- The Red Balloon - I found The Red Balloon to be a visually stunning and sweetly whimsical. The bright red balloon set against a more neutral colored blue tinged Parisian cityscape was quite striking, along with the shots of brightly colored balloons floating in the sky above the muted brown and white buildings. Visually, the movie is definitely a work of art. A lot of the shots are so well framed and artistically conceived that I wouldn't mind having them captured as still photography and mounted in an art exhibit. I liked how the director used a lot of wide and long shots, showing off the location to its fullest, because this movie is just as much about the location as the little boy and his balloon. This movie would not be nearly as charming if it were set in some other location, say a modern day city. The location seems almost like a character of its own, and this movie tells a visual story of the the city as the little boy runs through it. This is especially poignant considering that the area that this movie was shot in is no more - ninety-five percent of the locations used in the film were razed to the ground in the late 1960's. As much as I liked the visual aspects of this film however, I found the movie somewhat boring due to the pace. As much as it pains me to admit this, I too am a victim of the "fast cutting" syndrome of the 21st century. I wonder how the crew was able to control the path of the balloons so precisely. I also think that the person that is hanging onto the bunch of balloons is not the little boy As this movie was made in the 1950's, there weren't many special effects, and thus I will have to assume that the shot of the 'boy' flying with the balloons actually took place. Considering all the fuss with the 'balloon boy' in the news lately, I wonder how they managed this safely.
- The Lunch Date - While I did not adore The Red Balloon as a movie, I still though it was a very valuable piece of cinema history. As for this movie, not so much. I was shocked to find out that The Lunch Date won Best Live Action Short at the 1991 Academy Awards. It wasn't that good. Although we discussed in class how meaningful the ending of the film actually could be by showing how the woman ignored this potential life changing event, I still don't feel like I gained any meaningful message from the film. It was such an anticlimactic ending. I found the plot dry and unoriginal, and the characters didn't strike me as anything amazing. At best, a mediocre film according to my subjective tastes. I also question the director's choice of black and white and lower quality footage. The footage appeared to have been filmed decades earlier, but the film was made in the late 1980's and the director could have made a higher quality color film. The movie itself is set in an earlier decade, but I don't see any reason to regress to earlier filming quality as well. I don't feel like it contributed anything to the film except to make the sound quality worse. The only reason I can think of for this choice was to make a film against racism that appeared to come from an earlier decade to give it a more historical feel. It didn't hurt the film, but it didn't make it any more appealing to me either.
This is the first post for my Short Script Analysis blog. It's so nice to be back in a class that requires intellectual discussion (a lot of me making crap up that sounds amazingly good), debate (oh, that eternal question of "What is Art?" Answer: NOT Marcel Duchamp), and writing (I totally type 90 words + a minute, FYI).
- The Lumiere Brothers' first films: I find very little that is comment worthy in these early shorts. I mean, it's not like a clip of people streaming out of a building is esoterically profound or significantly meaningful in any way other than HEY this is possibly the first film ever and it's kind of well done! What I did like was how the Lumieres did a good job demonstrating movement. They were smart enough not to pick a slow moving subject. The dozens of people leaving the building do a great job demonstrating exactly how different this new media was from the previously existing still photography. Also, their attempt at comedy is not exactly a demonstration in subtlety or wit, but hey, what else can you do without sound or dialogue?
- The Great Train Robbery: This film wasn't too bad, except I found it a bit slow for my tastes. That's saying a lot I think, because I'm not a fan of superfast editing unless there is a purpose for it. I feel that using editing to speed up the entirety of a movie is sheer laziness and the ideal technique is to create the pace more through the acting and direction (Slumdog Millionaire, I'm looking at you). The point was that I think the cuts could have been a bit shorter without sacrificing anything, and that they could have added in a few more shots with different angles. The addition of color was a nice touch, although I felt that some of it was a meaningless. Adding color to the gunshots was great, but the little girl's dress didn't mean much to me. I loved the final shot of the film when the guy raised his gun and fired at the audience, breaking the fourth wall and creating a quasi 3D experience that leaves the audience ducking.
- Anémic Cinéma: Oh my god a world of NO. I rarely find radical experimental films well done, interesting or meaningful, and this was a perfect example. For me, art should either entertain or educate (and if I could remember the original quote from Milton I think? I would sound so awesomely intellectual). I do allow some leeway for pure visual aesthetics, but if that means I have to sit through another six minutes of spirals and nonsensical words that hurt my head, then I'm totally BANISHING art for art's sake. I adore "didactic, moral or utilitarian function." "L'art pour l'art'" pssssh. And I'd totally sit here and argue art theory but I can't remember anything my art history teacher said other then body mutilation and graffiti are totally acceptable forms of art expression. Whatever, long story. The point is that is that I absolutely loathed this film and it would be a really great help to insomniacs. FYI, I think the title of Anémic Cinéma means the same thing in english, anemic cinema. Which is a great palindrome, but it totally works for this film with anemic being defined as "Weak; listless; lacking power, vigor, vitality, or colorfulness" - that is definitely how many people feel about the film.