» Posts Tagged ‘analysis’

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Blue ValentineOne thing to keep in mind as a filmmaker is that everything tells a story — it’s not just the actual script either, but very prop, every location, the colors of your character’s shirts, the blocking, and editing. This concept is demonstrated masterfully in Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 romantic drama Blue Valentine, which utilizes, both narratively and cinematically, the theme of “duality” to tell a tale of a dying relationship. In yet another excellent video essay from Darren Foley of Must See Films, we not only get to analyze the dual world’s inside the film, but Cianfrance’s compelling approach to capturing authentic emotionally charged moments on film. More »

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The ShiningStanley Kubrick’s films are some of the most analyzed pieces of cinema, especially his horror masterpiece The Shining. Brimming with intrigue, clues, and hidden messages, Kubrick’s 1980 film has been given the royal treatment when it comes to analysis, even becoming the subject of the documentary Room 237 that digs deep into the possible meanings behind the director’s cinematic choices, and Darren Foley of Must See Films offers up another engaging video essay, this time on Kubrick’s enigmatic work, that explores some intriguing theories on the possible theme of “history repeating itself.” More »

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InceptionStudying the intricate details of films is a great way of becoming a better filmmaker, and we’re definitely big fans of the work Darren Foley does in analyzing some of cinema’s great modern films.. In yet another great film analysis, Foley breaks down Christopher Nolan’s cerebral thriller about dreams within dreams within dreams. Find out how Inception lures its audience into their own dream state through “disorientation”, as well as the subtle hints that let them know whether what they’re watching is real or a dream. More »

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Lost in TranslationUpon being introduced to Darren Foley’s video analyses (his study of Prisoners is an absolute must-see), you can imagine my excitement when I saw that he broke down one of my favorite films, Lost in Translation. In this analysis, Foley explains many of the film’s more obscure elements, like the themes of loneliness and isolation, the cinematography that communicates said themes, and, yes, the infamous scene where Bill Murray whispers inaudibly to Scarlett Johannson. Continue on to check it out. More »

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Tarkovsky waterIf you look through the books, documentaries, and websites dedicated to the legendary Russsian director Andrei Tarkovsky, you’ll quickly find out that his work is often described as poetic. There’s absolutely no doubt that his films, full of metaphysical themes and beautiful long takes, are visual poetry; they’re emotionally resounding, and film theorists, critics, and students of film have spent decades trying to decode the poetic messages believed to be in his visual motifs, like his use of water and fire for example. However, is there really something there to decode, or did Tarkovsky avoid symbolism altogether? More »

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The UntouchablesBreaking down the cinematography and editing used in a film is a great first step in learning how to not only measure pacing and establish tone, but to understand important cinematic techniques and how they communicate to audiences. In this exhaustive analysis of Brian De Palma’s American crime drama The Untouchables, Antonios Papatoniou breaks down the very bloody, very pivotal “Union Station” scene shot by shot, noting every shot size, length, lens, and camera movement in order to take a closer look at how the use of POV adds depth and tension to an already intense scene. More »

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PrisonersOne of the things I appreciate about cinema is that films are enigmatic. Many times the films we see when we’re kicking back and watching as passive spectators are not the same films we see when we sit up, pen and pad in hand, and unfurl the cinematic message in its entirety. This video essay by Darren of Must See Films attempts to unearth all of the subtle ways director Denis Villeneuve and legendary DP Roger Deakins try to communicate through the film Prisoners. It breaks down many aspects of the film, like the blocking, costuming, and aesthetic choices, as well as its symbolism, motifs, and patterns, offering a richer, more well-rounded understanding of not only the film itself, but of just how complex and intricate visual storytelling actually is. More »

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upstreamWhat does Henry David Thoreau’s classic narrative of his 2-year sojourn in the wilderness, Walden, have to do with Primer director Shane Carruth’s sophomore effort, Upstream Color? According to Vimeo user Anna Robertson, everything. Her video is a great example of the subtle ways that a film can embed its meaning and structure under the surface, demonstrating that just like dreams, there is, in successful stories (and movies in particular), a logic at work, even in the most seemingly opaque narrative. Let’s go through the looking-glass, people. More »

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Kurosawa2It has been said many, many times: Akira Kurosawa is a master filmmaker — perhaps the master. However, what skill did the Master master? The general consensus leans toward Kurosawa’s incredible ability to tell stories through editing, the techniques of which are analyzed in this video by Phil Baumhardt. Find out how Kurosawa approached cutting the final battle scene in Seven Samuraias well as the motivations behind his approach after the break. More »

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Room 237The documentary Room 237 has been called a “DIY mashup” of the many theories put forward over the years as interpretations of Stanley Kubricks’s 1980 horror classic, The ShiningAnd there is good reason for viewers to puzzle over the film 33 years after its release: The Shining tends to be opaque, even though its corridors are well-lit. I recently found what is arguably the most exhaustive examination of how Kubrick adapted Stephen King’s novel into the script he wrote with Diane Johnson. Click below to read the post and see how Kubrick took King’s novel and made movie history! More »

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Collider Breaking Down Place Beyond the PinesDerek Cianfrance’s followup to the extraordinary Blue Valentine comes in the form of a three act Shakespearian crime drama, The Place Beyond the Pines. Collider goes behind the scenes with the director to discuss the filmmaking and break down a few scenes, discussing camera placement, character choices, working with ‘movie stars’ and blending a performance together across many different takes. Hit the jump for the video and analysis: More »

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Hollywood rewrites statistical analysis matrixIf there is one axiom about screenwriting for the studios that holds true above all others, it may be this: your screenplay will be rewritten. If you’re lucky (depending on how you define “lucky”), you’ll get to rewrite the script yourself. You may even get fired off your original screenplay only to be rehired a few drafts down the road to fix what other screenwriters have changed, like screenwriter Michael Arndt on his Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine, according to his introduction to the published version of the script. Studios want to take the guesswork out of rewrites to figure out which changes will lead to the biggest return on their investments. Enter the world of statistical analysis and script consultants who make script notes purely based on the numbers. More »