Bonnie and Clyde

I was really happy to learn that we were going to watch Bonnie and Clyde this semester. I’ve always wanted to watch it but never got around to it. Boonie and Clyde, is a classic lovers and crime film following the epics of the infamous Barrow gang. The film starts off with a bored small town woman, Boonie, restless around her room. She soon sees an mysterious man, Clyde, outside her window. The two talk and soon their on their way together. Boonie, desperate for any type of action, finds herself on the road with Clyde, an ex-con. Mischief ensures and the two rob a bank. Throughout the film, they continue to rob banks, their gang increases and their notoriety grows. The film portrays the highs and lows of their life on the run, even some intimate. However, like in all glorified crime films, crime doesn’t pay and the epic run of Bonnie and Clyde comes to a traffic end.

I would say this was the best screening in class. The narrative was sad yet fun and I was rooting for the gang the whole time.

Movies: The Game

From the start of this class, I’ve been having the urge to play Movies: The Game. So recently I ventured to the back of my closet and pulled out the old cd box set and booted up the game. Released in 2005, Movies: The Game is a business simulation game focusing, you’ve guessed it, making movies. The allows players to work their way up the ladder as the role of a Hollywood film mogul, running your own studio and releasing all the movies you want. The player can either start as a upcoming studio in the prime of Hollywood’s just as it rises as the center stage of the film industry in the 1920’s. You hire some actors, directors,crew members,  screenwriters, builders and janitors, build some sets and now your studio is up and on the rode to success. Like any other mogul-type game, you have to start off small. The scripts are mediocre and the technology is poor but as you progress though the in-game years everything advances. Real historical events are reflected in the games timeline and they bring new equipment and genre interests into the playing field. Eventually, all the components associated to the film industry are brought your studio. Award shows, advanced script making, Public Relations and even plastic surgery for the actors.

As for the actors and directors, the game is more like Sims. You have to keep your “stars” happy, giving them good public image and style, an entourage, high salary and a decent trailer. Don’t underpay or overwork them, for they get angry and stressed, which can lead them to quit or addictions. You also have to make them practice and improve their talent hopefully resulting in rave reviews and more prestige for your studio.

Now the actual creation of the movies is quite fun. After the script you assigned is completed and the talent are on board, its off to make the film. With a predetermined script, when filming you can change the backdrop, mood, and angles of the scene. However, when you create our own script is when you really have fun. You choose the actors, genre, length, what goes on in the scenes, sets costumes and the list goes on.  You can even add your own recored dialogue. Its a machinima machine. Even back in its earlier years, players could upload their machinima masterpieces, for all to see.

All in all, I really recommend anyone one with the slightest interest in film to check this game out for themselves. You’ll really enjoy it.

Breathless

Breathless follows some days in the life of on the run young criminal Michel. The film begins with Michel amid stealing a car. As he flees, some cops catches on a follows him, which brings Michel to killing the cop.  Now on the run, he returns to Paris in search of refuge. He turns to his American girlfriend Patricia and unbeknownst to her she shelters him. The next portion of the film, Patricia and Michel just lounge around her room. Listening to music, talking and just enjoying each others company. Yet, Michel for the most part is trying to get Patricia to sleep with him, partially begging her, which he succeeds. From then on the narrative returns back to the on the run theme,  as Patricia learns of Michel’s criminality. She too is on the run. The two act as lovers on the run with plans to leave Paris, however Patricia halts the plan by betraying Michel. She soon regrets the decision but its too late, the cops are on there way and Michel’s life is brought to an untimely end.

For the most part, I did like this film. I like how its a criminal film yet its not filled with tons of action and violence. It in a way gives you a look at the softer side of a criminal. However, some parts in the beginning and the end I have some reservations about. At the start of the film when Michel is stealing the car I was really on unsure of what was going on. For some reason, it wasn’t clear for me that Michel was in fact stealing the car. The following scene makes up for my confusion as it was very entertaining hearing Michel sign and talk to himself in the car. The other part of the film that bothered me was Michel’s death. It just seemed nonsensical. It wasn’t like Michel was resisting arrest or pulling any kind of “you can’t catch me, Copper!” moves. Yet Bang! and he’s dead. Other than that, i quite enjoyed this movie. The cinematography was great, the characters had great style and I’m a sucker for that type of music played in the background. This film definitely has giving me an interest in watching move French New Wave and other works by Jean-Loc Godard.

Formal Analysis: The Lady Eve’s Feminine Gaze

Recently in class, we discussed the cinematic feminist theory of the “Male Gaze.” This psychoanalytic theory formulated by Laura Mulvey, in her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” brings to focus the overwhelming use of the heterosexual male perspective in cinema. In this perspective, women are not seen as admirable counterparts but as objects of desire. She is merely seen as the male protagonist’s sexual conquest, usually the narrative’s sidequest as seen in The Public Enemy, Breathless and countless other films. Although accurate, it would be foolish to assume that all films follow that format. Earlier this semester we watched a film by Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve. Preston Sturges turns Laura Mulvey’s theory on its head and give the spectator audience the female’s perspective or the “Female Gaze” as Mulvey might say.

The 1940’s American screwball comedy, The Lady Eve, follows the entertaining narrative of a headstrong and feisty con artist, Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) and a naive Ale heir, Charles Pike (Henry Fonda) as they fall in and out of love, multiple times, after meeting on a luxury cruise line. From the start, Jean is swift talking and in control, a rare appearance during this time. However, one scene that would best display the ‘female gaze” would have to be the infamous mirror scene.
Only five minutes and ten seconds in to the movie, we a brought into the ambiance of the cruise liner’s dining room. Merry music plays as people dine and order Pike’s family brand Ale. Pike enters the dining room taking a seat by himself  only accompanied by his book. Taking a moment to look up from his book, Pike sees the table of people (mostly female) raising pints of the ale to him. In this medium shot, all the females smile eagerly. The camera returns to Pike, he is not amused nor does he look comfortable. It cuts to another table also mostly female waiting for him to glance over and when he does, they too smile. He awkwardly returns his gaze back to his book then glancing off screen. This exchange of glances continue on, each resulting in a flirtatious gaze of an ogling female. Next, there’s a shot of Jean and her con artist companion sitting at a table. Jean is seen with a small mirror from which she watches Pike’s actions. It is hear we learn that she has been narrating all of which Pike does at his seat. The close-up superimposed mirror image depicts all the other women and their attempts to get Pike to notice him. Jean swiftly narratives with great accuracy. The scene comes to close about 8 minutes in with Jean’s own attempt to get Pike’s attention, by tripping him.
In this scene, there are multiple occurrences of “female gaze”. Foremost, would be Jean’s gaze. She actively watches Pike, whom she desires. Instead of being a timid passive woman, Jean is aggressive and her fast talking commentary shows that she know whats going on. Pike, however, seems to be in a nervous and really unaware of whats going on, just as a woman would have be depicted if there was “male gaze” in the film. The other females in the dining also view Pike with the  “female gaze.” One woman in particular even suggestively  stares at Pike as she smokes her cigarette. This blatant sexual desire for a man was definitely not meant to be shown in film at that time. Women were seen as the image and men were the bearer of the look, as referenced from Mulvey’s essay.
 So in conclusion even though Mulvey’s theory of the “male gaze” seems to be true in most cases it is not apparent in all films. Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve was one of the first films in that era to challenge this construct. Women can pursue men and have the desire for them. Human sexuality is not as black and white as it was formerly depicted. The Lady Eve’s “female gaze” made sure to bring light to the desires of women and made way for this realistic depiction for films to come.

La Jetée

I must say, I actually did like this film. Initially when I realized it was only going to be still photography I thought it was going to drag on and be boring. This was not the case. I mean, the photograph was so captivating. The way the photographs were composed, it was just stunning. Especially the stills of the scientists, they were eerie and made them look crazy, which I guess was the point being that they were torturing the man.

I also liked the emphasis on the sounds around the prisoner. In a way it we get to listen in his perspective. As he is being experimented on/tortured all he is hears is his own heartbeat and the incomprehensible german of the scientists when they observe him. I like that the hissed german is not translated for the viewer, so we are left not knowing what the experimenters are really doing, just like the prisoner.

As for the story itself, I like how it is left up to your interpretation. The way I say it was that the prisoner wasn’t actually time traveling, he was having lucid dreams. In a way, whatever drug they were injecting him with allowed him to escape reality through this dreams and travel back to a happier time, when he was in love. When he goes into the future, he is reminded that it isn’t real and he is thenceforth killed, not allowing him to enjoy his dreams. So he is stuck, in a depressing place. We are unsure if the prisoner is really killed for he might still be sitting the makeshift hammock in the dingy underground holding place.

 

Shot-by-Shot Scene Analysis of The Public Enemy( dir. William A. Wellman, Warner Bros., 1931)

Scene

The final scene in the gangster film, The Public Enemy. In this scene, Mike Powers receives a call, learning that his brother will be returning home. He and the rest of the family prepares for and anticipates Tom’s arrival.

Time Frame: 1:18:27 – 1:20:47 (2 minutes 20 seconds) 

 

Shot 1

  • CU, camera placed slightly higher than gramophone, tilted slightly downward towards the record player.
  • A female hand (assumed to be Molly Powers) is shown placing the needle of the gramophone on the record.
  • The record spins a few times, calming yet sad diegetic music plays.
  • Short take (4 seconds). Fades out.

Shot 2

  • LS, straight on.
  • Mike, Molly and Ma Powers sitting at that dining table. Molly and Ma are eating. Mike, who is slightly hunched over, is not eating and has his head tilted downward towards the table. Ma looks up and notices Mike isn’t eating.
  • There is a empty chair slightly pulled out away from the table. In the background, there is another chair to the left, a plate cabinet directly behind Molly, and a painting in between the two.
  • The shot is back lit. The calm diegetic music continues.
  • Short take (4 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 3

  • MCU, the camera is placed next the table, slightly diagonal to Mike, low angle.
  • Mike is looking downward as if looking at something down the table. He looks angry yet worried and tense. He is zoned out thinking about something.
  • There are dishes ands steaming hot drink in front of him. Behind him, is another cabinet and a door.
  • Side Lighting. The record continues to play in the background.
  • Short take (2 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 4

  • MCU, the camera is placed next to the table, slightly diagonal to Ma on her left. Ma is in the center of the shot.
  • Ma looks off screen, with a fork in her, towards Mike and ask if he likes his dinner or not, as the steam from her food rises.
  • There are dishes in front of her and behind her there is a chair with its shadow cast on the wall. There is also another room behind her.
  • Side lighting. Shallow depth of field. The music continues.
  • Short take (2 seconds). Reverse shot.

Shot 5

  • MCU, the camera is placed diagonal to Mike on his right.
  • Mike, who is still zoned out, quickly glances at his mother offscreen and then his food. He looks at her again and replies that he isn’t that hungry as his pushes his food away from him. Mike zones out again, looking downward and offscreen.
  • The composition, the same as in shot 3.
  • Side lighting. The music continues in the background.
  • Short take (6 seconds). Reverse shot.

Shot 6

  • MCU, the camera diagonal to Ma, on her left.
  • Ma, with a fork in her hand mouth, is looking at Mike offscreen. She then finishes her bite, looks down and continues to eat.
  • The composition, the same as shot 4.
  • Side lighting. The record is still playing.
  • Short take (2 seconds). Reverse shot.

Shot 7

  • LS, straight on.
  • The shot returns to Molly, Mike and Ma at the dining table. Mike is still zoned out, while Molly and Ma continue to eat. The phone rings offscreen. Molly looks offscreen to the phone, Ma slowly attempts to get up and answer the phone. Mike quickly stands up and says that he’ll get it. Molly and Ma watch as he go toward the phone.
  • The camera quickly pans as Mike walks out of the room and offscreen to get the phone.
  • Same composition as shot 2 with the addition of a corner selfing unit and chair as Mike across the room.
  • Back Lighting. The music continues to play, the phone rings, Mike’s chair sliding against the wood floor, Mike’s footsteps.
  • Short take (6 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 8

  • LS, low angle.
  • Mike quickly comes over to answer the phone. His curious mother follows him and stands by the phone. Mike answers the phone.
  • The camera is placed so that the dining room, living room and hallway are all seen in one shot.
  • Chairs are seen from each room.
  • Back Lighting. The record is still heard playing.
  • Short take (9 seconds). Straight Cut.

Shot 9

  • MCU, the camera is placed behind Ma’s head as if above her shoulder.
  • Mike’s demeanor changes from serious to happy. He learns that Tom is being brought home. He hangs up and moves closer to Ma.
  • High Key Lighting as Mike moves towards the camera. The music is still playing.
  • Short take (6 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 10

  • MCU, the camera is angled downward over Mike’s shoulder looking at Ma.
  • A worried Ma asks if Tom’s alright. Mike replies positively and Ma’s face lights up with joy. She is delighted and that she is going to get Tom’s room ready. Molly is seem coming closer to Ma and Mike in the background.
  • High Key Lighting. The music continues.
  • Short take (9 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 11

  • MS, straight on.
  • Ma walks towards and up the stairs to get Tom’s room ready. Mike watches her go upstairs. Molly walks onscreen and asks Mike who had called. Mike replies with a guess. Ma reaches upstairs and she calls for Molly. Mike and Molly both look offscreen up the stairs. Molly replies and walks offscreen to the lining closet. Mike looks down and turns toward the camera. He then places his hands in his pocket, walks toward the right of camera and offscreen.
  • Front Lighting. The record is still playing in the background and seems to heighten.
  • Short take (15 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 12

  • LS, lower height.
  • The camera pans as Ma enters the room and walks across towards the bed.
  • Ma is singing a tune, happily. She grabs a pillow.
  • The room has two beds, a chair and a chest of drawers.
  • High Key Lighting. No music, just Ma’s tune.
  • Short take (4 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 13

  • LS, lower height.
  • Mike paces in the living room. He looks upstairs and then turn toward the dining room and the camera’s direction. He begins to walk towards the camera. He hears the door being knocked and he halts and turns in that direction. He quickly goes to answer the door.
  • The camera tilts up as he moves upward and back downward when turns away.
  • High Key Lighting. The music begins to play again and the door knocking is heard along with Mike’s footsteps.
  • Short take (9 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 14

  • LS, low angle.
  • Mike opens the door to see Tom wrapped up, swaying backwards. He swiftly moves aside to the left.
  • High Key Lighting. The record continues to play as a car engine is heard.
  • Short take (3 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 15

  • MS, low angle.
  • Tom is wrapped and tied up. He sways back and forth.
  • High Key Lighting. The record is still heard along with the sound of a car driving away.
  • Short take (2 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 16

  • LS, low angle.
  • Mike stands by the door and watches in awe as Tom falls forward. Mike takes a step and starts to bend down closer to Tom.
  • High Key Lighting. The music goes on.
  • Short take (5 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 17

  • MS, low angle.
  • Mike with one hand on his knee and the other hovering over Tom. He looks at Tom, who is dead. Mike then looks upwards towards the stairs offscreen.
  • High Key Lighting. The record is still playing.
  • Short take (3 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 18

  • MS, straight on.
  • The camera moves as Ma moves closer to the bed. Molly moves across the screen as she helps make the bed. Ma is still singing her tune and she temporarily struggle to remove a pillowcase.
  • High Key Lighting. Music is heard softly in the background along with Ma’s tune.
  • Short take (8 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 19

  • MS, low angle.
  • Mike is kneeling over Tom’s body. He stares just above the camera, offscreen. His face goes from showing shock to anger then to fury. He begins to stand.
  • High Key Lighting. The music is still heard from the record player.
  • Short take (13 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 20

  • LS, low angle.
  • Mike stands up, leaving Tom’s body on the floor. He looks in the camera’s direction and slowly walks towards the camera in a straight line until he is directly in front of the camera. Only his legs are seen.
  • High Key Lighting. The music begins to fade as Mike gets up and walks, ending with the shot.
  • Short take (15 seconds). Straight cut.

Shot 21

  • CU, the camera is tilted downward.
  • The record that finished playing continues to spin.
  • Short take (3 seconds). Dissolve.

Shot 20

  • Text shot, explaining the moral of the film.
  • Fade to black.

In the final scene of The Public Enemy, the director William A. Wellman ties ends to the cinematic patterns used throughout the film. From start to finish, Wellman constantly uses medium close up shots. With these shots the audience is able to clearly see the facial reactions of the characters without getting too up close and personal. Throughout the film, Wellman also carefully uses music to match or set the mood of the scene. There are only a handful of scenes that actually have music in the scene all but one of them being diegetic.

The patterns used in this scene are really what carry the scene on. There are hardly any dialogue in these final shots, so the audience has to depend on the facial expressions the character gives off to determine the end. That along with the music tells us that this family is not best of moods in regards to what has happened Tom. The are all quite and to themselves. Mike’s bad mood is more apparent as he looks worrisome and tense. The mood and music take a happier tone when the good news of Tom impending arrival is received. The weary song comes to a upbeat halt as Ma’s delightful tune takes over. She is truly happy. However, downstairs Mike begins to look uneasy as the depressing song starts again. This quickly sets the tone for the following shots, which are unexpected. The filmmaker uses these final shots of Mike looking intently offscreen towards the camera to imply his anger. However, as the song ends, the audience is left unsure of Mike actions and questioning his expressions.

 

 

 

Introduction

Hello, my name is Denisha and I really like films. When it comes to the genres of film I generally choose to watch, a majority of them would be comedies and thrillers. However, I also love foreign films with some favorites being, Monsoon Wedding and Lola Rennt. Most of the time, if I’m not watching a movie you can probably find me on the forums of imdb.com or watching FilmRiot on youtube. In my spare time, I also find and post links of movies and tv shows that people request on another blog : LinkMeUp …but lately I’ve been slacking on that.When I was younger I attempted to make Sims 2 machinima and as lame as that might sound, it sparked my interest in film production. Currently, although my interest in film production as a career has changed, I’m looking forward to learning about the history of cinema and this class.

Hello world!

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