d i r e c t o r often p r o v i d e d t h e d e s i g n e r with p r e l i m i n a r y sketches, a n d t h e two artists w o r k e d closely in d e t e r m i n i n g t h e visual d e s i g n of e a c h film. T h e i r c o n j u r a t i o n s c a n be m o v i n g , as well as witty a n d beautiful. F o r e x a m p l e , Amarcord is a stylized r e m i n i s c e n c e of Fellini's y o u t h in his h o m e t o w n of Rimini. ( T h e title, from t h e R o m a g n a n dialect, m e a n s "I r e m e m b e r . " ) But Fellini s h o t t h e movie i n a s t u d i o , n o t o n location. H e w a n t e d t o c a p t u r e feelings, n o t facts. T h r o u g h o u t t h e film, t h e t o w n s p e o p l e feel stifled by t h e provincial isolation o f t h e i r c o m m u n i t y . T h e y are f i l l e d with loneliness a n d l o n g for s o m e t h i n g e x t r a o r d i n a r y t o t r a n s f o r m t h e i r lives. W h e n they h e a r t h a t a m a m m o t h l u x u r y liner, t h e Rex, will pass t h r o u g h t h e o c e a n waters a few miles b e y o n d t h e town's s h o r e , m a n y of t h e s e wistful souls d e c i d e to row o u t to sea to g r e e t t h e ship. H u n d r e d s o f t h e m c r o w d i n t o every available b o a t a n d s t r e a m away from t h e b e a c h like fervent pilgrims on a quest. T h e n they wait. E v e n i n g settles, b r i n g i n g with it a thick fog. Still they wait. In o n e b o a t , Gradisca, t h e c h a r m i n g town sexpot, confides to s o m e s y m p a t h e t i c friends h e r dissatisfaction with h e r life. At thirty, she is still single, childless, a n d unfulfilled. H e r " h e a r t overflows with love," yet she has n e v e r f o u n d a "truly d e d i c a t e d m a n . " In t h e d a r k silence, s h e weeps softly over t h e p r o s p e c t of a b a r r e n future. M i d n i g h t passes, a n d still t h e t o w n s p e o p l e wait faithfully. T h e n , w h e n m o s t of t h e c h a r a c t e r s a r e s l e e p i n g in t h e i r fragile b o a t s , t h e y ' r e a w a k e n e d by a boy's s h o u t : "It's h e r e ! " Like a grace-

7-20a. Grand Hotel (U.S.A., 1932), with Greta Garbo, art direction by Cedric Gibbons, gowns by Adrian, directed by Edmund Goulding. MGM, "the Tiffany of studios," prided itself on its opulent and glossy production values. It was the most prosperous studio in Hollywood in the 1930s, boasting twenty-three sound stages a n d 11 7 acres of standing backlots, which included a small lake, a harbor, a park, a jungle, and m a n y streets of houses in different periods and styles. The "Metro look" was largely d e t e r m i n e d by Gibbons, w h o was the studio's art director from 1924 to 1956. (MGM)

7-20b. Little Caesar (U.S.A., 1930), with Edward G. Robinson (standing), art direction by Anton Grot, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Grot was art director at Warner Brothers from 1927 to 1948. Unlike his counterparts Gibbons, Dreier, and Polglase, however, Grot often took an active hand in designing the studio's major films. His earliest work is s o m e w h a t in the German expressionist tradition, but he soon b e c a m e one of the most versatile of artists. He designed films like the gritty and realistic Little Caesar, as well as the Busby Berkeley musical Gold Diggers of 1933, with its surrealistic, dreamlike sets. (Warner Bros.)

7-20c. How Green Was My Valley (U.S.A., 1941), art direction by Nathan Juran and Richard Day, directed by John Ford. The art directors at Twentieth Century-Fox specialized in realistic sets, like this turn-ofthe-century Welsh mining village, which covered eighty-six acres and was built in a California valley. Elaborate sets like these were not dismantled after production, for with suitable alterations they could be converted into other locations. For example, two years after Ford's film, this set was transformed into a Nazioccupied Norwegian village for The Moon Is Down.

(Twentieth Century-Fox)

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ful a p p a r i t i o n , t h e l i g h t - b e d e c k e d Rex glides past in all its regal g r a n d e u r ( 7 - 2 1 ) . N i n o Rota's r a p t u r o u s music swells to a c r e s c e n d o as t h e t o w n s p e o p l e wave a n d s h o u t joyously. Gradisca's eyes s t r e a m with tears of e x h i l a r a t i o n a n d y e a r n i n g while a b l i n d a c c o r d i o n i s t asks excitedly, "Tell me what it looks like!" T h e n , as mysteriously as it a p p e a r e d , t h e p h a n t o m s h i p is swallowed by t h e fog a n d slips silently off i n t o t h e n i g h t . D u r i n g t h e g o l d e n age of t h e Hollywood s t u d i o system, e a c h of t h e m a j o r s h a d a characteristic visual style, d e t e r m i n e d in large p a r t by t h e designers a t e a c h s t u d i o . S o m e w e r e called p r o d u c t i o n d e s i g n e r s , o t h e r s art d i r e c t o r s , a few simply set d e s i g n e r s . T h e i r j o b was to d e t e r m i n e t h e "look" of e a c h film, a n d they w o r k e d closely with p r o d u c e r s a n d d i r e c t o r s t o e n s u r e t h a t t h e sets, d e c o r , c o s t u m e s , a n d p h o t o g r a p h i c style w e r e c o o r d i n a t e d to p r o d u c e a unified effect. F o r e x a m p l e , M G M specialized i n glamour, luxury, a n d o p u l e n t p r o d u c tion values, a n d t h e i r art director, C e d r i c G i b b o n s , virtually s t a m p e d e a c h film with " t h e M e t r o look" ( 7 - 2 0 a ) . Because all t h e studios a t t e m p t e d to diversify t h e i r p r o d u c t s as m u c h as possible, however, t h e i r art d i r e c t o r s h a d to be versatile. F o r i n s t a n c e , RKO's Van Nest Polglase s u p e r v i s e d t h e design of such diverse movies as King Kong, Top Hat, The Informer, a n d Citizen Kane. Param o u n t ' s H a n s D r e i e r b e g a n his c a r e e r a t G e r m a n y ' s famous UFA s t u d i o . H e was usually at his best c r e a t i n g a sense of mystery a n d r o m a n t i c fantasy, as in t h e

7-21. Amarcord (Italy, 1974), arf direction and costumes by Danilo Donati, cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno. directed by Federico Fetlini. For Fellini, who began his career as a realist, the studio b e c a m e a place to create magic—along with his fellow magicians Donati and Rotunno. "To me and other directors like me," Fellini said, "the cinema is a way of interpreting and remaking reality through fantasy and imagination. The use of the studio is an indispensable part of what we are doing." (New world Pictures)

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films of J o s e f v o n S t e r n b e r g . D r e i e r also d e s i g n e d t h e s u p e r b Art D e c o sets for L u b i t s c h ' s Trouble in Paradise. W a r n e r B r o t h e r s ' a r t director, A n t o n Grot, was a specialist in grubby, realistic locales ( 7 - 2 0 b ) . T h e s t u d i o c l a i m e d t h a t its films w e r e " T o r n from Today's H e a d l i n e s ! " to q u o t e from its publicity b l u r b s . W a r n e r B r o t h e r s favored topical g e n r e s with an e m p h a s i s on working-class life: gangster f i l m s , u r b a n m e l o d r a m a s , a n d p r o l e t a r i a n musicals. Like his c o u n t e r p a r t s at o t h e r studios, however, G r o t c o u l d work in a variety of styles a n d g e n r e s . F o r e x a m p l e , he d e s i g n e d t h e e n c h a n t i n g sets for A Midsummer Night's Dream. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , t h e r e ' s n o t m u c h else i n this movie that's e n c h a n t i n g . C e r t a i n types of locales w e r e in such c o n s t a n t d e m a n d t h a t t h e studios c o n s t r u c t e d p e r m a n e n t back-lot sets, which w e r e u s e d in film after film: a t u r n of-the-century street, a E u r o p e a n s q u a r e , an u r b a n slum, a n d so o n . Of c o u r s e , t h e s e w e r e suitably a l t e r e d with new f u r n i s h i n g s to m a k e t h e m look different each t i m e they w e r e u s e d . T h e s t u d i o with t h e largest n u m b e r of b a c k lots was MGM, a l t h o u g h W a r n e r , P a r a m o u n t , a n d T w e n t i e t h C e n t u r y - F o x also b o a s t e d a c o n s i d e r a b l e n u m b e r of t h e m . N o t all s t a n d i n g sets w e r e l o c a t e d close to t h e studio. It was c h e a p e r to c o n s t r u c t s o m e o u t s i d e t h e e n v i r o n s of Los A n g e l e s w h e r e real estate values w e r e n ' t at a p r e m i u m . If a movie called for a h u g e real-

7-22. 77ie Thirteenth Floor (U.S.A., 1999), special effects coordinator John S. Baker, visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer, directed by Josef Rusnak. Stage sets owe relatively little to the computer, but in the c i n e m a , and especially in sci-fi films, c o m p u t e r g e n e r a t e d sets are b e c o m i n g m o r e and more common. This movie explores the o m i n o u s possibility of c o m p u t e r - s i m u l a t e d universes, w h e r e people only believe they are real. (Columbia

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istic set—like t h e Welsh m i n i n g village for How Green Was My Valley—it was often built miles away from t h e s t u d i o ( 7 - 2 0 c ) . Similarly, m o s t of t h e studios o w n e d w e s t e r n frontier towns, r a n c h e s , a n d m i d w e s t e r n type farms, which w e r e l o c a t e d o u t s i d e t h e Los A n g e l e s a r e a . W h a t m a t t e r s m o s t in a setting is h o w it e m b o d i e s t h e e s s e n c e of t h e story m a t e r i a l . As t h e British d e s i g n e r R o b e r t Mallet-Stevens n o t e d , "A film set, in o r d e r to be a g o o d set, m u s t act. W h e t h e r realistic or expressionistic, m o d e r n o r a n c i e n t , i t m u s t play its p a r t . T h e set m u s t p r e s e n t t h e c h a r a c t e r b e f o r e he has e v e n a p p e a r e d . It m u s t i n d i c a t e his social position, his tastes, his habits, his lifestyle, his personality. T h e sets m u s t be intimately l i n k e d with t h e action." Settings can also be u s e d to suggest a sense of p r o g r e s s i o n in t h e characters. F o r e x a m p l e , in Fellini's La Strada, o n e of his m o s t realistic movies, t h e p r o t a g o n i s t a n d his s i m p l e m i n d e d assistant a r e s h o w n a s reasonably happy, traveling t o g e t h e r from town to town with t h e i r tacky theatrical act. After he a b a n d o n s her, h e h e a d s for t h e m o u n t a i n s . Gradually, t h e l a n d s c a p e c h a n g e s : T r e e s a r e s t r i p p e d o f t h e i r foliage, snow a n d dirty slush cover t h e g r o u n d , t h e sky is a m u r k y gray. T h e c h a n g i n g setting is a g a u g e of t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s spiritual c o n d i t i o n : N a t u r e itself seems to grieve after t h e helpless assistant is left alone to die. On t h e stage, a s e t t i n g is generally a d m i r e d with t h e o p e n i n g of t h e c u r t a i n , a n d t h e n f o r g o t t e n a s t h e actors take over t h e c e n t e r o f interest. I n t h e movies, a d i r e c t o r c a n k e e p c u t t i n g back to t h e setting to r e m i n d t h e a u d i e n c e of its significance. A film c a n f r a g m e n t a set i n t o a series of shots, n o w e m p h a sizing o n e a s p e c t o f a r o o m , later a n o t h e r , d e p e n d i n g o n t h e n e e d s o f t h e d i r e c t o r in finding a p p r o p r i a t e visual a n a l o g u e s for t h e m a t i c a n d psychological ideas. In Losey's The Servant, a stairway is used as a m a j o r t h e m a t i c symbol. T h e film deals with a s e r v a n t ' s g r a d u a l c o n t r o l over his m a s t e r ( 1 1 - 9 ) . Losey uses t h e stairway as a k i n d of psychological battlefield w h e r e t h e relative positions of

7-23. Dodes'ka-den (Japan, 1970), art direction by Yoshiro and Shinobu Muraki, directed by Akira Kurosawa. As critic Donald Richie has noted, American filmmakers are s u p r e m e storytellers; Europeans excel in the treatment of t h e m e and character; and the J a p a n e s e are unsurpassed in the creation of atmosphere. Most of the action of this movie takes place in a junkyard, an appropriate analogue for the h u m a n refuse and outcasts w h o inhabit it. The junkyard is s o m e t i m e s matter-offactly realistic, as in this scene. At other times, depending on what character Kurosawa focuses on, the s a m e setting can be sinister and terrifying, or strikingly beautiful, like an enchanted landscape, ganusnims)

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t h e two m e n on t h e stairs give t h e a u d i e n c e a sense of w h o ' s w i n n i n g t h e battle. Losey also uses t h e rails on t h e stairway to suggest p r i s o n bars: T h e m a s t e r of t h e h o u s e is often p h o t o g r a p h e d from b e h i n d t h e s e bars. Even t h e f u r n i t u r e of a r o o m can be e x p l o i t e d for psychological a n d t h e m a t i c r e a s o n s . In o n e of his classes, Eisenstein o n c e discussed at l e n g t h t h e significance of a table for a set. T h e class exercise c e n t e r e d on an a d a p t a t i o n of Balzac's novel Pere Goriot. T h e s c e n e is set at a d i n n e r table t h a t Balzac d e s c r i b e d as circular. B u t Eisenstein convincingly a r g u e d t h a t a r o u n d table is w r o n g cinematically, for it implies equality, with e a c h p e r s o n l i n k e d in a circle. To convey t h e stratified class s t r u c t u r e of t h e b o a r d i n g h o u s e , Eisenstein suggested t h e use of a l o n g r e c t a n g u l a r table, with t h e h a u g h t y mistress of t h e h o u s e a t t h e h e a d , t h e favored t e n a n t s close t o h e r sides, a n d t h e lowly G o r i o t a l o n e , n e a r t h e b a s e o f t h e table. S u c h a t t e n t i o n to detail often distinguishes a m a s t e r of film from a m e r e t e c h n i c i a n , w h o settles for only a g e n e r a l effect. T h e setting of a m o v i e — far m o r e t h a n any play—can even take over as t h e c e n t r a l i n t e r e s t ( 7 - 2 4 ) . In

7-24. Blade Runner (U.S.A., 1982), with Harrison Ford, directed by Ridley Scott. A hybrid of science fiction, film noir, detective thriller, bounty-hunter western, and love story, Blade Runner is also eclectic in its visual style, a collaborative effort that includes the contributions of art director David Snyder, production designer Lawrence G. Paul, special visual effects designer Douglas Trumbull, and cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth. The story is set in Los Angeles in the year 2019. Nature has gone berserk, deluging the teeming city with an almost constant downpour. Smoke, fog, and steam add to the fumigated congestion. It is a city of dreadful night, punctuated by neon signs in Day-Glo colors, cheap Orientalized billboards, and a profusion of advertising come-ons. Hunks of long-discarded machinery litter the landscape. The soundtrack throbs with eerie sounds, echoes, pounding pistons, and the noises of flying vehicles shuttling through the poisonous atmosphere. It is a city choking On its O w n technology.

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have h i m a n d s h e c o n t r i v e s a series of r u s e s to l u r e h i m away from his f i a n c e e . H e p b u r n ' s c h a r a c t e r i s e x c i t i n g a n d e x a s p e r a t i n g — b u t fun. G r a n t i s f o r c e d t o s h e d his stodgy d e m e a n o r m e r e l y t o k e e p u p with h e r d e s p e r a t e antics. S h e p r o v e s t o b e his salvation, a n d t h e y a r e u n i t e d a t t h e f i l m ' s c o n c l u s i o n . Clearly, t h e y a r e m a d e for e a c h o t h e r . In s h o r t , t h e c h a r m of Hawks's screwball c o m e d y lies precisely in w h a t critic R o b i n W o o d d e s c r i b e d a s " t h e l u r e o f irresponsibility." T h e middle-class

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work ethic is p o r t r a y e d as joyless—as d r y as t h e fossil b o n e s t h a t G r a n t a n d his fiancee have d e v o t e d t h e i r lives to. Is t h e film d e v o i d of ideology? Certainly n o t . D u r i n g the 1930s, t h e r e were m a n y A m e r i c a n movies t h a t d e a l t with t h e style a n d g l a m o u r o f t h e rich, w h o w e r e often p o r t r a y e d as e c c e n t r i c a n d g o o d - h e a r t e d . Hawks's film is very m u c h i n this t r a d i t i o n . T h e h a r d s h i p s o f t h e D e p r e s s i o n a r e n o t even a l l u d e d t o in t h e movie, a n d t h e film's settings—expensive n i g h t c l u b s , swanky a p a r t m e n t s , gracious c o u n t r y h o m e s — a r e precisely what a u d i e n c e s o f t h a t e r a craved i n o r d e r t o forget a b o u t t h e D e p r e s s i o n . But t h e movie is n o t overtly political. T h e e m p h a s i s is on t h e c h a r i s m a o f t h e l e a d i n g players a n d t h e m a d c a p a d v e n t u r e s they p u r s u e . T h e l u x u r i o u s lifestyle o f t h e h e r o i n e e n h a n c e s h e r a p p e a l , a n d t h e fact t h a t she d o e s n ' t have a j o b ( n o r s e e m to w a n t o n e ) is simply n o t relevant. Bringing Up Baby is a c o m edy a n d a love story, n o t a social c r i t i q u e . T h e i d e o l o g i e s o u t l i n e d i n this c h a p t e r are c o n c e p t u a l m o d e l s t h a t can be helpful in u n d e r s t a n d i n g w h a t a given movie s e e m s to be saying (consciously or unconsciously) in t e r m s of values. But they are m e r e l y f o r m u l a s a n d cliches unless they s e e m r e l e v a n t to o u r e m o t i o n a l experience of a movie. In analyzing a film's ideology, we n e e d to d e t e r m i n e its d e g r e e of explicitness. If t h e values a r e implicit, h o w do we differentiate t h e g o o d guys from t h e b a d ? D o t h e stars e m b o d y ideological values o r w e r e t h e actors cast precisely b e c a u s e they d o n ' t convey a r e a d y - m a d e set of m o r a l assumptions? A r e t h e c i n e m a t i c t e c h n i q u e s ideologically w e i g h t e d — t h e mise e n scene, t h e editing, c o s t u m e s , decor, dialects? Is t h e p r o t a g o n i s t a s p o k e s p e r s o n for t h e filmmaker? H o w do you know? Is t h e p r o t a g o n i s t primarily a leftist, centrist, or rightist? W h a t cultural values a r e e m b o d i e d in t h e film? W h a t role—if a n y — d o e s religion play? Are t h e r e any e t h n i c values p r e s e n t ? W h a t a b o u t sexual politics? H o w a r e w o m e n p o r t r a y e d ? Any gay characters? Does t h e movie a d h e r e to t h e g e n r e ' s usual c o n v e n t i o n s or are they subverted? W h a t is t h e film's t o n e ? Does t h e t o n e r e i n f o r c e o r m o c k t h e values o f t h e characters?

FURTHER READING

Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility (Boston: South E n d Press, 1984). Covers film, theater, a n d publishing, with historical survey.

BRONSKI, MICHAEL,

Cineaste, edited by Gary Crowdus, is America's leading magazine on the art a n d politics of movies,/featuring well-written articles on a wide variety of ideologies, mostly from a leftist perspective. Alice Doesn't (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984). Feminist essays, with a strong theoretical emphasis.

D E LAURENTIS, TERESA,

H., ed., Film and Politics in the Third World (NewYork: Praeger, 1988). Collection of scholarly essays.

DOWNING,JOHN D .

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From Reverence to Rape, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). T h e t r e a t m e n t of w o m e n in movies—a historical survey. A well-written feminist history.

HASKELL, MOLLY,

Ideology and the Image (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981). Social r e p r e s e n t a t i o n in movies a n d o t h e r media. Perceptive a n d copiously illustrated.

N I C H O L S , BILL,

POLAX, DANA

B., The Political Language of Film and the Avant-Garde (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI

Research Press, 1985). Volume in the Studies in Cinema series (no. 30). Q l ART, BARBARA K O K N I G ,

Women Directors: 'The Emergence of a New Cinema (NewYork: Praeger,

1988). Covers w o m e n directors in the Americas, E u r o p e , and the Third World. Rl'SSO, V l T O , The Celluloid Closet (NewYork: H a r p e r & Row, 1981). Homosexuality in the movies; a well-written survey. a n d D O U G L A S KF.LLNER, Camera Politico: The Politics and Ideology of Contemporary Hollywood Film (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988).

R Y A N , M I C I IAEL,

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Overview T h e o r e t i c a l q u e s t i o n : W h a t i s t h e e s s e n t i a l n a t u r e o f c i n e m a ? T h e t h r e e focus p o i n t s : t h e w o r k of art, t h e artist, t h e a u d i e n c e . T h e o r i e s of r e a l i s m : a m i r r o r of t h e real w o r l d . T h e self-effacing artist. T h e v a l u e s o f discovery, intimacy, a n d e m o t i o n a l r i c h n e s s . T h e a v o i d a n c e of artifice. Italian n e o r e a l i s m . Formalist film t h e o r i e s : i m a g i n a r y w o r l d s . A p l a c e o f m a g i c . T h e p l e a s u r e p r i n c i p l e . T h e film artist: t h e a u t e u r t h e o r y . T h e F r e n c h nouvelle vague. Eclectic a n d s y n t h e t i c t h e o r i e s . T h e A m e r i c a n t r a d i t i o n of p r a c t i c a l criticism. Eclecticism: W h a t e v e r w o r k s i s right. S t r u c t u r a l i s m a n d s e m i o t i c t h e o r i e s . T h e c o m p l e x i t y of film: codified d a t a in a d e e p s t r u c t u r e . Q u a n t i f y i n g t h e ineffable. T h e matic polarities and the nonlinear methodology of structuralism. Historiography: the a s s u m p t i o n s a n d b i a s e s o f w r i t i n g histories. Aesthetic a p p r o a c h e s . T e c h n o l o g i c a l a p p r o a c h e s . E c o n o m i c histories. Social histories.

Most t h e o r i e s of film a r e c o n c e r n e d with t h e wider c o n t e x t of t h e m e d i u m — i t s social, political, a n d p h i l o s o p h i c a l implications. T h e o r i s t s have also e x p l o r e d t h e essential n a t u r e of c i n e m a — w h a t differentiates it from o t h e r art forms,

11-1. The Maltese Falcon (U.S.A., 1941), with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet; directed by John Huston. Theory is the h a n d m a i d e n of art, not vice versa. Movies can be explored from a variety of theoretical perspectives, each with its own set of values and parameters of inquiry. Your theoretical orientation will d e p e n d in large part on what you're looking for. For example, The Maltese Falcon can be placed in at least seven theoretical contexts: (1) An auteur critic would regard it as a typical Huston film. (2) It could also be analyzed as a Bogart vehicle, exploiting and expanding the star's iconography. (3) An industry historian would place the picture within its commercial c o n t e x t ^ a s a superior example of the Warner Brothers product of this era. (4) A genre theorist would be interested in it as a classic example of the detective thriller, and one of the first of the so-called deadly female pictures that were so popular in the United States during World War II. (5) A theorist interested in the relationship of movies to literature might focus on Huston's script, based on Dashiell Hammet's celebrated novel of the s a m e title. (6) A stylistic critic would analyze the picture within the context of film noir, an important style in the American cinema of the 1940s. (7) A Marxist might interpret the movie as a parable on greed, an implicit cond e m n a t i o n of the vices of capitalism. Each theoretical grid charts a different cinematic topography. (Warner Bros.)

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w h a t its basic p r o p e r t i e s a r e . F o r t h e m o s t p a r t , film t h e o r y has b e e n d o m i n a t e d by E u r o p e a n s , especially t h e F r e n c h a n d British. T h e tradition of criticism in t h e U n i t e d States has b e e n less t h e o r e t i c a l a n d m o r e p r a g m a t i c in its t h r u s t . In r e c e n t times, however, A m e r i c a n movie critics have shown a g r e a t e r i n t e r e s t in t h e t h e o r e t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h e m e d i u m , t h o u g h t h e bias in favor of practical criticism r e m a i n s s t r o n g . A t h e o r y is an intellectual grid, a set of aesthetic g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s , n o t e t e r n a l verities. S o m e t h e o r i e s a r e m o r e useful t h a n o t h e r s in u n d e r s t a n d i n g specific movies. No single t h e o r y can e x p l a i n t h e m all. For this r e a s o n , r e c e n t d e v e l o p m e n t s in t h e field have stressed an eclectic a p p r o a c h , synthesizing a variety of theoretical strategies ( 1 1 - 1 ) . Traditionally, theorists have focused t h e i r a t t e n t i o n o n t h r e e areas o f inquiry: (1) t h e work of art, (2) t h e artist, a n d (3) t h e a u d i e n c e . T h o s e w h o have stressed t h e work of a r t have e x p l o r e d t h e i n n e r d y n a m i c s of m o v i e s — h o w they c o m m u n i c a t e , t h e l a n g u a g e systems they use. Film theorists can be divided i n t o realists a n d f o r m a l i s t s , j u s t as filmmakers t e n d to favor o n e style or t h e o t h e r . T h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t artist-oriented a p p r o a c h i s t h e a u t e u r t h e o r y , t h e belief t h a t a movie is best u n d e r s t o o d by focusing on its artistic creator, presumably t h e director. S t r u c t u r a l i s m a n d semiology w e r e t h e d o m i n a n t t h e o r i e s after 1970, a n d b o t h t e n d to e m p h a s i z e a synthetic a p p r o a c h , c o m b i n i n g s u c h ' c o n c e r n s as g e n r e , a u t h o r s h i p , style, i c o n o g r a p h y , social c o n t e x t , a n d ideology. In t h e a r e a of h i s t o r i o g r a p h y — t h e t h e o r e t i c a l a s s u m p t i o n s u n d e r l y i n g film hist o r y — r e c e n t t r e n d s have also e m p h a s i z e d a n i n t e g r a t e d a p p r o a c h .

Most t h e o r i e s of realism e m p h a s i z e t h e d o c u m e n t a r y aspects of film art. Movies a r e e v a l u a t e d primarily in t e r m s of h o w accurately they reflect external reality. T h e c a m e r a is r e g a r d e d as essentially a r e c o r d i n g m e c h a n i s m r a t h e r t h a n an expressive m e d i u m in its own right. T h e subject m a t t e r is p a r a m o u n t in t h e c i n e m a of realism, t e c h n i q u e its discreetly t r a n s p a r e n t h a n d m a i d e n . As we have seen in t h e case of A n d r e Bazin ( C h a p t e r 4 ) , m o s t t h e o r i e s of realism have a m o r a l a n d ethical bias a n d a r e often r o o t e d in t h e values of Islamic, Christian, a n d Marxist h u m a n i s m . Realist theorists like Cesare Zavattini a n d Siegfried K r a c a u e r believe t h a t c i n e m a is essentially an e x t e n s i o n of p h o t o g r a p h y a n d shares with it a p r o n o u n c e d affinity for r e c o r d i n g t h e visible world a r o u n d us. Unlike o t h e r art forms, p h o t o g r a p h y a n d c i n e m a t e n d t o leave t h e raw materials o f reality m o r e or less intact. T h e r e is a m i n i m u m of i n t e r f e r e n c e a n d m a n i p u l a t i o n on t h e artist's part, for/film is n o t an art of i n v e n t i o n so m u c h as an art of " b e i n g there." R o b e r t o Rossellini's Open City ( 1 1 - 2 ) i n a u g u r a t e d t h e Italian n e o r e a l i s t m o v e m e n t , o n e o f t h e t r i u m p h s o f t h e c i n e m a o f realism. T h e movie deals with t h e c o l l a b o r a t i o n of Catholics a n d C o m m u n i s t s in fighting t h e Nazi o c c u p a t i o n of R o m e shortly b e f o r e t h e A m e r i c a n a r m y l i b e r a t e d t h e city. Technically, t h e

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film is r a t h e r c r u d e . G o o d quality film stock was impossible to o b t a i n , so Rossellini h a d to use inferior newsreel stock. Nevertheless, t h e t e c h n i c a l flaws a n d t h e r e s u l t a n t grainy i m a g e s convey a sense of j o u r n a l i s t i c i m m e d i a c y a n d authenticity. (Many neorealists b e g a n t h e i r c a r e e r s as j o u r n a l i s t s , a n d Rossellini himself b e g a n as a d o c u m e n t a r i s t . ) Virtually all t h e movie was s h o t at actual locations, a n d t h e r e a r e m a n y e x t e r i o r shots i n which n o a d d i t i o n a l lights w e r e used. W i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f t h e p r i n c i p a l players, t h e actors w e r e n o n p r o f e s sionals. T h e s t r u c t u r e of t h e movie is e p i s o d i c — a series of vignettes s h o w i n g t h e r e a c t i o n s o f R o m a n citizens t o t h e G e r m a n o c c u p a t i o n .

11-2. Open City (Italy, 1945), with Marcello Pagliero, directed by Roberto Rossellini. The torture scenes of this famous Resistance film were so realistic that they were cut out of s o m e prints. In this episode, a Nazi S.S. officer applies a blowtorch to the body of a Communist partisan in an effort to force him to reveal the n a m e s of his c o m r a d e s in the underground. The crucifixion allusion is deliberate, even though the character is a nonbeliever. It parallels the death of a n o t h e r partisan, a Catholic priest, who is executed by a military firing squad. The French critic Andre Bazin was a champion of Italian neorealism, applauding its moral fervor even more than its technical restraint. "Is not neorealism primarily a kind of h u m a n i s m , and only secondarily a style of filmmaking?" he asked. (Patne contemporary Films)

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Open 67/)' is s a t u r a t e d with a sense of u n r e l e n t i n g honesty. "This is t h e way things a r e , " Rossellini is said to have d e c l a r e d after t h e film p r e m i e r e d . T h e s t a t e m e n t b e c a m e t h e m o t t o o f t h e n e o r e a l i s t m o v e m e n t . T h e fdm p r o v i d e d a rallying p o i n t for an e n t i r e g e n e r a t i o n of Italian filmmakers w h o s e creative talents h a d b e e n stifled by t h e repressive Fascist r e g i m e of t h e p r e w a r era. W i t h i n t h e n e x t few years, t h e r e followed an a s t o n i s h i n g series of movies t h a t catap u l t e d t h e Italians i n t o t h e front r a n k s o f t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l c i n e m a . T h e m a j o r f i l m m a k e r s o f t h e m o v e m e n t w e r e Rossellini, L u c h i n o Visconti, a n d Vittorio De Sica a n d his f r e q u e n t scriptwriter C e s a r e Zavattini. T h e r e are c o n s i d e r a b l e differences b e t w e e n these m e n a n d even b e t w e e n t h e i r early a n d later works. F u r t h e r m o r e , n e o r e a l i s m i m p l i e d a style as well as an ideology'. Rossellini e m p h a s i z e d t h e ethical d i m e n s i o n : "For m e , N e o realism is above all a m o r a l p o s i t i o n from which to look at t h e world. It t h e n b e c a m e an aesthetic position, b u t at t h e b e g i n n i n g it was m o r a l . " De Sica, Zavattini, a n d Visconti also stressed morality as t h e t o u c h s t o n e of n e o r e a l i s m . T h e m a i n ideological characteristics o f t h e m o v e m e n t can b e s u m m a rized as follows: (1) a n e w d e m o c r a t i c spirit, with e m p h a s i s on t h e value of ordin a r y p e o p l e such as l a b o r e r s , p e a s a n t s , a n d factory workers; (2) a c o m p a s s i o n ate p o i n t of view a n d a refusal to m a k e facile m o r a l j u d g m e n t s ; (3) a p r e o c c u p a t i o n with Italy's Fascist past a n d its a f t e r m a t h of w a r t i m e devastation, poverty, u n e m p l o y m e n t , p r o s t i t u t i o n , a n d t h e black m a r k e t ; (4) a b l e n d i n g of Christian a n d Marxist h u m a n i s m ; a n d (5) a n e m p h a s i s o n e m o t i o n s r a t h e r t h a n abstract ideas. T h e stylistic features of n e o r e a l i s m i n c l u d e (1) an a v o i d a n c e of neatly p l o t t e d stories in favor of loose, episodic s t r u c t u r e s t h a t evolve organically from t h e situations of t h e c h a r a c t e r s ; (2) a d o c u m e n t a r y visual style; (3) t h e use of actual locations—usually e x t e r i o r s — r a t h e r t h a n s t u d i o sets; (4) t h e use of n o n professional actors, s o m e t i m e s even for p r i n c i p a l roles; (5) an a v o i d a n c e of lite r a r y d i a l o g u e in favor of conversational s p e e c h , i n c l u d i n g dialects; a n d (6) an a v o i d a n c e of artifice in t h e editing, c a m e r a w o r k , a n d l i g h t i n g in favor of a simple "styleless" style. Realists have s h o w n a p e r s i s t e n t hostility toward plot a n d neatly struct u r e d stories. F o r e x a m p l e , C e s a r e Zavattini d e f i n e d t h e o r d i n a r y a n d t h e everyday as t h e m a i n business of t h e c i n e m a . S p e c t a c u l a r events a n d e x t r a o r d i n a r y c h a r a c t e r s s h o u l d be a v o i d e d at all costs, he believed. He c l a i m e d t h a t his ideal movie w o u l d consist of ninety consecutive m i n u t e s from a p e r s o n ' s actual life. T h e r e s h o u l d b e n o b a r r i e r s b e t w e e n reality a n d t h e spectator, n o directorial virtuosity to " d e f o r m " t h e integrity of life as it is. T h e artistry s h o u l d be invisible, the materials " f o u n d " r a t h e r t h a n s h a p e d o r m a n i p u l a t e d . Suspicious of c o n v e n t i o n a l p l o t s t r u c t u r e s , Zavattini dismissed t h e m as d e a d f o r m u l a s . He insisted on t h e d r a m a t i c s u p e r i o r i t y of life as it is e x p e r i e n c e d b y o r d i n a r y p e o p l e . F i l m m a k e r s s h o u l d b e c o n c e r n e d with t h e "excavat i o n " of reality. I n s t e a d of plots, they s h o u l d e m p h a s i z e facts a n d all t h e i r " e c h o e s a n d r e v e r b e r a t i o n s . " A c c o r d i n g to Zavattini, filmmaking is n o t a mat-

11-3. De Sica, Renoir, and Ray were world-class cinematic realists, and these three movies are a m o n g their m o s t celebrated masterpieces.

ll-3a. Umberto D (Italy, 1952), with Carlo Battisti (right), directed by Vittorio De Sica. Scripted by Cesare Zavattini, Umberto D concentrates on "small subjects," ordinary people, and the details of everyday life. The story explores the drab existence of a retired pensioner who's being forced out of his m o d e s t a p a r t m e n t because he can't afford the rent hike. His only comfort is his adoring pet dog w h o a c c o m p a n i e s him in his desperate a t t e m p t s to c o m e up with the necessary cash, (Museum of Modern Art)

continued



11 - 3 b . The Rules of the Game (France, 1939), directed by Jean Renoir. "Everyone has his reasons," Jean Renoir once observed of his characters. In this wise and profound c o m e d y of m a n n e r s , Renoir refuses to divide people glibly into good guys and bad, insisting that most people have logical reasons for behaving as they do. S o m e t i m e s good people c o m m i t horrible deeds—like this enraged working-class h u s b a n d who blasts away with a shotgun at the m a n he thinks has seduced his wife. Incongruously, he does so in the middle of a luxurious salon filled with (mostly) innocent bystanders, (janus rams)

~C H e o r y

46 1

11 - 3 c . Pother Panchali (The Song of the Road, India, 1955), with Kanu Bannerjee, directed by Satyajit Ray. Like his idols De Sica and Renoir, Ray was a humanist, exploring a wide range of emotions. Pather Panchali is a study of grinding poverty in a remote Indian village. It packs a powerful emotional punch. Terrible catastrophes s e e m to strike out of nowhere, almost crushing their victims and plunging t h e m into unspeakable grief. Surviving this squalor and desperation is h u m a n hope, flickering like a candle against the wind, refusing to be extinguished. (AudioBrandon Film)

Why should we watch such depressing stories? Hedonists might well complain that movies like these bring you down, that they're painful to watch, a kind of cinema for masochists. The answer is complex. Such movies often are painful to watch. But they're also insightful, dramatizing what it's like to be up against the wall, to be really desperate. They show us the toughness and resilience of our brothers and sisters. At their best, movies like these can be profoundly spiritual—offering us privileged glimpses into the nobility of the human spirit.

462

~t k c

i'

i'

y

ter of " i n v e n t i n g fables" t h a t a r e s u p e r i m p o s e d over t h e factual m a t e r i a l s of life, b u t of s e a r c h i n g u n r e l e n t i n g l y to u n c o v e r t h e d r a m a t i c i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h e s e facts. T h e p u r p o s e of t h e c i n e m a is to e x p l o r e t h e "dailincss" of events, t o reveal c e r t a i n details t h a t h a d always b e e n t h e r e b u t h a d n e v e r b e e n noticed. In his b o o k Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality, t h e Germ a n - t r a i n e d t h e o r i s t Siegfried K r a c a u e r also attacks p l o t as a n a t u r a l e n e m y of realism. A c c o r d i n g to Kracauer, t h e c i n e m a is c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a n u m b e r of n a t u r a l affinities. First of all, it t e n d s to favor " u n s t a g e d reality"—that is, t h e m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e subject m a t t e r gives t h e illusion o f h a v i n g b e e n f o u n d r a t h e r t h a n a r r a n g e d . S e c o n d , film t e n d s t o stress t h e r a n d o m , t h e f o r t u i t o u s . Krac a u e r is f o n d of t h e p h r a s e " n a t u r e c a u g h t in t h e act," m e a n i n g t h a t film is best s u i t e d t o r e c o r d i n g events a n d objects t h a t m i g h t b e o v e r l o o k e d i n life. T h e realistic c i n e m a is a c i n e m a of " f o u n d m o m e n t s " a n d p o i g n a n t revelations of h u m a n i t y . A t h i r d affinity t h a t K r a c a u e r n o t e s is i n d e t e r m i n a c y . T h e best movies suggest e n d l e s s n e s s . T h e y imply a slice of life, a f r a g m e n t of a l a r g e r reality r a t h e r t h a n a self-contained w h o l e . By refusing to tie up all t h e loose e n d s a t t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e m o v i e , t h e f i l m m a k e r c a n suggest t h e limitlessness of reality. / K r a c a u e r is hostile t o w a r d movies t h a t d e m o n s t r a t e a "formative t e n d ency." Historical films a n d fantasies he r e g a r d s as t e n d i n g to m o v e away from t h e basic c o n c e r n s o f t h e m e d i u m . H e also dismisses m o s t literary a n d d r a m a t i c a d a p t a t i o n s b e c a u s e he believes that l i t e r a t u r e is ultimately c o n c e r n e d with " i n t e r i o r realities," w h a t p e o p l e are t h i n k i n g a n d feeling, w h e r e a s movies e x p l o r e surfaces, e x t e r i o r reality. He r e g a r d s all stylistic self-consciousness as " u n c i n e m a t i c , " b e c a u s e i n s t e a d of e m p h a s i z i n g t h e subject matter, t h e filmm a k e r calls a t t e n t i o n to how it is p r e s e n t e d . T h e o r i e s of film realism are n o t very helpful in u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e c o m plexities of formalist m o v i e s — t h e works of a Sergei Eisenstein or a Steven Spielb e r g . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , they d o h e l p t o explain t h e raw e m o t i o n a l p o w e r o f s u c h m a s t e r p i e c e s of realism as Bicycle Thief, w h i c h was d i r e c t e d by Vittorio De Sica a n d s c r i p t e d primarily by Zavattini ( 6 - 3 3 ) . Bicycle Thief was a c t e d entirely by n o n p r o f e s s i o n a l s a n d consists of simple events in t h e life of a l a b o r e r (played by L a m b e r t o M a g g i o r a n i , w h o was an a c t u a l factory w o r k e r ) . In 1948, w h e n t h e film was r e l e a s e d , nearly a q u a r t e r of t h e w o r k force in Italy was u n e m p l o y e d . At t h e o p e n i n g of t h e movie, we a r e i n t r o d u c e d to t h e p r o t a g o n i s t , a family m a n with a wife a n d two c h i l d r e n to s u p p o r t . He h a s b e e n o u t of w o r k for two years. Finally, a b i l l b o a r d - p o s t i n g j o b o p e n s u p , b u t to a c c e p t it, he must have a bicycle. To g e t his b i k e o u t of h o c k , h e a n d his wife p a w n t h e i r s h e e t s a n d b e d d i n g . O n his first day o n t h e j o b , t h e bicycle is s t o l e n . T h e rest of t h e movie deals with his a t t e m p t s to r e c o v e r t h e b i k e . T h e m a n ' s s e a r c h grows increasingly m o r e frantic a s h e crisscrosses t h e city with his idolizing son, B r u n o . After a series of false leads, t h e two finally

463

11-4. The Tree of the Wooden Clogs (Italy, 1978), directed by Ermanno Olmi. As a m o v e m e n t , Italian neorealism was pretty much over by the mid-1950s, but as a style and an attitude toward reality, its influence spread to m a n y other countries. A n u m b e r of present-day Italian filmmakers have continued in the tradition of neorealism. For example, Olmi's movies are steeped in the values of Christian h u m a n i s m . In this film, which was shot on authentic locations with nonprofessional players, he celebrates the everyday lives of several peasant families around 1900. For them, God is a living presence—a source of guidance, hope, and solace. Their faith is childlike, trusting, like that of St. Francis of Assisi. In a series of documentarylike vignettes, Olmi unfolds their gentle d r a m a , extolling their patience, their tough stoicism, their dignity. Above all, he exalts the sacredness of the h u m a n spirit. For Olmi, they are the salt of the earth. (New Yorker Films)

track d o w n o n e o f t h e thieves, b u t t h e p r o t a g o n i s t i s o u t w i t t e d b y h i m a n d h u m i l i a t e d in f r o n t of his boy. R e a l i z i n g t h a t he will lose his l i v e l i h o o d w i t h o u t a b i k e , t h e d e s p e r a t e m a n — a f t e r s e n d i n g his son a w a y — s n e a k s off a n d a t t e m p t s to steal o n e himself. But t h e boy o b s e r v e s f r o m a d i s t a n c e as his f a t h e r p e d d l e s frantically t o e s c a p e a p u r s u i n g m o b . H e i s c a u g h t a n d a g a i n h u m i l i a t e d in f r o n t of a c r o w d — w h i c h i n c l u d e s his i n c r e d u l o u s s o n . W i t h t h e b i t t e r n e s s o f b e t r a y e d i n n o c e n c e , t h e y o u n g s t e r s u d d e n l y realizes t h a t his d a d i s n o t t h e h e r o i c figure h e h a d f o r m e r l y t h o u g h t , b u t a n o r d i n a r y m a n w h o i n d e s p e r a t i o n y i e l d e d t o a d e g r a d i n g t e m p t a t i o n . Like m o s t n e o r e a l i s t films,

464

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11-5. Closely Watched Trains (Czechoslovakia, 1966), with Vaclav Neckar and Jitka Bendovd, directed by Jiri Menzel. O n e of the hallmarks of realism is intimacy—a sense of discovering a small private m o m e n t that might easily have been overlooked because it's not a big deaf These little nothings—a stolen kiss, a quick sidelong glance, an incongruous detail—are what m a k e realism a celebration of the poetry of everyday life, (Museum of Modem Art)

Bicycle Thief d o e s n ' t offer a slick s o l u t i o n . T h e r e are no m i r a c u l o u s i n t e r v e n tions i n t h e final reel. T h e c o n c l u d i n g s c e n e shows t h e boy w a l k i n g a l o n g s i d e his f a t h e r i n a n a n o n y m o u s crowd, b o t h o f t h e m c h o k i n g with s h a m e a n d w e e p i n g silently. A l m o s t i m p e r c e p t i b l y , t h e boy's h a n d g r o p e s for his f a t h e r ' s as they walk h o m e w a r d , t h e i r only c o m f o r t a m u t u a l c o m p a s s i o n . /

F o r m a l i s t fdm theorists believe that t h e art of c i n e m a is possible p r e cisely b e c a u s e a movie is u n l i k e everyday reality. T h e f i l m m a k e r exploits t h e limitations of t h e m e d i u m — i t s two-dimensionality, its c o n f i n i n g f r a m e , its frag-

11-6. Ugetsu (Japan, 1953), with Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyo, directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. Realistic critics and theorists tend to underestimate the flexibility of an audience's response to nonrealistic movies. Of course, it's easier for a filmmaker to create the illusion of reality if the story deals with everyday events, for the world of the movie and the actual world are essentially the same. On the other hand, a gifted artist can make even fantasy materials "realistic." A movie like Ugetsu, which is set in the remote past and features spirits and d e m o n s , presents us with a self-contained magical universe which we are able to enter by temporarily forgetting the outside world of reality. In short, audiences are highly sophisticated in their responses to nonrealistic films. We can almost totally suspend our disbelief, partially suspend it, or alternate between extremes according to the aesthetic d e m a n d s of the world of the movie, (janus Films)

m e r i t e d t i m e - s p a c e c o n t i n u u m — t o p r o d u c e a w o r l d t h a t r e s e m b l e s t h e real world only in a superficial s e n s e . T h e real w o r l d is m e r e l y a r e p o s i t o r y of raw m a t e r i a l t h a t n e e d s t o b e s h a p e d a n d h e i g h t e n e d t o b e effective a s art. Film a r t d o e s n ' t consist of a r e p r o d u c t i o n of reality, b u t a t r a n s l a t i o n of o b s e r v e d c h a r acteristics i n t o t h e forms of t h e m e d i u m . R u d o l f A r n h e i m , a gestalt psychologist, p u t forth a n i m p o r t a n t t h e o r y of c i n e m a t i c f o r m a l i s m in his b o o k Film As Art, w h i c h was originally p u b l i s h e d i n G e r m a n i n 1933. A r n h e i m ' s b o o k i s p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d with t h e p e r c e p tion o f e x p e r i e n c e . His t h e o r y i s b a s e d o n t h e d i f f e r e n t m o d e s o f p e r c e p t i o n o f 465

11-7a. Publicity photo for TTie Wizard of Oz (U.S.A., 1939), with Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, and Bert Lahr; directed by Victor Fleming. Formalism luxuriates in the artificial. "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. Toto," Dorothy observes to her dog when they are whisked into an e n c h a n t e d place where nothing looks real. The wondrous world of the MGM musical was a triumph of artifice: lions that talked (and cried), flying creatures in the sky, scarecrows that danced (beautifully), swaying fields that sparkled like diamonds, and a superb musical score by E. Y. Marburg and the great Harold Arlen.

ll-7b. Muppets From Space (U.S.A., 1999), with Pepe. Animal, Gonzo, Rizzo, Miss Piggy. Fozzie Bear, and Kermit the Frog, directed by Tim Hill. Gifted filmmakers can create a believable world even without using h u m a n beings. The Muppet characters from the Jim Henson organization all have unique personalities—familiar to millions of children all over the world. You don't have to be a child to appreciate the oddball denizens of Muppetland, who are more credible than a lot of so-called "live" characters. In this movie, our stalwart astronauts e m b a r k on an extraterrestrial adventure in the hopes of finding Gonzo's long-lost family from a distant planet, tjim Hanson Pictures)

11-8a. Robocop (U.S.A., 1987), with Peter Welter, directed by Paul Verhoeven. If realism tends to favor the didactic, the teaching function of art. then formalism tends to favor the pleasure principle. Implicit in the concept of formalism is the supremacy of pattern over life, of aesthetic richness over literal truth. Even in movies that attempt a superficial realism, the subject matter itself is often fantastic, with an e m p h a s i s on special effects and the visual appeal of the shapes, lines, textures, and colors Of the images.

(Orion Pictures)

11-8b. Being John Malkovich (U.S.A., 1999), with Catherine Keener and John Cusack, directed by Spike Jonze. Independent filmmaker Spike Jonze believes that modern, movies have b e c o m e slaves to boring reality. Even fanciful genres like science fiction contain recognizable character types and situations from other movies. This Pirandellian film dares to reintroduce the inexplicable and the surrealistic into movies. The main character (Cusack), an alienated puppeteer, discovers that he can situate himself in the brain of actor John Malkovich, who's one of the main performers of the film, presumably playing himself. Cusack can accomplish this amazing feat by working in an office with very low ceilings. When his 1 5 minutes of alternate reality are over, he's unceremoniously dropped on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. But you're allowed to repeat.

(Gramercy Pictures)

11-9. The Servant (Great Britain, 1963), with Dirk Bogarde (foreground), directed by Joseph Losey. A scene can be photographed in literally hundreds of different ways, but the formalist selects the camera s e t u p that best captures its symbolic or psychological implications. In this shot, for example, a young w o m a n (Wendy Craig) suddenly realizes the enormous power a valet (Bogarde) wields over her weak fiance (James Fox). She is isolated on the left, half-plunged in darkness. A curtained doorway separates her from her lover, who is so stupefied with drugs he scarcely knows where he is, much less what's really going on. The servant cooly turns his back on them, the c a m e r a ' s low angle further emphasizing his effortless control over his "master."

(Landau Distributing)

t h e c a m e r a o n t h e o n e h a n d a n d t h e h i t m a n eye o n t h e o t h e r . A n t i c i p a t i n g s o m e o f t h e t h e o r i e s o f t h e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s specialist Marshall M c L u h a n , A r n h e i m insists t h a t t h e c a m e r a ' s i m a g e of a bowl of fruit, for i n s t a n c e , is fundam e n t a l l y different from o u r p e r c e p t i o n of the fruit bowl in actual life. Or, in M c L u h a n ' s t e r m s , t h e i n f o r m a t i o n we receive in e a c h i n s t a n c e is d e t e r m i n e d by t h e f o r m of its c o n t e n t . Formalist theorists c e l e b r a t e t h e s e differences, believing t h a t w h a t m a k e s p h o t o g r a p h y fall s h o r t of p e r f e c t r e p r o d u c t i o n is also what m a k e s c i n e m a an art, n o t j u s t a species of x e r o g r a p h y . Formalists have p o i n t e d o u t m a n y instances w h e r e d i v e r g e n c e s exist b e t w e e n t h e c a m e r a ' s i m a g e o f reality a n d what t h e h u m a n eye sees. F o r e x a m ple, film d i r e c t o r s m u s t c h o o s e which viewpoint to p h o t o g r a p h a s c e n e from. T h e y d o n ' t necessarily c h o o s e t h e clearest view, for often this d o e s n o t e m p h a size t h e m a j o r characteristics of t h e s c e n e , its expressive essence. In life, we perceive objects i n d e p t h a n d can p e n e t r a t e t h e space t h a t s u r r o u n d s most things. In movies, space is an illusion, for t h e screen has only two d i m e n s i o n s , p e r m i t ting t h e d i r e c t o r t o m a n i p u l a t e objects a n d perspectives i n t h e m i s e e n s c e n e . For e x a m p l e , i m p o r t a n t objects can b e p l a c e d w h e r e they are m o s t likely t o b e n o t i c e d f i r s t . U n i m p o r t a n t objects can b e r e l e g a t e d t o inferior positions, a t t h e e d g e s or "rear" of t h e i m a g e . In real life, space a n d t i m e are e x p e r i e n c e d as c o n t i n u o u s . T h r o u g h e d i t i n g , f i l m m a k e r s can c h o p u p space a n d t i m e a n d r e a r r a n g e t h e m i n a m o r e m e a n i n g f u l m a n n e r . Like o t h e r artists, t h e f i l m d i r e c t o r selects c e r t a i n e x p r e s sive details from t h e c h a o t i c p l e n i t u d e of physical reality. By j u x t a p o s i n g t h e s e 468

11 — 10a. Splash (U.S.A., 1984), with Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks, directed by Ron Howard. A c o m m o n misconception about formalistic films is that they are merely light e n t e r t a i n m e n t , , far removed from serious concerns. For example, this movie deals with a young m a n who falls in love with a strange young w o m a n , who turns out to be a m e r m a i d . The film is a symbolic fantasy, and it's certainly entertaining, but it also explores fundamental values—about loyalty, family, work, and c o m m i t m e n t . (Bucna vista Pictures)

ll-10b. The Legend of Bagger Vance (U.S.A., 2000), with Will Smith, J. Michael Moncrief, and Matt Damon, directed by Robert Redford. Will Smith plays a mysterious golf caddy n a m e d Bagger Vance—a character w h o turns out to be supernatural, not "real." Yet the style of the film is an accurate recreation of the 1930s milieu. Is the movie formalistic Or realistic? (DreamWorks Pictures)

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space a n d time fragments, t h e f i l m m a k e r creates a c o n t i n u i t y t h a t d o e s n ' t exist in raw n a t u r e . This, of c o u r s e , was t h e basic position of t h e Soviet m o n t a g e theorists (Chapter 4 ) . Formalists are always c o n c e r n e d with p a t t e r n s , m e t h o d s of r e s t r u c t u r ing reality i n t o aesthetically a p p e a l i n g designs. P a t t e r n s can be e x p r e s s e d visually, t h r o u g h t h e p h o t o g r a p h y a n d mise en s c e n e ; or aurally, in stylized dial o g u e , symbolic s o u n d effects, a n d musical m o t i f s . C a m e r a m o v e m e n t s a r e often kinetic p a t t e r n s s u p e r i m p o s e d o n t h e visual materials, c o m m e n t i n g o n them in some heightened manner. T h e p r o b l e m s with m o s t formalist t h e o r i e s are t h e s a m e as with realists: T h e r e a r e t o o m a n y e x c e p t i o n s . T h e y a r e certainly useful in an a p p r e c i a t i o n of H i t c h c o c k ' s works, for e x a m p l e , or T i m B u r t o n ' s . But h o w helpful is t h e t h e o r y in e x p l a i n i n g t h e films of Spike L e e or De Sica? We r e s p o n d to t h e i r movies b e c a u s e of t h e i r similarities with physical reality, n o t t h e i r d i v e r g e n c e s from it. Ultimately, of c o u r s e , t h e s e a r e m a t t e r s of e m p h a s i s , for films a r e too pluralistic t o b e p i g e o n h o l e d i n t o o n e tidy t h e o r y ( l l - 1 0 b ) .

In t h e mid-1950s, t h e F r e n c h j o u r n a l Cahiers du Cinema r e v o l u t i o n i z e d film criticism with its c o n c e p t of la politique des auteurs. T h i s c o m m i t t e d policy of a u t h o r s was p u t forth by t h e p u g n a c i o u s y o u n g critic Frangois Truffaut. T h e a u t e u r t h e o r y b e c a m e t h e focal p o i n t of a critical controversy t h a t eventually s p r e a d to E n g l a n d a n d A m e r i c a . Before long, t h e t h e o r y b e c a m e a m i l i t a n t rallying cry, particularly a m o n g y o u n g e r critics, d o m i n a t i n g such lively j o u r n a l s as Movie in G r e a t Britain, Film Culture in A m e r i c a , a n d b o t h F r e n c h - a n d Englishl a n g u a g e e d i t i o n s of Cahiers du Cinema. A l t h o u g h a n u m b e r of writers rejected t h e t h e o r y as simplistic, a u t e u r i s m d o m i n a t e d film criticism t h r o u g h o u t t h e 1960s. Actually, t h e m a i n lines of t h e t h e o r y a r e n ' t particularly o u t r a g e o u s , at least n o t in r e t r o s p e c t . Truffaut, G o d a r d , a n d t h e i r critical c o l l e a g u e s p r o p o s e d t h a t t h e greatest movies a r e d o m i n a t e d by t h e p e r s o n a l vision of t h e director. A f i l m m a k e r ' s " s i g n a t u r e " c a n b e p e r c e i v e d t h r o u g h a n e x a m i n a t i o n o f his o r h e r total o u t p u t , which is c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a unity of t h e m e a n d style. T h e writer's c o n t r i b u t i o n is less i m p o r t a n t t h a n t h e d i r e c t o r ' s b e c a u s e subject m a t t e r is artistically n e u t r a l . It can be t r e a t e d with brilliance or b a r e c o m p e t e n c e . Movies o u g h t to be j u d g e d on t h e basis of how, n o t what. Like o t h e r formalists, t h e a u t e u r critics c l a i m e d that what m a k e s a g o o d film is n o t t h e subject m a t t e r as such, b u t its/stylistic t r e a t m e n t . T h e d i r e c t o r d o m i n a t e s t h e t r e a t m e n t , p r o vided he or she is a s t r o n g director, an auteur. Drawing primarily from t h e cinematic traditions of the U n i t e d States, t h e Cahiers critics also d e v e l o p e d a sophisticated t h e o r y of film g e n r e . In fact, A n d r e Bazin, t h e e d i t o r of t h e j o u r n a l , believed that t h e genius of t h e A m e r i c a n c i n e m a was its repository of ready-made forms: westerns, thrillers, musicals, action films,

11-11. Photo montage of Jean-Pierre Leaud as Antoine Doinel in (left to right) Love on the Run (1979), Stolen Kisses (1968), "Antoine et Colette" (an episode in the anthology film, Love at Twenty, 1962), and the drawing from The 400 Blows (1959). Missing from the Doinel series is Bed and Board (1970). Above all, the auteurists emphasized the personality of the artist as the main criterion of value, Frangois Truffaut, who originally formulated la politique des auteurs, went on to create s o m e of the most distinctively personal movies of the New Wave. His Doinel series is one of the crowning achievements of the nouvelle vague. These semiautobiographical movies trace the adventures (mostly amorous) of its likable but slightly neurotic hero, Antoine Doinel. Truffaut's protege Leaud was the best known actor of the French New Wave. (New world Pictures)

c o m e d i e s , a n d so o n . " T h e tradition of g e n r e s is a base of o p e r a t i o n s for creative freedom," Bazin p o i n t e d out. G e n r e is an e n r i c h i n g , n o t a constricting, tradition. T h e auteurists a r g u e d that t h e best movies are dialectical, in which t h e conventions of a g e n r e a r e h e l d in aesthetic tension with the personality of the artist. T h e A m e r i c a n a u t e u r s t h a t t h e s e critics p r a i s e d h a d w o r k e d within t h e studio system,' w h i c h h a d b r o k e n t h e artistic j j r e t e n t i o n s of m a n y lesser filmm a k e r s . W h a t t h e auteurists especially a d m i r e d was h o w gifted d i r e c t o r s c o u l d c i r c u m v e n t s t u d i o i n t e r f e r e n c e a n d even h a c k n e y e d scripts t h r o u g h t h e i r technical e x p e r t i s e . T h e subject m a t t e r o f H i t c h c o c k ' s thrillers o r F o r d ' s westerns was n o t significantly different from o t h e r s w o r k i n g in t h e s e g e n r e s . Yet b o t h a u t e u r s m a n a g e d to c r e a t e g r e a t films, precisely b e c a u s e t h e real c o n t e n t was conveyed t h r o u g h t h e mise e n s c e n e , t h e e d i t i n g , a n d all t h e o t h e r formal devices at t h e d i r e c t o r ' s disposal. T h e s h e e r b r e a d t h of t h e i r k n o w l e d g e of film history p e r m i t t e d t h e s e critics to reevaluate t h e m a j o r works of a wide variety of d i r e c t o r s . In m a n y instances, they c o m p l e t e l y reversed previous critical j u d g m e n t s . Before l o n g , 47 1

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personality cults d e v e l o p e d a r o u n d t h e m o s t p o p u l a r d i r e c t o r s . O n t h e w h o l e , these were filmmakers who h a d b e e n virtuall) i g n o r e d by the critical establishm e n t o f t h e previous g e n e r a t i o n : H i t c h c o c k , Ford, Hawks, L a n g , a n d m a n y o t h ers. T h e a u t e u r critics w e r e often d o g m a t i c in t h e i r dislikes as well as t h e i r likes. Bazin e x p r e s s e d a l a r m at t h e i r negativism. To praise a b a d movie, he felt, was u n f o r t u n a t e ; b u t to c o n d e m n a g o o d o n e was a serious failing. He especially disliked t h e i r t e n d e n c y to h e r o w o r s h i p , which led to superficial a priori j u d g m e n t s . Movies by cult d i r e c t o r s w e r e indiscriminately praised, w h e r e a s t h o s e by d i r e c t o r s o u t o f fashion w e r e automatically c o n d e m n e d . Auteurists w e r e f o n d o f r a n k i n g d i r e c t o r s , a n d t h e i r listings c o u l d b e b i z a r r e . Perfectly r o u t i n e c o m mercial d i r e c t o r s like Nicholas Ray w e r e elevated above such i m p o r t a n t masters as J o h n H u s t o n a n d Billy Wilder. T h e principal s p o k e s m a n for t h e a u t e u r t h e o r y i n t h e U n i t e d States was A n d r e w Sarris, t h e influential critic of t h e Village Voice. M o r e k n o w l e d g e a b l e a b o u t t h e c o m p l e x i t i e s o f t h e star a n d s t u d i o system t h a n his F r e n c h c o u n t e r parts, Sarris n o n e t h e l e s s d e f e n d e d t h e i r basic a r g u m e n t , especially t h e princi-

11-12. Fanny and Alexander (Sweden, 1 9 8 3 ) , with Bertit Guve and Pernilla Allwin, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. A towering giant of the cinema, Ingmar Bergman has written all of his movies by himself. His films are often semiautobiographical, like Fanny and Alexander, one of his m a n y masterpieces. In addition, Bergman worked with the s a m e cast and crew for years, a virtual repertory company. In short, his movies are indisputably those of an auteur. tsvenska FUminstitutet and Embassy Pictures)

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pie of t e n s i o n b e t w e e n an artist's p e r s o n a l vision a n d t h e g e n r e a s s i g n m e n t s t h a t t h e s e d i r e c t o r s w e r e given by t h e i r Hollywood bosses. Q u i t e correctly, these critics insisted that total artistic f r e e d o m isn't always a virtue. After all, Michelangelo, Dickens, a n d Shakespeare, a m o n g o t h e r s , a c c e p t e d c o m m i s s i o n e d subjects. T h o u g h this principle of dialectical tension is a s o u n d o n e — i n t h e o t h e r arts as well as c i n e m a — s o m e auteurists carried it to ridiculous e x t r e m e s . In t h e first place, t h e r e is the p r o b l e m of d e g r e e . It's d o u b t ful t h a t even a genius like B e r g m a n or Kubrick could do m u c h with t h e script a n d stars of Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. In o t h e r words, a director's got to have a fighting c h a n c e with the material. W h e n t h e subject m a t t e r sinks b e n e a t h a certain potential, t h e result is n o t tension b u t artistic annihilation. T h e m o s t gifted A m e r i c a n d i r e c t o r s o f t h e s t u d i o era w e r e p r o d u c e r - d i r e c t o r s w h o w o r k e d i n d e p e n d e n t l y within t h e m a j o r studios. T h e s e t e n d e d t o b e t h e s a m e artists t h e a u t e u r critics a d m i r e d m o s t . But t h e lion's s h a r e o f A m e r i c a n fiction movies p r o d u c e d d u r i n g this era w e r e s t u d i o films. T h a t is, t h e d i r e c t o r f u n c t i o n e d as a m e m b e r of a t e a m a n d usually h a d little to say a b o u t t h e s c r i p t i n g , casting, or e d i t i n g . Many of t h e s e d i r e c t o r s w e r e skillful t e c h n i c i a n s , b u t they w e r e essentially craftsmen r a t h e r t h a n artists. M i c h a e l Curtiz is a g o o d e x a m p l e . For most of his career, he was a c o m tract d i r e c t o r at W a r n e r B r o t h e r s . Known for his s p e e d a n d efficiency, Curtiz d i r e c t e d d o z e n s of movies in a variety of styles a n d g e n r e s . He often took on several projects at t h e s a m e t i m e . Curtiz h a d no " p e r s o n a l vision" in t h e sense t h a t t h e a u t e u r t h e o r y defines it: He was j u s t g e t t i n g a j o b d o n e . He often did it very well. Even so, movies like Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, a n d Mildred Pierce ( l l - 1 3 a ) can be discussed m o r e profitably as W a r n e r B r o t h e r s movies r a t h e r t h a n M i c h a e l Curtiz movies. T h e s a m e p r i n c i p l e applies t o m o s t o f t h e o t h e r H o l l y w o o d studios. In o u r day, it applies to films t h a t a r e d o m i n a t e d by p r o d u c e r s a n d financiers r a t h e r t h a n artists. O t h e r films have b e e n d o m i n a t e d by stars. Few p e o p l e w o u l d t h i n k of r e f e r r i n g to a M a e West movie as a n y t h i n g else, a n d t h e s a m e h o l d s t r u e for t h e W. C. Fields c o m e d i e s a n d t h e works of L a u r e l a n d Hardy. T h e u l t i m a t e in t h e star as a u t e u r is t h e so-called star vehicle, a film specifically t a i l o r e d to showcase t h e talents of a p e r f o r m e r ( 1 1 - 1 4 ) . T h e a u t e u r t h e o r y suffers from a n u m b e r of o t h e r weaknesses. T h e r e are s o m e excellent films that have b e e n m a d e by directors w h o are otherwise m e d i o c r e . For e x a m p l e , J o s e p h H. Lewis's Chin Crazy is a s u p e r b movie, b u t it's atypical of his o u t p u t . Conversely, great directors s o m e t i m e s p r o d u c e b o m b s . T h e works of such major filmmakers as Ford, G o d a r d , Renoir, a n d B u n u e l are radically inconsistent in t e r m s of quality, a n d s o m e of their movies are outright awful. T h e a u t e u r t h e o r y emphasizes history a n d a director's total o u t p u t , which tends to favor o l d e r directors at t h e e x p e n s e of n e w c o m e r s . S o m e artists have e x p l o r e d a variety of t h e m e s in m a n y different styles a n d g e n r e s : Carol Reed, Sidney L u m e t , a n d J o h n F r a n k e n h e i m e r are g o o d examples. T h e r e are also s o m e great f i l m m a k e r s w h o are c r u d e directorial technicians. For e x a m p l e , Chaplin a n d

Mildred Pierce ll-13a. (U.S.A., 1945), with Joan Crawford, directed by Michael Curtiz. Particularly during the golden age of the big-studio era (roughly from 1925 to 1955), most American m a i n s t r e a m movies were d o m i n a t e d by the imprimatur of the studio rather than the director, who was regarded more as an executor of a collaborative enterprise rather than a creative artist in his own right. Mildred Pierce has "Warner Brothers" written all over it. Typically tough a n d proletarian in emphasis, the movie features Joan Crawford as a self-made w o m a n who kills a m a n . It was regarded as her comeback performance after many years as a glamourous star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The movie, based on J a m e s M. Cain's hard-boiled novel, was adapted by Ranald MacDougall, a studio scribe. It was directed by Michael Curtiz, Warners' ace director, who was known for his speed, efficiency, and versatility. He was also able to control Warners' feisty stars, who were known to be difficult and rebellious. Even Bette Davis, the gutsiest of t h e m all, was cowed by Curtiz. When she complained that he h a d n ' t allowed her any break for lunch, he replied majesterially, "When you work for me, you don't need lunch. You just take an aspirin." (Warner Bros.)

ll-13b. Primary Colors (U.S.A., 1998), with John Travolta, directed by Mike Nichols. In the contemporary American cinema, most mainstream movies are still collaborative enterprises, with the director—even one as brilliant as Mike Nichols—serving as a coordinator of talent. The film is based on a political novel by "Anonymous"—actually journalist Joe Klein. The book is a thinly disguised account of the first presidential primary of Bill Clinton, his wife Hillary, and their political organization. The smart and wickedly funny screenplay was written by Elaine May. A first-rate cast is headed by Travolta, w h o does an uncanny impersonation of the gregarious and charismatic Clinton, who is at once a genuine democrat, a dedicated public servant, and a womanizing opportunist. The miracle of the movie is that it's so seamless, with its multiple individual contributions blended into a unified artistic whole. That was Mike Nichols's Contribution.

(UniversalStudios)

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11-14. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (U.S.A., 1991), with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong, directed by James Cameron. Many movies are dominated by stars rather than directors, studios, or genres. Terminator 2 is a star vehicle for Schwarzenegger, one of the top box-office attractions of the contemporary American cinema. The film is specifically tailored to showcase his comic abilities as well as his popularity as an action/adventure star. He is rarely off camera, and the plot is pretty much a pretext to allow him m a x i m u m creative freedom. The movie is skillfully directed, but the d o m i n a n t artistic personality is clearly in front of the camera, not behind it. (m-star Pictures)

H e r z o g in no way a p p r o a c h t h e stylistic fluency of Michael Curtiz, or a d o z e n o t h e r c o n t r a c t directors of his era. Yet t h e r e are very few artists w h o have c r e a t e d such distinctively p e r s o n a l movies as Chaplin a n d H e r z o g . Despite its s h o r t c o m i n g s a n d excesses, t h e a u t e u r t h e o r y h a d a liberati n g effect on film criticism, establishing t h e d i r e c t o r as t h e key figure at least in t h e art of c i n e m a , if n o t always t h e industry. By t h e 1970s, t h e m a j o r battle h a d b e e n won. Virtually all serious discussions of movies w e r e at least partly c o u c h e d in t e r m s of t h e d i r e c t o r ' s p e r s o n a l vision. To this day, t h e c o n c e p t of directorial d o m i n a n c e r e m a i n s firmly established, at least with films of h i g h artistic m e r i t ( 1 1 - 1 5 ) .

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11-15. Today, the term "auteur" is c o m m o n l y used to designate a film artist, an individual w h o s e personality is indelibly stamped onto his or her work. An auteur controls the major modes of expression—script, performance, execution—whether working within the commercial industry, like a Spielberg, a Scorsese, or a Spike Lee, or working outside the studio system, in what has been called the independent cinema.

ll-15a. Sling Blade (U.S.A., 1996), with Billy Bob Thornton, written and directed by Thornton. Independent filmmakers have much more control over their product than most mainstream directors, in part because independent movies are usually m a d e on low budgets. Most of the people involved are working for free, or very little, c o m p a r e d to Hollywood studio personnel. These alternative artists can also explore unusual or unfashionable subjects. For example, though more than 40 percent of Americans attend religious services weekly, this fact is rarely acknowledged in mainstream movies. But an important element of Sling Blade is its strong Southern Baptist flavor, lending the bizarre tale a spiritual richness. (Miramax Films)

11-15b. The Opposite of Sex (U.S.A., 1997), with Martin Donovan and Lisa Kudrow, written and directed by Don Roos. The protagonists of mainstream movies are almost exclusively heterosexual, and rarely do they suffer from any sexual problems. Independent films can be more real. This film's gay protagonist (Donovan) has just had his lover stolen from him by his manipulative sixteenyear-old half sister (Christina Ricci at her most evil). His best friend (Kudrow) is sexually repressed and hopelessly in love with him. That's just part of their problems. Mainstream movies are rarely as witty and bitchy and shrewd about the subject of sex. Nor do they usually offer such juicy roles for w o m e n , w h o are every bit as neurotic as the men.

(TriStar Pictures)

11-15c. Go (U.S.A., 1999), with Jay Mohr and Scott Wolf, directed by Doug Liman. Mainstream movies tend to reaffirm conventional morality. They also tend to be highly predictable. Within the first ten minutes of watching a typical genre film, we can usually guess how it'll end. The good guys will triumph, decency will be restored, blah blah blah. Independent movies can be more perverse. Like this black comedy, written by John August. The two main characters (pictured) are selfish, nasty, and egregiously narcissistic. They're also fun to watch and surprisingly unpredictable. These movies also tend to attract ambitious young rising actors like Mohr and Wolf, or established stars like Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Cameron Diaz, or Sean Penn, who are more interested in their art than in making a lot of m o n e y playing unchallenging roles. (Columbia Pictures)

Eclecticism i s n ' t really a t h e o r y so m u c h as a m e t h o d of practical criticism. T h i s is t h e favored a p p r o a c h of m a n y film critics in t h e U n i t e d States, s u c h as t h e f o r m e r critic of The New Yorker, P a u l i n e Kael, w h o o n c e w r o t e , "I believe t h a t w e r e s p o n d m o s t a n d b e s t t o work i n any a r t f o r m ( a n d t o o t h e r e x p e r i e n c e as well) if we a r e pluralistic, flexible, relative in o u r j u d g m e n t s , if we a r e eclectic." S u c h critics p l a c e a m o v i e in w h a t e v e r c o n t e x t s e e m s m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e , d r a w i n g from diverse s o u r c e s , systems, a n d styles. Actually, a l m o s t all critics a r e eclectic t o s o m e d e g r e e . F o r e x a m p l e , a l t h o u g h A n d r e w Sarris has b e e n i d e n t i f i e d with t h e a u t e u r t h e o r y , h e i s equally a t h o m e aj)j^roaching a m o v i e in t e r m s of its star, its p e r i o d , its n a t i o n a l o r i g i n , or its ideological context. Eclecticism is s o m e t i m e s called t h e t r a d i t i o n of sensibility b e c a u s e a h i g h value is p l a c e d on t h e aesthetic d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s of a p e r s o n of taste a n d d i s c e r n m e n t . S u c h critics are often u r b a n e , well e d u c a t e d , a n d c o n v e r s a n t in the o t h e r arts. T h e c u l t u r a l cross-references in t h e writings of such critics as R o g e r E b e r t a n d F r a n k Rich r a n g e over a wide s p e c t r u m , i n c l u d i n g literature, d r a m a , politics, a n d t h e visual arts. T h e y frequently a l l u d e to t h e ideas of s u c h seminal t h i n k e r s a s F r e u d , M a r x , D a r w i n , a n d J u n g . S o m e t i m e s critics c o m b i n e an ideological p e r s p e c t i v e — s u c h as f e m i n i s m — w i t h practical criticism, sociology, a n d history, as in t h e criticism of Molly Haskell a n d J u l i a Lesage ( 1 1 - 1 6 ) . T h e best eclectic critics a r e gifted writers, i n c l u d i n g s u c h d i s t i n g u i s h e d p r o s e 477

11-16. Clueless (U.S.A., 1995), with Justin Walker and Alicia Silverstone, written and directed by Amy Heckerling. Eclectic critics often c o m b i n e movie criticism with social m o v e m e n t s such as feminism, exploring not only the sexual values within a film but also the ideological context of its production. Traditionally, w o m e n have b e e n excluded from positions of power within the American film industry. (The situation is even worse in most other countries.) Some, like Amy Heckerling, circumvented this legacy of discrimination by producing their low-budget films independently. Her success as an i n d e p e n d e n t filmmaker eventually o p e n e d doors to the m a i n s t r e a m industry. (Paramound Pictures)

stylists as J a m e s Agee a n d P a u l i n e Kael. Polished writing is valued as writing, in a d d i t i o n to t h e ideas it conveys. Eclectic critics reject t h e n o t i o n t h a t a single t h e o r y can explain all movies. T h e y r e g a r d this as a cookie-cutter a p p r o a c h to criticism. Most of t h e m insist t h a t an individual's r e a c t i o n to a film is deeply p e r s o n a l . For this r e a s o n , t h e best a critic c a n do is e x p l a i n his or h e r p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s e s as forcefully as possible. But it's j u s t an o p i n i o n , however well f o u n d e d or gracefully a r g u e d . T h e best criticism of this type is informative even if we disagree with its conclusions. Because p e r s o n a l taste is t h e m a i n d e t e r m i n a n t of value in eclectic criticism, t h e s e c o m m e n t a t o r s often a d m i t to t h e i r blind s p o t s — a n d all critics have b l i n d spots. E v e r y o n e has h a d t h e e x p e r i e n c e of b e i n g left totally cold by a movie t h a t ' s widely h a i l e d as a m a s t e r p i e c e . We c a n ' t h e l p t h e way we feel, however m u c h o u r feelings go against p o p u l a r s e n t i m e n t . Eclectic critics usually b e g i n with t h e i r feelings a b o u t a movie, t h e n work o u t w a r d , trying to objectify t h e s e instincts with c o n c r e t e a r g u m e n t s . T o g u a r d against p e r s o n a l eccentricity, they implicitly place a film within t h e c o n t e x t of a g r e a t tradition of masterp i e c e s — t h a t is, t h o s e works t h a t have s t o o d t h e test of t i m e a n d are still conside r e d m i l e s t o n e s in t h e evolution of t h e c i n e m a . T h i s g r e a t tradition is constantly u n d e r r e e v a l u a t i o n . It's a loose critical c o n s e n s u s r a t h e r t h a n an i r o n c l a d b o d y of privileged works. 4 78

11-17. Independence Day (U.S.A., 1996), directed by Roland Emmerich. This movie was a huge commercial hit, gobbling up over $ 3 0 0 million domestically and close to $ 4 9 0 million in foreign markets. It also generated $ 5 0 0 million in so-called ancillary revenues, including video and television rights. Twentieth Century-Fox spent $ 3 0 million for advertising alone—an investment that obviously paid off. The film's special effects constituted its main box-office appeal. In this sequence, for example, the U.S. White House is attacked by an alien force of incredible magnitude. Serious film critics either ignored the movie or dismissed it as drivel. So who's right, the public or the "experts"? It d e p e n d s on how you look at it. The m a s s audience t e n d s to seek escapist e n t e r t a i n m e n t : Movies are a way of forgetting their troubles. Film critics must e n d u r e a constant barrage of such pictures in their daily line of work. Hence, they tend to get bored with anything that treads the tried (and tired) and true. What they seek in movies is s o m e t h i n g unusual, challenging, and daring. Independence Day did not m e e t these expectations. (Twentieth Century-Fox)

Eclecticism has b e e n faulted on a n u m b e r of c o u n t s . Because of its e x t r e m e subjectivity, this a p p r o a c h h a s b e e n criticized as m e r e i m p r e s s i o n i s m by m o r e rigorously systematic theorists. T h e y insist that aesthetic evaluations o u g h t to be g o v e r n e d by a b o d y of theoretical principles r a t h e r t h a n a critic's u n i q u e sensibility, however refined. Eclectic critics a r e rarely in a g r e e m e n t b e c a u s e e a c h of t h e m is r e a c t i n g to a movie a c c o r d i n g to his or h e r own tastes r a t h e r t h a n a l a r g e r t h e o r e t i c a l framework, with its built-in system of c h e c k s a n d balances. For all t h e i r v a u n t e d e x p e r t i s e a n d cultural prestige, eclectic critics have track r e c o r d s t h a t d o n ' t always b e a r close scrutiny. For e x a m p l e , w h e n Fellini's H'/i was r e l e a s e d in 1963, m a n y critics in A m e r i c a a n d E u r o p e dismissed t h e movie as self-indulgent, formless, a n d even i n c o h e r e n t . Yet in a 1972 survey of i n t e r n a t i o n a l critics, 8'/2 p l a c e d fourth in t h e i r list of t h e ten greatest films of all t i m e . Conversely, even g o o d critics have p r o n o u n c e d a film an instant m a s t e r p i e c e — o n l y to r e g r e t t h e i r i m p e t u o s i t y in t h e cool d i s t a n c e of time, after t h e movie has b e e n l o n g f o r g o t t e n . Eclectic critics t e n d to be stoical a b o u t t h e s e m a t t e r s , a c c e p t i n g t h e m as perils of t h e t r a d e . P e r h a p s P a u l i n e Kael h a s e x p r e s s e d t h e i r a t t i t u d e best: 479

480

T l\

1 2 - 1 7 . Three photos of Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane at various periods in his life. Welles was required to age about fifty years during the course of the story. Thanks in part to the m a k e u p artistry of Maurice Seiderman, Welles is completely convincing, whether playing Kane at twenty-five (a), forty-five (b), or seventy-five (c). As Kane grows older, his hair grays and recedes, his jowls sag, his cheeks grow puffier, and the bags beneath his eyes grow more pouchy. Seiderman created a synthetic rubber body suit to suggest the increasingly flabby torso of an older m a n . IRKO>

t h e a u d i e n c e to k n o w t h e p e r i o d of e a c h s c e n e . K a n e ' s c h i l d h o o d has a n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y flavor—a cross b e t w e e n C h a r l e s Dickens a n d Mark Twain. T h e f o r m e r can be s e e n in T h a t c h e r ' s stiff collar a n d stovepipe hat; t h e latter in t h e plain f r o n t i e r simplicity of t h e clothes of Mary a n d J i m Kane. C o s t u m e s a r e symbolic as well as functional. As a c r u s a d i n g y o u n g p u b lisher, Kane favors whites. He often r e m o v e s his j a c k e t a n d tie while w o r k i n g . L a t e r in life, he is a l m o s t always in black business suits a n d ties. Emily's c l o t h e s look expensive, b u t with an u n d e r s t a t e d e l e g a n c e . S h e always looks like a wellb r e d y o u n g m a t r o n — f a s h i o n a b l e , m o d e s t , a n d f e m i n i n e . Susan favors simple c l o t h e s b e f o r e m e e t i n g Kane. After m e e t i n g h i m , she is generally d r e s s e d in ritzy p a t t e r n e d dresses, s o m e t i m e s s p r i n k l e d with sequins—like an a g i n g showgirl p a r a d i n g h e r loot. T h e following is an analysis of Susan's o p e r a c o s t u m e ( 1 2 - 1 8 ) , a triu m p h of irony a n d wit: 1. Period. Ostensibly n i n e t e e n t h century, t h o u g h in fact an a m u s i n g past i c h e of various p e r i o d s a n d " O r i e n t a l " influences. 2. Class* Royalty. T h e c o s t u m e is profusely f e s t o o n e d with pearls, p r e c i o u s jewels, a n d o t h e r q u e e n l y niceties. 3. Sex. F e m a l e , with an e m p h a s i s on c u r v e d , swaying lines a n d p e e k a b o o slits in t h e skirt. O n l y t h e t u r b a n provides a m a s c u l i n e t o u c h , t h o u g h it is whimsically inflected with fluffy white feathers. 514

12-18. Publicity photo of Dorothy Comingore in opera costume for Citizen Kane. Bernard Herrmann c o m p o s e d the film's opera, Salommbo. in the style of nineteenth-century French "Oriental" operas. Edward Stevenson's cost u m e s are in this s a m e campy style of mockery. For example, Susan's outlandish regalia is a send-up of what the well-dressed FrenchOriental opera queen might wear while suffering the agonies of unrequited love, torment, and despair. (RKO)

4. Age. T h e c o s t u m e is d e s i g n e d for a w o m a n in h e r twenties, at t h e p e a k of h e r physical attractiveness. 5. Silhouette. Formfitting, u n a b a s h e d l y h i g h l i g h t i n g t h e w e a r e r ' s curvacious c o n t o u r s . 6. Fabric. Silks, b e a d e d o r n a m e n t a t i o n e n c r u s t e d with jewels. 7. Accessories. T u r b a n , ankle-strap s h o e s .

pearl s t r a n d s , i n c o n g r u o u s J o a n

Crawford-style

8. Color. T h e fdm is in black a n d white, b u t m o s t of t h e fabric has a metallic s h e e n , s u g g e s t i n g g o l d a n d ebony. 9. Body exposure. T h e c o s t u m e reveals a n d h i g h l i g h t s s u c h e r o t i c areas as t h e breasts, midriff, a n d legs. 10. Function. T h e c o s t u m e is totally without utility, difficult even to walk in. It is i n t e n d e d for a p e r s o n w h o d o e s n o t work, b u t is displayed. 11. Body attitude. Tall a n d p r o u d , with h e a d a n d breasts h e l d h i g h , like a Vegas showgirl flashing h e r g a u d y p l u n d e r . 12. Image. Every i n c h t h e o p e r a q u e e n . 5 l 5

516

S y n t h e s i

s

T h e differences b e t w e e n story a n d plot can b e best illustrated b y c o m p a r i n g t h e narrative i n c h r o n o l o g i c a l o r d e r with t h e r e s t r u c t u r e d s e q u e n c e o f t h e plot. W h e n H e r m a n Mankiewicz a p p r o a c h e d Welles with t h e idea o f t h e story, Welles was c o n c e r n e d t h a t t h e materials w o u l d be t o o sprawling, t o o u n f o c u s e d . To s h a r p e n t h e story line a n d infuse it with m o r e d r a m a t i c urgency, he suggested s c r a m b l i n g t h e c h r o n o l o g y of events t h r o u g h a series of flashb a c k s , e a c h n a r r a t e d from t h e p o i n t of view of t h e p e r s o n telling t h e story. Welles h a d u s e d this m u l t i p l e flashback t e c h n i q u e in a n u m b e r of his r a d i o dramas. He a n d Mankiewicz also i n t r o d u c e d a n o t e of s u s p e n s e . In his final m o m e n t s of life, K a n e m u m b l e s t h e w o r d Rosebud (12-19). N o o n e seems to k n o w w h a t it m e a n s , a n d its significance p i q u e s t h e curiosity of a n e w s p a p e r r e p o r t e r , T h o m p s o n , w h o s p e n d s t h e r e m a i n d e r o f t h e movie q u e s t i o n i n g K a n e ' s f o r m e r associates a b o u t this mystery, which he h o p e s c o n t a i n s t h e key to K a n e ' s conflicting c h a r a c t e r . Welles c l a i m e d t h a t t h e R o s e b u d m o t i f was m e r e l y a p l o t gimmick, i n t e n d e d to h o o k t h e a u d i e n c e on a d r a m a t i c q u e s t i o n t h a t ' s really a wild goose c h a s e . But t h e g i m m i c k works. Like t h e hopeful r e p o r t e r , w e t o o t h i n k t h a t R o s e b u d will u n l o c k Kane's a m b i g u o u s personality. W i t h o u t this g i m m i c k , t h e story w o u l d have r e m a i n e d r a m b l i n g a n d u n f o c u s e d . T h e search for t h e m e a n i n g of R o s e b u d s h a p e s t h e narrative, p r o v i d i n g it with a f o r w a r d t h r u s t , with a d r a m a t i c q u e s t i o n we all w a n t a n s w e r e d . This is what foreign critics m e a n by t h e A m e r i c a n g e n i u s for storytelling.

12-19. Citizen Kane. Like a n u m b e r of Welles's other movies, Kane begins with the end— the death of its protagonist w h e n he is about seventy-five. In his final m o m e n t s of life, the old m a n holds a small crystal ball containing a miniature scene that flurries with artificial snow when shaken. With his last dying breath, he utters the word "Rosebud." Then the glass ball crashes to the floor, splintering into a thousand fragments. The plot of the movie is structured like a search—for the m e a n i n g of this final utterance. (RKO)

S y n t h e s i s

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T h e flashback s t r u c t u r e of Citizen Kane allows Welles to l e a p t h r o u g h time a n d space, c u t t i n g to various p e r i o d s of K a n e ' s life w i t h o u t having to a d h e r e to a strict c h r o n o l o g y . To provide t h e a u d i e n c e with an overview, Welles i n t r o d u c e d m o s t of t h e m a j o r events a n d p e o p l e of K a n e ' s life in a brief newsreel shown early in t h e film. T h e s e events a n d p e o p l e a r e e x p l o r e d in m o r e d e p t h in t h e individual flashbacks that follow. Many critics have m a r v e l e d at t h e intricate, jigsaw-puzzle s t r u c t u r e of the movie, with its i n t e r l o c k i n g pieces t h a t d o n ' t click t o g e t h e r until t h e final scene. T h e following p l o t o u t l i n e sets forth t h e m a i n s t r u c t u r a l u n i t s of t h e film a n d the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s a n d events o f e a c h : 1. Prologue. X a n a d u . K a n e ' s d e a t h . " R o s e b u d . " 2. Newsreel. D e a t h of Kane. E n o r m o u s wealth a n d d e c a d e n t lifestyle. C o n t r a d i c t o r y political i m a g e . M a r r i a g e to Emily N o r t o n . Expose of "love nest." Divorce. M a r r i a g e to Susan A l e x a n d e r , "singer." Political camp a i g n . O p e r a career. T h e G r e a t D e p r e s s i o n a n d K a n e ' s financial d e c l i n e . Lonely, s e c l u d e d old age in X a n a d u . 3. Premise. T h o m p s o n is i n s t r u c t e d by his e d i t o r ( 1 2 - 2 ) to discover t h e mystery of R o s e b u d by q u e s t i o n i n g K a n e ' s f o r m e r associates. "It will p r o b a b l y be a very simple t h i n g . " False step: Susan refuses to speak to Thompson. 4. Flashback: The Memoirs of Walter P. Thatcher. K a n e ' s c h i l d h o o d . T h a t c h e r b e c o m e s g u a r d i a n . K a n e ' s first n e w s p a p e r : The Inquirer. I n t r o d u c t i o n of

12-20.

A p p r o x i m a t e p r o p o r t i o n o f e a c h p l o t u n i t i n Citizen Kane. 10. Cast and Credits

1

,

1.

Prologue

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S y n t k c s i s

B e r n s t e i n a n d L e l a n d . N e w s p a p e r c r u s a d i n g years. K a n e ' s financial d e c l i n e in t h e 1930s. 5. Flashback: Bernstein. Early days at The Inquirer. " D e c l a r a t i o n of Principles." B u i l d i n g a p u b l i s h i n g e m p i r e . E n g a g e m e n t to Emily N o r t o n . 6. Flashback: Jed Leland. D i s i n t e g r a t i o n of m a r r i a g e to Emily. K a n e m e e t s Susan. Political c a m p a i g n in 1918. Expose, divorce, r e m a r r i a g e . Susan's o p e r a career. Final b r e a k b e t w e e n K a n e a n d J e d . 7. Flashback: Susan Alexander Kane. O p e r a d e b u t a n d career. Suicide a t t e m p t . Years of semiseclusion with K a n e at X a n a d u . Susan leaves Kane. 8. Flashback: Raymond, butler at Xanadu. K a n e ' s final days. " R o s e b u d . " 9. Coda. Revelation of R o s e b u d . Reverse of o p e n i n g P r o l o g u e , p r o d u c i n g closure. 10. Cast and credits. T h e t e n sections of t h e film vary in l e n g t h . A d i a g r a m c h a r t i n g t h e a p p r o x i m a t e p r o p o r t i o n of e a c h section is shown in F i g u r e 1 2 - 2 0 .

Citizen Kane is often singled o u t for t h e excellence of its screenplay—its wit, its t a u t c o n s t r u c t i o n , its t h e m a t i c complexity. T h e script's a u t h o r s h i p p r o v o k e d c o n s i d e r a b l e controversy, b o t h a t t h e t i m e o f t h e movie's release a n d again in t h e 1970s, w h e n critic P a u l i n e Kael c o n t e n d e d t h a t Welles m e r e l y a d d e d a few p o l i s h i n g t o u c h e s to H e r m a n Mankiewicz's finished p r o d u c t . Mankiewicz was a Hollywood regular, a n o t o r i o u s d r u n k — c h a r m i n g , witty, a n d a l m o s t totally u n r e l i a b l e . W h e n h e a p p r o a c h e d Welles with t h e original i d e a for American (it was later called John Citizen, U.S.A., a n d finally Citizen Kane), Welles a s k e d his f o r m e r p a r t n e r , J o h n H o u s e m a n , t o h e l p Mankiewicz write t h e screenplay, preferably in an isolated place, far r e m o v e d from t e m p t a t i o n . Welles m a d e extensive revisions on t h e first few drafts of t h e screenplay—so extensive t h a t Mankiewicz d e n o u n c e d t h e movie b e c a u s e i t d e p a r t e d radically from his s c e n a r i o . N o r d i d h e want Welles's n a m e t o a p p e a r o n t h e s c r e e n p l a y credit, a n d he t o o k his case to t h e Writers Guild. At this t i m e , a d i r e c t o r was n o t allowed any writing c r e d i t unless he or she c o n t r i b u t e d 50 perc e n t o r m o r e o f t h e screenplay, i n a c o m p r o m i s e g e s t u r e , t h e guild allowed b o t h of t h e m credit, only with Mankiewicz receiving t o p billing. W h e n t h e controversy r e s u r f a c e d i n t h e 1970s, t h e A m e r i c a n s c h o l a r R o b e r t L . C a r r i n g e r settled t h e case o n c e a n d for all. H e e x a m i n e d t h e seven p r i n c i p a l drafts of t h e screenplay, plus m a n y last-minute revision m e m o r a n d a a n d a d d i t i o n a l s o u r c e s . G a r r i n g e r ' s c o n c l u s i o n : T h e early Mankiewicz drafts c o n t a i n " d o z e n s of p a g e s of dull, p l o d d i n g m a t e r i a l t h a t will eventually be dis-

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c a r d e d or r e p l a c e d a l t o g e t h e r . A n d m o s t tellingly, t h e r e is virtually n o t h i n g in t h e m of t h a t stylistic wit a n d fluidity t h a t is t h e m o s t e n g a g i n g trait of t h e film itself." In s h o r t , Mankiewicz p r o v i d e d t h e raw material; Welles p r o v i d e d t h e genius. T h e script sparkles with surprises. T h e m a i n c h a r a c t e r s a r e a far cry from t h e tired stereotypes of m o s t movies of this era. O n l y T h a t c h e r s e e m s conventional, a variation of t h e 1930s tycoon. T h e writing is often tersely funny. D u r i n g K a n e ' s noisy m a r r i a g e to Susan, for e x a m p l e , t h e c o u p l e is s u r r o u n d e d b y p u s h y r e p o r t e r s . W h e n asked w h a t h e ' s g o i n g t o d o now, K a n e replies, "We're g o i n g to be a g r e a t o p e r a star." Susan c h i m e s in: "Charlie said if I d i d n ' t , h e ' d build m e a n o p e r a h o u s e . " T h e gallant K a n e d e m u r s : " T h a t w o n ' t b e n e c essary." C u t to a n e w s p a p e r h e a d l i n e : KANE BUILDS OPERA HOUSE.

T h e r e a r e also m o m e n t s o f p u r e poetry, like B e r n s t e i n ' s s u r p r i s i n g reply to T h o m p s o n after t h e r e p o r t e r scoffs at B e r n s t e i n ' s suggestion t h a t Roseb u d m i g h t be a long-lost love. 'You take m e , " t h e old r e t a i n e r explains. " O n e day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on t h e ferry, a n d as we p u l l e d out, t h e r e was a n o t h e r ferry p u l l i n g in, a n d on it t h e r e was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress s h e h a d o n . She was c a r r y i n g a white parasol. I only saw h e r for o n e s e c o n d . S h e d i d n ' t see me at all, b u t I'll b e t a m o n t h h a s n ' t g o n e by since, t h a t I h a v e n ' t t h o u g h t of t h a t girl." Welles always loved t h a t s p e e c h — a n d wished t h a t h e h a d written it. Thematically, Kane is so c o m p l e x t h a t only a brief i t e m i z i n g of s o m e of its t h e m e s is possible within t h e s e few pages. Like m o s t of Welles's o t h e r movies, Citizen Kane m i g h t well be e n t i t l e d The Arrogance of Power. He was a t t r a c t e d to t h e m e s traditionally associated with classical t r a g e d y a n d t h e epic: t h e downfall of a public figure b e c a u s e of a r r o g a n c e a n d p r i d e . P o w e r a n d wealth a r e c o r r u p t i n g , a n d t h e c o r r u p t d e v o u r themselves. T h e i n n o c e n t usually survive, b u t they a r e severely s c a r r e d . "All of t h e c h a r a c t e r s I've played are various f o r m s of Faust," Welles stated. All have b a r t e r e d t h e i r souls a n d lost. Welles's sense of evil is m a t u r e a n d c o m p l e x , s e l d o m c o n v e n t i o n a l i z e d . He was o n e of t h e few A m e r i c a n filmmakers of his g e n e r a t i o n to e x p l o r e t h e d a r k e r side of t h e h u m a n c o n d i t i o n w i t h o u t r e s o r t i n g to a simplified psychology or to moralistic cliches. T h o u g h his universe is essentially d o o m e d , it's s h o t t h r o u g h with, ambiguities, c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , a n d m o m e n t s o f t r a n s i e n t beauty. Welles c o n s i d e r e d himself a moralist, b u t his movies a r e n e v e r priggish or sanct i m o n i o u s . I n s t e a d of facile c o n d e m n a t i o n s , Kane l a m e n t s t h e loss of i n n o c e n c e : "Almost all serious stories in t h e world are stories of a failure with a d e a t h in it," Welles stated. "But t h e r e is m o r e lost p a r a d i s e in t h e m t h a n defeat. T o m e that's t h e c e n t r a l t h e m e i n W e s t e r n c u l t u r e , t h e lost p a r a d i s e . " W h e n a story isn't told in a straightforward, c h r o n o l o g i c a l m a n n e r , s o m e t h i n g is lost a n d s o m e t h i n g is g a i n e d . WTiaf s lost is t h e s u s p e n s e of any conventionally told tale, which usually asks, W h a t d o e s t h e p r o t a g o n i s t w a n t a n d h o w is he or she g o i n g to get it? In Citizen Kane, t h e p r o t a g o n i s t is d e a d

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a l m o s t from t h e start. We a r e forced to p i e c e t o g e t h e r his life from t h e p o i n t s of view of o t h e r s . T h i s t e c h n i q u e of m u l t i p l e n a r r a t i o n forces us to g a u g e t h e biases a n d p r e j u d i c e s of e a c h n a r r a t o r . Citizen Kane is t h e i r story, t o o . T h e r e a r e five different storytellers, a n d e a c h tells us a different story. Even w h e n t h e events overlap, we view t h e m from a different perspective. F o r e x a m p l e , L e l a n d ' s a c c o u n t of Susan's o p e r a t i c d e b u t is c o l o r e d by his c o n d e s c e n d i n g a t t i t u d e t o w a r d her. H e r p e r f o r m a n c e is viewed primarily from t h e a u d i e n c e , w h e r e L e l a n d i s sitting. W h e n Susan r e c o u n t s t h e s a m e event, t h e c a m e r a is primarily on stage, a n d t h e t o n e of t h e s e q u e n c e is no l o n g e r c o m i c but agonized. Welles's n a r r a t i v e strategy is s o m e t h i n g like a prism: T h e newsreel a n d t h e five interviewees e a c h offer a u n i q u e view of t h e s a m e m a n . T h e newsreel offers us a q u i c k t o u r of t h e highlights of K a n e ' s public life. T h a t c h e r ' s a c c o u n t is t a i n t e d by his a b s o l u t e c o n f i d e n c e in t h e m o r a l superiority of t h e rich a n d powerful. B e r n s t e i n ' s story is s t e e p e d in t h e g r a t i t u d e a n d loyalty he felt for K a n e w h e n they w e r e y o u n g . L e l a n d offers a m o r e r i g o r o u s perspective: H e j u d g e s K a n e by w h a t he actually d o e s , r a t h e r t h a n w h a t he says. Susan is t h e m o s t victimized of t h e storytellers. Yet she is also t h e m o s t c o m p a s s i o n a t e a n d sensitive. R a y m o n d , t h e butler, p r e t e n d s to know a lot m o r e t h a n he d o e s . His brief flashback m e r e l y c o n c l u d e s T h o m p s o n ' s investigation.

1 2 - 2 1 . Production photo of Orson Welles (in middle-aged makeup) and Gregg Toland lining up a shot for the postelection s c e n e b e t w e e n Kane and Jed Leland. Welles used low-angle shots as a motif throughout the picture, especially to emphasize the a w e s o m e power of the protagonist. In this scene, the angle is so low that the floorboards of the set had to be torn away to allow for the c a m e r a ' s placem e n t . Combined with the perspective-distorting wide-angle lens, such low-angle shots portray Kane as a towering colossus, capable of crushing anything that gets in his way. (RKO)

52 1

T h e r e a r e literally d o z e n s of symbolic motifs in t h e movie. S o m e of t h e m a r e t e c h n i c a l , such as t h e film's p r e d o m i n a n t l y low c a m e r a angles ( 1 2 - 2 1 ) . O t h e r s are m o r e c o n t e n t o r i e n t e d , s u c h a s t h e series o f fences t h e c a m e r a m u s t p e n e t r a t e b e f o r e w e are able t o see K a n e . T h e r e a r e also persist e n t motifs of stillness, decay, old age, a n d d e a t h . T h e two m o s t i m p o r t a n t motifs i n t h e movie are R o s e b u d a n d t h e f r a g m e n t a t i o n motif. R o s e b u d t u r n s o u t to be a favorite c h i l d h o o d possession. Scholars a n d critics have a r g u e d a b o u t R o s e b u d for decades. Welles himself described it as "dollarb o o k F r e u d " — t h a t is, a c o n v e n i e n t symbol of c h i l d h o o d i n n o c e n c e . T h e ideas of F r e u d g a i n e d wide currency in the American c i n e m a of the 1940s, especially the centrality of a child's p r e p u b e s c e n t life in d e t e r m i n i n g his or h e r later character. B u t R o s e b u d is also a m o r e g e n e r a l i z e d symbol of loss. C o n s i d e r : K a n e is a m a n w h o lost his p a r e n t s w h e n he was a child. He was b r o u g h t up by a b a n k . He lost his youthful idealism as a publisher. He lost in his b i d to be gove r n o r . He lost his first wife a n d son. He lost in his efforts to m a k e Susan an o p e r a star. He lost Susan. Because it's m u c h m o r e t h a n a m e r e object, m o r e even t h a n a symbol of E d e n i c i n n o c e n c e , t h e revelation of R o s e b u d to t h e audie n c e delivers a powerful e m o t i o n a l i m p a c t .

12-22. Citizen Kane, with William Alland and Paul Stewart. Near the end of the movie, T h o m p s o n (Alland) admits defeat. He never does find out what Rosebud m e a n s , and he describes his investigation as "playing with a jigsaw puzzle," while the camera cranes back and up, revealing thousands of crates of artwork, memorabilia, a n d personal effects—the fragmented artifacts of a person's life. "I don't think any word can explain a m a n ' s life," Thompson continues. "No, 1 guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, a missing piece." (RKOI

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T h e f r a g m e n t a t i o n motif acts as a foil to t h e s i m p l e m i n d e d n o t i o n t h a t any single w o r d c o u l d "explain" a c o m p l e x personality. T h r o u g h o u t t h e movie, we a r e p r e s e n t e d with i m a g e s t h a t suggest multiplicity, r e p e t i t i o n , a n d fragm e n t s of a l a r g e r w h o l e . E x a m p l e s of this motif are t h e jigsaw puzzles, t h e p r o fusion of crates, b o x e s , a n d artwork. T h e very s t r u c t u r e of t h e movie is fragm e n t e d , with e a c h n a r r a t o r p r o v i d i n g us with only a partial p i c t u r e . In R a y m o n d ' s flashback at t h e e n d of t h e film, t h e elderly K a n e m u t t e r s "Roseb u d " w h e n he discovers a glass g l o b e . Dazed, he walks d o w n a c o r r i d o r , t h e g l o b e in his h a n d . As he passes a set of facing m i r r o r s , we see his i m a g e multiplied into infinity. All of t h e m a r e K a n e .

Welles was a lifelong liberal, firmly c o m m i t t e d to t h e values of t h e m o d e r a t e left. T h e N e w Y o r k t h e a t e r s c e n e of t h e 1930s was intensely political a n d left-wing in its l e a n i n g s . Like m o s t intellectuals of t h a t era, Welles was a R o o sevelt enthusiast, strongly pro-New Deal in his sympathies. In fact, he h e l p e d write several of P r e s i d e n t Roosevelt's f a m o u s r a d i o s p e e c h e s . N o t surprisingly, Citizen Kane can be classified as liberal in its ideological slant. However, t h e movie is definitely in t h e implicit r a n g e in t e r m s of its bias. It refuses to be t h e p u r v e y o r of glib certainties a b o u t its values: T h e characters a r e too c o m p l e x , often p a r a d o x i c a l . T h e film is filled with t h e messy cont r a d i c t i o n s of life. T h e p r o t a g o n i s t is a "fighting liberal" as a y o u n g editor. J e d L e l a n d is his c o m r a d e i n a r m s , his c o n s c i e n c e figure ( 1 2 - 2 3 ) . B u t a s h e grows older, K a n e m o v e s f u r t h e r to t h e right, e n d i n g finally as an a u t h o r i t a r i a n bully. K a n e also believes t h a t e n v i r o n m e n t is a s t r o n g e r force t h a n heredity. In o n e s c e n e ,

12-23. Citizen Kane, with Joseph Cotten. Jed Leland (Cotten) represents the moral conscience of the film, Kane's idealistic alter ego. Roles like this are difficult to play well, because they can easily degenerate into sentimental cliches of piety. Cotten toughens up the role by refusing to make Leland too likable. Although sensitive and intelligent, Leland is also a bit of a prig, "a New England schoolmarm," to use his own phrase. Like Bernstein, he loves Kane and is loyal to him when they are all young and committed to social reform. But when he finally recognizes Kane's ego for the destructive force it is, Jed pulls back, disillusioned, (RKOI

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h e says t h a t h e m i g h t have b e c o m e a really g r e a t m a n i f h e h a d n ' t g r o w n u p rich. K a n e is a relativist in t e r m s of his morality. W h e n he no l o n g e r loves his wife Emily, he f o r m s an a d u l t e r o u s liaison with Susan. To h i m , his m a r r i a g e certificate is m e r e l y a d o c u m e n t , s o m e t h i n g t h a t bears no relation to his feelings. N o w h e r e in t h e film d o e s K a n e e x p r e s s an interest in religion. He is a t h o r o u g h secularist. As a y o u n g m a n , Kane displays n o t h i n g b u t c o n t e m p t for t r a d i t i o n , t h e past, a n d a u t h o r i t y figures. W ell i n t o m i d d l e age, he is o r i e n t e d m o r e t o w a r d t h e f u t u r e — b u i l d i n g u p his newspaper, c o u r t i n g Emily, e x p a n d i n g his e m p i r e , r u n n i n g for g o v e r n o r , g u i d i n g Susan's career. Only as an old m a n d o e s he withdraw from t h e a r e n a of life, s h u t t i n g himself off from t h e o u t s i d e world, "lording it over t h e m o n k e y s " in X a n a d u . Similarly, as a y o u n g m a n , Kane e m p h a s i z e s t h e c o m m u n a l . His newsp a p e r is a collaborative effort, with h i m at t h e h e l m , flanked by his two faithful l i e u t e n a n t s , B e r n s t e i n a n d L e l a n d . A s h e grows older, h e n o l o n g e r consults his colleagues. He issues t h e m o r d e r s , b r o o k i n g no d i s a g r e e m e n t s . As a y o u n g editor, h e identifies with c o m m o n w o r k i n g p e o p l e , p r o m i s i n g t o b e c o m e t h e i r s p o k e s m a n . A s a n o l d e r m a n , h e seeks o u t t h e c o m p a n y o f i m p o r t a n t world leaders, shakers, a n d movers. H e s u r r o u n d s himself with yes-men. 7

12-24. Citizen Kane, with Joseph Cotten and Everett Sloane. Kane's r a m p a n t c o n s u m e r i s m is best illustrated by his mania for collecting European art treasures. Not because he enjoys art—indeed, he scarcely ever mentions it—but because of its value as a status symbol. His conspicuous consumption b e c o m e s a habit rather than a passionate interest. After a while, no o n e even bothers to uncrate his purchases—they're simply stored away with all his other possessions. IRKO>

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Citizen Kane is also strongly feminist in its sympathies. T h e t h r e e m a i n female c h a r a c t e r s a r e all victimized. Mary Kane is t r a p p e d in a loveless m a r riage a n d feels she m u s t sacrifice raising h e r son to get h i m away from his bullyi n g father. Emily N o r t o n K a n e is a d e c e n t if s o m e w h a t c o n v e n t i o n a l y o u n g w o m a n . She has b e e n raised b y t h e b o o k a n d obviously takes seriously h e r d u t i e s as a wife a n d m o t h e r . S h e is p r o p r i e t y i n c a r n a t e . K a n e betrays h e r faith a n d love t h r o u g h n o a p p a r e n t fault o f h e r own. H e got b o r e d with her. Susan A l e x a n d e r K a n e i s t h e m o s t s y m p a t h e t i c o f t h e t h r e e a n d t h e m o s t ill-used. She e n d u r e s g r e a t suffering a n d spiritual a n g u i s h , all in the n a m e o f love. S h e d o e s n ' t care m u c h a b o u t m o n e y o r social position, which merely c o m p l i c a t e h e r life. S h e is o n e of t h e few c h a r a c t e r s c a p a b l e of forgiveness. After t h e r e p o r t e r T h o m p s o n listens t o h e r sad tale o f h u m i l i a t i o n a n d loneliness, he says, "All t h e s a m e , I feel k i n d of sorry for Mr. K a n e . " Blinking back h e r tears, Susan replies, " D o n ' t you t h i n k I d o ? "

Citizen Kane is a m a s t e r p i e c e of formalism. T r u e , t h e r e a r e s o m e realistic e l e m e n t s in t h e film—its basis in fact, t h e newsreel s e q u e n c e , t h e deep-focus p h o t o g r a p h y t h a t was so highly p r a i s e d by realist critics like A n d r e Bazin. F o r t h e m o s t p a r t , however, it's t h e b r a v u r a s e q u e n c e s t h a t a r e m o s t m e m o r a b l e i n t h e m o v i e . Welles was o n e of t h e g r e a t lyricists of t h e c i n e m a , a n d his stylistic r a p t u r e is best illustrated by t h e o r n a t e visuals, t h e dazzling traveling shots, t h e richly t e x t u r e d s o u n d t r a c k , t h e kaleidoscopic e d i t i n g style, t h e highly fragm e n t e d narrative, a n d t h e profusion of symbolic motifs. T h e movie is b r a z e n in its t e c h n i c a l audacity. Kane is t h e work of an i n d i s p u t a b l e auteur. Welles n o t only p r o d u c e d t h e film, he also c o a u t h o r e d its script, selected t h e cast a n d crew, s t a r r e d in its l e a d i n g role, a n d d i r e c t e d t h e e n t i r e p r o d u c t i o n w i t h o u t i n t e r f e r e n c e . T h e movie is also typical in t h a t it e x p l o r e s a c o m p l e x of characteristic Wellesian t h e m e s a n d is e x e c u t e d in a showy style that b e c a m e a virtual s i g n a t u r e of its a u t h o r . Welles was always g e n e r o u s in his praise of his c o w o r k e r s , especially actors a n d c i n e m a t o g r a p h e r s , b u t t h e r e is no q u e s t i o n t h a t he was totally in c o m m a n d d u r i n g t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f this f i l m . T h e c o m m e r c i a l a n d critical history of Citizen Kane is a fascinating story in its own right. Shortly after t h e collapse of t h e M e r c u r y T h e a t r e , R K O offered t h e twenty-four-year-old Welles a n u n h e a r d - o f c o n t r a c t : H e was t o b e p a i d $150,000 p e r p i c t u r e , plus 2 5 p e r c e n t o f t h e gross receipts. H e c o u l d p r o d u c e , direct, write, or star in any of his films, or function in all four capacities if he wished. He was g r a n t e d total artistic c o n t r o l , answerable only to G e o r g e Schaefer, t h e e n l i g h t e n e d h e a d of t h e studio. RKO was in financial distress, as it h a d b e e n t h r o u g h o u t m o s t of its brief s p a n . T h e s t u d i o was f o u n d e d in 1928 by t h e financier J o s e p h P. K e n n e d y

12-25. Promotional poster for Citizen Kane. Then as now, a studio's advertising emphasized a picture's commercial appeal. Then as now, sex and violence were the most c o m m o n ploys to lure the m a s s audience. The promotional campaign for Citizen Kane was somewhat classier. It stressed Welles's box-office appeal as the film's star and the controversy surrounding the picture's release. Posters and lobby displays also exaggerated the love angle, presumably to appeal to w o m e n patrons: "1 hate him!" Susan proclaims. "I love him!" Emily counters. (Neither statement is in the movie, of course.) Interestingly, this poster crudely parallels the multiple points of view found in the film itself.

p o r t for Mankiewicz, t h e Hollywood regular, a n d as a r e b u k e to Welles, t h e upstart, w h o lost o u t o n t h e acting, d i r e c t i n g , a n d best p i c t u r e awards. Incredibly, Citizen Kane failed at t h e b o x office. It was t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e e n d for Welles in Hollywood. W hen it failed to please several sneak-preview a u d i e n c e s , his n e x t m a s t e r p i e c e , The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), was c u t by RKO from its 131-minute l e n g t h to 88 m i n u t e s , a n d a h a p p y e n d i n g was t a c k e d o n . It t o o failed at t h e b o x office. Shortly afterwards, t h e r e was a m a n a g e m e n t shuffle a t R K O a n d b o t h Welles a n d Schaefer were o u s t e d . Welles was always a favorite with critics, especially in F r a n c e . As early as t h e 1950s, e x c e r p t s from his scripts a p p e a r e d in such j o u r n a l s as Image et Son a n d Cinema dAujourd'hui. Welles was an idolized s o u r c e of inspiration for t h e critics at Cahiers du Cinema, w h o s p e a r h e a d e d t h e F r e n c h N e w Wave. "All of us will always owe h i m everything," g u s h e d J e a n - L u c G o d a r d . Truffaut c l a i m e d t h a t Citizen Kane i n s p i r e d t h e largest n u m b e r of F r e n c h filmmakers to b e g i n T

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12-27. Othello (Morocco, 1952), with Orson Welles and Suzanne Cloutier, directed by Welles. In 1948, Welles, discouraged by a string of box-office failures, left for Europe and Africa, w h e r e he hoped to work as an i n d e p e n d e n t producer-director. His first movie was this adaptation of Shakespeare. The project was a nightmare. It was over three years in the shooting, a n d Welles had to interrupt production m a n y times to seek additional funding. He lost several players in the process. There were three Desdemonas, four Iagos. Sequences had to be reshot time and again. But finally the movie was finished. On the Continent, it was enthusiastically praised and swept the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. But British and American critics complained of its crude soundtrack. This was to be the pattern of virtually all his s u b s e q u e n t work outside America. (United Artists)

t h e i r o w n c a r e e r s , a n d h e i n c l u d e d a t e n d e r t r i b u t e t o this f a m o u s m o v i e i n L a Nuit Americaine (literally, " T h e A m e r i c a n N i g h t , " b u t r e l e a s e d in t h e U n i t e d States as Day for Night). Welles's critical r e p u t a t i o n c o n t i n u e d t o rise. I n t h e year o f his d e a t h , 1985, t h r e e b o o k s w e r e p u b l i s h e d a b o u t h i m . I n a poll o f i n t e r n a t i o n a l f i l m critics, c o n d u c t e d e v e r y t e n years by t h e p r e s t i g i o u s British j o u r n a l Sight and Sound, Citizen Kane h a s c o n s i s t e n t l y t o p p e d t h e list of t h e t e n g r e a t e s t films of all t i m e . T h e f i l m m a k e r w h o consistently receives t h e m o s t votes a s t h e g r e a t e s t d i r e c t o r i n t h e h i s t o r y o f t h e c i n e m a : O r s o n Welles. 528

S y n t h e s i s

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FURTHER READING

BAZIN, ANDRE, Orson Welles: A Critical View (NewYork: H a r p e r & Row, 1978). Critical study by France's greatest film critic. Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu (NewYork: P e n g u i n , 1996). First volume of a projected two, covering Welles's life up to his War of the Worlds broadcast, written

C A L L O W , SIMON,

by a distinguished British actor. CARRINGER, ROBERT L . , The Making of Citizen Kane (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). Definitive. GOTTESMAN, RONALD, ed., Focus on Orson Welles (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976). A collection of critical essays, filmography, and bibliography. See also Gottesman's Focus on Citizen Kane (Englewood Cliffs, N.|.: Prentice-Hall, 1971). Two excellent anthologies. HlGHAM, CHARLES, The Films of Orson Welles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970). Critical study a n d psychobiography. Very well illustrated. See also H i g h a m ' s Orson Welles: The Rise and Fall of an American Genius (NewYork: St. Martin's Press, 1985). The Citizen. Kane Book (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971). Reading version a n d a cutting continuity of Kane, prefaced by Kael's controversial essay on t h e a u t h o r s h i p of the script.

KAEL, PAULINE,

LEAMINO, BARBARA, Orson Welles: A Biography (NewYork: Viking, 1985). Extensive interviews with Welles; somewhat idolatrous. M C B R I D E , J O S E P H , Orson Welles (NewYork: Viking, 1972). A perceptive critical study. Filmography. Stage, radio, television, acting credits. NAREMORE, JAMES, The Magic World of Orson Welles (NewYork: Oxford University Press, 1978). Critical study. THOMPSON, DAVID, Rosebud (NewYork: Knopf, 1996). A well-written biography, with sixty-nine photos.

/

(C) (I)

predominantly critical terms predominantly industry terms

(T) predominantly technical terms (G) terms in general usage

A

actor star. See star. aerial shot (T). Essentially a variation of the crane shot, though restricted to exterior locations. Usually taken from a helicopter. aesthetic distance (C). Viewers' ability to distinguish between an artistic reality and external reality—their realization that the events of a fiction film are simulated. A-film (I). An American studio era term signifying a major production, usually with important stars and a generous budget. Shown as the main feature on double bills. aleatory techniques (C). Techniques of filmmaking that depend on the element of chance. Images are not planned out in advance but must be composed on the spot by the camera operator. Usually used in documentary situations. allegory (C). A symbolic technique in which stylized characters and situations represent rather obvious ideas, such as Justice, Death, Religion, Society, and so on. allusion (C). A reference to an event, person, or work of art, usually well known. angle (G). The camera's angle of view relative to the subject being photographed. A highangle shot is photographed from above, a low angle from below the subject. animation (G). A form of filmmaking characterized by photographing inanimate objects or individual drawings frame by frame, with each frame differing minutely from its predecessor. When such images are projected at the standard speed of twenty-four frames per second, the result is that the objects or drawings appear to move, and hence seem "animated." anticipatory camera, anticipatory setup (C). The placement of the camera in such a manner as to anticipate the movement of an action before it occurs. Such setups often suggest predestination. archetype (C). An original model or type after which similar things are patterned. Archetypes can be well-known story patterns, universal experiences, or personality types.

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C o H t e n t s

Myths, fairy tales, genres, a n d cultural heroes are generally archetypal, as are t h e basic cycles of life a n d n a t u r e . art director (G). T h e individual responsible for designing a n d overseeing the construction of sets for a movie, a n d sometimes its interior decoration a n d overall visual style. aspect ratio (T). T h e ratio between the horizontal a n d vertical dimensions of the screen. auteur theory (C). A t h e o r y of film popularized by the critics of the F r e n c h j o u r n a l Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950s. T h e theory emphasizes the director as the major creator of film art, s t a m p i n g the material with his or h e r own personal vision, style, a n d thematic obsessions. available lighting (G). T h e use of only that light which actually exists on location, either natural (the sun) or artificial (house lamps). W h e n available lighting is used in interior locations, generally a sensitive fast film stork must also be used. avant-garde (C). From t h e F r e n c h , m e a n i n g "in the front ranks." T h o s e minority artists whose works are characterized by an unconventional daring a n d by obscure, controversial, or highly personal ideas. B

backlighting (G). W h e n the lights for a shot derive from the rear of the set, thus throwing the f o r e g r o u n d figures into semidarkness or silhouette. , back lot (I). During the studio era, standing exterior sets of such c o m m o n locales as a turn-ofthe-century city block, a frontier town, a European village, a n d so on. B-film (G). A low-budget movie usually shown as the second feature during the big-studio era in America. B-films rarely included important stars and took the form of p o p u l a r genres, such as thrillers, westerns, or h o r r o r films. T h e major studios used t h e m as testing grounds for the raw talent u n d e r contract. bird's-eye view (G). A shot in which t h e c a m e r a p h o t o g r a p h s a scene from directly overhead. blimp (T). A s o u n d p r o o f c a m e r a h o u s i n g that muffles the noise of the camera's m o t o r so s o u n d can be clearly r e c o r d e d on the set. blocking (T). T h e m o v e m e n t s of the actors within a given playing area. b o o m , mike b o o m (T). An overhead telescoping pole that carries a m i c r o p h o n e , p e r m i t t i n g the synchronous r e c o r d i n g of s o u n d without restricting the m o v e m e n t of the actors. buddy film (G). A male-oriented action g e n r e , especially p o p u l a r in the 1970s, dealing with t h e adventures of two or m o r e m e n , usually excluding any significant female roles. C

camp, campy (C). An artistic sensibility typified by comic mockerv, especially of t h e straight world a n d conventional morality. Campy movies are often ludicrously theatrical, stylistically gaudy, a n d gleefully subversive. eels, also cells (T). T r a n s p a r e n t plastic sheets that are s u p e r i m p o s e d in layers by animators to give the illusion of d e p t h a n d volume to their drawings. centrist (C). A political t e r m signifying a m o d e r a t e ideology, midway between t h e extremes of the left a n d right wings. cinematographer, also director of photography or D . P . (G). T h e artist or technician responsible for the lighting of a shot a n d t h e quality of the photography.

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cinema verite, also direct cinema (C). A m e t h o d of d o c u m e n t a r y filming using aleatory methods that d o n ' t interfere with the way events take place in reality. Such movies are m a d e with a m i n i m u m of e q u i p m e n t , usually a h a n d - h e l d camera a n d portable s o u n d apparatus. classical cinema, classical paradigm (C). A vague b u t convenient term used to designate the style of mainstream fiction films p r o d u c e d in America, roughly from the m i d t e e n s until the late 1960s. T h e classical p a r a d i g m is a movie strong in story, star, a n d production values, with a high level of technical achievement, a n d edited according to conventions of classical cutting. T h e visual style is functional a n d rarely distracts from t h e characters in action. Movies in this form are structured narratively, with a clearly defined conflict, complications that intensify to a rising climax, a n d a resolution that emphasizes formal closure. classical cutting (C). A style of editing developed by D. W. Griffith, in which a sequence of shots is d e t e r m i n e d by a scene's dramatic and emotional emphasis rather than by physical action alone. T h e sequence of shots represents the breakdown of the event into its psychological as well as logical components. closed forms (C). A visual style that inclines toward self-conscious designs a n d carefully harm o n i z e d compositions. T h e frame is exploited to suggest a self-sufficient universe that encloses all the necessary visual information, usually in an aesthetically appealing m a n n e r . close-up, close shot (G). A detailed view of a p e r s o n or object. A close-up of an actor usually includes only his or h e r h e a d . continuity (T). T h e kind of logic implied between edited shots, their principle of c o h e r e n c e . Cutting to continuity emphasizes s m o o t h transitions between shots, in which time a n d space are unobtrusively c o n d e n s e d . More c o m p l e x classical cutting is the linking of shots according to an event's psychological as well as logical breakdown. In thematic, montage, the continuity is d e t e r m i n e d by the symbolic association of ideas between shots, r a t h e r t h a n any literal connections in time a n d space. convention (C). An implied a g r e e m e n t between the viewer a n d artist to accept certain artificialities as real in a work of art. fn movies, editing (or the juxtaposition of shots) is accepted as "logical" even t h o u g h a viewer's p e r c e p t i o n of reality is c o n t i n u o u s a n d unfragmented. coverage, covering shots, cover shots (T). Extra shots of a scene that can be used to bridge transitions in case the p l a n n e d footage fails to edit as p l a n n e d . Usually long shots that preserve t h e overall continuity of a scene. crane shot (T). A shot taken from a special device called a crane, which resembles a h u g e mechanical a r m . T h e crane carries the camera a n d the cinematographer a n d can move in virtually any direction. creative producer (I). A p r o d u c e r who supervises the making of a movie in such detail that he or she is virtually its artistic director. During the studio era in America, the most famous creative producers were David O. Selznick a n d Walt Disney. cross-cutting (G). T h e alternating of shots from two sequences, often in different locales, suggesting that they are taking place at the same time. cutting to continuity (T). A type of editing in which the shots are a r r a n g e d to preserve the fluidity of an action without showing all of it. An unobtrusive c o n d e n s a t i o n of a continuous action.

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C o n t e n t s

D

day-for-night shooting (T). Scenes that are filmed in daytime with special filters to suggest nighttime settings in the movie image. deep-focus shot (T). A technique of photography that permits all distance planes to remain clearly in focus, from close-up ranges to infinity. dialectical, dialectics (C). An analytical methodology, derived from Hegel and Marx, that juxtaposes pairs of opposites—a thesis and antithesis—to arrive at a synthesis of ideas. dissolve, lap dissolve (T). The slow fading out of one shot and the gradual fading in of its successor, with a superimposition of images, usually at the midpoint. distributor (I). Those individuals who serve as go-betweens in the film industry, who arrange to book the product in theaters. dolly shot, tracking shot, trucking shot (T). A shot taken from a moving vehicle. Originally, tracks were laid on the set to permit a smoother movement of the camera. dominant contrast, dominant (C). That area of the film image that compels the viewer's most immediate attention, usually because of a prominent visual contrast. double exposure (T). The superimposition of two literally unrelated images on film. See also multiple exposure. dubbing (T). The addition of sound after the visuals have been photographed. Dubbing can be either synchronous with an image or nonsynchronous. Foreign language movies are often dubbed in English for release in this country. E

editing (G). The joining of one shot (strip of film) with another. The shots can picture events and objects in different places at different times. In Europe, editing is called montage. epic (C). A film genre characterized by bold and sweeping themes, usually in heroic proportions. The protagonist is an ideal representative of a culture—national, religious, or regional. The tone of most epics is dignified, the treatment larger than life. The western is the most popular epic genre in the United States. establishing shot (T). Usually an extreme long or long shot offered at the beginning of a scene, providing the viewer with the context of the subsequent closer shots. expressionism (C). A style of filmmaking emphasizing extreme distortion, lyricism, and artistic self-expression at the expense of objectivity. extreme close-up (G). A minutely detailed view of an object or person. An extreme close-up of an actor generally includes only his or her eyes or mouth. extreme long shot (G). A panoramic view of an exterior location, photographed from a great distance, often as far as a quarter-mile away. eye-level shot (T). The placement of the camera approximately five to six feet from the ground, corresponding to the height of an observer on the scene. F

fade (T). The fade-out is the snuffing of an image from normal brightness to a black screen. A fade-in is the opposite, faithful adaptation (C). A film based on a literary original which captures the essence of the original, often by using cinematic equivalents for specific literary techniques.

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fast motion (T). Shots of a subject photographed at a rate slower than twenty-four fps, which, when projected at the standard rate, convey motion that is jerky and slightly comical, seemingly out of control. fast stock, fast film (T). Film stock that's highly sensitive to light and generally produces a grainy image. Often used by documentarists who wish to shoot only with available lighting. fill light (T). Secondary lights that are used to augment the key light—the main source of illumination for a shot. Fill lights soften the harshness of the key light, revealing details that would otherwise be obscured in shadow. film noir (C). A French term—literally, black cinema—referring to a kind of urban American genre that sprang up after World War II, emphasizing a fatalistic, despairing universe where there is no escape from mean city streets, loneliness, and death. Stylistically, noir emphasizes low-key and high-contrast lighting, complex compositions, and a strong atmosphere of dread and paranoia. filters (T). Pieces of glass or plastic placed in front of the camera lens that distort the quality of light entering the camera and hence the movie image. final cut, also release print (I). T h e sequence of shots in a movie as it will be released to the public. first cut, also rough cut (I). The initial sequence of shots in a movie, often constructed by the director. first-person point of view. See point-of-view shot. flashback (G). An editing technique that suggests the interruption of the present by a shot or series of shots representing the past. flash-forward (G). An editing technique that suggests the interruption of the present by a shot or series of shots representing the future. focus (T). The degree of acceptable sharpness in a film image. "Out of focus" means the images are blurred and lack acceptable linear definition. footage (T). Exposed film stock. foregrounding (C). When a critic isolates and heightens one aspect of a work of art from its context to analyze that characteristic in greater depth. formalist, formalism (C). A style of filmmaking in which aesthetic forms take precedence over the subject matter as content. Time and space as ordinarily perceived are often distorted. Emphasis is on the essential, symbolic characteristics of objects and people, not necessarily on their superficial appearance. Formalists are often lyrical, self-consciously heightening their style to call attention to it as a value for its own sake. frame (T). The dividing line between the edges of the screen image and the enclosing darkness of the theater. Can also refer to a single photograph from the filmstrip. freeze frame, freeze shot (T). A shot composed of a single frame that is reprinted a number of times on the filmstrip; when projected, it gives the illusion of a still photograph. f-stop (T). The measurement of the size of the lens opening in the camera, indicating the amount of light that's admitted, full shot (T). A type of long shot that includes the human body in full, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom.

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C o n t e n t s

G gauge (T). The width of the filmstrip, expressed in millimeters (mm). The wider the gauge, the better the quality of the image. The standard theatrical gauge is 35 mm. genre (C). A recognizable type of movie, characterized by certain preestablished conventions. Some c o m m o n American genres are westerns, thrillers, sci-fi movies, etc. A ready-made narrative form. H hand-held shot (G). A shot taken with a moving camera that is often deliberately shaky to suggest documentary footage in a uncontrolled setting. high-angle shot (T). A shot in which the subject is photographed from above. high contrast (T). A style of lighting emphasizing harsh shafts and dramatic streaks of lights and darks. Often used in thrillers and melodramas. high key (T). A style of lighting emphasizing bright and even illumination, with few conspicuous shadows. Used mostly in comedies, musicals, and light entertainment films. homage (C). A direct or indirect reference within a movie to another movie, filmmaker, or cinematic style. A respectful and affectionate tribute. I iconography (C). The use of a well-known cultural symbol or complex of symbols in an artistic representation. In movies, iconography can involve a star's persona, the preestablished conventions of a genre (like the shootout in a western), the use of archetypal characters and situations, and such stylistic features as lighting, settings, constuming, props, and so on. independent producer (G). A producer not affiliated with a studio or large commercial firm. Many stars and directors have been independent producers to ensure their artistic control, intercut (T). See cross-cutting. intrinsic interest (C). An unobtrusive area of the film image that nonetheless compels our most immediate attention because of its dramatic or contextual importance. iris (T). A masking device that blacks out portions of the screen, permitting only a part of the image to be seen. Usually, the iris is circular or oval in shape and can be expanded or contracted. J

j u m p cut (T). An abrupt transition between shots, sometimes deliberate, which is disorienting in terms of the continuity of space and time. K key light (T). The main source of illumination for a shot. kinetic (C). Pertaining to motion and movement. L leftist, left-wing (G). A set of ideological values, typically liberal in emphasis, stressing such traits as equality, the importance of environment in determining human behavior, relativism in moral matters, emphasis on the secular rather than religion, an optimistic view of the future and human nature, a belief in technology as the main p r o

C o n t e n t s

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pellant of progress, cooperation rather than competition, an identification with the poor and the oppressed, internationalism, and sexual and reproductive freedom, lengthy take, long take (C). A shot of lengthy duration. lens (T). A ground or molded piece of glass, plastic, or other transparent material through which light rays are refracted so they converge or diverge to form the photographic image within the camera. linear (C). A visual style emphasizing sharply defined lines rather than colors or textures. Deep-focus lenses are generally used to produce this hard-edged style, which tends to be objective, matter-of-fact, and antiromantic. literal adaptation (C). A movie based on a stage play, in which the dialogue and actions are preserved more or less intact. long shot (G). A shot that includes an area within the image that roughly corresponds to the audience's view of the area within the proscenium arch in the live theater. loose adaptation (C). A movie based on another medium in which only a superficial resemblance exists between the two versions. loose framing (C). Usually in longer shots. The mise en scene is so spaciously distributed within the confines of the framed image that the people photographed have considerable freedom of movement. low-angle shot (T). A shot in which the subject is photographed from below. low key (T). A style of lighting that emphasizes diffused shadows and atmospheric pools of light. Often used in mysteries and thrillers. lyrical (C). A stylistic exuberance and subjectivity, emphasizing the sensuous beauty of the medium and producing an intense outpouring of emotion. M

majors (I). The principal production studios of a given era. In the golden age of the Hollywood studio system—roughly the 1930s and 1940s—the majors consisted of MGM, Warner Brothers, RKO, Paramount Pictures, and Twentieth Century-Fox. Marxist (G). An ideological term used to describe any person or film that is biased in favor of left-wing values, particularly in their more extreme form. masking (T). A technique whereby a portion of the movie image is blocked out, thus temporarily altering the dimensions of the screen's aspect ratio. master shot (T). An uninterrupted shot, usually taken from a long- or full-shot range, that contains an entire scene. The closer shots are photographed later, and an edited sequence, composed of a variety of shots, is constructed on the editor's bench. matte shot (T). A process of combining two separate shots on one print, resulting in an image that looks as though it had been photographed normally. Used mostly for special effects, such as combining a human figure with giant dinosaurs, etc. medium shot (G). A relatively close shot, revealing the human figure from the knees or waist up. metaphor (C). An implied comparison between two otherwise unlike elements, meaningful in a figurative rather than literal sense. Method acting (C). A style of performance derived from the Russian stage director Stanislavsky, which has been the dominant acting style in America since the 1950s. Method actors emphasize psychological intensity, extensive rehearsals to explore a character, emotional believability rather than technical mastery, and "living" a role internally rather than merely imitating the external behavior of a character.

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C o n t e n t s

metteur en scene (C). The artist or technician who creates the mise en scene—that is, the director. mickeymousing (T). A type of film music that is purely descriptive and attempts to mimic the visual action with musical equivalents. Often used in cartoons. miniatures, also model or miniature shots (T). Small-scale models photographed to give the illusion that they are full-scale objects. For example, ships sinking at sea, giant dinosaurs, airplanes colliding, etc. minimalism (C). A style of filmmaking characterized by austerity and restraint, in which cinematic elements are reduced to the barest minimum of information. mise en scene (C). The arrangement of visual weights and movements within a given space. In the live theater, the space is usually defined by the proscenium arch; in movies, it is defined by the frame that encloses the images. Cinematic mise en scene encompasses both the staging of the action and the way that it's photographed. mix (T). The process of combining separately recorded sounds from individual soundtracks onto a master track. montage (T). Transitional sequences of rapidly edited images, used to suggest the lapse of time or the passing of events. Often uses dissolves and multiple exposures. In Europe, montage means the art of editing. motif (C). Any unobtrusive technique, object, or thematic idea that's systematically repeated throughout a film. multiple exposures (T). A special effect produced by the optical printer, which permits the superimposition of many images simultaneously. N

negative image (T). The reversal of lights and darks of the subject photographed: blacks are white, whites are black. negative space (C). Emply or unfilled space in the mise en scene, often acting as a foil to the more detailed elements in a shot. neorealism (C). An Italian film movement that produced its best works between 1945 and 1955. Strongly realistic in its techniques, neorealism emphasized documentary aspects of film art, stressing loose episodic plots, unextraordinary events and characters, natural lighting, actual location settings, nonprofessional actors, a preoccupation with poverty and social problems, and an emphasis on humanistic and democratic ideals. The term has also been used to describe other films that reflect the technical and stylistic biases of Italian neorealism. NewWave, nouvelle vague (C). A group of young French directors who came to prominence during the late 1950s. The most widely known are Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Alain Resnais. nonsynchronous sound (T). Sound and image that are not recorded simultaneously, or sound that is detached from its source in the film image. Music is usually nonsynchronous in a movie, providing background atmosphere. O oblique angle, tilt shot (T). A shot photographed by a tilted camera. When the image is projected on the screen, the subject itself seems to be tilted on a diagonal. oeuvre (C). From the French, "work." The complete works of an artist, viewed as a whole.

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omniscient point of view (C). An all-knowing narrator who provides the spectator with all the necessary information. open forms (C). Used primarily by realist filmmakers, these techniques are likely to be unobtrusive, with an emphasis on informal compositions and apparently haphazard designs. The frame is exploited to suggest a temporary masking, a window that arbitrarily cuts off part of the action. optical printer (T). An elaborate machine used to create special effects in movies. For example, fades, dissolves, multiple exposures, etc. ointakes (I). Shots or pieces of shots that are not used in the final cut of a film. Leftover footage. overexposure (T). Too much light enters the aperture of a camera lens, bleaching out the image. Useful for fantasy and nightmare scenes. P painterly (C). A visual style emphasizing soft edges, lush colors, and a radiantly illuminated environment, all producing a romantic lyricism, pan, panning shot (T). Short for panorama, this is a revolving horizontal movement of the camera from left to right or vice versa. parallel editing. See cross-cutting. persona (C). From the Latin, "mask." An actor's public image, based on his or her previous roles, and often incorporating elements from their actual personalities as well. personality star. See star. pixillation, also stop-motion photography (T). An animation technique involving the photographing of live actors frame by frame. When the sequence is projected at the standard speed of twenty-four fps, the actors move abruptly and jerkily, like cartoon figures. point-of-view shot, also pov shot, first-person camera, subjective camera (T). Any shot that is taken from the vantage point of a character in the film, showing what the character sees. process shot, also rear projection (T). A technique in which a background scene is projected onto a translucent screen behind the actors so it appears that the actors are on location in the final image. producer (G). An ambiguous term referring to the individual or company that controls the financing of a film, and often the way it's made. The producer can concern himself or herself solely with business matters, or with putting together a package deal (such as script, stars, and director), or the producer can function as an expeditor, smoothing over problems during production. producer-director (I). A filmmaker who finances his or her projects independently, to allow maximum creative freedom. production values (I). The box-office appeal of the physical mounting of a film, such as sets, costumes, props, etc. prop (T). Any movable item that is included in a movie: tables, guns, books, etc. property (I). Anything with a profit-making potential in movies, though generally used to describe a story of some kind: a screenplay, novel, short story, etc. proxemic patterns (C). The spatial relationships among characters within the mise. en scene, and the apparent distance of the camera from the subject photographed.

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C o n t e n t s

pull-back dolly (T). Withdrawing the camera from a scene to reveal an object or character that was previously out of frame. R

rack focusing, selective focusing (T). The blurring of local planes in sequence, forcing the viewer's eyes to travel with those areas of an image that remain in sharp focus. reaction shot (T). A cut to a shot of a character's reaction to the contents of the preceding shot. realism (G). A style of filmmaking that attempts to duplicate the look of objective reality as it's commonly perceived, with emphasis on authentic locations and details, long shots, lengthy takes, and a minimum of distorting techniques. reestablishing shot (T). A return to an initial establishing shot within a scene, acting as a reminder of the physical context of the closer shots. reprinting (T). A special effects technique in which two or more separately photographed images are rephotographed onto one strip of film, reverse angle shot (T). A shot taken from an angle 180° opposed to the previous shot. That is, the camera is placed opposite its previous position. reverse motion (T). A series of images are photographed with the film reversed. When projected normally, the effect is to suggest backward movement—an egg "returning" to its shell, for example. rightist, right-wing (G). A set of ideological values, typically conservative in emphasis, stressing such traits as family values, patriarchy, heredity and caste, absolute moral and ethical standards, religion, veneration for tradition and the past, a tendency to be pessimistic about the future and human nature, the need for competition, an identification with leaders and elite classes, nationalism, open market economic principals, and marital monogamy. rite of passage (C). Narratives that focus on key phases of a person's life, when an individual passes from one stage of development to another, such as adolescence to adulthood, innocence to experience, middle age to old age, and so on. rough cut (T). The crudely edited footage of a movie before the editor has tightened up the slackness between shots. A kind of rough draft. rushes, dailies (I). The selected footage of the previous day's shooting, which is usually evaluated by the director and cinematographer before the start of the next day's shooting. S scene (G). An imprecise unit of film, composed of a number of interrelated shots, unified usually by a central concern—a location, an incident, or a minor dramatic climax. screwball comedy (C). A film genre, introduced in the 1930s in America and popular up to the 1950s, characterized by zany lovers, often from different social classes. The plots are often absurdly improbable and have a tendency to veer out of control. These movies usually feature slapstick comedy scenes, aggressive and charming heroines, and an assortment of outlandish secondary characters. script, screenplay, scenario (G). A written description of a movie's dialogue and action, which occasionally includes camera directions, selective focus. See rack focusing.

C o n t e n t s

5 4 1

sequence shot, also plan-sequence (C). A single lengthy shot, usually involving complex staging and camera movements, setup (T). The positioning of the camera and lights for a specific shot. shooting ratio (I). T h e amount of film stock used in photographing a movie in relation to what's finally included in the finished product. A shooting ratio of 20: t means that twenty feet of fifm were shot for every one used in the final cut. shooting script (I). A written breakdown of a movie story into its individual shots, often containing technical instructions. Used by the director and his or her staff during the production. short lens. See wide-angle lens. shot (G). Those images that are recorded continuously from the time the camera starts to the time it stops. That is, an unedited strip of film. slow motion (T). Shots of a subject photographed at a faster rate than twenty-four fps, which when projected at the standard rate produce a dreamy, dancelike slowness of action. slow stock, slow film (T). Film stocks that are relatively insensitive to light and produce crisp images and a sharpness of detail. When used in interior settings, these stocks generally require considerable artificial illumination. soft focus (T). The blurring out of focus of all except one desired distance range. Can also refer to a glamorizing technique that softens the sharpness of definition so facial wrinkles can be smoothed over and even eliminated. star (G). A film actor or actress of great popularity. A personality star tends to play only those roles that fit a preconceived public image, which constitutes his or her persona. An actor star can play roles of greater range and variety. Barbra Streisand is a personality star; Robert De Niro is an actor star. star system (G). The technique of exploiting the charisma of popular performers to enhance the box-office appeal of films. The star system was developed in America and has been the backbone of the American film industry since the mid-l9l0s. star vehicle (G). A movie especially designed to showcase the talents and charms of a specific star. stock (T). Unexposed film. There are many types of movie stocks, including those highly sensitive to light (fast stocks) and those relatively insensitive to light (slow stocks). storyboard, storyboarding (T). A previsualization technique in which shots are sketched in advance and in sequence, like a comic strip, thus allowing the filmmaker to outline the mise en scene and construct the editing continuity before production begins. story values (I). The narrative appeal of a movie, which can reside in the popularity of an adapted property, the high craftsmanship of a script, or both, studio (G). A large corporation specializing in the production of movies, such as Paramount, Warner Brothers, and so on; any physical facility equipped for the production of films. subjective camera. See point-of-viexu shot. subsidiary contrast (C). A subordinated element of the film image, complementing or contrasting with the dominant contrast. subtext (C). A term used in drama and film to signify the dramatic implications beneath the language of a play or movie. Often, the subtext concerns ideas and emotions that are totally independent of the language of a text.

5 4 2

C o n t e n t s

surrealism (C). An avant-garde movement in the arts stressing Freudian and Marxist ideas, unconscious elements, irrationalism, and the symbolic association of ideas. Surrealist movies were produced roughly from 1924 to 1931, primarily in France, though there are surrealistic elements in the works of many directors, and especially in music videos. swish pan, also flash or zip pan (T). A horizontal movement of the camera at such a rapid rate that the subject photographed blurs on the screen. symbol, symbolic (C). A figurative device in which an object, event, or cinematic technique has significance beyond its literal meaning. Symbolism is always determined by the dramatic context. synchronous sound (T). The agreement or correspondence between image and sound, which are recorded simultaneously, or seem so in the finished print. Synchronous sounds appear to derive from an obvious source in the visuals. T take (T). A variation of a specific shot. The final shot is often selected from a number of possible takes. telephoto lens, long lens (T). A lens that acts as a telescope, magnifying the size of objects at a great distance. A side effect is its tendency to flatten perspective. thematic montage (C). A type of editing propounded by the Soviet filmmaker Eisenstein, in which separate shots are linked together not by their literal continuity in reality but by symbolic association. A shot of a preening braggart might be linked to a shot of a toy peacock, for example. Most commonly used in documentaries, in which shots are connected in accordance to the filmmaker's thesis. three-point lighting (T). A c o m m o n technique of lighting a scene from three sources. The key light is the main source of illumination, usually creating the dominant contrast, where we look first in a shot. Fill lights are less intense and are generally placed opposite the key, illuminating areas that would otherwise be obscured by shadow. Backlights are used to separate the foreground elements from the setting, emphasizing a sense of depth in the image. three-shot (T). A medium shot, featuring three actors. tight framing (C). Usually in close shots. The mise en scene is so carefully balanced and harmonized that the people photographed have little or no freedom of movement, tilt, tilt shot (T). See oblique angle. tracking shot, trucking shot. See dolly shot. two-shot (T). A medium shot featuring two actors.

V vertical integration (I). A system in which the production, distribution, and exhibition of movies are all controlled by the same corporation, fn America, the practice was declared illegal in the late 1940s. viewfinder (T). An eyepiece on the camera that defines the playing area and the framing of the action to be photographed. voice-over (T). A nonsynchronous spoken commentary in a movie, often used to convey a character's thoughts or memories.

C o n t e n t s

5 4 3

W

wide-angle lens, short lens (T). A lens that permits the camera to photograph a wider area than a normal lens. A side effect is its tendency to exaggerate perspective. Also used for deep-focus photography. widescreen, also CinemaScope, scope (G). A movie image that has an aspect ratio of approximately 5:3, though some widescreens possess horizontal dimensions that extend as wide as 2.5 times the vertical dimension of the screen. wipe (T). An editing device, usually a line that travels across the screen, "pushing o f f one image and revealing another. women's pictures (G). A film genre that focuses on the problems of women, such as career versus family conflicts. Often, such films feature a popular female star as protagonist. Z

zoom lens, zoom shot (T). A lens of variable focal length that permits the cinematographer to change from wide-angle to telephoto shots (and vice versa) in one continuous movement, often plunging the viewer in or out of a scene rapidly.

/

ZJ n d ^ ?c

A

Acting, 245-295, 509-511 styles of, 276-287 Action film, 115 Adaptation, 300-301, 304, 405-409 Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The, 448 African Queen, The, 173-174 Age of Innocence, The, color plate 5 Aguirre, the Wrath of God, 276, 277 Air Force One, 47 Aladdin, 331 Alea, Tomas Gutierrez, 399 Alexander Nevsky, 222 Alexie, Sherman, 432 Aliens, color plate 2 All About Eve, 301, 383 All Screwed Up, 236 Allen, Woody, 45, 181, 381 Allures, 9 Altman, Robert, 214, 403, 488 Amadeus, 225 Amarcord, 320 American Beauty, color plate 3, 395-396 American Graffiti, 225 Ameriran in Paris, An, 97

Anders, Allison, 433 Angela's Ashes, 334 Angles, the, 13—17 Animation, 124-126, 220, 331 Annie Hall, 181 Another Country, 87 Anticipatory setup, 86, 102, 108 Antonioni, Michelangelo, 24, 75, 76, 79, 102, 223, 250 Any Given. Sunday, 96 Apocalypse Now, 122-123, 220 Armageddon, 72 Arnheim, Rudolf, 465-468 Arrival of a Train, The, 2, 137 As Good As It Gets, 13 Astaire, Fred, 106, 152 August, John, 477 Auteur theory, 305-310, 470-475, 524 Autumn Afternoon, An, 485 Avant garde, 4, 5, 9, 148-150, 360-361

B

Babe, 214 545

5 4 6

J u d e x

Babenco, Hector, 428 Back-lot sets, 321-322 Badlands, 240 Ball, Lucille, 272-273 Ballet Mecanique, 123 Band Wagon, The, 229 Bank, The, 483 Barcelona, 378 Barton Fink, 317 Batman Forever, 326 Bazin, Andre, 168-180, 306, 458 Beauty and the Beast, 125 Being John Malkovich, 467 Belle Epoque, 242 Beresford, Bruce, 484 Bergman, Ingmar, 8, 80, 230, 394, 424, 472 Bergman, Ingrid, 259-260 Berkeley, Busby, 3, 97 Best Years of Our Lives, The, 23 Bicycle Thief, The, 289, 462-464 Big, 67 Big Night, 449 Birth of a Nation, The, 22, 138, 139, 142, 145, 313 Blade Runner, 323 Blair Witch Project, The, 122 Blonde Venus, 481 Blood & Wine, 264 Blue Angel, The, 69 Body language, 255, 327 Bogart, Humphrey, 456 Bonnie and Clyde, 14, 218-219, 224 Boogie Nights, 336 Booty Call, 90 Born on the Fourth of July, 120 Boys Don't Cry, 248 Boyz N the Hood, 435 Branagh, Kenneth, 12, 76, 281, 426 Brando, Marlon, 285, 308 Braveheart, 107 Breakfast Club, The, 328 Breaking Aivay, 435 Bridges of Madison County, The, 241 Bringing Up Baby, 451-452

Broken Arroxv, 115 Bull Durham, 234 Bullock, Sandra, 335 Bunuel, Luis, 131,354 Burton, Tim, 316 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 131

C

Cabaret, 26, 114 Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The, 277, 315 Cagney, James, 284 Can Film, 126 Capra, Frank, 7, 144, 363, 423 Caretaker, The, 117-119 Carrington, 447 Casablanca, 377-379, 380 Cassavetes, John, 85-86 Casting, 287-293 Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The, 434 Chaplin, Charles, 81-83, 255, 278, 325-326, 483 Charisse, Cyd, 116 Chasing Amy, 382 Chicken Run, color plate 12 Chinatown, 349 Choreography, 95, 97, 98, 106, 114, 116, 130 Cimino, Michael, 150 Cinema Paradiso, 422 Cinema verite, 217, 287, 356-360 Cinematographer, Cinematography, 36-42, 495-499 Circle of Friends, 112 Citizen Kane, 27, 493-531 City Lights, 81, 82 City of Hope, 490 Clair, Rene, 210-212 Classical cinema, 6 Classical composition, 56-58 Classical cutting, 138-154

i7 n d c ^

Classical paradigm, 4, 343-348 Clerks, 175 Clockwork Orange, A, 215 Clooney, George, 3 Closed form, 83-92 Closely Watched Trains, 464 Clueless, 478 Colbert, Claudette, 363 Color, 22-28 Composition, 56-65, 500 Condemned Man Escapes, A, 75 Continuity, 134-138 Coppola, Francis Ford , 39, 68, 220 Costner, Kevin, 357, 426 Costumes, 324-332, 514-515 Crawford, Joan, 474 Cries and Whispers, 394 Crime and Punishment, 26 Crowe, Russell, 343 Crucible, The, 121 Cruise, Tom, 259, 262, 274, 366 Crying Game, The, 292 Curtiz, Michael, 473-475

D Dames, 3 Damon, Matt, 469 Dances With Wolves, 426 Dance with Me, 118 Dark Victory, color plate 18, 27 Day for Night, 393 Day-Lewis, Daniel, 263 Days of Heaven, 41 Dead, The, 304 Dead Man Walking, 431 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, 155 Decline of the American Empire, The, 60 Decor, 311-324, 512 Deep focus photography, 12 Deer Hunter, The, 150 Deliverance, 39

54

Deneuve, Catherine, 284 De Niro, Robert, 261,277 Depardieu, Gerard, 355 Deren, Maya, 360-361, 493 De Sica, Vittorio, 85, 289, 377, 460, 462-464 Dialects, 233, 234, 236, 237 DiCaprio, Leonardo, 310 Die Hard With a Vengeance, 274 Dietrich, Marlene, 445 Dinosaur, 125 Director, the, 305-310 Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The, 354 Disney, Walt, 125,371 Distant Thunder, 6 Documentary, 137, 140, 172, 356-360, 459 Dodes'ka-den, 322 Dog Day Afternoon, 39, 170 Dog Star Man, 29 Dominant contrast, dominant, 58 Dona Flor and Her Txoo Husbands, 299 Donati, Danilo, 318-320 Don Giovanni, 231 Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, 365 Do the Right Thing, 221 Double Indemnity, 20 Drama, 295-333, 511-515 Driving Miss Daisy, 308 Dubbing, 211, 241-242, 256 Dunaway, Faye, 349 Duvall, Robert, 484 DVD, 39

Eastwood, Clint, 241, 364 Eclectic theory, 477-480 Editing, 133-207, 505-507

5 4 8

J « d c x

Edward Scissorhands, color plate 1 8'A, 119, 342, 479 Eisenstein, Sergei, 108, 157-168, 210, 222, 313, 323, 419 Emigrants, The, 37 Empire Strikes Back Special Edition, The, 21 End of August at the Hotel Ozone, The, 57 End of Summer, The, 286 End of the Affair, The, 247 Enright, Ray, 3 Ensemble cast, 249 Enter the Dragon, 98 Epic, 298, 419, 450 Erin Brockovich, 293 Ethnicity, ethnic films, 436-437 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 369 Exorcist, The, 217 Expressionism, 4, 8 acting, 276, 277 sets, 315, 317-320

Flashdance, 153 Fonda, Jane, 270-271 Footlight Parade, 227 Ford, John, 16, 222, 376-377, 415, 429 Foreign Affair, A, 445 Formalism, 2-11 Formalist film theories, 464-470 Formalistic narratives, 352-356 Forrest Gump, 113 Fosse, Bob, 97, 114 400 Blows, The, 66, 131, 287 4th Man, The, 151 Four Weddings and a Funeral, color plate 10 Frame, the, 44-56 Frantic, 108 Freeman, Morgan, 270, 338 Freeze frame, 130-131 French Connection, The, 32, 110, 215 Freud, Sigmund, 370 Fritz the Cat, 124 From Here to Eternity, 25 Full Metal Jacket, 88

Face/Off, 353 Fanny and Alexander, 472 Fantastic Voyage, 297 Fargo, 364 Fast film stock, 24, 33 Fast motion, 127-128 Fat City, 142 Fellini, Federico, 119, 256, 318-321, 342, 479 Feminism, 437-443 Fiddler on the Roof, 433 Field, Syd, 345-346 Fiennes, Ralph, 247 Figurative comparisons, 393-399 Film noir, 27 Filters, 34 Fish Called Wanda, A, 254

G

Gable, Clark, 363 Gance, Abel, 50 Garbo, Greta, 268, 278-279 Garden of the Finzi-Continis, The, 27, 85 Garland, Judy, 228 Gattaca, 66 Gauges, 32 Gay Liberation, 444—450 General, The, 346-348 Genre, 362-372, 427-428, 439-440 Gere, Richard, 413 Giannini, Giancarlo, 277 Gigi, 287 Gilbert, John, 213 Gladiatm, 147

J u d e x

Glory, 129 Go, 477 Godard, Jean-Luc, 217, 337 Godfather, The, color plate 8, 39 Godfather Part II, The, 68 Gods and Monsters, 446 Godzilla, 100 Gold Rush, The, 82, 255 Gone With the Wind, 117 GoodFellas, 147 Gospel According to St. Matthew, The, 385 Graduate, The, 32, 64, 75, 120 Grand ffofei 319 Grand Illusion, 71, 75, 87 Grant, Gary, 292, 391, 452 Grapes of Wrath, The, 376-377, 429 Greed, 38, 54 Greysloke: The. Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 330 Griffith, D.W., 47, 138-154, 315-317 Grifters, The, 65

5 4 9

Herrmann, Bernard, 215-216, 223-224, 508 Hidden Fortress, The, 179 High Hopes, 421 Highlander III: The Sourcerer, 111 High Noon, 169 Historiography, 487-492 Hitchcock, Alfred, 48, 55, 117, 120, 181-206, 215-217, 275, 288-290, 354, 387-392, 398 Hoffman, Dustin, 305 Home and the World, The, 335 Honeymooners, The, 49 Hopkins, Anthony, 269 Hot Shots! Part Deux, 400 Howard, Ron, 469 Howards End, 376 How Green Was My Valley, 16, 319 Hudson, Rock, 445 Human Condition—No Greater Love, The, 420 Huston.John, 55, 313-315, 407, 456

H I

Hair, 130 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, 15 Hamlet, 7 Branagh version, 281 Olivier version, 103—104 Zeffirelli version, 104, 105 Hanks, Tom, 67, 266, 469 Harlan County, U.S.A., 359 Hate (La Haine), 352 Hearts and Minds, 5 Heavy Traffic, 124 Hecht, Ben, 380 Heckerling, Amy, 478 He Got Game, 432 Henry V, 426 Hepburn, Katharine, 452

Ice Storm, The, 258 Iconography, 268-269, 270, 275-276, 288, 292, 329 Ideology, 233, 237, 325, 411-455 Ikiru, 309 // Postino (The Postman), 327 Independence Day, 479 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 56 Indian in the Cupboard, The, 52 Innocents, The, 180 Insider, The, 343 In the Name of the Father, 263 Intolerance, 47, 151-153 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 368 Iris, 48 It Happened One Night, 363

550

J u d e x

It's a Wonderful Life, 144, 423 Ivory, James, 376

J Jackson, Samuel L., 274 Jazz Singer, The, 174, 208-209 Jerry Maguire, 262 Jewison, Norman, 433 JFK, 357 Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer, 376 Johns, color plate 9 Jonze, Spike, 467 Jules and Jim, 63, 65 Juliet of the Spirits, 26 Jung, Carl, 370-371 Jurassic Park, 171 Just Another Girl cm the I.R. T, 312

K

Kael, Pauline, 455, 477-478 Kafka, 40 Kazan, Elia, 281-287, 308 Keaton, Buster, 346-348 Keep, The, 312 Kelly, Gene, 97, 116,367 Kidd, Michael, 97 Kidman, Nicole, 265 Kids, 33 Kinetics, 95-112 King and I, The, 105 King of the Hill, 30 Kinski, Klaus, 276 Knack, The, 130 Kobayashi, Masaki, 420 Kolya, 340 Kracauer, Sigfried, 462

Kubrick, Stanley, 51, 88, 121, 225-226, 324, 395 Kuleshov, Lev, 155-157 Kureishi, Hanif, 384 Kurosawa, Akira, 109, 111, 129, 179, 219, 309, 322, 394-395, 396-397, 406

L Ladies in Retirement, 107-108 Lady from Shanghai, The, 401 Lang, Fritz, 54, 108, 316 Last Metro, The, 284 Last of the Mohicans, The, 129 Last Picture Show, The, 148, 225 La Strada, 256 Late Autumn, 430 Late Chrysanthemums, 441 Late Spring, 350 L'Awentura, 102 Law and Order, 358 Lawrence of Arabia, 48 Lean, David, 48 Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, 22 Leaving Las Vegas, 72 Lee, Ang, 392 Lee, Spike, 221, 432 Legend of Bagger Vance, The, 469 Leigh, Mike, 282, 421 Lenses, 28-36, 100-101 leopard, The, 325 Letter From an Unknown Woman, 119, 318 Lifeboat, 156 Life Is Beautiful, color plate 6 Lights, Lighting, 18-22 Like Water for Chocolate, 78 Lion King, The, 353 Little Caesar, 319 Little Foxes, The, 306

J u d e x

Little Mermaid, The, color plate 11 Little Women, 382 Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The, 131 Longtime Companion, 341 Looking for Richard, 172 Lopez, Jennifer, 264 Lubitsch, Ernst, 211-212 Lumet, Sidney, 39, 152 Lumiere brothers, 2, 137 Lyricism, 16

M

M, 54, 89, 91 Macbeth Polanski version, 59 Welles version, 59 Magic Flute, The, 231 Magnificent Ambersons, The, 213-214 Magnolia, 262 Magnum Force, 302 Makeup, 330-331 Makioka Sisters, The, 135 Maltese Falcon, The, 55, 456 Mame, 272-273 Manhattan, 45 Mankiewicz, Herman, 518-522 Mankiewicz, Joseph L., 301, 383 Mansfield Park, 118 Man Who Would Be King, The, 407 Marathon Man, 32 Married to the Mob, color plate 7 Marshall, Penny, 431 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 12 Masculine-Feminine, 337 Mask, The, 127 McCabe and Mrs. Miller, 34, 235 McKellen, Ian, 446 Medium Cool, 489 Melies, Georges, 2, 22, 131, 138, 317-318

551

Member of the Wedding, The, 408 Men, 443 Men in Black, 61 Menzefjiri, 464 Merchant, Ismail, 376 Merry Widow, The, 213 Metaphors, 395-396 Method acting, 281-287 Meyer, Nicholas, 385 Mickeymousing, 220, 222 Midnight Express, 55 Mildred Pierce, 474 Miniatures, 318 Mise en scene, 43-93, 297, 379-381, 499-501 Mi Vida Loca/My Crazy Life, 433 Mizoguchi, Kenji, 174, 465 Mon Oncle d'Amerique, 355-356 Monroe, Marilyn, 36, 265-267, 329 Monte Carlo, 210, 212 Moore, Julianne, 247 Moore, Michael, 414 Motifs, 394 Movement, 60, 93-133, 501-505 Moving camera, the, 112-123 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, 7 Mrs. Soffel, 84 Much Ado About Nothing, 76 Multiplicity, 35 Muppets From Space, 466 Muriel's Wedding, 40 Music, 219-226 Musicals, 154, 226-230, 367 My Beautiful Laundrette, 384 My Friend Irma Goes West, 42 My Life As a Dog, 343 Myth, 362-372, 413

N

Naked City, 38 Napoleon, 50

5 5 2

O n d e

?c

Narratives, nonfictional, 356-361 Narratology, 336-339 Naruse, Mikio, 441 Nashville, 403 Neighbors, 124-126 Neorealism, 176, 377 NewWave, nouvelle vague, 179-180 New York, New York, 230 Nichols, Mike, 474 Nicholson, Jack, 349 Night of the Shooting Stars, The, 257 Night Moves, 74 Nolle, Nick, 375 North by Northwest, 181-206, 3 8 7 392 Notorious, 46, 55, 120 Novak, Kim, 275 Nun's Story, The, 283

O October (Ten Days That Shook the World), 313,419 Octopussy, 439 Okaeri, 11 Oklahoma!, 97 Old and New, 105-107 Olivier, Laurence, 280-281 Olmi, Ermanno, 463 Once Were Warriors, 57 On the Town, 367 On the Waterfront, 281-282, 285, 383-385 Open City, 458, 459 Open form, 83-92 Opera, 230 Ophuls, Marcel, 172 Ophuls, Max. 119 Opposite of Sex, The, 476 Optical printer, 35-36 Ordinary People, 218 Orpheus, 130

Osborne, John, 386-387 Othello, 119 Ozu, Yasujiro, 53, 286, 350, 351, 430, 485

P Pacino, Al, 170, 172 Pas De Deux, 34 Pasolini, Pier Paolo, 385 Passion offoan of Arc, 104 Pather Panchali, 461 Pawnbroker, The, 39, 128, 152 Pennies From Heaven, 400 People VS. Larry Flynt, The, 364 Perfect Storm, The, 3 Persona, 80 Petersen, Wolfgang, 3 Philadelphia, 266 Photocopy Cha Cha, 126 Photography, 1-43 Pickford, Mary, 259-260 Pickpocket, 300 Pillow Talk, 445 Pinocchio, 371 Pinter, Harold, 117-119, 2 3 5 237 Pixote, 428 Places in the Heart, 114-115 Platoon, color plate 14 Point of Order!, 360 Point of view, 401-405 Polanski, Roman, 349 Potemkin, 160-168 Preacher's Wife, The, 431 Pretty Woman, 413 Primary Colors, 474 Prince of the City, 39 Prokofiev, Sergei, 222 Proxemic patterns, 77-83 Psycho, 48, 215-216, 398 Pudovkin, V. I., 155-157

.T

Pulp Fiction, 146 Pumpkin Eater, The, 116-117

R

Raging Bull, 8, 10 Raimi, Sam, 349 Raise the Red Lantern, 440 Ran, 216 Rashomon, 111 Ray, Satyajit, 6, 335, 461 Razor Blades, 361 Realism acting, 281-287 editing, 168-180 photography, 2-11, 457-458 sets, 313-315 theories of, 457-464 Realistic narratives, 348-352 Rear Window, 48, 158-159 Red, 19 Red Badge of Courage, The, 99, 223-224 Red Desert, 24, 75, 76 Redford, Robert, 469 Reeves, Keann, 335 Ref, The, 449 Relic, The, 297 Religion, 430-436 Renoir, Jean, 75, 87, 460 Reservoir Dogs, 243 Resnais, Alain, 355-356 Return to Paradise, 78 Reverse motion, 130 Rhythmus 21, 141 Richard III, 298 Richter, Hans, 361 Riefenstahl, Leni, 425 Risky Business, 18, 366 Road Warrior, The, color plate 16 Robbins, Tim, 338, 431 Roberts, Julia, 293, 413 Robocop, 467

n

d

l?

x

5 5 3

Rock, The, 218 Rocky, 365 Rocky Horror Picture Show, The, 279 Roger & Me, 414 Romeo andfuliet Cukor version, 290, 300 Zeffirelli version, 290, 300-301 Ronin, 340 Rossellini, Roberto, 259-260, 457-459 Royal Wedding, 152 Rules of the Game, The, 460 Rumble in the Bronx, 31 Runaway Bride, 31

S

Sabotage, 251, 252-253 Safety Last, 173 Sands oflwo Jima, The, 269-270, 314 Saturday Night Fever, 219 Savage Nights, color plate 4 Saving Private Ryan, color plate 13 Sayles.John, 490 Scarface, Shame of a Nation, 209 Schepisi, Fred, 434 Schindler's List, 31 Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 475 Scorsese, Martin, 230, 261 Scream, 30 Screenplay, 383-387 Screenwriter, 374-381 Screwball comedy, 363, 452-453 Searchers, The, 415 Secrets & Lies, 282 Seduction of Mimi, 'The, 277 Semiology, semiotics, 480-487 Sense and Sensibility, 392 Sequence shot, 140-141 Serpico, 39 Servant, The, 468 Settings, 311-324, 513

5 5 4

J u d e x

Seven, 270 Seven Beauties, 438 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 97 Seven Samurai, The, 142, 215, 394-395, 396-397 Seventh Seal, The, 8 Seven Year Itch, The, 329 Sex appeal, 260 Shakespeare, William, 248, 280, 300-301, 310, 353, 406, 426 Shakespeare In Love, color plate 15 Shallow Grave, 17 Shall WeDancel 99 Shawshank Redemption, The, 338 She Done Him Wrong, 211 She's the One, 61 Shining, The, 121 Shoeshine, 377 S/wrt Cuts, 488 Shots, the, 11-13 Siegfried, 316 Silence of the Lambs, The, 269 Singin' in the Rain, 95, 116 Singleton, John, 435 Slapstick comedy, 107 Sleepless in Seattle, 226 SZeepy Hollow, 316 Sling Blade, 476 Slow motion, 128-130 Swja// Tme Crooks, 381 Smith, Will, 469 Smoke Signals, 432 Snow Wnz'te and TAree Stooges, 42 Sown? Life /r //oi, 386 Sons of the Desert, 72 Sorrow and the Pity, The, 172 Sound, 174-176, 207-245, 507-509 Sound effects, 215-219 Sound montage, 213-214 Soviet montage, 155-168 Space Cowboys, 86 Special effects, 9, 35-36, 126-127, 297, 303, 317-318, 321, 398, 498

Spectator, the, 339-342 Speed, 335 Spielberg, Steven, 56, 171, 369 Splash, 469 Spoken language, 230-243 Stallone, Sylvester, 365 Stanislavsky, Constantine, 282-286 Star, star system, 259-276 Star Is Born, A, 228 Starman, 27 Star Wars, 224 Staying Alive, 254 Stewart, James, 275 Stock, film stock, 34 Stone, Oliver, 357 Story (narrative), 333-373, 516-518 Storyboarding, 38, 181-206 Story of Women, 416 Straight Story, The, 178 Stranger Than Paradise, 177 Strawberry and Chocolate, 399 Streetcar Named Desire, A, 308 Strictly Ballroom, 118 Structuralism, 361, 480-487 Studio system, 261-268, 320-322, 471-473, 490-491, 524-526 Stunt Man, The, 103 Subtext, 233-237, 283 Sunset Boulevard, 238 Superman, 62 Sweet Hours, 370 Symbols, 394-395

T

Talented Mr. Ripley, The, 405 Tarantino, Quentin, 243 Taxi Driver, 261 Temptress Moon, 96 Tender Mercies, 484 Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 475 Territorial space, 66-77

555 Thelma & Louise, 442 Theory, film theory, 455-493, 524-528 There's Something About Mary, 378 They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, 271, 404 Thin Red Line, The, 375 Thirteenth Floor, The, 321 Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, 140 This Is Elvis, 24 Thompson, Emma, 263, 392, 447 Thornton, Billy Bob, 349, 476 Three-point lighting, 19 Throne of Blood, 406 THX1138, 69 Tilai, 451 Titanic, color plate 17 To Die For, 265 Tokyo Story, 53 Toland, Gregg, 495-499 Tom Jones, 128, 131, 222, 386387 Tone, 279, 450-453 Too Beautiful for You, 30 Tootsie, 305 Top Hat, 106 Total Recall, 9, 10 Toy Story, 125 Trainspotting, 237, 395-396 Travolta, John, 474 Tree of the Wooden Clogs, The, 463 Trip to the Moon, A, 2, 138 Triumph of the Will, 425 True Grit, 131 True Love, 350 Truffaut, Francois, 48, 63, 65, 66, 103, 179-181, 393, 470-475 Twentieth Century, 380 Twister, 303 Two Tars, 107 2001: A Space Odyssey, 51, 324, 395

U

Ugetsu, 465 Umberto D, 460 Unforgiven, 364 Usual Suspects, The, 239 Utamaro and His Five Women, 174 U-Turn, 73

V

Vertigo, 275 Video, 39, 48, 49, 90 Virgin Spring, The, 424 Viridiana, 131 Visconti, Luchino, 325 Voice-over, 238, 239, 240, 336-337, 338,401,450-451 Von Sternberg, Josef, 69

W

Waiting to Exhale, 249 Wayans brothers, 365 Wayne, John, 268-269, 314, 415 Welles, Orson, 119, 213-214, 241, 494-531 Wertmuller, Lina, 233, 236, 277, 438 West, Mae, 241-242 West Side Story, 154 What Dreams May Come, 483 What's Eating Gilbert Grape, 375 What's Love Got to Do With It, 71 Whisperers, The, 250 White Balloon, The, 291 Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 126-127 Widescreen, 45-46, 177-179 Wild Bunch, The, 128-130 Wild Child, The, 48, 103

556

J n d e x

Wilder, Billy, 238, 239, 386, 445 Williams, Esther, 260 Williams, John, 224 William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, 310 Willis, Bruce, 274 Wings of Desire, 212 Wiseman, Frederick, 358 Without Limits, 129 Wizard of Oz, The, 466 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 38 Woo, John, 115 Words, Words, Words, 126 Writing, 373-411, 518-522 Wyler, William, 170-173, 306

X Xala, 233

/

Y Yankee Doodle Dandy, 284 Yates, Peter, 435 Yellow Submarine, The, 229 Yimou, Zhang, 440 Yojimbo, 109, 277-278 You Only Live Once, 42 Your Friends & Neighbors, 79

Z

Zabriskie Point, 79 Zavattini, Cesare, 377, 459-464 Zemeckis, Robert, 113