Sunday, December 6, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I am sort of nervous, but I am also confident I know what I need to know to get started on the work they'll have me doing.
The internship is with a company called Werc Werk Works, and is based in the warehouse district downtown (um, yeah, I have always wanted to work there - or at least since 7th grade when I had rehearsals with the MN Opera Company there and fell in love!) The company is fairly new, but they have already been working on some awesome projects, including Todd Solondz new film Life in Wartime, which is kind of like a sequel to Happiness, though apparently not as, er, graphic. The project it looks like I'll be working with is Howl which is just coming to a close in post-production, though it won't come out till some time next year. I will be working with organizing behind the scenes footage for things like press releases, and possibley DVD bonus materials down the line. Not sure yet If I'll actually be editing any of it yet, but will probably get to play around with it at least, since this is partly about me learning.
I am so excited to work with these people! They all seem very nice and obviously super professional. I will only be working two mornings a week to start with since my semester is so full, but next semester I will only have two classes and can change my (church)work schedule around to make it work - then I'll be there 15-20 hours a week. yikes!
Any way, I of course have lots of other fun film stuff going on, as well as watching as many films as I have time for, so I have lots to talk about. But, hopefully that'
s what will keep me blogging the rest of November! Remember to check back here tomorrow (or, check my other blog, Are You There God? It's me elinor) for another post!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
For my final in Cinema History II I wrote a paper on the directorial themes of Sydney Pollack. I chose to focus on the theme of honor, as this was something we had specifically focused on in our in-class discussion of The Yakuza, Pollack's film about an American WWII veteran and his return to Japan and the world of Japanese honor codes.
The assignment was to choose 3 films from a director and write on one theme. Although I could have used Yakuza as one of the films, I decided to choose three of Pollack's other films, feeling this would give my claim a little more credibility. I won't go into what the paper's said here; basically, all three films I watched had strong themes of honor running through them.
OK, The Way We Were was a bit of a stretch.
Here instead are a few brief reviews of the three films.
Tootsie: I was happy to see that I still really enjoyed this film. It was one of my favorites to watch at my aunt's house when I was little (she had a VCR and would tape things off the TV - we didn't even have a color TV for a long time). If you've never seen it, well, firstly, do. Secondly, it's a story about an out of work actor, played by Dustin Hoffman, who decides to dress as a woman and attempt to get a job on a popular soap opera. Of course it works, and both hijinks and a hero's journey ensue.
Recently I was in an adult ed at church with two transgender people and we were talking about the difference in acceptance between generations. I cited Tootsie as an influence for me of acceptance, even though Hoffman's character is definitely not trans, or even gay. After watching the film again with fresh eyes, I still think it has a lot to say about acceptance. It wouldn't be a good story if there wasn't growth, and one of the ways he grows is by accepting the more feminine aspects of his personality and thereby identifying with the women he previously objectified.
Anyway, that's what I was thinking about when I saw this, but it's really not a heavy movie. It has a lot of humor and a little romance, but it's definitely not a rom-com. It's very early eighties in the best way possible and done really well. I especially liked the editing of the farm montage when Hoffman is really falling into his character (interesting look at how he is most honest when he is lying about a pretty bug thing!)
Absence of Malice: This film stars Paul Newman and Sally Fields. Fields plays a journalist who s tipped a bad story framing Newman as a murder suspect (which he's not). This is a pretty dark film for having Sally Fields. I mean, I'm sure she's done plenty of dramas, but that's just not how I think of her ("You like me! You really like me!"). There's a lot here about honor and integrity and truth versus accuracy, and those concepts aren't buried very deep. Some would say this makes for a shallow film, but I kind of feel like... well, as whoever it was who said it says, "If you want the audience to see the gun in the drawer, SHOW them the gun in the drawer." If you think an idea or moral is important enough to be in your film, shouldn't you do everything in your power to make sure every viewer gets it, versus hoping they'll take the time to hunt for it?
The Way We Were: I admit, one reason I chose this film was because of it's standing in pop culture. I like to get as many references as I can as fully as I can as often as I can, so I knew I was long overdue to see this. And boy was I glad I did! A few nights after my semester was over, I decided to watch an old favorite of mine, Boys on the Side. Low and behold, what movie should be viewed but The Way We Were! And, like most references to other works of art in films, this was a very apt film for the characters to watch - a tale of two star crossed lovers whose love can never really win - basically the same theme that runs through Boys on the Side!
Anyway, I really liked The Way We Were, especially because it seemed like it would be really shallow dramatic love story, but it had some depth to it with political matters entering in to it and what not. Also, beautifully shot and I really noticed the sound since one of the classes I just finished was Sound for Image.
And that brings me to the end of the semester - Three A's (Sound for Image, Acting for the Camera, and Cinema History II) and one B (Cinema Production II)! Amazingly, that brought my GPA up a little to 3.51, so I think I'm close to being back on the Dean's List. We'll see how this summer goes!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
So, without further ado, the reworked, retitled -
Pop Goes the Sound
and in case you were wondering - I got 9 out of 10 on this one and a big "Really Good!" from my teacher!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Persona is one of my favorite films of all time, I'd say it's about second. It's also totally messed up. I am not entirely sure what I think it's all about, but I have some ideas, so let me share them with you:
The story follows an actress, Liv Ullman who is choosing, after some sort of nervous breakdown, to be mute. The subtitles have the doctor saying she is also "immobile," but it isn't meant in the paralyzed, physical sense. Instead, she chooses not to care for her son, see her husband...she just doesn't want to do much of anything. The story is also about her nurse, Bibi Andersson, who accompanies her to a seaside cottage for rest and relaxation. The nurse is younger and talks a lot, seemingly at the behest of Ullman.
Some of the core themes are lying and identity, specifically female identity. Bergman paints a well rounded portrait of these women, zeroing in on three characteristics of femininity - the mother, the sister, the lover.
Throughout the film the characters interchange who plays the role of caregiver. Although Andresson is younger, she is the nurse, there to do the job of meeting Ullman's needs. However, Ullman is older, possibly wiser, and often treats Andersson as though she is someone who needs looking after.
The two form a close bond, spending there days together, comforting each other, and for the most part in a very sisterly manner. Here Bergman does something that astounds me; he is able to capture the way in which feelings of sisterhood between women are carried out through mutual maternal actions. I'm not sure if I can explain that right now, I just feel it to be true. I'll keep working on it.
The part of Bergman's films that it seems people wish to shy away from, but which he absolutely refuses to let you do, is the aspect of "women as lover" -- and not just the lover of men, but also other women. If Persona were made today, by some hack in Hollywood, it would probably be called Obsession. The two women develop a relationship in which they blend into one another (figuratively and literally, by way of an awesome shot of halves of the two women's faces taking up the entire screen), but with very strong sexual undertones. Bergman does this again in Cries and Whispers, to a much greater extent...but this is about Persona, not C&W.
So often, in new and old films, we see female characters portrayed as one, possibly two, dimensional - the stupid-girly-flirt, the mean-old-boss, the smart-yet-slightly-unattractive-sidekick, the overbearing-mother, the seductress, the list goes on - but never are the stereotypes combined the way they are in real life. To be sure, Bergman's women are kind of f***ed up, but that's how movies are. We don't see films because they reflect our lives exactly as they are every day. Instead we zoom in on the dramatic, crazy times and multiply it by ten...
and that's entertainment.
And with Bergman, it's a kind of introspection for the whole of humanity as well...
I'll leave it there for now, and get into the Vietnam thing next time.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
But I digress.
Here's AK's comment:
We watched THE VISITOR last night and it was every bit as good as you said, although it made me very angry (which may have been the idea). I do not yet understand editing, so I don't know if it was the editor or the director whose idea it was to have the (imaginary? perhaps) scene where Richard Jenkins would ask Tarek and Zenab back to the apartment be left out, and you just see the next day. Maybe that's why I should watch deleted scenes? Anyway, thanks to you I've probably seen more nominees than in many recent years so will be watching with some interest. I may try to see The Wrestler before Sunday night.
I'm gonna state some (probably) obvious things here, just to have them out there, and then explain how that fits in with what AuntieKnickers was wondering about.
Screenwriter: This person writes the script (duh) and with an original films, it all starts with them (that's not necessarily true, but for this lesson, let's say it is). A lot more in a film should be attributed to the screenwriter then usually is. A good screenwriter has the ability to write shots into a script in a way that makes the director think it was there idea. I suspect that the scene discussed in AK's comment was written in to the script, but it may not have been.
Director: I think it helps to think of the Director as the Artistic Director, whereas the Producer is a Managing Director (as well as a of of other things, but that's a discussion for another day). So, our director does pre-production and production. They are the person who sits down with the director of photography (cinematographer) and decides how they want to bring the script to life on the screen. Then during the production they work with the actors and look at dailies (the film shot on any given day) with the other bigwigs of the production, making sure they got what they needed how they needed it.
It is perfectly possible that the scene in question was in the script, but that at some point the director decided he/she did not want it to be shown, and so did not film it, or just told the editor to leave it out.
Side note that sometimes the director does do a lot of work in post-production, but usually it's more of a, "Yup, that was nice" or "Oh, not what I had been thinking of, but I like it!" Obviously the director and editor do need to communicate, and they do more then the screenwriter and director, but it isn't a day to day thing.
Editor: The editor takes the script and the film and cuts the film together to tell the story without all the extra nonsense. That's a super abbreviated version of events. In a lot of ways the editor has the most control, and in others the least. In my acting for the camera class, our professor told us to make friends with the cinematographer, camera operator and the editor because those three people have the most control over what you will actually look like in the finished film. Even if you are mostly filmed with perfect lighting and angles and what not, there will always be some shots that suck, and if the editor likes you they're a lot more likely to leave those shots on the cutting room floor.
With the scene we are discussing here, it is entirely possible that the editor felt that the rhythm of the film would work better without that scene, and cut it. Especially since the scene comes in at the beginning of the film, and a lot of the scenes themselves are on the slow side, in a positive way. This was done on purpose to create for the audience the feeling Jenkins has with his life - going nowhere, lonely etc., and editing out needless scenes can be a way of speeding the pace without killing the mood.
So, I would say that if this is an experienced screenwriter, or just a good one, they probably wrote it like that. But if not, then it would most likely have been a decision made in the editing room.
Again, kudos to AuntieKnickers for paying such close attention to little details! And I encourage everyone who hasn't to see The Visitor ASAP!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
In the meantime, I thought I would do this crazy/fun little exercise. It entertained me and I hope it entertains you, too!
So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc).
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...OK, I didn't lie to look cool, but the first time I tried this almost every song was a Christmas one or a story, so I had to go back through and un-check those because if they're all about Christmas, it's not very cool!
One Fine Day – Ann Reed performed by Calliope Women’s Chorus
3am – Death Ray Scientific
First Day of School:
Goofyfoot - Phranc
Falling in Love:
Come Fly With Me – Michael Buble (creep. city.)
Preparations for the Last TV Fake - The Goodbye Lenin Soundtrack, composed by Yann Tiersen
How the Day Sounds – Greg Laswell
Garden Party – Ricky Nelson
Life's Just OK:
Whatever (I Had a Dream) – Butthole Surfers …don’t judge me.
Be and Be Not Afraid – Tracy Chapman
Dry the Rain – The Beta Band
Hanging On Too Long – Duffy
Getting Back Together:
Someday – M.L.T.R. …OK, I have no idea who these guys are, this song is on a sampler of music in English
by Danish artists, but it’s pretty creepy since the chorus is, “Someday, someway, together we will be baby.”
Birth of Child:
Genetic Engineering – X-Ray Specs
Ma Ya Hi – O-Zone …hmmm, this would be fun at a wedding!
I Feel It All - Feist
Hurt – Johnny Cash
Always See Your Face – Love (from the High Fidelity Soundtrack)
Lo Boob Oscillator – Stereolab
Let me know if you try this and where I can see it!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I GOT ALL A'S!!
That's right, I got an A in Documentary History, Topics in Cinema: Coen Brothers and Tarention, AND Screen-Writing 2! (Because I'm paranoid, I won''t be posting my screenplay on the website, though I may do a little synopsis sometime. And anyway, we aren't really graded on how good the screenplay is, but on how much we improve)
Anyway, that's my happy FilmAching news!