Monday, February 22, 2016

How Luis Buuel Used Cinematic Interruptions to Capture Life's Absurdity on Film

If the director youre about to learn about seems enigmatic or incongruous, life is that way too.

The late surrealist director Luis Buuel loved to shake things up with his unique brand of cinema, especially in regards to class, religion, and conformity. To celebrate the day the great auteur came into this crazy, crazy world 116 years ago, we've decided to share a series of video essays from the Institute of Contemporary Arts (edited by Cristina lvarez Lpez) that explore his cinematic and narrative techniques. Check them out below:

These essays reveal several interesting concepts about Buuel's approach to filmmaking, mostly surrounding the dance he does between realism and surrealism, and though we could spend the rest of eternity unpacking them, let's focus on one in particular that is especially intriguing: the director's use of "interruptions" as a cinematic tool.

"Luring us into the deceptive charms of narrative as well as those of his character, Buuel undermines the stability of both attractions by turning interruption into the basis of his art." --Jonathan Rosenbaum (Sight and Sound)

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Left or Right? Why a Character's Lateral Movement On-Screen Matters in Film

If there's only one tenet of filmmaking you learn today, let it be that everything, everything in your film matters -- including the direction your characters are moving on-screen.

That's right. It matters whether your actors are moving right or left across the screen. Or whether your character appears on the right or left side of the screen. Or whether they are right-handed or left-handed. Why? Because -- science -- and psychology.

In the very educational video below, you'll get to learn about how different directions of character movements affect audiences the way they do, as well as why it happens.

I love this video because it touches on some very important concepts in aesthetics (basically the dictionary of mise en scene), namely spacial properties of objects, size, and movement. How does the size, movement, and placement of an object communicate to a viewer? What do they communicate?

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

'Groundhog Day': How a Script Everybody Loved but Nobody Would Produce Became a Comedy Classic

It's Groundhog Day. Again.

When screenwriter Danny Rubin sent out his original draft of Groundhog Day to the studios, he knew he hadn't written a conventional studio film. In fact, he hadn't even written a romantic comedy. "Everybody called me in for a meeting," said Rubin, "and nobody wanted to produce it. What they said to me was, 'I loved Groundhog Day. Of course, we can never make it.'"

After a lot of development and collaboration with Harold Ramis, Groundhog Day became the screenplay that ranks #3 on the Writers Guild of America's 101 funniest screenplays ever written.

Danny Rubin walked through his journey with the story, screenplay and film of Groundhog Day at the 2014 Austin Film Festival. Thanks to AFF's On Story, you can listen to Rubin break down his script and film. If you don't have time to watch now, after the video, I've highlighted some key points from Rubin's presentation.

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