This is Not the End!

This class was my favorite class out of all the classes I had this semester. It was so much fun to come to class and discuss movies, which is the main source of entertainment and joy in my life. Getting to pick the movies to analyze made working on the essays so enjoyable, even though english is my weakest subject, next to history. In the beginning, I picked this class for the credit and words. But even if I didn’t have those, with the knowledge of this amazing class, I would have taken it no matter what. I can no longer look at movies the same way anymore, and it’s all thanks to this class.

My favorite movie was definitely Spirited Away, but I’m sure a lot of people share a similar opinion. It was so much fun to watch, and when the class aired it and analyzed it, it made me fall in love with the film even more. My favorite film to analyze was actually Metropolis, the movie was so old and I found so many different interesting elements in the film.

The movie I disliked the most was Hugo, as I mentioned in my Hugo post. I simply didn’t like how magical it was, or how the character acted. Maybe it was a bad day and I was hoping to see another japanese film. But the ending was still good, and it was an overall positive message from the movie.

ENG2300 Film Analysis taught me to be more aware of movies as an art and appreciate it. The research paper on Gattaca I completed was amazing, it was more fun than hassle. Even staying up till 5am doing it was fine. It also helped to have a great Instructor. I was actually in the earlier Film Analysis class, and I am really grateful I switched. This isn’t the end of film analysis, what I learned in this class will follow me for the rest of my life! Thanks for a great semester! And Happy Holidays!

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Hugo

Personally, I did not click with the film Hugo until the end when the plot of the story and all the mystery was revealed. Maybe it was just a terrible tuesday for me, but I immediately disliked almost all the characters except the cute old couple. Hugo annoyed me a little with his actions, as it did not make any sense why he could not have said the notebook was dear to him or just belonging to his family. Papa Georges did not make any sense to me either when he just took a notebook that did not belong to him. Even if his life is in shambles, don’t burn a book of a little kid, thief or not. I also did not understand how Isabelle and Hugo got so close all of a sudden, and why Hugo was not mad at her at first when she promised to protect the notebook. The Station Inspector was just plain annoying. Later on though, I realized that I was probably thinking too much and that each character was in the middle of developing, no matter what age, bringing us to that mental journey of finding “purpose” in the “machine” that is the world.

The film was filmed beautifully, on the other hand. Every aspect of the film enhanced the fantasy-like character of the film. A lot of the times, the movie had a soft fuzzy feel to the camera lighting and effects. When watching the film, it felt like I was watching the world in a snow globe of some kind, as Paris looked so small with the train station glowing and the clock shape the streets made. Also, speaking of Paris, it was a bit out of place for them to be speaking British english to me, or english at all. But overall, it was an experience that I liked for the ending. Not a fan of the movie, but I support it for its artistic aspects.

Spirited Away

Spirited Away was so creative and beautiful, it took my breath away. This is the second time I watched the film, and I can hardly believe that the story was drawn by hand. When watching Spirited Away, somehow live films disappointed me. Animation brings you to a whole new world that is not limited by the physical setting of a studio or acting of the cast.

When thinking of an animation, some more mature audiences believe that it is for little children and should not be touched by the older generation. Yet, Spirited Away is a film that breaks out of the children film label and instead brings mature audiences to the creativity and imagination that adult films seem to lack.

As said before, Spirited Away perfected animation in a way unimaginable. The two dimensional characters popped out of the film with the vibrant colors. The lighting, shadowing, background is done with no inconsistencies. The film looks like someone took a camera to their world and just filmed it live, with panning of the camera and use of similar techniques that would be applied to live action films.

There is a mix of hand drawing and computer effects in this animation. The clouds and the sky does not really look like the rest of the world that is drawn, but they still fit perfectly. Miyazaki bases his work mostly on hand drawn pictures, but it is so time consuming that computers definitely help with some graphic effects and the use of cels.

In a way, these movies inspires young children to not give up and be like the courageous Chihiro. It also inspires adults to continue to imagine, as with age we tend to lose some creativity. Overall, the movie was an inspiration as well as entertaining. Keep it coming, Studio Ghibli!

The Genre Horror

I have not watched much horror because I tend to avoid those and watch romantic comedies instead. Therefore, I am not well versed in the horror genre. What I can tell, the characters in the japanese Pulse or Kairo and the American Pulse are involved in a regular life that is interrupted by a terrible event that is happening around them. Their use of music, lighting, and editing is all different for two different effects.

In the Japanese film, the horror was very subtle. You leave the movie feeling terribly creeped out, although you never have the feeling of having jumped in your seat. The music was mostly quiet, and silence was used very strategically for an even creepier effect. The lighting was bright and natural when the characters were outside, which conveyed a sense of normal life. While the characters began to see things occurring, the lighting would change to dark and it was flexible based on the moods. The framing and editing was not so quick, with most of the shots being quite wide so you can see the dark shadow creepily behind the character. The acting was also subtle for the more mentally testing film.

In the American film, the music was very loud and cued emotions during the events that were occurring. The horror was in your face, and it was meant to make you jump in your seat. The lighting was super dark and had very high contrast the whole movie, event during the day. The editing was very close, so it made the movie viewer much more involved in the story. The acting was much more emotional, and the themes were drawn out to be more exaggerated compared to the Japanese film.

Overall, the horror in these two films are very different. The genre includes the establishing characters and an event changes their lives. In Kairo, nothing could be done but to run away from the event. In Pulse, they could upload the virus that would shut down the system and save the world. Watching these two movies confused me when pinpointing horror as a first time watcher for sure.

Blade Runner

Science fiction and film noir is combined in Blade Runner when talking about genre. Commonly in these films, there is the main character that is clearly good. Ford plays the character that is a policeman against the villains that are clearly bad. There is an apparent line drawn between the good and bad in this movie.

The science fiction element in this film is very evident as the movie opens with a background shot of the highly technological city. The villains are technological creations that were loose from the corporation. They were created as a technological means of advancement but the more advanced they are the more of a threat to are to humanity. Scifi films typically warn about creating human life, for example, I Robot is another scifi film. In metropolis, the robot was also a danger and serves as a warning for the limits of technology.

Film noir on the other hand holds characteristics such as having a policeman as the main character. It usually depicts a very high contrast, low key scene. The movie switched from having blue hues, to green tints, but it was all very dark either way. German expressionism was also evident in this film with its anti-realistic elements. The movie was hardly believable as a scifi movie and with its setting. Pris was drawn up so well, expressionism was used to highlight her reactions. As were the other characters, as close ups allowed for their full reactions.

The movie was very confusing, the end I could not get altogether. I also noticed that with scifi films that sometimes there is a distortion in time. Rachael was looking at the pictures of Rick’s family and they were black and white. We, in the future, have colored photos before we enter this future, therefore it was interesting to see that the film was made that long ago.

Genre: Week 10

Watching Django and Sukiyaki Western Django, I was disturbed by both. In spaghetti westerns or sukiyaki westerns, one of the central themes is the value of death. Or the lack of value, anyways. It left me with a terribly disturbed feeling, especially how intense it was as you were laughing with some jokes in Sukiyaki Western Django. Costuming, makeup, and lighting all are very typical also. The one thing I noticed is that in both these films, the hero is not a definite good or bad while most films have clear lines between heros and villains.

Costuming and makeup was very similar to what a I saw in A Fistful of Dollars, I even thought the main character of Django was Clint Eastwood before a zoom in on his face. The special effects are all very similar, with bombs and dust effects. Sukiyaki Western Django, shares similarities to Yojimbo, like make up and of course, japanese actors. They all wear quite dark make up, I catch the men in the film wearing eyeliner to bring out expressions.

There is also blurred lines when it comes to the hero of both films. Django, in the beginning, seems to be such a heroic character. He saves the girl, saves the town, but then suddenly, he is killing for gold and becoming traitorous. We haven’t gotten to the ending of the japanese film yet, although the main character is a little less visible, as the man in white seems more of a main character. Either way, this adds to less expectations of the genre.

From watching the few westerns, the typical outline is visible. The western costuming, the deserted town with a saloon, and then there’s the problems will two feuding groups that a lone wanderer is supposed to save. Then there’s the damsel in distress. These elements are always together, no matter what. So, it’s must easier to analyze the differences.

Week 9 Blog Post

Mephisto was definitely a long movie. In my opinion, I liked it the least of all our movies. I want to analyze the scene in the movie where it shows a passage of time as he moves from costume to costume and role to role. This scene was interesting to me so I thought I would pick it to bits and pieces.

First, the scene shows him in a show. He is the main character and therefore under the spotlight. The lighting is always on his face to show his expressions. It is also dark around him and there is contrast as the deep shadows are behind him. Most of the scenes have a black backdrop that emphasizes the center, which is him.

The costuming is always different depending on the role. I noticed that each costume has a little bit of black, and I have not really seen Hendrick without any black in his outfit. This might signify that he is a little dirtied, or there is something about him that cannot be covered no matter what. In most of the shots also, he is holding the same smug looking face. This seems to allow him to remain the same character and you can see his confidence over the time span that this scene is accelerating.

As far as the shots go, the editing is quite harmonious. The shots are very straight forward and the camera actually follows the main character’s movements sort of like a person watching a show. He is always coming out of something like doors or curtains as transitions also.

There is not much to the scene as it was very short, but it did catch my attention near the beginning. To be honest, I really did enjoy the ending as you realize that he was a puppet instead of gaining all the power he has bragged about. The movie was interesting, but I think I am good with watching it only once.

Week 8 Post

A Clockwork Orange, as far as sound goes, uses contrast in events and situations with a lot of connection to music. The movie emphasizes sound effects for the added “feeling”. This movie blows my mind and it is hard to process still after the few hours that have past, with some special scenes in mind I will no longer fluff the introduction.

It can’t be helped. I am going to talk about the sex scene. The scene went with the music completely. Alex invites two girls over and then it just cuts to the bed. The music starts and it is as if we are waiting for the music to get faster as we have a long hold on the bed. The suddenly, the music gets very quick and the three characters pop in and do the “old in and out” in a fast forward motion that parallels the music perfectly.

Throughout the movie, there is a contrasting of very excited music with very disturbing scenes. Usually it is the 9th by Ludwig Van Beethoven. The happy feel makes it very creepy with there is a scene with men trying to rape a girl, or contemplating doing things that would go against society, or being paired with a concentration camp. There is also Singing in the Rain that is very insane, since Alex is singing the song so happily while raping a woman and assaulting the writer from the story. Both were used for cues, as Singing in the Rain made the writer realize later on that Alex was in fact Alex. The 9th was used in association with the conditioning that he was going through so it cued bad events and his nausea and sickness.

Sound once again was huge in this movie, it would hardly be possible to watch this movie without sound. The sound effects were very crisp in this movie also. If it isn’t music, then it is the sound of footsteps or the door slamming, or the crinkling of paper. I can hardly imagine the things that will come up once discussion hits tomorrow.

Week 7 Post

Video

This might be a little out there, but since we have been watching such weird movies, I would like to share my favorite Korean film. Antique Bakery describes a wealthy man who wants to start a bakery. The “Cake Paradise” scene is near the beginning where he makes up his mind to learn about cakes. There is a fast forwarding of time to show his improvement and hard work, even though he despises cake to the point where he has to throw it up when he tastes it. The story revolves around four male characters, in which the movie connects their past to their present.

The scene is very fast paced with so much flash framing and comic book framing. It goes with the very out there theme that this movie has. Each shot is very fast, but somehow it shows how tired he is by the speediness of the events that happen to him. The first time he cooks, he fails. He tries with a lot of tasting, which makes him puke. Then he reads a lot on cakes, which makes him tired. But suddenly, he gets better. He is able to name the cakes. The flash frames and edits show the elapsed time of him learning the cakes by name.

Another thing in this scene is a lot of camera movement involving different levels. We have to focus on each part of him as he is making cake or eating it or doing what ever he is doing in this crazy scene. We see a lot of waist shots, with him cutting cake. The camera goes from one level to another and almost never stops moving. It makes the whole scene look like a dream and somehow very “trippy”.

I enjoyed this movie because it was so weird. It is definitely a film with very artistic elements. I recommend it for those with open minds. 🙂

Week Six Blog

Contempt was so different, which actually makes it not any different from all the films we have been watching, but specifically I noticed a few elements in the film that had to do with the framing of scenes, the theme and foreshadow, and the way the scenes set up the perspective.

The framing was prevalent in the house and there was definitely a lot of parts that just signaled to the failing relationship between the two. Whenever they were in the shot together, the depth of the multiple doors and walls gave the idea that the two were always separated whether it be physically or mentally.

There was a lot of foreshadowing of some tragedy happening, I noticed. The first signal was the line where Paul told Camille that he loved her tragically. Then there was their interpretation of the Odyssey and how Ulysses killed Penelope’s suitors. During the scene where she leaves for the movies, he pulls out a gun. When he catches Camille kissing Jeremy, he walks down the steps where the wall was completely red, and there was an appearance of the gun once again. It becomes blatantly obvious that something is going to go wrong.

Finally: perceptions. The way the props are used and the way they are filmed and framed seems to mean more than the dialogue sometimes. The film enjoys using scenes where one person is clearly in the shot talking to someone that is not seen. This creates the rift mentioned before of the broken relationship. The characters are not seeing each other face to face, they are simply speaking empty words to each other. The whole of this film conveys the one theme of detachment between the two characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The weird usage of color and editing did throw me for a loop but overall after discussion, I understood the purpose of the film. Thank you for listening to my attempt on analyzing the film!