Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb - Dave Borthwick, 1993


MOVEMENT (chapter three)

The representation of movement can have a huge impact upon the style and meaning of a film. A death scene shot in slow-motion will convey very different intentions from one shot in fast-motion. Select any scene from a film you consider formalist. Propose an alternative way to represent movement in the scene. (Hint: If the scene is in slow-motion, shoot it at regular speed. If it uses close-up shots, re-frame it with a telephoto lens.) How has your “take” altered the meaning, mood or style of the scene? Has it impacted the film overall? How?

Watch Tony vs. Paul, an amazing YouTube video using pixelation.


Anonymous said...

A movie that I consider formalist is the "Matrix" series. The scene that I will use is in the very beginning of the first "Matrix", when the character Trinity is running from cops. During this chase, Trinity jumps from the roof of one building to another (the two buildings are very distant from one another) and she makes it safely while the cops stumble or barely make it to the other building.

This scene was shot in using slow-motion with a bird's eye-view shot. Using these two technique's, I (or the audience) feel two things. First, the slow-motion adds to the drama and it makes the audience react a certain way. Something like "I can't believe she just jumped like that" would be going through the audiences mind when they see her jump. Second, the overhead shot allows us to see the distance between her and the ground.

If I were to shoot this scene, I would only change on thing. I would keep the slow-motion because the dramatic effect cannot be replaced. However, I would change the camera from a bird's eye view to a side view (think super nintendo's super mario series). Using the side view would allow the audience to see the distance between the two buildings and it would also show how high above the ground the character are. I believe that this would have a greater impact on the audience.

steve said...

One movie that I consider a formalist film is “Boyz N In The Hood”. The director used a lot of slow motion camera scenes, a little too much I thought. One scene from the movie that stock out was when the character Ricky was shot by a rival gang member .The car with the rival gang members pulled up in front the alley way. The same alley way Ricky was walking out of. The pulled up in front of him only then he notice it was the rival gang members. He started running as he saw them. One which was in the back pulled out a shot gun and began to shoot. The slow motion effect started from there until the bullets hit him and he dropped.

If I had to take over that scene I would have put the slow motion in effect only when the bullets hit Ricky. The close up of the shooter as he pulled the gun up and points it in the direction Ricky is running was not a bad camera framing. One thing I would have done differently is, as he is running I would of use a medium close up, not a long shot, and only put the slow motion effect as the bullets is about to hit him and he is dropping, giving more impact of him being shot.

Spierre said...

Is it just me or is this journal a little queer? Notwithstanding the fact that it’s kind of fun to consider an alternative way to cast a scene but doesn’t a good director account for such and thus the way the original piece shot a representation of the best meaning.

And consequently me just a novice editor who making alteration to the impact of a given scene by modifying it going to greatly alter it in a counter productive way?

I don’t know maybe it’s just me?

But anyways here goes:

The Stepford wives…a mediocre movie I guess which is directed by Frank Oz who ‘is best known for his work as a puppeteer, performing with Jim Henson's Muppets’ and also for creating Yoda from star wars (which is really freaking cool)….Anyways…

The Stepford wives … most know the story line (I hope) so I’ll just say that the towns women are replaced with robots and pretty much the camera direction and movements of these anthropomorphic women bots stay true to this, I’m not sure but I think the replacement women were shot in fast motion, to make them more robotic because I think they moved too fast to be in slow motion, even when they seemed to glide as they walked and for their reaction shots probably fast motion also to convey weird and jerky false expression. (But ah I’m no expert)

This fast motion (I think) was good throughout, except at the very end there was a major plot hole and it was like somebody else had filmed the ending of the movie, yes the female bots were freed and thus the stiff and jerky camera movements should stop but perhaps not completely, because the female bots weren’t supposed to be human anymore.

The film that I watched made the women bots dramatically human, abandoning all camera direction and logic set up by the alteration of their human bodies, lets not forget one of the bots had their hand set on fire, and at the ending of the movie was being interviewed on a night time talk show after completing a book and was sooo chillax it was ridiculous.

The ending did not complement the beginning of the movie and the movements of the actors and the placement of the camera did not coincide in to one logical movie because of this the allusion of the movie was all off and I was just confused…so to right this wrong every scene which was part of the end would be cast in much the same way as the beginning perhaps with less dramatic jerky movements

……….that’s it and I’m out-

Unknown said...

This Is TAWASI I agree with steve as well but a movie that i would change is "Menice To Society". The one scene i would change is the last scene when Kane got killed. He was running to save the little boy from getting shot and they used alot of wide shots and long shots as he ran across the screen. i would change it and use more close ups of Kane's face and get pure head shots to show make my audience feel and relate to his desperation to save the child and i would put it in slow motion and put more close up of everyones face after he gets shot to emphasize there reactions.

El Fuerte said...

A movie that has a very meaningful formalist scene would be "Blow" with Johnny Depp. The scene that I'm taking about is actually a bunch of short clip of them meeting people and selling them cocaine and then you see them in a house filled with money.

This series of clips and photos in the form of a "montage" was really fast. To me this made it seem that selling cocaine makes a lot of money really fast. It made me say "whoa! thats a lot of money made fast"

If I could change something about that it would be close ups on the money and the drugs so that they viewer can make the judgment that I made.

1dotcom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
1dotcom said...

A movie that I believe to be a formalist would be “Spiderman 1”. The scene takes place was the Green Goblin is trying to kill Spiderman in the abandoned building. The Green Goblin starts to throw a couple of grenades at Spiderman and Spiderman was able to elude the bombs with his slick maneuvering. One of the bombs exploded and ricochets through the wall. Little bits of cement, glass, and steel start to soar through the air.

The camera angle was a mid shot of Spiderman and of him slowly moving side-to-side, which gave the audience the feeling as if they were apart of the movie and they wanted to dodge the debris with him. The style of shooting I wouldn’t change because of it was shot at normal speed or a any other pace, it wouldn’t have the same affect of making the audience feel apart of the movie.

Anonymous said...

A movie I consider to be a formalistic movie is "Donnie Darko". And the scene I would mostly focus on would be when the character "Donnie" goes the old ladies house and later has his girlfriend run over by "Frank the bunny".

The scene was set in normal speed with a wide-shot of the girl getting run over and frank getting shot. In my opinion that scene was pretty quick and needed more. That whole scene in my opinion should have been in slow motion. Although that would perhaps make that scene a cliché, adding slow-mo to a death scene, but in my opinion I think that adds more drama to it. The mood in this scene would be intensified and the audience would be able to experience his loss, which then would bring in the audience and make them want to see what will happen next.

The scene where she gets run over by the car, that's when the slow-mo should start. The music should start as well, like requiem type music, and a close-up on Darko's face to show his reaction. It's to show the transformation of pain and loss to angry and vengeance. And then when he shoots Frank in the eye it should be shown in slow-mo and a close-up to Frank's face when the bullet shot can be visible to reveal what the audience already knows.

So for that particular scene there would be a slow-mo effect, multiple close-up shots, and music in the background to create mood.

Anonymous said...

A movie that I consider formalist is the "Transporter 2". In this movie there was a character who was known to be a driver, not an ordinary driver, but a professional driver. In one of the scenes the character had to save his car from getting blown up which had a bomb underneath his car. As he a got into his car he then sped off so quick from the bad guys then he went up a ramp and in mid air he got the bomb removed from a crane that had a hanging hook, and as a result he saved his car and himself. To remind you this had happened from fast motion to slow motion.
If I had to do this same exact scene I actually won't make any changes because I think overall the film was pretty good and the scenes were also great.

Anonymous said...

Ms Smith

Fantastic four was an excellent example of a formalist film, with non stop action scenes many of which were shot in slow motion. Four astronauts have their lives changed forever, when they end up being hit by a cloud of cosmic radiation.
The scene when the four of them are discovered by the community was very intense, exciting and well shot. If it was shot in a regular speed it would lose so much of its dynamic. In beginning of the scene we see a normal flowing traffic scene until the fire truck falls of the bridge and Ben Grimm character Michael Chiklis attempts to save the fire fighters. Now as the viewer we know that he is good and means well but the people are terrified and instead of relaxing and allowing Michael to help them, the panic and almost get them selves killed.
There is one shot when Johnny played by Chris Evans has to extend his hand from the bridge to save someone who almost fell in the ocean. The director chose to shoot this in regular speed, if the reverse was done in slow motion, it would have made the movie more suspenseful than action. Using slow motion in a film creates anticipation and anxiety to see what the actor’s next move would be.

Keston said...

The movie that I wanted to use was Smoking Aces. The scene that i think altered the mood and meaning was the scene when the sniper (the lady)fired the gun from across in the other building.

This scene was shown in slow motion. This adds to the emotion of the audience. I was personally drawn into this scene because i felt like i was gliding through the air and was held in suspense as to where i would end up. When the bullet hit the target and the blood spilled in slow motion it showed the person in great agony.
To me slow motion bring the audience closer to the character so you can feel what they feel and you go on the ride every step of the way

Anonymous said...

In the movie Family Reunion By Tyler Perry the main characters was in a relationship with the perfect man. On the low he was abusing her but was playing it off to her family as if everything was o.k between them both. Towards the ending of the movie her grandmother shows her how to make grit ball. Hot grits cooking on the stove, you toss it on him and then you hit him with the pan.
All you saw was the grits being tossed and then sounds of a man screaming. Then the picture goes back to the grandmother. So the director allows the viewer to imagine what is going down with out actually seeing the action. (AD)

Yung D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yung D said...

The movie i considered formalist is Shattas. the director did a great job, but there are many scenes where he could have used different methods to create a better mood. There many scene where the lighting could have make a more impact.

The scene i love in this movie is when the three shattas were robing the other drug dealers. The scene was shot with a lot of close tight shots to create the emotional feel of what the people being rob was going through. My favorite part of that scene is when the shattas was leaving and one of the shattas demands the ring from the boss and he set his finger so the ring couldn't come off, when the other shatta point the gun to him, he released the ring. The release of the ring came off in slow motion that create the effect that something drastic will follow after this incident.

The only thing i would change, his the beginning of the scene when one of the shattas hit a guy in his face with a gun and guy was holding his face while bleeding. To make that shot more dramatic, when the guy is holding his face with the blood, i would make it in slow motion.

Anonymous said...

The movie I have selected as formalist is Casino Royale. I would like to use the scene where the beautiful Eva Green is taken by Le Chiffre’s bad guys and 007 gets on his Aston Martin at full speed chasing after the bad guys. While in the high speed chase Eva Green is placed on the middle of the road by the bad guys and as soon as 007 sees laying on the payment, he stirs right and the car spins in air with high speed turns them reaching the floor and then just laying still as the bad guys come and got doubleo7. I would rather change this scene to be shot in slow motion as soon as he sees Eva green laying on the road so that the audience and appreciate how is that 007 stirs right and car start to spinning in air. If I was the director, I would play the whole scene in slow motion to get a dramatic look and feel of the car spinning in air and the heavy landing on the ground. I believe that this will give a more realistic look to the shot and the audience will connect better with the scene.

Iddan said...

Hero, with Jet Li, is a formalist movie that like most martial arts movies, uses fast and slow motion for dramatic effect. In the scene where the jet li fights a woman while an army watches, there is fast motion then slow motion. She jumps and spins while attacking him. Then they slow it down as she lands and quickly return to actual speed. The whole take could have been done the opposite way, slow motion then fast motion. This would have given the appearance that she was flying. It would also have made her seem as though she was overpowering him. It would not change the film much because she is already a very powerful character.

Anonymous said...

The movie that i felt was a formalist movie was "Bad Boys". The scene that i chose was when they went on a car chase and the car became airborne and they slowed down the car spinning in the air. The showed a close-up from the bottom of the car. Then there was a shot of a what would seem like a overhead, but more in front of the spinning car.

If i had to be the one to determine how i would alter the shot i would have not altered anything because i personally feel that the shot had everything in it going according to how the view was suppose to receive the the message of a death defying accident. The close up exposed even the parts of the car that was falling of, which gave the viewer a sense of being in the film and watching the accident happen for themselves.

Anonymous said...

A formalistic movie that had an interesting scenes is "Pans Laserth". The scene in which the main character (teenage hispanic girl) meets up with the great saucer after being lead in to the secret garden by a little fairy, she i s suddenly opened up to a whole new world and the positioning of the camera is changed from a telephoto view to a birds eye view.

When the main character goes on a journey to follow the fairy to meet up with the saucer there is a total birds eye view with blue tinting. The use of these two techniques cause the character to look small and her movements minute in comparison to the whole ratio of the space she is walking in. The character looks helpless, slow in motion and cold because of the positioning and color of the camera.

Anonymous said...

I found a good example in the movie "Open Water Part 2". While watching the movie there was a scene that i spotted where they are stuck in the water for a long peroid of time. It was only two left alive and the womens baby was on board. They were trying to get back on the yacht but there was no way to do so.
The boyfriend of the women was their and he wasnt doing very well because he had injured himself while trying to save them.
In the scene when he is about to die they take a close up of the couple and the fear thats running through their veins. The take a wideshot after that point to show the viewers that its pouring, the baby is crying. There is no one their to help them and that their in the middle of the ocean. The scene switched where the music starts to be very low and all u see is the rain going against the water, the womens face in fear and crying. They show the droplets of water very slowly and softly and then switched to the close up of man's face about to die in his fiance arms.
That shot i thought had alot of meaning. While watching the movie i can feel the emotions and tention thats going on.

Anonymous said...

The best formalist film in my opinion would be Sin City. This because the settings of the scenes are completely fake and are supposed to be comic book like because the film is based on an early 20th century comic. The distorted and half buildings the way the characters speak is all unrealistic. The shadows and images casted in the backgrounds behind the characters in motion are also fake.
The best scene in the movie to alter would be when the character Miho kills Benicio Del Toro's character. It starts off as in a normal pace. There are a small amount of close-ups, and just a lot of medium shots. I would then change it to slow moton with more close-ups. That would change the the film and make it more personal for the viewers amd show the blood and gore and makes the dying of the character more relevant to the movie even though the film isn't matter about Del Toro's character. The viewer would be more inclined to feel bad about the death of the character and his friends. It doesn't impact the film overall because those characters don't matter it's just one scene and plus the films is told from different perspectives of about four people, but they're all connected by six degrees of separation.
The mood of that scene is changed overall, because the initial way it was shot didn't make it into a big deal, but if they would've made more close ups the and slowed it down then it would've been more emotional attachment drawn make the violence seem very real.