Godard vs. Truffaut - always Truffaut for me. Day for Night is one of my all time favorites and while Godard is (was) full of good ideas, he seemed to think diligence, iterating and patience were all beneath him, so none of his stuff feels complete or whole - and that has nothing to do with his budgets. Just a typical, modernist 20th century capital-A Artist, who sees craft and nuance as impediments to ideas/ideology. Net result : films that are nice window dressing for lackluster, simplified philosophy.
What's wrong with something like this (genuinely curious):
Talking right out of my ass here and without doing any comparison - but could it be that trailers these days usually get a more pushed, more banal orange-teal look than the finished movies? Because the trailer is designed like fast food, for maximum sugar, fat and saltiness (visual stimulation) in an instant?
On my C300 (same sensor) my most used lens has been the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS EF-S. It does vignette ever so slightly, especially if the IS needs to do a lot at a wide angle, but it's never really been an issue. The build quality is not great, especially the focus ring, but the optics are excellent, it's about as fast as zoom's get and not too expensive. Not a recent design, but I think it still leads in optical performance amongst other ~17-50mm lenses, unless you move up to cinema glass...
I also have the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L, but don't feel it goes wide enough and miss the IS (mind you, it's a version 1, the newer 24-70 L is quite a bit nicer and also costs 2000$+).
55mm is pretty short at the far end however, so you would want to pair it with something like a 85mm (that you have) or (ideally) a good 70-200mm. I use the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L, and love everything that comes out of it.
I apologize for any perceived condescension or snottiness, and any “who are you to judge, prick” comments are completely warranted. I realize I’m picking something apart with tweezers which mainly served as a creative exercise for those involved. It’s just that with such a compelling start and beautiful images my expectations shot up, and I felt compelled to discuss where I felt it went off the rails.
The cinematography is the clear stand out in this short, and the choice of shooting S16 not only looks gorgeous, but fits the intimate subject matter and blurry sense of past / present. It's perhaps not the most inventive style, reminds me of a lot of recent films coming out of Denmark (Bier, Vinterberg), and Malick seems like an obvious point of reference - not a bad bunch to rub shoulders with! Well executed.
As regards the dramatic content, it starts out really well, the dialogue flows naturally with an immediate sense of who the characters are (maybe because the actors were improvising and largely being themselves?). But once the contour of the plot started taking shape it gradually becomes almost cringe-worthy: is this really a dramatization of girlfriend-always-on-the-phone-so-sad, told with a straight face?, the structural skeleton, the motivation behind this story, felt way too thin and fragile, even for a 10 minute short.
I’m not saying the relationship friction and alienation caused by people allotting half their brains to their smartphone is unworthy of a story - It just can’t carry a story all on it’s own. No theme really can. I think only characters can ground a story, and the characters increasingly felt like puppets being used to illustrate a point, and less like real people. This is most glaring in the argument scene, where the actors’ only direction seems to have been “the phone is ruining their relationship - go!”. They did not feel like a couple there at all. When a couple fights it almost always becomes very personal and chaotic, in a manner very specific to them (“...every unhappy family is unhappy in their own way”).
At the start of a real, dish-smashing argument all the suppressed annoyances, grievances, jealousy and resentment comes bubbling to the surface in fits and starts, but this argument seemed only to be about a phone. This crucial moment is unfortunately the worst scene in the film (partially because the actress has nothing to counter this phone accusation with, leaving her flailing).
What followed felt unearned, in that I couldn’t buy into this phone-based breakup/heartache, despite well staged and performed scenes. Basically what I’m saying, is that a theme/idea is a good kick-off point, but you need to build specific characters around it if the ultimate aim is human drama (just an idea is fine for a primarily visual short, or an elaborate gag/twist/reveal etc.).
With thicker characters comes nuance and hidden, unplanned complexity and before you know it, the scenes feel richer - A good rule of thumb is to try and make every scene be about at least two things. They can be two big things - getting a divorce while getting a heart attack - two small things - picking nose while annoyed by ceiling fan - or a big and small thing - smartphone and meaning of relationship. (David O. Russell is the master of juggling three or four things at a time in the same scene, he’s very instructive to study).
Personally I would have gone with a lighter touch - more humor, less earnestness - but that’s just preference.
Would probably not have shown the man wielding the phone on the beach at the end - would have made his instagram more of pleasant surprise.
OK, long enough, send