The televised phone call from the Zodiac (1969)

when watching the film, I was skeptical of the authenticity of the events and how true this telling of the Zodiac killers story is to reality despite the great level of truthiness the film carried. Though I can’t validate much of the movie I was able to find a recording of the actual televised phone call between Sam (the self-proclaimed Zodiac) and Melvin Belli (played by Brian cox)

watching the actual footage makes the reality of these terrible events tangible. To what extent dose a film maker have a responsibility to accuracy of a film and on the flip side how much creative liberty can he take before the truth of the events are obstructed? Were there any scenes in the film that you doubted actually happened the way they were depicted in the film?

Prelude: Dog Star Man (1961, Stan Brakhage), Scorpio Rising (1963, Bruce Byron), a new experience.

Watching both Prelude: Dog Star Man (1961, Stan Brakhage) and Scorpio Rising (1963, Bruce Byron) was a pretty new experience to me, aside from what we watched in class on Tuesday the only other thing that I’ve seen that I would think is akin to experimental film is Duality ( 2014, Captain Murphy) which is a film that is a music video for the entire album, after having discussing experimental film in class and watching both of the aforementioned films it is quite obvious that Duality gets a lot of its inspiration from such films as Dog Star Man. What surprised me most about both films Is how well they managed to keep my attention, not once during either film did I find myself wandering in thought I was completely involved in what I was consuming, attempting to understand what I was watching and what each film was trying to convey. In the case of Prelude: Dog Star Man most of my energy when to interpreting the image on screen and with the rapid cuts and distortion I was left with little time to piece it all together and try to make meaning of it all. What I was able to take away from Prelude: Dog Star Man is the collision of the worlds of man, dog and star, what I mean by that is that nearly every shot in the film was of a man, nature, or the sun, and they were strung together showing they are in conflict but also how they are all one. With each of the three subjects taking up about the same screen time it suggest to me that they were some sort of trinity and the result is the Dog Star Man, a mystical figure made up of nature flesh and the cosmos, as far as what the Dog Star Mans purpose is and why he exist and what message Brakhage is attempting to tell us is still a mystery to me, maybe if I watch the entirety of Dog Star Man I could answer these question though I have the feeling ill only be left with more questions. Scorpio Rising (1963, Bruce Byron) was a very different viewing experience from Dog Star Man, with Scorpio Rising much like in Dog Star Man I was intently focused on the film and trying to comprehend it, however unlike in Dog Star Man though out the film I knew what I was looking at and so my thoughts were more on what this all means together. That being said I still have no real sense of what I was intended to take away from the film, I got that Anger was drawing a connection between Christianity the homosexual bikers and Nazis but I’m not sure what he’s saying by lumping the three together or who the film is really critical of.

A breakdown of the Dark Night

The above links are for a couple of YouTube videos off film channels that I highly recommend. The first video is from a channel called Wisecrack which is a channel dedicated to braking down film and television primarily for their social a philosophical meaning often like in this video with a humorous lens. I thought this particularly relevant because we have been discussing film with regard to genre and as we discussed in class genre is a fluid idea that leans heavily on the contemporary social and political climate. The second video is from a channel called FilmJoy, this video offer an interesting perspective on the film and goes in depth in breaking down the motives and goals of the major characters the video focuses on the joker and ultimately makes the argument that Heath Legder’s performance of the joker is the best performance in all of cinema which I think is quite a bold statement and can’t totally get behind but Mike makes some very convincing points, what do you think about these videos and do you think that Heath Legder’s performance of the joker is the best?

The use of editing to orient the viewer in space as seen in Michael Curtiz’s 1943 film Casablanca

Casablanca is an excellent example of continuity editing, through the use of a multitude of editing techniques the film constantly places the characters and locations in time and space relative to each other seamlessly. While watching Casablanca I never had to ask myself questions like, how did we get here? Or where is this? Or when is what I’m seeing happening? All of this editing comes together to eliminate any possible distractions from the story or characters allowing you the viewer to stay fully invested in the love triangle and  struggles unfolding around them. One shot shot in particular that doses a good job establishing where rick’s is in relation to Casablanca and more importantly the airport.

In this scene we see the front of Rick’s café as Rick brings his current girl out to send her home, right away in this scene we see a spot light cross the front of the building rhythmically a few times then it quickly cuts to a light house to orient Rick’s in the city.

As seen above the cut to the lighthouse.

Later in that same scene as Rick talks with the chief of police you see both of them look off camera toward the sound of an airplane.

  the film then cuts following the 180 degree rule to an eye line match over the shoulder capture so that we can see the airplane they were looking at an orient Rick’s café as both right next to the airport and the coast as the light house form the earlier shot is placed in view. This is just one of many series of examples of good continuity editing that I noticed while watching the film, were there any other scenes that you feel did a good job of this, or perhaps any scenes that you found to be poor examples of this style of editing?

The use of lighting and mise-en-scène to convey emotion and meaning in The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a vibrant and lively film strong moments of both comedy and tragedy, throughout the film Wes Anderson uses mise-en-scène and several techniques with in it to convey emotion and atmosphere.

One example of mise-en-scène can be seen in the scene where the older Zero sits down with the young author to tell him this story, Wes uses the lighting to show that this is almost a romantic experience for Zero not to insinuate anything between the characters but rather that the retelling of Zeros life story is something that Zero truly loves, because by telling it he and us along with him get to relive his past and bathe in the nostalgia.

Later in the film it cuts back to the older Zero telling his story, the scene starts in the same bright lighting that we had left them at but then the lights dim, and it cuts to a center framed shot of Zero when he tells the author that talking about her makes him cry then the lights brighten on his face as he decides to go on with the story despite the painful memory. Lighting is used very well in this scene to convey the deep longing and love that Zero has for her and to illustrate how she is everything in his life which he later explains to the author is why he bought the Grand Budapest.

Color is another technique of mise-en-scène that Wes uses to communicate with the audience, this is seen significantly in the scene toward the end of the movie where they are on the train and are stopped by a death squad which the older Zero tells us shots and kills M. Gustave, the use of black and white in the scene signifies two things to me. One it expresses how this is one the saddest moments in Zeros life. Two it might be a sort of reference to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Schindlers List which also uses color and lack thereof to communicate the horrors of the holocaust as I believe this scene alludes to.