Film Center

December 12th, 2011

Blog Post on “Bonnie and Clyde” by Steven Rengifo

Posted by Steven Rengifo in Uncategorized

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”.

   

December 8th, 2011

Analysis #2: Materiality of Film on “La Jetee”

Posted by Steven Rengifo in Uncategorized

Steven Rengifo

December 6th, 2011

Media Studies 144-01

Analysis #2: Materiality of Film for La Jetee

            The screening in class was the first time I have ever watched the movie. I remember your reaction after it was over, and couldn’t agree with you more about how powerful a 28-minute film can be. I will be analyzing this film in its entirety because it is a short film, also because the film has a unique quality. There are 24 frames in each shot of a film and that is what film is, a combination of thousands of separate images. These images are projected at a certain rate to create a moving image. The specific technique that makes La Jetee unique is that film is almost completely filled with still shots and photography that is held for several seconds. This is clearly different from what most films are, which are actual moving pictures to create many images flashed before you on screen.

Throughout the short, the audience is focused on just looking at single shots or images for several seconds. This urges the audience to stop, look, and analyze what is shown on screen. La Jetee is about survivors of a nuclear explosion that caused World War III, and then tapping into the mind of a man who has a mind filled with rich memories of the past. Apparently a couple of people have survived in France and what are left are some citizens and scientists. The scientists have more control and use the other survivors as objects of experimentation. Then comes on individual who has a clear vision of what the past once was.

The film was ahead of its time because how it just used still shots of photography to convey its message. I liked how it was different, but I was left confused at the end. A scene I was confused with was the one shot of the man sleeping and opening his eyes, the whispering, and the heart pounding. The stuff that the scientist’s had on their eyes was confusing as well. I’m not sure what was the point of all of that, but it did create a lot of suspense for me. I would consider this film to be avant-garde instead of just being a regular short film. There is narrative, but a lot of it is hard to follow.

This was the film that gained Chris Marker him international recognition. What does the film try to convey by just using just photographs? I believe it forces us stop and look at hat might possibly be our future. When the movie was released in 1963, France was already gaining international respect and popularity with their French New Wave Movement. This was time when French filmmakers and critics were frustrated with traditional French cinema. The filmmakers challenged the establishment of how films were created, by making their own films at a very cheap level. Just from watching the types of movies, you can see how cheap and quickly it was done.

In this case, Marker wanted to do the film just in still photo shots. To create the effect of an eerie future, there were a lot of qualities from film noir that was used. The images were purposely shot in dark or closed settings. Most importantly the museum shots had a lot of a dark tone to it. It goes to show how simple a film can be created. Marker just took pictures with the actors in them in certain areas around Paris. The rest was just edited and revised in the editing process of the film. The use of overlapping images of Paris being destroyed made the experience more realistic for the audience. The film sows the audience how the future will be if something is not done. The filmmaker is crying for action in the film, but in a very subtle way.

This movie and the others that were released before the student protests that happened in France. Students in France were highly influenced by these films and their messages. The audience should pay attention to how Marker is influenced by film noir. The French New Wave is a movement that was influenced by film noir and it especially shown in La Jetee. Lastly, I believe Marker achieved his goal affecting the audience. The film certainly affected me because I was left in confusion and amazed at how the photography can say a lot in 28 minutes.

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