Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mulholland Drive (Blog post 5)

          Lynch's Mulholland Drive is greatly influenced by early French surrealist cinema in many ways. Almost all of the French films use dreamlike sequences and nonlinear story lines or misleading narrative devices. One main example of this can be seen in La Coquille Et Le Clergyman by Germaine Dulac. Throughout the whole movie, you are not sure what part of the movie is reality and what is hallucination or a dream, and the same stylistic surreal device is used throughout Mulholland Drive.  Dulac also uses exaggerated acting, intense lighting and focusing on faces to express emotion in a similar way the Lynch does. Both films also use archetypes of characters, like the actual Clergyman in the french film, and the naive Hollywood hopefully in Lynch's movie. 

These ideas of ambiguous separations between the real world and the imaginary or dream world are especially prevalent in Un Chien Andalou. Salvador Dali  and Luis Bunuel uses shocking images and fantasy like scenes to make the viewers sense of reason useless. This same technique is used by David Lynch in his films. 

In Man Ray's Emak Bakia, he uses soft focus and double exposure to add to the surrealist quality in the movie. This same technique is used by David Lynch in Mulholland Drive. 

In L'Age d'or, Luis Bunuel uses symbolism in an abstract way to portray certain ideas, which one can definitely see influenced David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. For example, Bunuel used the scene of the young girl passionately licking and sucking on the toe of a religious statue to symbolize the sexual repression by the church. Lynch also uses symbols in his movie, for example, in the form of the scary looking homeless man in the beginning of the movie which would represent the dark reality of the last third of the movie. 

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special.  It is typically used within cinema to emphasize an important aspect of a character

Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. For example a jigsaw originally means a cutting tool, but its metonymy would be the jigsaw puzzle.

Metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance.

Allegory is a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Un Chien Andalou (Blog post 1)

Un Chien Andalou is a surrealist film which seems to have no real plot in the traditional sense. Although there is some narrative going on, the chronology is all over the place, jumping from scene to scene, creating a disjointed story line. For example, early in the film there is a scene of a woman’s eye being cut open with a razor (actually a dead calf’s eye), which then jumps to a title card that says “eight years later”, followed by a man dressed in parts of a nun’s uniform riding a bicycle down the street. 
 This jumping around from seemingly unrelated scenes is one of the major ways Un Chien Andalou deviates from classical narrative film form. The rest of the film concentrates on these two major characters. There is a strange moment when the two characters are looking at young man’s hand and the camera gets close up on it and ants begin to crawl out of it. The film then transitions to a woman lying on a beach by first focusing on the arm pit hair of the young lady.

 The title cards, as well as the absurd, surreal story line, emphasize the films divergence from classical narrative film form. The title cards jump from “around three in the morning” to “six years ago” and finally ending with “In spring” where you see the couple on the beach buried in the sand up to their elbows. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

French Impressionism. (Blog post 4)

For this blog post, i'm going to be writing about Menilmontant.

One of the most obvious stylistic devices used by the filmmaker to represent the subjectivity and emotional state of a character is the use to flashbacks. After the main female character has been seduced by the male character, she has flashbacks of her childhood. This is used possibly as contrast of the innocence and simplicity of childhood, or to foreshadow the birth of her own child. Nonetheless, by breaking the chronological order with memories of the past, it creates a melancholic tone and emphasizes the subjectivity of the main character.

Another example is the use of double exposure to express the point of view of the subject. One interesting scene where this is used is while the older sister is laying in bed. The film was edited to that at one moment you see the girl laying about in bed, looking at the alarm clock and then intermixed with that is double exposed images of a rapid street scene mixed with possibly images of a woman's body. It was as if the film maker was trying to show us inside the mind of the older sister.

The third way that the filmmaker used stylistic devices to represent the emotional state of a character is by using rapid montages. After the main female character gave birth to her child and is thinking about suicide there is a very intense moment where the film maker focuses on her eyes and and then mixes that shot with a rapid montage of a hectic street scene. Its almost as if the audience sees reality though the eyes of the girl and then sees the confusion and disparity on the close-up of the expressive face.

Blog post 3

Types of Meaning

1. Referential Meaning- A concrete plot summary, that refers to things or places already invested with        significance.
2. Explicit Meaning- A concrete, specific meaning that deals with the characters' change during the film. Change here mean their understanding of their dilemma, what they learn about their problems and themselves.  
3. Implicit Meaning- An abstract meaning that goes beyond what is explicitly stated in the film. It is a was to interpret the film.  
4. Symptomatic Meaning- Describing a film's meaning by explaining a particular set of social values that make up the point of the film.

Evaluation Criteria

1. Coherence- Whether the film has a sense of unity and all the parts are clearly connected. 
2. Intensity of Effect- Whether the film is vivid, striking and emotionally engaging. 
3. Complexity- Whether the film engages out interests on many levels, creating a multiplicity of relations among many separate formal elements, and tends to create intriguing patterns of feelings and meanings. 
4. Originality- When an artist takes a familiar convention and uses it in a way that makes it a fresh experience.

Principles of Film Form 

1.Function- The role of effect of any element within the film's form. 
2. Similarity and Repetition- Any significant repeated element in a film.  
3. Difference and Variation- Significant deviations from what is expected or established. 
4. Development- A progression moving from beginning through middle to end. 
4. Unity and Disunity- How relationships in a film are interwoven and how communicative and cohesive it is.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Blog post 2)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a great example of German expressionism. Realist representation is distorted to express an emotional state and an interior reality is many ways. The set design is the most evident illustration of expressionism, with the intensely angled scenery, from the doorways to the window panes and even the shadows. The extreme chiaroscuro of the shadow and lighting add to the dramatic effect of the whole movie. The look of the environment just screams emotion and distraught.

Another way that reality is distorted to express emotion is through the characters themselves. The Frankenstein-esque way of walking of the somnambulist is very garish and unrealistic to create a fearful emotion. The look of Dr. Caligari, with his crazy eyes also created this same feeling.  Even the make-up of the woman is a dramatic version of the style of make-up that was popular in the 20’s. All of these things add up to create an overwhelming feeling of emotion that is synonymous with German Expressionism.