Four figures move in a shot from Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 film I Was Born, But… The first are Keniji and Ryoichi, who upon reaching agreement exit right. After the boys go, a train enters in the far background and passes through the composition, seemingly pushing Keniji and Ryoichi along on their journey. Finally, their dog follows suit up until a mooring rope says, “Sit.” Alone, only the dog’s eyeline narrates that which is beyond the frame.
A friend of mine posted a game on social media where you list ten definitive shots that influenced you. I do not think I could ever cull through my brain to select those decisive shots, let alone rank them. However, there are shots that I see from time to time that I find myself drawn too. This felt like a good reason to start an intermittent series of posts devoted to shots that I happen to feel are fantastic.
Below is a three shot from Tina Fey’s adaptation of Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, which would become Mean Girls (2004), directed by Mark Waters.
I show this shot a lot to students and remark that if it was broken up into a number of close ups, it would lose its magic and comedic effect. Each face has its own thought and emotion that relates to its fellow faces, allowing for the eye to endlessly bounce between each writing a narrative.
The short film I’m working on over the summer, Loss of Mt. Rainier, follows a number of social media stars. Below are videos for two of the film’s rival characters. And yes, we will endeavor to put the puzzle back together.
Bats have been showing up to our backyard around 9 at night. Krissy filmed them with her iPhone and played the clip back to me, pointing out that there was an intermittent static and clicking noise that could be heard. As a control, I made a video on my iPhone and a GH4. The same thing happened on my phone, but did not occur on the GH4. In both clips, there is an occasional higher pitched bat squeak. I don’t have an answer for what exactly is occurring with the static sound, but my guess is that it is the result of bat sonar and Apple’s electronics. While you might have to turn up your volume a little to hear it1, the sound is audible even on laptop speakers.
In the clips I have raised the levels 10db. ↩
When Deborah Kerr’s Sister Clodagh chases after Kathleen Byron’s Sister Ruth in the phantasmagoric climax of Black Narcissus (1947), a dissolve spins Sister Clodagh from one room to another, briefly letting Clodah’s ghosting robes erupt through the floor in the same shot.
Here, a dissolve is used in an image on image, but not in a lazy Michael Stoops manner, but rather to accentuate panic and confusion. It’s also a unique editing strategy employed in a film that has several editing registers used throughout. It is probably not a coincidence that the same editor, Reginald Mills, worked on both of the Powell and Pressburger productions The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus. Click here for a gif.
It’s possible that my adversity to dissolves is rooted in the pre-appointment consumption era of television, its interrupted experience, and multi-camera setup. The denim on denim complaint never really registered with me, but if I was to make sense of it, the “same image” on a “similar image slightly later” could serve as an analogy to get me over to that side of the table.
Either that or I am just haunted by Michael Stoops.
This summer I am making a short film I wrote called Loss of Mt. Rainier. In the film, a social media star falls into a catatonic state and has his body abused on the way to the top of Mt. Rainier. It’s a dark comedy that is a loose adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Loss of Breath”. We have a super cast-n-crew working on the film, many of whom are associated with the Olympia Film Collective. I couldn’t speak more highly of all the talents involved. Today we launched a Kickstarter for the film, which you can check out below.
Click on the following link to visit the Kickstarter for Loss of Mt. Rainier; you can watch our video to learn more about the movie.
I’ve often said that I don’t like dissolves, but I’m coming to realize what I actually don’t like is lazy ones. While it is borderline cheap, in a dissolve in The Red Shoes (1948), Moira Shearer’s Victoria Page gazes across time and space to a clock; the effect is quite pleasing. It’s a cheap I wish I’d see more frequently.
When we went to Europe when I was kid1, we spent a few days in Yugoslavia. At the time, the currency wasn’t worth much and we exchanged too many dollars for dinars. The dinar was worthless enough that the banks would not let us exchange the excess back to dollars, so we spent money on random things. I have a memory of being in a store that was pretty picked over but it did have 1 pound2 bricks of PEZ. We bought one and ever since, I have kept an eye out for PEZ in bulk, but have never seen it.
This weekend, I went to the b.a. Sweetie Candy Company since we were nearby. People have mentioned it from time to time as a big candy store. I had a mental image of it, a lot of candy, etc. but it actually exceeded my expectations. It was enormous. Needless to say, not only did I find PEZ available without the dispensers, but I found legit bulk PEZ:
The also had some other candy from my childhood that I was kind of surprised still existed, like El Bubble and of course, the shitty candy cigarettes we used to get at the B&J. They had a lot of those.
I was surprised at a few things:
- They had no chocolate NECCO wafers. That might have to do with the issues NECCO is having and they might be sold out. They did have Tropical and Sour, which I never knew existed.
- There were only three varieties of Nerds. Mind you, this place had at least 10 flavors of Now & Laters. I guess the varieties of Nerds have been significantly reduced over the years.
- I only saw Chick-O-Stick in the nugget size.
On a side note, I have to keep an eye on the NECCO company status. If things go south in the next week or two, I might go buy a few boxes of NECCO wafers.