We ended our last lecture with a bang. Unlike the majority of the movies we have watched during this semester, Bonnie and Clyde would have to be the most craziest and loudest feature length film I believe I’ve seen all semester. This was also our second film that we watched that was done in color. Our first, Written on the Wind was filmed in Technicolor, while this one was filmed in Eastmancolor. Technicolor was a very expensive process of filming because you needed actual Technicolor technicians to make the film “colorized”. Written on the Wind was film “bathed in lurid Technicolor (Criterion Collection)” and filled with many exaggerated scenes and shots.
Penn’s film was a breakthrough because of the amount of violence the film had. Sometimes I think there was an exaggerated amount of violence. When I mean violence, I also mean just the act of taking out a gun and the killings as well. This action is the start what most likely will be a violent event. Like the scene when Clyde teaches Bonnie how to shoot a gun. Out of no where, we see a big, middle aged man approaching the lethal couple. Where did this person come from? I found that scene to be the random and just one the many awkward moments that are shown on film. I never felt like the film was ever still for a moment and instead filled with constant motion. There were hardly any long takes and filled with short takes. This is the start of what is to become the majority of the films created in Hollywood, filled with many short takes.
But I remember how the film was strongly influenced with the French New Wave and its techniques. Lets take “Breathless” for example. I remember the jump cuts and the choppy editing that the film had. There were many tiny mistakes throughout the film, it came to a point where all those mistakes were a part of what the film was. It was meant to be choppy, to fight and rebel against the traditional French established film industry. That applies to “Bonnie and Clyde” here as well. I remember one thing, everything that the director films is done on purpose. The way the director shoots the scenes are not just meant for us to look at them, but they shoot the scenes in certain ways, to convey a message. Penn chose to film “Bonnie and Clyde” in this way to rebel against the typical big-budget, Hollywood style of filmmaking.
The 1960’s was a decade filled with changes in film. France was flourishing with their New Wave Cinema and the U.S. was slowly moving away from big-budget productions to independent filmmaking. I was shocked to see the main character in the film, Clyde to impotent whenever Bonnie made flirtatious moves onto Clyde. This was radically different than many of the gangsters we see in most movies these days. The majority have three things in mind, violence, money, and sex. An example would be James Cagney’s character in “A Public Enemy”.