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13301


From: Michael Lieberman
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 11:09am
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
Perhaps I should've mentioned that my all-time favorite film ("Contempt") was shot in 'scope, and singled out on its general misuse. The one qualm I have against "Dogville" until the very end,
was its use of scope (even though it was more easy on the eyes than most films I saw last year).

But I did use a generalization -- that 'scope is used as a crutch. Many great auteurists (Godard, Ray, Demy, Ophuls, Edwards, Cukor, etc) challenged the framing of the image by confounding
the viewer with their strange idealizations of space and composition, and for the better. I don't necessarily prefer academy ratio of 1.33:1 and would rather see films attempting to use the 2.35
method of framing to challenging their visual and formal skills than simply rely on 1.33:1, as it provides more "space". Though one important 1.33:1 work we forgot to mention, at least a newer
entry, was "Eyes Wide Shut."

Yet there's something elusive about that fully rectangular image and it's in that simple elusiveness, which is deemed professional by many young filmmakers, where the problem lies. It's not
the films of Godard or Ray, but those of multiplex Hollywood which influence these kids, and when handing over a finished film shot in 'scope (either shot on video or not), it presents a certain
advantage to those makers for the simple reason of 2.35:1. Or perhaps those were classmates who I've asked and have said "well, I'd rather have a film that looks like 'The Two Towers' than
'M' ". Pretty ridiculous.

I think it's in our own hopes of scope that the filmmaker using this ratio doesn't simply rely on it like 1.85:1 or 16x9, for easy cropping or for widescreen TV presentation. It's still very special and
it's a hope of mine that the filmmaker would consider this framing method as unique and worth considering when framing each shot in their films.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Jaime N. Christley"
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 04:44:59 -0000
To: a_film_by@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [a_film_by] Re: on the misuse of 'Scope





I guess I agree with some things Gabe said and rolled my eyes at some

others.  Then I clicked on the replies and found a couple of people

saying that his post is great, even a revelation.  Okay.  Mostly I was

left with a strong urge to make a film that all of you will hate.  Not

because I hate any of you - I love you all more than I love kitty

cats, and that's quite a lot!  But whenever Gabe or anybody else makes

a declaration that something is limited, uninteresting, ugly, etc.,

etc., it makes that thing more and more attractive and intriguing to me.



For each type of frame I can think of a director who has done great

things with it.  It is not for me to say whether he or she would have

done "just as well" or better with another frame.  Welles and Rohmer's

use of 1.33:1 is magical.  Carpenter's use of 2.35:1 is also very

great.  Spielberg has done wonders with 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 (even when

using Super 35, which I think is slightly blasphemous).



It's true that most critics miss the point, with alarming regularity.

But this is not news, is it?



My first "proper" short film was done in the manner Gabe damned, but

my prof had nothing to do with it.  On the other hand, I wouldn't go

so far as to defend its mise-en-scene as anything approaching

"interesting."  Especially since 70% of the mise-en-scene is my apartment.



-Jaime



--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Gabe Klinger" wrote:

> Paul -- thank you for posting this. IMO, a *VERY* important criticism.

>

> This has interested me for a long time, especially since my previous

employer was

> given a shitload of money to do a several-month-long tribute to the

glories of

> Cinema Scope on the eve of its 50th anniversary. Needless to say --

and even though

> my opinion hardly mattered -- I thought this to be very dubious, for

one, as Rohmer

> states, to champion a commercial invention, and to not even go

beyond the sponsor

> imposed requisite of only having 20th Century Fox-branded "Cinema

Scope" films

> shown, and secondly, to further confuse the notion that 'Scope is

better, reaching

> mythological proportions (just ask any cine-festishist), just as

when it was unveiled to

> the world in 1953, and still being preached today to hundreds of

idiots. Who hasn't

> been in a theater when the curtains open and keep widening and

widening until you

> hear a gasp or two behind you -- yes ! our film today is in 'Scope,

praise the lord,

> we're in widescreen heaven !!!

>

> I think Rohmer is right  that 'Scope, when misemployed, is worse

than any other

> limitation cinema has to offer. It's a luxury (more expensive, etc.)

so when it's abused,

> the  director looks like an idiot for it. 1.85:1 is even more

pathetic, the least

> interesting of  all the aspect ratios. Gus Van Sant and Haris

Savidis obviously

> compromised when it was publicly stated (by the distributor or

production company)

> that projecting ELEPHANT in 1.85:1 is OK.

>

> I started to come out of the whole "'Scope is rad" thing when I saw

ELOGE DE

> L'AMOUR and PISTOL OPERA in 2001. The "square" films looked better

than anything I

> saw that year -- the Suzuki especially, and what detail, and depth,

and sheer *space*

> allotted to each plan... absolutely breathtaking. Why, when this

director shot one of

> his best and most famous films in 'Scope? Obviously a statement was

being made.

> Similarly by Godard, who preserves the aspect ratios of films shown

in HISTOIRE(S) DU

> CINEMA and many of his other video works, but has only shot in 1.37

(or close to that

> anyway) for most of his career and especially in more recent decades?

>

> The year before, I saw EUREKA, the Japanese film which was praised

for its gorgeous,

> crisp sepia-toned 'Scope cinematography. I hardly noticed, and in

fact found

> something very troubling about the visual in this film, very

indistinct, and yet with a

> very interesting quality, but nothing like the qualities being

described by critics....

> This made me fear that any esoteric foreign film shot in 'Scope

would immediately be

> praised for its visuals as a default or for lack of anything else

interesting to say on the

> reviewer's part.

>

> Snakes and funerals. Godard was critical a long time ago, but A

WOMAN IS A WOMAN

> is awesome. So is Nicholas Ray, who Rohmer leaves out of his

article. I love the

> "drunken" 'Scope frame, the 'Scope frame that so many Bollywood

films use in

> interesting and effective ways. A recent Indian film called SATHIYAA

has a great

> 'Scope composition. A recent American film called WE DON'T LIVE HERE

ANYMORE has

> a 'Scope composition that grates the viewer. Gaspar Noe wouldn't

have it any other

> way.

>

> But how would Rossellini have it in THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS?

Would the sky

> exist, and hence, would God's presence be there? 'Scope puts a roof

over cinema, but

> we know it's not impossible to film the sky. Ultimately it comes

down to whether you

> want to show the sky -- as Rohmer say, he likes to have the sky over

his actors'

> heads.

>

> I still find 'Scope troubling, untamed, like something grotesque and

kitsch and

> coming from crude spectacle -- which is why it's mostly interesting

in Hollywood

> films and not in art films.

>

> It's a crime that students "letterbox" their video films nowadays so

that they're ready

> for widescreen presentation. I once asked a friend why he did this

in a short student

> film when he could have easily shot without the black bars. He said:

"My professor

> said I should."

>

> I told him to go out and see ELOGE DE L'AMOUR.

>

> Gabe



















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13302


From: Craig Keller
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 0:06pm
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
> Though one important 1.33:1 work we forgot to mention, at least a newer
> entry, was "Eyes Wide Shut."

Na klar. But Kubrick shot in 1.85 for the theatrical release, with
composition conceived as 4:3 for home viewing. (4:3 was his preferred
ratio from 'The Shining' on, but he "extended the edges outward" with
1.85 for the theatrical so it would be shown as "wide"ly as possible,
and not have to risk putting the choice in a projectionist's hands, nor
crop the 4:3 frame to 1.85 via matting -- cf. 'Elephant'.)

What the dickens is the ratio of 'Barry Lyndon,' btw? Anybody here
know?

cmk.
13303


From: Henrik Sylow
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:09pm
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Craig Keller wrote:

> What the dickens is the ratio of 'Barry Lyndon,' btw? Anybody here
> know?
>
> cmk.

The OAR is 1.66:1 (European widescreen).

In fact, Kubrick was so concerned about the AR, that to prevent 1.85:1
screenings, he provided the widescreen masks himself.

Henrik
13304


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:38pm
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
> I believe it's a
> luxury, as you say, and that only accomplished filmmakers should
try
> their hand at the ratio. I can count on one hand the amount of
> filmmakers who can/could use 'Scope well -- Tashlin, Ray,
Carpenter --
> and all of those filmmakers didn't start out in the format.

Carpenter started using it pretty early on, didn't he? That's a
pretty short list of yours - you wouldn't consider finding room for
Lynch, Leone, Fellini, Powell, Minnelli, Truffaut, Suzuki, Kurosawa?
Even filmmakers we might not allow in to the auteur's club have done
fine work in widescreen, such as Robert Wise with THE HAUNTING.

I'm not sure how many of those used true scope, but they all filmed
in widescreen formats, brilliantly, I think.

Of course Scope IS a luxury, in that it costs more - so a filmmaker
who spends the extra money and fails to make something of it is
certainly culpable. But some filmmakers, and some films, seem to fit
the form as if born to it, and I wouldn't want to limit their access
to it any more than financial restraints already do.

Any of the available formats can be used to create beautiful work -
Carpenter's dictum that anything other than 1:2.35 "just isn't
cinema" is incomprehensible to me, but so is a prejus=dice against
widescreen. In the right hands, with the right project, why not?
13305


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:24pm
Subject: The Scope Trial/Elephant size
 
The Gabe-Bilge feud on the "Misuses of Scope" thread was
entertaining, but I wonder about the raison d'etre of such a
discussion. ALL aspects ratio are arbitrary. There is no more
aesthetic rationale for 1.33 than 2.35 or anything in between. The
Academy AR prevailed for 50 years (barring a few one-shot oddities)
and as a result was universally accepted as the most "natural",
logical and satisfying one, but it was nonetheless a purely arbitrary
(technically motivated) decision. The bottom line is that there are
good and bad films in all ARs. That such and such director may prefer
working in one aspect ratio is irrelevant.

And speaking of elephant (pardon the bad pun, borrowed from the Marx
Bros) I have seen ELEPHANT on DVD (not in a theater). The DVD offers
both 1.33 and wide screen versions. I watched the 1.33 and found to
my surprise and puzzlement that some scenes looked pan and scanned,
or even not scanned at all, with part of the image looking off-frame
(the opening scene with the father and son in the car; the scene with
the three girls going to the cafeteria). I still have to check out
the wide screen version. Can anyone comment on this?
JPC
13306


From: samfilms2003
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:54pm
Subject: Re: Cahiers -- June, and July? (Rohmer ratios)
 
-> Is it possible his Super-16 frame was blown up to 35mm 1.66, matted
> from the 1.85? (Or, shot in 35mm at 1.33 then "matted" for 1.66?)

Super 16 frame is inherently 1.66; the format was designed as 1.66

-Sam
13307


From:
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:07pm
Subject: Re: The Scope Trial/Elephant size
 
JPC:
> The Gabe-Bilge feud on the "Misuses of Scope" thread was
> entertaining, but I wonder about the raison d'etre of such a
> discussion. ALL aspects ratio are arbitrary. There is no more
> aesthetic rationale for 1.33 than 2.35 or anything in between. The
> Academy AR prevailed for 50 years (barring a few one-shot oddities)
> and as a result was universally accepted as the most "natural",
> logical and satisfying one, but it was nonetheless a purely
arbitrary
> (technically motivated) decision. The bottom line is that there
are
> good and bad films in all ARs.

This is precisely my point, actually. The idea that the format
itself has comitted some kind of grievous wrong is absurd to me,
especially when the work of so many great filmmakers renders it
demonstrably untrue.

> That such and such director may prefer
> working in one aspect ratio is irrelevant.

Well, I don't know if I'd go *that* far. I think it's always
interesting to look at the reasons why certain directors favor
certain technological features -- why some directors can't stand to
use long lenses, for example. What is silly though is to create
unnecessary divisions between these filmmakers. Soderbergh
(evidently) likes widescreen, Van Sant (allegedly) doesn't; this
does not however put them on opposing sides in some great cinematic
gang war. Same goes for Lang and Ray, Kubrick and Tashlin, etc. etc.

BTW, if I may be allowed to stick up for Super 35 for a moment: It
was actually developed by John Alcott (Kubrick's cinematographer on
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, and THE SHINING) as a way to
contend with the technical limitations of matting and some of the
problems of anamorphic. I don't know why there is so much hatred
towards it here. Flexibility can be a good thing sometimes.

-Bilge
13308


From: samfilms2003
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:42pm
Subject: Re: The Scope Trial/Elephant size
 
You should also bear in mind that - in the US at least, 35mm projection in 1.37 is just
not a possibility everywhere. Walter Reade, Anthology, yes; some older "never-
twinned" theaters (IF they still have the aperture masks).

But the multiplexes, fuggedaboudit -

-Sam

P.S. Don't confuse what was originally known as "Widescreen" -
1.85 US / 1.66 Euro with "Scope" and other formats 2.35 or wider.

Remember that 1.85 was a counter move to Cinemascope
(and other proprietary formats) -- to give "the folks" a "widescreen"
("You can't get this at home on TV !" experience.

For better or worse, it became "standard"

-Sam


http://www.film-center.com/formats.html
.
13309


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 5:27pm
Subject: Re: Bunuel 1 and 2 (was: Allegory)
 
the way part of one story
> will crash through another, as when the Spanish guitar music blasts
> in to accompany a shot of a stuffed fox

Presumably the one the guys in the tank are looking for.

For me Bunuel's films are 10s or 8s -- the only minor films are some
of the ones produced specifically for the Mexican market (which
should be distinguished from the films beginning w. Crusoe made for a
larger market, but filmed in Mexico) and a couple of the early French-
Mexican coproductions, Death in the Garden (which has its defenders:
Bazin among them) and Fever Mounts. Apart from those stumbles, which
he always acknowledged, he is an amazingly consistent filmmaker. I
never heard that he disparaged either Phantom or Object. In the
Colina/Turrent interview book he says Phantom is one of his favorite
films; Object is one of mine.
13310


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 5:32pm
Subject: Re: Authorship and the avant-garde (was: Bunuel 1 and 2)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"
wrote:
> Noailles, having seen UN CHIEN ANDALOU, could hardly have been
> shocked by what Bunuel handed him with L'AGE D'OR! UCA features far
> more blatantly shocking imagery - nudity, violence - than L'AD'O,
> which is more insidious and open to interpretation.

Noailles loved L'Age d'or, but some people didn't like the jabs at
the church. Un Chien is a chamber piece about two people; things like
the blind veteran and the equation of Jesus with the Duc de Blagnis
are dicier because they offend cherished beliefs and values.
13311


From: jess_l_amortell
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:25pm
Subject: Re: Cahiers -- June, and July? (Rohmer ratios)
 
> >> wasn't Autumn Tale, for one, at something like 1.66
> > [...] at NYFF for
> > example? Was I deluded?
> >
> > Not deluded, unless I am myself. Definitely 1.66
>
> [...] shot in 35mm at 1.33 then "matted" for 1.66?


Yes -- pending further investigation, the conclusions reached by posters at http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=5964
seem plausible ...

"It sounds like it's the same as 'La belle noiseuse'. They're shot in Academy, but the cinematographer makes sure they can be cropped to 1.66 without losing essential info".

"I suspect (without having asked anyone) that Rohmer moved to 1.66:1 as a compromise, as even in France I suspect the places which can show Academy are limited. And maybe he's another director - Stanley Kubrick being the most famous example - who uses widescreen ratios in the cinema but prefers full-frame where possible for home viewing."

I would imagine that American prints of the 35mm Rohmers (including at NYFF) are probably printed at 1.66 -- was this true of ELOGE DE L'AMOUR, or did anyone actually see it at 4:3 in the U.S.?
13312


From: jess_l_amortell
Date: Wed Jul 28, 2004 8:10pm
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
> 1.85:1 is even more pathetic, the least
> interesting of all the aspect ratios.

A film can be composed for any ratio, but what seems pernicious about the widescreens is that films continue to be shoehorned into them, even sometimes at respectable venues (the over-matting can also take place at the printing stage, I gather). I've particularly come to dread the very sight of a 1.85 screen for this reason. A Nos Amours at the Walter Reade the other day, for example, seemed too tight (and that was presumably at 1.66?). As soon as you can see the projectionist fiddling with the balance between the tops of heads and the subtitles, you know you're in for a bumpy ride.
13313


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:03am
Subject: The Gropenator: Erratum (OT) seques to Formats
 
The alternative paper of Silver Lake informs me that Schwarzenneger's
shopping mall jibe that Democrat legislators are "girly men" was a
lame recycling by the Gropenator of a Schwarzenneger joke from SNL.
Sorry, Grope.

Back to formats.

By the way, I can hardly tell them apart, but my friend D. John
Turner from the Canadian Archives has the ultimate one-up device: a
piece of metal he wears around his neck with holes in the shape of
every format known to film history, through which he can check the
shape of the image on the screen. Since John looks like Kubrick
anyway, this totem gets a lot of doubletakes.
13314


From: Fred Camper
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:41am
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
I've been fascinated by the thread Gabe initiated. There seem to be two
sides. Gabe holds that 'Scope is a problem, and there are things to
dislike about it, even though many great films have been made in 'Scope
("Red Line 7000, though, is not one of them, Gabe) and the ratio doesn't
seem to be a detriment to them. Bilge and Paul Fileri and JPC claim that
aspect ratios are essentially neutral tools, and that there only good
and bad films, not good and bad aspect ratios. (But Cinemascope, um, I
mean, guns, *do* kill people. Many arguments and fights that would have
been limited to fistfights become murders because a gun was in someone's
pocket, or lying around in the kitchen. Sorry, but if people are going
to make reference to NRA propaganda here -- for those non-Americans
among us, the National Rifle Association wants minimum restrictions on
gun ownership on the misguided and ultimately deadly theory that guns
don't kill people, people kill people -- I'm going to counter it.)

Anyway, back to the main point. I tend to hold that great art can be
made out of any materials, in any manner, and with any techniques. If
we've learned anything from the last century, it should be that there
simply are no rules. Also, Paul Fileri is right that artists tend to
make polemical statements that reflect the ways *they* want to use their
media. Bresson's magnificent book, and films, do not "prove" that films
that use trained actors are bad; they are an argument for a particular
aesthetic, namely his own. We viewers should strive to be open to as
many different aesthetics as possible, that the full richness of cinema
might be available to us.

But. But. I *do* think Gabe has a point. While it's true that great art
can be made out of anything, it also seems to be true that for most
artists, some materials seem more auspicious than others. The
interesting conceptual work of Piero Manzoni and the intentionally ugly
but quite strong and fascinating provocations of the "NO!" artists
notwithstanding, it does seem that more great sculptures have been made
out of marble than out of feces, to take an extreme example.

To those who would have it that there is no inherent aesthetic merit or
demerit to aspect ratios, ask yourself this. If 2.35:1 is as conducive,
in your view, to film art as 1.33:1, what about, say 3.5:1? Or, say 6:1?
Or 10:1? I'm not saying something great might not be possible at any of
those, but it does seem less likely, and for reasons related to the
problems with 'Scope: that its extreme narrowness makes it harder to
compose, harder to cut, and harder to assemble images to create a
particular sense of space. At the very least, a 10:1 film would have to
be very different than cinema as we know it.

I'm also not sure that the greatness of Minnelli's 'Scope films is a
perfect argument in the format's favor. If I remember right, he told an
interviewer, perhaps in the old MOVIE interview, that he actually didn't
like 'Scope very much; he used it because the exhibitors (or perhaps the
"international peddlers") preferred it. I was pretty shocked when I read
this. It's true that it's hard to imagine "Some Came Running" or "Two
Weeks in Another Town" in any other format, but perhaps Minnelli would
have made different, and even greater, films from those scripts if he
had had his choice of aspect ratios. Peter is of course right that there
are many, many great 'Scope films. "The Long Grey Line" is fantastic.
"Seven Women" is even more sublime; I agree with Richard on the use of
'Scope there. Thanks also to Richard for the news that Mizoguchi was
interested; there's another unmande mind-boggling masterpiece to
contemplate, a Mizoguchi 'Scope film.

The history of cinema can be written in many ways. Another way of saying
that is that there are many histories of cinema. But surely one of those
is a history of the ways film can be used to articulate space, or the
construction of different ideas about space seen in time. One line I
could trace, for example, is from the highly emotionalized spaces of
Griffith to the mix of personal emotion and societal concepts in Ford to
the peculiar enjambing and collapsing of the two at once in Ray and
Fuller. While many great filmmakers adapted well to 'Scope and made some
of their greatest films in that process, there's a way in which it seems
like an aesthetic detour, perhaps because it was often an imposed
choice. My guess is that if directors had sole authority over what
aspect ratio to use, the great ones would have used it a lot less than
they did. I'd like to think that "In Harm's Way" and "Seven Women" and
"Wild Rovers" would have been made in 'Scope, but perhaps "Bigger Than
Life" would have been even more intense, in 1:1.85 or even 1:1.33. And I
think "Bigger Than Life" is Ray's greatest film.

Fred Camper
13315


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:54am
Subject: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
as it deals with a recently released film.

http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/36/features-ehrenstein.php




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13316


From:
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 0:09am
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
In a message dated 7/28/04 10:49:08 PM, f@f... writes:


> many great films have been made in 'Scope ("Red Line 7000, though, is not
> one of them, Gabe)
>
Fred, are you saying Red Line 7000 wasn't in 'Scope or that it wasn't great?

Kevin John




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
13317


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:09am
Subject: Re: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:

Rad, David.
13318


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:13am
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
> While many great filmmakers adapted well to 'Scope and made some
> of their greatest films in that process, there's a way in which it seems
> like an aesthetic detour, perhaps because it was often an imposed
> choice.

Sound and color were also imposed, of course.

The history of resistance to developments in film presentation is shot
through with what one might call the argument from selection. According
to this argument, a necessary condition for art is that the artist be
forced to select aspects of reality to convey - that if you just took
everything from reality, it would be reality and not art. So sound,
color, and widescreen were sometimes seen as reducing film's claim to
being art by eliminating the differences between it and reality.
(Photography also made some people cry non-art, for the same reason.)
Interesting, Rohmer comes close to the argument from selection when he
talks about how widescreen makes the shot/counter-shot device
unnecessary or difficult.

I agree with Fred's point about the different ratios having intrinsic
merits and demerits, and not being mere conventions. But I think one
should be wary about defending or condemning a screen ratio unless one
really feels that it's racked up a poor track record in artistic terms.

When I've made movies, I've always wanted to select the ratio on a
shot-by-shot basis! Which is impractical. For any given shot, I have
strong feelings about what ratio should be used, but it's not always the
same ratio. - Dan
13319


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:14am
Subject: Re: Re: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
Thanks.

It took a lot out of me but it was worth it.


--- hotlove666 wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
>
> wrote:
>
> Rad, David.
>
>




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13320


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:18am
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
--- Dan Sallitt wrote:

>
> When I've made movies, I've always wanted to select
> the ratio on a
> shot-by-shot basis! Which is impractical. For any
> given shot, I have
> strong feelings about what ratio should be used, but
> it's not always the
> same ratio. - Dan
>
>
There are also different scope variants. I love
Techniscope ("2 ou 3 Choses," "Made in USA," and
"Partner") and TODD-AO 35 (Polanski's sadly neglected "What?")

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13321


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:22am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
Before I begin, a handful of a_film_by-ers and I have just come away
from a screening of Maurice Pialat's VAN GOGH, after which Manny
Farber and Patricia Patterson gave a q&a (hosted by Kent Jones).
Although Farber seemed to show signs of being the near-nonagenarian
that he is, he had many eloquent comments about the film, Pialat, and
painting, and it was, to say the very least, an experience to
treasure. I heard someone say (was it you, Zach?) that we were "in
the presence of a god," and that wasn't far from the truth.

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
> seem to be a detriment to them. Bilge and Paul Fileri and JPC claim
> that aspect ratios are essentially neutral tools, and that there only
> good and bad films, not good and bad aspect ratios.

You don't make it explicit, Fred (or Paul/Bilge/JP), that what is
meant by "neutral" is the "anything can be great" argument, an
argument to which I proudly subscribe. The senior prom bra that we
all seem to be fiddling with (and why, since it's such a fundamental
consideration?) has to do with the way each format, which extends
beyond the simple "aspect ratio" into the way different lenses and
widescreen processes shape a single frame of film and video. I would
make the argument that depth of field deserves as much consideration
as the issue of length versus width, just for starters.

> But. But. I *do* think Gabe has a point. While it's true that great art
> can be made out of anything, it also seems to be true that for most
> artists, some materials seem more auspicious than others. The
> interesting conceptual work of Piero Manzoni and the intentionally ugly
> but quite strong and fascinating provocations of the "NO!" artists
> notwithstanding, it does seem that more great sculptures have been made
> out of marble than out of feces, to take an extreme example.
>
> To those who would have it that there is no inherent aesthetic merit or
> demerit to aspect ratios, ask yourself this. If 2.35:1 is as conducive,
> in your view, to film art as 1.33:1, what about, say 3.5:1? Or, say
6:1?
> Or 10:1? I'm not saying something great might not be possible at any of
> those, but it does seem less likely, and for reasons related to the
> problems with 'Scope: that its extreme narrowness makes it harder to
> compose, harder to cut, and harder to assemble images to create a
> particular sense of space. At the very least, a 10:1 film would have to
> be very different than cinema as we know it.

I'm not clear what to do with the "some media are more auspicious than
others" argument. I've always understood your "anything *can* be
great" idea to be historically-based, i.e. that art in the last
100-odd years has yanked out from under us, enough times, the rug of
artistic convention, that we are prepared to hear bids for greatness
from all styles and methods and media and materials.

In which case, it's important to ask and answer, Why haven't 3.5:1,
6:1, 10:1, aspect ratios become prevalant? I think the answer lies in
the tendencies and drives of the art market, the film market, or
worse, the tendency of human beings to be attracted to the brightest
(or the path-less-trodden) objects. I don't think you can say - and I
don't think you meant to say, Fred - that 3.5:1, 6:1, 10:1, etc. films
have less of a chance at greatness *because* of their shape. There
are a dozen arguments against using the 3.5:1, 6:1, 10:1 frame and
none of them even think about bleeding into aesthetics.

> I'm also not sure that the greatness of Minnelli's 'Scope films is a
> perfect argument in the format's favor. If I remember right, he told an
> interviewer, perhaps in the old MOVIE interview, that he actually
didn't
> like 'Scope very much; he used it because the exhibitors (or perhaps
the
> "international peddlers") preferred it. I was pretty shocked when I
read
> this. It's true that it's hard to imagine "Some Came Running" or "Two
> Weeks in Another Town" in any other format, but perhaps Minnelli would
> have made different, and even greater, films from those scripts if he
> had had his choice of aspect ratios.

I'm not sure you refuted the Minnelli argument, here. We can't really
second-guess a filmmaker, even when he second-guesses himself. It's
pretty important to remember that, I think.

-Jaime
13322


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:34am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:

> I'm not clear what to do with the "some media are more auspicious than
> others" argument.

Aside from the obvious omission, through pure sloppiness, of "not
clear what [that has] to do..." in the first part, I misquoted Fred
when he used the term "materials" rather than "media." Since my reply
was grounded in the word "media" rather than "materials," the rest of
what I said remains the same.

-Jaime
13323


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:38am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
> >
> There are also different scope variants. I love
> Techniscope ("2 ou 3 Choses," "Made in USA," and
> "Partner") and TODD-AO 35 (Polanski's sadly neglected "What?")

What?'s one of his best. I gather Cinefile has a proper DVD now. I'm
writing on it for their newsletter. Maybe having it available in the
director's cut and the right ratio and with a clean image will get it
some attention. A daring experiment in using musical form in film,
and a very materialist film, too, if you can actually see the
lighting, which has been impossible up until now.
13324


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:43am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:

Replying not to Jamie, but the thread - my response to Gabe couldn't
have been simpler. 'Scope is a stunning format, and it's easy to be
dazzled by the format into thinking a film is visually interesting,
when it's just shot in 'Scope. I also endorsed his feeling that fake
video "'Scope" is probably a bad habit for young directors --
although I will admit to having done it myself. Other than that,
arguing about the relative merits of aspect ratios seems quite
reasonable, as long as it's empirical -- I'm sure cinematographers
have lots to say about this.
13325


From: Fred Camper
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:19am
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope (Red Line 7000)
 
LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

>Fred, are you saying Red Line 7000 wasn't in 'Scope or that it wasn't great?
>
>
Not in 'Scope, but very very great. With most great films I don't know
how many times I've seen them, but with "Red Line" I kept count -- I've
seen it 13 times. The first three were in its first week of release, the
next three or four in neighborhood theaters in the weeks that followed,
then when our film society showed it in 35mm, then a number of times in
16mm, then twice when I showed it in 35mm in a class in 1973. And I've
not seen it since. For a long time I called it my favorite Hollywood
film, but then when I chose a "favorite" Hawks recently it was "Red
River." It could also have been "Rio Bravo," or "El Dorado," or "Red
Line 7000."

Fred Camper
13326


From: Noel Vera
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:50am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope
 
> Lynch, Leone, Fellini, Powell, Minnelli, Truffaut, Suzuki,
Kurosawa?

I was wondering when he was going to be mentioned. What, no love for
the use of widescreen in The Hidden Fortress or Yojimbo (both
in "Tohoscope," actually, but it's 2.35:1)

Todd AO I saw recently in Todd's Around the World in 80 Days. May be
more the director (Michael Anderson) than the format, but there
wasn't anything visually striking about the film at all. Well the
dialogue, but SJ Perelman did have a hand in that.
13327


From: Chris Fujiwara
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:26am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
This thread is interesting, and I find myself agreeing with something
in almost every comment that has been posted.

Many directors who started in Academy ratio commented that it was
more difficult to compose for Scope. This, to me, can just as well be
read as an argument _for_ Scope as against it. If it's harder to
compose, then that means you're actually thinking about composition.
This by the way was Jacques Tourneur's assessment: he liked Scope
because it forces you to compose (suggesting that Academy ratio
encouraged a certain laziness?).

To me, it's this foregrounding of composition that makes Scope
interesting and stunning and dazzling: i.e., a challenge or a
possibility that Scope gives the filmmaker, not the aspect ratio
itself. There are many many Scope films that look terrible or merely
uninteresting. They are not helped by Scope. I would guess that nine-
tenths of all movies made in Japan, Italy, and Russia from about 1958
to about 1975 were in Scope. That's a massive amount of dreary and
lifeless mise-en-scene that happens to be in 2.35 - and also many
great films.

Godard said something relevant in an interview in the early 60s. I
can't look it up because I don't have the book here, but he said that
he liked Academy because it was so arbitrary, and he liked Scope
because it was... I don't know what word he used but it might have
been something like "natural." He rejected all the intermediate
ratios.

I think what Gabe's initial post seemed to be getting at was how the
misuse of Scope in contemporary cinema, at all levels, is related to
a number of pernicious trends having to do with video and TV as well
as with film exhibition. I believe this is so. There must be hundreds
of recent commercial movies that are in Scope for, I would say, no
reason: the director and cinematographer do nothing with the shape of
the screen; the films will look just as mediocre when they are shown
full-frame on airplanes. The current hegemony of the Scope aspect
ratio (if that really is what we are witnessing) undoubtedly has to
do with the rise of letterboxing as a signifier of "film." This in
turn must be a fairly late development in what has been diagnosed as
the decline of mise-en-scene (Adrian wrote a brilliant essay on the
history and implications of the idea that "mise-en-scene is dead").

By the way, Bigger Than Life is my favorite Ray film, too, and I find
it hard to imagine how it could be better in any other aspect ratio.
(No one has mentioned Ray's remark that he made Wind Across the
Everglades in... well it must have been 1.85, but, mainly, not in
Scope... because he needed to emphasize the height of the trees.)

And no one has mentioned the one Hawks film that _is_ in Scope, which
I think is a perfect exemplar of what I take to be the inherent
virtues of the format because the film foregrounds construction and
architecture - the architecture of the image becoming a metaphor for
all the other ways the film is concerned with architecture (the
designing of the tomb, the hidden plan of the architect, the plot of
the queen).

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"
> wrote:
>
> Replying not to Jamie, but the thread - my response to Gabe
couldn't
> have been simpler. 'Scope is a stunning format, and it's easy to be
> dazzled by the format into thinking a film is visually interesting,
> when it's just shot in 'Scope. I also endorsed his feeling that
fake
> video "'Scope" is probably a bad habit for young directors --
> although I will admit to having done it myself. Other than that,
> arguing about the relative merits of aspect ratios seems quite
> reasonable, as long as it's empirical -- I'm sure cinematographers
> have lots to say about this.
13328


From: Noel Vera
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:42am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
> And no one has mentioned the one Hawks film that _is_ in Scope,
which
> I think is a perfect exemplar of what I take to be the inherent
> virtues of the format because the film foregrounds construction
and
> architecture - the architecture of the image becoming a metaphor
for
> all the other ways the film is concerned with architecture (the
> designing of the tomb, the hidden plan of the architect, the plot
of
> the queen).

I like "Land of the Pharoahs" a lot myself, though many a Hawks fan
hate it--thought it felt like a thinking man's "Ten Commandments,"
and the details about Egyptian engineering mixed with Joan Collin's
bitchy princess was highly entertaining (can't believe Faulkner
worked on this, tho). That final scene was electrifying.

Thinking about it, I didn't notice the 'scope camerawork too much--
it already worked well enough as a drama, and a quick sketch of
Egyptian burial techniques.
13329


From: Noel Vera
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:57am
Subject: Minor Bunuel (was: Bunuel 1 and 2)
 
Actually saw something that might qualify as "minor Bunuel"--Una
Mujer sin Amor (A Woman without Love). It's been mentioned in one
biography that I know of, that cites it as his positively worst film
(and if I recall correctly but don't hold me to this, one that he
absolutely hated, and felt he had no control over).

It's a melodrama, quite involved (imdb recounts the plot in close
detail), but what's interesting despite the low reputation (frankly
I enjoyed myself) is how much the film reminds me of the tone David
Lynch wanted to achieve in his "Twin Peaks" TV series--that of
straight melodrama, played with conviction, with just a hint, an
undercurrent, of something strange going on underneath.
13330


From:
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:18am
Subject: Re: Mix and Match (was on the misuse of 'Scope)
 
In a message dated 04-07-29 00:18:46 EDT, you write:

<< --- Dan Sallitt wrote:

>
> When I've made movies, I've always wanted to select
> the ratio on a
> shot-by-shot basis! Which is impractical. For any
> given shot, I have
> strong feelings about what ratio should be used, but
> it's not always the
> same ratio. - Dan
> >>

Quite a few music videos of the 1980's mixed and matched shots. Some would be
letterboxed scope; others would be in traditional ratios. They would also mix
black and white with color, various split screen effects, etc.
In the silent era, directors would regularly mask the screen to make various
shapes. A shot could be circular. Or tall and narrow. Masking very
occasionally survived in the sound era: "Lola Montes" has some, if memory serves.

One suspects that many contemporary filmmakers would like to employ masking
and mixed ratios in their films. But there might be strong commercial taboos
against this.

Mike Grost
13331


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:09am
Subject: Re: Minor Bunuel (was: Bunuel 1 and 2)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Noel Vera"
wrote:
> Actually saw something that might qualify as "minor Bunuel"--Una
> Mujer sin Amor (A Woman without Love). It's been mentioned in one
> biography that I know of, that cites it as his positively worst
film
> (and if I recall correctly but don't hold me to this, one that he
> absolutely hated, and felt he had no control over).
>
> It's a melodrama, quite involved (imdb recounts the plot in close
> detail), but what's interesting despite the low reputation (frankly
> I enjoyed myself) is how much the film reminds me of the tone David
> Lynch wanted to achieve in his "Twin Peaks" TV series--that of
> straight melodrama, played with conviction, with just a hint, an
> undercurrent, of something strange going on underneath.

All very acute observations, IMO. I think he called it his worse
because he had high hopes for it. It was the first literary
adaptation he attempted, and we know how high the later ones aimed
and struck: Nazarin, Tristana, Crusoe, Diary. Except for Defoe, all
were by leftwing authors. De Maupassant's introduction to Pierre and
Jean, the novel from which Mujer was drawn, promises a portrayal of
all the classes, how they affect the behavior of people in them, and
the how the interests of capital determine events. Obviously he
didn't really get to do that, so he called it his worst film, but
it's actually quite a good melodrama, more to film buff tastes today
than it would have been then because of the revival of Sirk -- and
Borzage, whom Bunuel greatly admired.

The producer of Una mujer also produced El Bruto, which Bunuel also
disowned because he was made to rewrite it from top to bottom. The
two films have in common the most expensive sets he had had in Mexico
to date (the production designer of Una mujer was "the Mexican Cedric
Gibbons"); Bruto also had two big stars. And with that came
constraints. Bruto started out to be another Olvidados (the lovers
are named Pedro and Meche) but ended up a textureless well-made
melodrama with a few fascinating touches, like the Virgin of the
Stockyards and the cock at the end.

I slightly prefer Una mujer, if only because of the incredibly gross
joke about breastfeeding made by the jealous nurse of the legitimate
brother. Also, I think Bunuel really used his main set, which is
built in three levels -- in the scene where the loveseat is looking
at the dinner party, for example. It's as if he said, "I couldn't do
what I wanted with this -- I might as well direct the furniture."
Watch the mirror hanging in the salon.
13332


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:13am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope (Red Line 7000)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
> LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
>
For a long time I called it my favorite Hollywood
> film, but then when I chose a "favorite" Hawks recently it was "Red
> River." It could also have been "Rio Bravo," or "El Dorado,"
or "Red
> Line 7000."
>
> Fred Camper

It's the film that made me a film buff. It has changed through the
years for me. At first I was stunned by the utter strangeness and
modernity of it; then by the mathematical complexity of the formal
games it played; and lately I just see it as a great melodrama, and a
deeply felt film about the ways of love.
13333


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:19am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
>
> By the way, Bigger Than Life is my favorite Ray film, too, and I
find
> it hard to imagine how it could be better in any other aspect
ratio.

Ray seems to have loved the format, even if he said he didn't want to
do Bigger Than Life using it. (What's the primary source for that
statement?) I heard him telling students to study Hopper to see how
to use it. And his multi-screen technique in We Can't Go Home Again
continues the use of what he called "supplemental information" in his
one-image films -- elements in the image which enhance or comment on
or oppose the main content of the image -- which obviously is
something 'Scope made possible, at least in his hands.
13334


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:20am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Noel Vera"
wrote:
>
> I like "Land of the Pharoahs" a lot myself, though many a Hawks fan
> hate it--thought it felt like a thinking man's "Ten Commandments,"
> and the details about Egyptian engineering mixed with Joan Collin's
> bitchy princess was highly entertaining (can't believe Faulkner
> worked on this, tho). That final scene was electrifying.
>
> Thinking about it, I didn't notice the 'scope camerawork too much--
> it already worked well enough as a drama, and a quick sketch of
> Egyptian burial techniques.

And as a remake of Twentieth Century.
13335


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:36am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
> > (can't believe Faulkner
> > worked on this, tho).

According to the other creditted writer, none of Faulkner's stuff is
in the picture. Hawks just liked having him around, and the prestige
of his name on the credits. It was WF's suggestion that maybe a
Pharoah could talk like a Southern plantation owner, but that idea
was scrapped.

> And as a remake of Twentieth Century.

That's a VERY interesting interpretation. Catuilly, if LAND had been
amde in the thirties with Barrymore and Lombard, I'd like it a lot
more (I still quite like it though).
13336


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:42am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
> continues the use of what he called "supplemental information" in
his
> one-image films -- elements in the image which enhance or comment
on
> or oppose the main content of the image -- which obviously is
> something 'Scope made possible, at least in his hands.

Agreed, though depth of field could also be used to add supplemental
information in Academy Ratio fims - check out young Charlie cavorting
in the snow in the far background, as his fate is discussed in the
foreground in CITIZEN KANE.

I think what scope does, if the filmmaker gets the medium at all, is
it makes such information NECESSARY. If you consistently fail to fill
that space, you're really screwing up. My experience of moving from
16mm to super 16mm brought home to me the necessity to work at using
the added width for some positive reason. It's fine to narrow the
focus and have shots with only one central element, but this is most
effective when used in contrast to other, busier shots.

So it's easy to see why the format can offer great opportinities to
the creative filmmaker, and why it can trip up a lesser talent and
actually make a film worse.

Actually, one of the toughest things was when I wanted to exclude
background details I didn't like. When you're on a beach and you
don't want to see a ship on the horizon, it can be trickier in a
wider format! Having an actor to stand in front of it can be handy.
13337


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:48am
Subject: Re: Mix and Match (was on the misuse of 'Scope)
 
> Quite a few music videos of the 1980's mixed and matched shots.
Some would be
> letterboxed scope; others would be in traditional ratios. They
would also mix
> black and white with color, various split screen effects, etc.
> In the silent era, directors would regularly mask the screen to
make various
> shapes. A shot could be circular. Or tall and narrow. Masking very
> occasionally survived in the sound era: "Lola Montes" has some, if
memory serves.

Ustinov recalls ophuls proudly showing off his "technique of dealing
with 'scope" - two pieces of black velvet. But the version I've seen
didn't have any obviously masked shots.

Doesn't Ang Lee's Hulk attempt some different aspect ratio stuff? I
guess split screen, now very fashionable (ALL my students are doing
it) allows different frame ratios within the frame.

Griffith and his contemporaries, of course, were able to use the
technique as they liked, and Gance made memorable use of it.

I would guess the reason changing ratios like this would be unpopular
with producers would be the suspicion, not entirely unjustified, that
the device is so uncommon that audiences will be distracted by the
changing shape, rather than focussing on the aspect of each shot that
demands a change of ratio.

In an american Cinematographer article, I read the idea of shooting
VAN HELSING in scope was abandoned, when it was realised theat the
film mainly had to do with verticals - tall monsters, flying
monsters, castles, etc. So even in a piece of crap like that (imho)
the aspect ratio decision is far from arbitrary.
13338


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:54am
Subject: Re: The Scope Trial/Elephant size
 
> BTW, if I may be allowed to stick up for Super 35 for a moment: It
> was actually developed by John Alcott (Kubrick's cinematographer on
> A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, and THE SHINING) as a way to
> contend with the technical limitations of matting and some of the
> problems of anamorphic. I don't know why there is so much hatred
> towards it here. Flexibility can be a good thing sometimes.

Yeah. Scorsese tried scope (or Panavision) with CAPE FEAR but felt
hampered by the scarcity of prime lenses available. I still think
it's a great looking film, but then AGE OF INNOCENCE, shot in Super
35, is also very handsome.

Certainly super 35 has potential "issues" in quality terms, but
Kubrick, no slouch photographically, felt he could deal with them.

And if a filmmaker feels that a super-wide or long lens is necessary
for a given film, being forced to work in Scope without it would be
unlikely to enhance the work.
13339


From: cairnsdavid1967
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:58am
Subject: Re: Bunuel 1 and 2 (was: Allegory)
 
> For me Bunuel's films are 10s or 8s -- the only minor films are
some
> of the ones produced specifically for the Mexican market (which
> should be distinguished from the films beginning w. Crusoe made for
a
> larger market, but filmed in Mexico) and a couple of the early
French-
> Mexican coproductions, Death in the Garden (which has its
defenders:
> Bazin among them) and Fever Mounts.

Yeah, I'm with you there. Though EL is a fantastic thing, and
situated in the midst of the Mexican melodramas.

DEATH IN THE GARDEN begins turgidly but gets increasingly Bunuelian
as it goes on. One sequence involving a skinned snake, a priest
shredding his bible, and a crawling mass of ants, could almost come
from UN CHIEN ANDALOU.
13340


From: Fred Camper
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
Chris Fujiwara wrote:

>
>I think what Gabe's initial post seemed to be getting at was how the
>misuse of Scope in contemporary cinema, at all levels, is related to
>a number of pernicious trends having to do with video and TV as well
>as with film exhibition.
>
Yes, very good. One such "trend" is a lack of attention to the frame at
all. Related to this, perhaps, is the implication of Gabe's and Chris's
that a really bad director's work is going to look worse in 'Scope than
in narrower ratios, because 'Scope is harder to frame for.

I saw Ustinov introduce "Lola Montes" at the New York Film Festival in
the late 1960s. He said something about Ophuls hating 'Scope, and then
being happy that he found ways around it. And the film often does frame
through doorways or columns to narrow the composition. I love "Lola
Montes," including its use of 'Scope. Again, maybe it would have been
even greater had Ophuls had a choice.

I don't remember Ray saying he didn't want 'Scope for "Bigger Than
Life," but another version of why he didn't want it for "Wind Across the
Everglades" is that to use scope would be to be false to the swamp
(those weren't the words exactly -- could "deny the decor" be right?).

The greatest 'Scope melodramas of the 50s and 60s -- "The Tarnished
Angels," "Some Came Running," "Home From the Hill," "Seven Women" use
the wider format to heighten the importance of decor. I still remember
the moment on my first viewing when I realized how great "Seven Women"
was going to be: it had to do with the presence, within the frame, of a
green lamp on the mission director's desk during her conversation with
the youngest of the seven, played by Sue Lyons. In a narrower frame I
don't think this lamp would have had the same kind of presence. Sirk
uses it masterfully, as in the presence of mirrors during the exit of
Burke and LaVerne from a cafe, or in the mirror/dice game scene, or more
obviously in the fairground and flying scenes.

Fred Camper
13341


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 2:40pm
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
> (No one has mentioned Ray's remark that he made Wind Across the
> Everglades in... well it must have been 1.85, but, mainly, not in
> Scope... because he needed to emphasize the height of the trees.)

In my memory, WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES is very Academy ratio. Isn't
this a 1.33:1 film? - Dan
13342


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:17pm
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
It's not a scope film.

--- Dan Sallitt wrote:

> > (No one has mentioned Ray's remark that he made
> Wind Across the
> > Everglades in... well it must have been 1.85, but,
> mainly, not in
> > Scope... because he needed to emphasize the height
> of the trees.)
>
> In my memory, WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES is very
> Academy ratio. Isn't
> this a 1.33:1 film? - Dan
>
>





__________________________________
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13343


From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:35pm
Subject: ELEPHANT widescreen
 
And speaking of elephant (pardon the bad pun, borrowed from the Marx
Bros) I have seen ELEPHANT on DVD (not in a theater). The DVD offers
both 1.33 and wide screen versions. I watched the 1.33 and found to
my surprise and puzzlement that some scenes looked pan and scanned,
or even not scanned at all, with part of the image looking off-frame
(the opening scene with the father and son in the car; the scene with
the three girls going to the cafeteria). I still have to check out
the wide screen version. Can anyone comment on this?
JPC

I've seen ELEPHANT in the theater and have the DVD (won it
in a local raffle) which I'll watch someday. But I am curious. I know
there is a difference between WS and 1:33, but I wonder why you
would select 1:33 when WS is available? I always choose WS on
my DVD selections which I watch on my 15 inch computer laptop.

Elizabeth
13344


From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:37pm
Subject: Comic Con films
 
Comic Con is even longer if you start on WEDNESDAY (I already signed
up
for next year).

I got to see some good movies:

Shawn of the Dead is quite entertaining, and I'll see it again. A
romantic comedy set in a zombie story. ... as one of the fellows said
to me when I was waiting in line... "What are you doing here? I
thought you'd be in Hillcrest seeing the Colin Farrell movie 'A home
at
the end of the world?' What was I doing there? Most
of what I have seen at comic con is good enough to explore... and I
knew I could see A home at the end of the world later.

Shawn of the Dead is very creative, moves quickly (the zombies are
fast
zombies, they don't spend too much time dead before they return to the
living), and has a good cast. I'll set it again. British humor is
perfect for the melding.

I met Edgar (Dir/Writ) and Simon (Writ/Star) because I asked a
question they
deemed interesting and later that evening when I was walking back to
the car, they ran into me and we talked some more. As per usual, I
knew nothing about the movie before I saw it and didn't recognize that
Simon plays the lead (he is more handsome in person and obviously not
the slacker / loser he plays so well). These fellows are really
talented and I hope the best for them. I think SotD will get a
release and when it does, I'll say more but don't want any spoiler...
just go see it.



>>>>>> Possibly the real reason I was there to see SotD was to
>>>>>> unknowingly get
>>>>>> to see SKY CAPTAIN. I was still talking with Simon when people
>>>>>> were
>>>>>> going into the
>>>>>> restricted screening for Sky Captain and I was by the door and
>>>>>> they
>>>>>> already collected the tickets ... so I saw SKY CAPTAIN, a film
>>>>>> easy to
>>>>>> like and best appreciated in the context of what one already
>>>>>> has knows
>>>>>> of this retro-style. Still, even people unfamiliar with its
>>>>>> retro-ness
>>>>>> will find interesting take. More when I see it again when it
>>>>>> comes
>>>>>> out.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The next day, I stood in the spin the wheel line at the Sky
>>>>>> Captain
>>>>>> booth, and having received the goodie bag after the movie the
>>>>>> evening
>>>>>> before, the only thing
>>>>>> I wanted was the poster... which I was lucky enough to get when
>>>>>> I spun
>>>>>> a 7. But I was even more lucky because, having seen Sky
>>>>>> Captain the
>>>>>> evening before, I knew who Kerry Conran was ... and he was
>>>>>> standing
>>>>>> right there. So I have a signed comic con poster of Sky
>>>>>> Captain by
>>>>>> director / writer Kerry Conran. I was thinking of getting in
>>>>>> the Jude
>>>>>> Law line, but the screenwriter in me said the film belongs to
>>>>>> Kerry and
>>>>>> so does the poster!



The next movies I saw were THE MACHINIST and Christian Bale is
remarkable. You'll hear about his weight loss (which is actually
dangerous at his level as the kidneys begin to lose their position
essentially wallpapered by tissue ontp the back of abdominal wall.
The
kidneys begin to sag which isn't a problem. The problem is that the
ureters (which go from the kidney to the bladder) can get a kink in
them, especially where they insert into the bladder and they you have
pressure and back-up problems with the kidneys themselves being
injured
over time... it was a problem for many Holocaust survivors). Bale
really looks emaciated and there is some cgi to make him look really
thin (at least I heard that someplace). It is interesting because
even
though something is eating away at him psychologically, his gaunt look
does not prohibit some forms of pleasure and that joy is something
seldom seen in emaciated people. His performance is
remarkable. You'll hear more about THE MACHINIST. A lot of metaphors
going on in that movie. I liked it.



Next came THE SAW, a horror thriller and though somewhat weak at times
ref the acting, it is good enough. The story will hold you and then
squeeze you even more at the end.


Overall, I was very pleased with the films. I need to do more
background on the comics to get more out of the Comic Con in general,
but there is so little time.
I was glad to see the trailers. I think SIN CITY will be interesting.

BATTLE ROYAL: It was interesting to
watch these young Asian people respond to just seeing a DVD of the
Battle Royal in the SD booth.

Elizabeth
13345


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:46pm
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"
> wrote:
>
> Replying not to Jamie

It's totally okay to reply to me, though.

-Jaime
13346


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:48pm
Subject: Re: Hulk Smash! (was Mix and Match)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"

> Doesn't Ang Lee's Hulk attempt some different aspect ratio stuff? I
> guess split screen, now very fashionable (ALL my students are doing
> it) allows different frame ratios within the frame.

Not only that, but there's a brief shot that looks to have been
stretched to something like 4:1. Contained within the overall 1.85:1
frame, of course.

-Jaime
13347


From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:54pm
Subject: different ratios for different shots
 
> When I've made movies, I've always wanted to select the ratio on a
> shot-by-shot basis! Which is impractical. For any given shot, I have
> strong feelings about what ratio should be used, but it's not always
> the
> same ratio. - Dan


Dan,
I'm curious about your comment about different ratios for different
shots.

I saw a movie a few years back which at different times used parts of
the
screen, leaving much of it black (or white). It was a bit experimental

I remember seeing an old movie in which the important info in the image
purposely went off the screen in a big way. (There is also the
well-known
telephone call scene in ROSEMARY's BABY).

Still, I think you are talking about something else... the image in the
mind of the director. I'm curious about the director's image. When you
are directing a film, how do you keep the frame of that image in your
mind. Do you find yourself with 'blinders' or is it something that is
more amorphous? Do you often walk around with a director's
frame of perspective? When you want different ratios, does your
this mental framework shrink / expand on the spot from in internal
or external cue? What is it that controls your choice... is it a
preconceived
image or a external image that creates the change?


Elizabeth
13348


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:15pm
Subject: Re: Everglades ratio?
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > (No one has mentioned Ray's remark that he made Wind Across the
> > Everglades in... well it must have been 1.85, but, mainly, not in
> > Scope... because he needed to emphasize the height of the trees.)
>
> In my memory, WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES is very Academy ratio. Isn't
> this a 1.33:1 film? - Dan

Unless there was a 1.66:1 format in wide use in 1958, I believe so.

Interesting story - I saw the film for the first time a year or so ago
at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was a gorgeous 35mm print, so
ideal that it brought out the sharp contrast between the 16mm stock
footage of the wildlife scenes in the everglades and the 35mm footage
of the narrative. I came to find out later (and this was confirmed by
a post on a_film_by) that this was very likely one of Scorsese's
prints. At the time I didn't know this, and for some reason the idea
that it wasn't 'Scope seemed very weird to me, as if the print was
compromised somehow.

After the post-screening discussion I asked Elliot Stein about this.
He must have been in a hurry to get out of the room because he
muttered something about it having been shot in "something like
WarnerScope" before he was grabbed by another over-eager cinephile.
WarnerScope had, in fact, existed for a short spell: an Australian
website lists five films that were shot using WarnerScope (most famous
among a_film_by-ers: THE NAKED AND THE DEAD), but none of them are
EVERGLADES.

So there you have it, an anti-climactic ending to a stupid story about
a silly misunderstanding.

-Jaime
13349


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:26pm
Subject: Re: different ratios for different shots
 
> Dan,
> I'm curious about your comment about different ratios for different
> shots.
>
> I saw a movie a few years back which at different times used parts of
> the
> screen, leaving much of it black (or white). It was a bit experimental

Actually, I'm always amazed at how hard it is to detect a mid-movie
change of screen ratio. (For instance, I'm never jolted at the switches
in L'AMOUR FOU between the 35mm wide footage and the 16mm square
footage.) Seems to be that, in acclimating ourselves to the visual
violence of a normal, everyday cut, we lose a lot of sensitivity to what
changes across a cut.

> Still, I think you are talking about something else... the image in the
> mind of the director. I'm curious about the director's image. When you
> are directing a film, how do you keep the frame of that image in your
> mind. Do you find yourself with 'blinders' or is it something that is
> more amorphous? Do you often walk around with a director's
> frame of perspective? When you want different ratios, does your
> this mental framework shrink / expand on the spot from in internal
> or external cue? What is it that controls your choice... is it a
> preconceived
> image or a external image that creates the change?

For me, the image is something inchoate when I conceive it. It has an
emotional reality and a functional shape, but there's something
dreamlike about it. So there's always this process of looking through
the viewfinder and turning a mental image into a physical one. Usually
it's a lot of fun, but sometimes it's difficult, in the same way that
it's sometimes difficult to tell the story of a dream so that it makes
sense. It's usually at the point of looking through the viewfinder that
I wish for a particular ratio - the ratio is part of the process of
making the mental image concrete.

Storyboarding eliminates some of this adaptive process, but,
surprisingly, not all of it. Probably a detailed storyboard by an
experienced director would do a lot more to bridge the gap than my
stick-figure storyboards.

I don't think I'd really like to make a movie with changing ratios,
because I have a purist, minimalist streak about form. So, in reality,
I just hope that the ratio I'm working with works out most of the time.
My last film was in 16:9 ratio (about 1.78:1), and it was quite nice
for a movie about a relationship between two people, although there were
times when I wanted a 1.33:1 image. - Dan
13350


From:
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 1:34pm
Subject: Red Line 7000 (Was: on the misuse of 'Scope)
 
<>

Bill, please expand on this when you have the time. I'm fascinated.

Red Line 7000 is my favorite Hawks, partly because it needs friends, partly
because, as Sarris notes, it's so self-consciously Hawksian. It seems to
justify this whole crazy project of cinephilia and auteurism. And it makes a
terrific companion piece to Seven Women (my favorite Ford) in that both films update
(and irrevocably disfigure?) their directors' world views for the sexual
revolution.

And I still don't get Land of the Pharaohs although next time I see it, I'll
look at it as a remake of Twentieth Century. Thanx Bill!

Worst Hawks I've seen (so far): Today We Live
Most overrated: Bringing Up Baby
The one I wish I could watch right now with friends and stave off adult
responsibility: Hatari!

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
13351


From: Michael Worrall
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:35pm
Subject: Re: Mix and Match (was on the misuse of 'Scope)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@a... wrote:

> Quite a few music videos of the 1980's mixed and matched shots.
Some would be
> letterboxed scope; others would be in traditional ratios. They
would also mix
> black and white with color, various split screen effects, etc.
> In the silent era, directors would regularly mask the screen to
make various
> shapes. A shot could be circular. Or tall and narrow. Masking very
> occasionally survived in the sound era: "Lola Montes" has some, if
memory serves

One filmmaker whose work utilizes various ratios/masking is Peter
Greenaway, especially in the "Pillow Book" and "Prospero's Books".

Michael Worrall
13352


From:
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 1:59pm
Subject: Walsh's Distant Drums
 
Anyone have a good (or bad) word on Walsh's Distant Drums? Should I break an
ankle to see it?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
13353


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:04pm
Subject: Re: Red Line 7000 (Was: on the misuse of 'Scope)
 
--- LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

>
> Red Line 7000 is my favorite Hawks, partly because
> it needs friends, partly
> because, as Sarris notes, it's so self-consciously
> Hawksian. It seems to
> justify this whole crazy project of cinephilia and
> auteurism. And it makes a
> terrific companion piece to Seven Women (my favorite
> Ford) in that both films update
> (and irrevocably disfigure?) their directors' world
> views for the sexual
> revolution.

There's a very good piece about "Red Line 7000" called
"Haws at 70" by "Lester Majolos" in the third and
final issue of James Stoller's legendary little mag
"Moviegoer" -- Summer 1966.

"Lester Majlos" was Jimmy himself. As he had three
pieces in the issue already he didn't want to be
percieved as hogging all the space. It's the same
issue that has his Ozu piece.

I find "Red Line" fascinating for auteurist reasons
but not much else.

I'm crazy about "Land of the Pharoahs," and I suspect
Faulkner had more to do with the script than Hawks'
joke suggests. What's not to like? The building of the
pyramids, James Robertson Justice hamming it up, Dewey
Martin in a tea towel, and Joan Collins at her most
iconographically magnificent.

Perfect when double-featured with Philippe Garrel's
"La Cicatrice Interieure."




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13354


From: Elizabeth Anne Nolan
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:04pm
Subject: Re: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
Thanks for posting your article. People in general
don't know how salient AIDS is in the lives of many.

When I started working as in ER MD in 1984, I had
to insist that gloves be left out on the counter for
all to use rather than having to go to cabinets and
drawers (I was not paranoid, just recognized the
significance of the problem).

On a personal level, my life plan to continue in a
variety of relationships (as a heterosexual female)
became unrealistic for me.

{{I would often tell male / female friends that they
could say that their doctor friend told them they were
crazy to not insist on a HIV test before getting
involved with someone. HIV testing was not a
confortable topic for heterosexual people.}}

I came across this article about 15,000 people dying
in the heat wave last summer. It is very hard for
people to take an objective view of their behavior
relative to their health... drinking water is not that
hard to do and the need to go urinate lets you know
you are drinking enough water. Simple enough.

Other cooling measures require more effort, but
essentially no medications are involved.

And still, 15,000 people die over a the course of
a heat wave; hard to believe.

http://www.reuters.com/printerFriendlyPopup.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=5816380




--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein wrote:
> as it deals with a recently released film.
>
> http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/36/features-ehrenstein.php
13355


From: Elizabeth Anne Nolan
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:27pm
Subject: BERGMAN: A film for me begins with something very vague (was ratios)
 
From BERGMAN's FOUR SCREENPLAYS (page xv)

A film for me begins with something very vague -- a chance
remark or a bit of conversation, a hazy but agreeable event
unrelated to any particular situation. It can be a few bars
of music, a shaft of light across the street. Sometimes in my
work at the theater, I have envisioned actors made up for yet
unplayed roles.

These are split second impressions that disappear as quickly as
they come, yet leave behind a mood -- like pleasant dreams. It is
a mental state, not an actual story, but one abounding in fertile
associations and images. Most of all, it is a brighly colored
threat sticking out of the dark sack of the unconscious. If I
begin to wind up this thread, and do it carefully, a complete
film will emerge.

This primitive nucleus strives to achieve definitive form,
moving in a way that may be lazy and half asleep at first. Its
stirring is accompanied by vibrations and rhythms which
are very special and unique to each film. The picture sequences
then assume a pattern in accordance with these rhythms, obeying
laws born out of and conditioned by my original stimulus.


...transformation of rhythms, moods, atmosphere, tensions,
sequences, tones and scents into words and sentences, into
an understandable screenplay.

This is an almost impossible task


--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > Dan,
> > I'm curious about your comment about different ratios for different
> > shots.
> >
> > I saw a movie a few years back which at different times used parts of
> > the
> > screen, leaving much of it black (or white). It was a bit experimental
>
> Actually, I'm always amazed at how hard it is to detect a mid-movie
> change of screen ratio. (For instance, I'm never jolted at the switches
> in L'AMOUR FOU between the 35mm wide footage and the 16mm square
> footage.) Seems to be that, in acclimating ourselves to the visual
> violence of a normal, everyday cut, we lose a lot of sensitivity to what
> changes across a cut.
>
> > Still, I think you are talking about something else... the image in the
> > mind of the director. I'm curious about the director's image. When you
> > are directing a film, how do you keep the frame of that image in your
> > mind. Do you find yourself with 'blinders' or is it something that is
> > more amorphous? Do you often walk around with a director's
> > frame of perspective? When you want different ratios, does your
> > this mental framework shrink / expand on the spot from in internal
> > or external cue? What is it that controls your choice... is it a
> > preconceived
> > image or a external image that creates the change?
>
> For me, the image is something inchoate when I conceive it. It has an
> emotional reality and a functional shape, but there's something
> dreamlike about it. So there's always this process of looking through
> the viewfinder and turning a mental image into a physical one. Usually
> it's a lot of fun, but sometimes it's difficult, in the same way that
> it's sometimes difficult to tell the story of a dream so that it makes
> sense. It's usually at the point of looking through the viewfinder that
> I wish for a particular ratio - the ratio is part of the process of
> making the mental image concrete.
>
> Storyboarding eliminates some of this adaptive process, but,
> surprisingly, not all of it. Probably a detailed storyboard by an
> experienced director would do a lot more to bridge the gap than my
> stick-figure storyboards.
>
> I don't think I'd really like to make a movie with changing ratios,
> because I have a purist, minimalist streak about form. So, in reality,
> I just hope that the ratio I'm working with works out most of the time.
> My last film was in 16:9 ratio (about 1.78:1), and it was quite nice
> for a movie about a relationship between two people, although there were
> times when I wanted a 1.33:1 image. - Dan
13356


From: Gabe Klinger
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:02pm
Subject: diff'rent 'Scopes for diff'rent worlds
 
Irreversible (No) -- aggressive

Sauvage Innocence (Garrel) -- baroque

Ocean's 11 (Soderbergh) -- flashy

Stuck on You (Farrellys) -- two-shot

Branded to Kill (Suzuki) -- earthquake

Contempt (Godard) -- self-reflexive

The Robe (Koster) -- decadent

2001 (Kubrick) -- grandiose

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Wilder) -- elegiac

Solaris (Tarkovsky) -- obscure

The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson) -- caramelized

Heat (Mann) -- arbitrary

The Fog (Carpenter) -- clean

Moonfleet (Lang) -- bizarre

Kill Bill (Tarantino) -- reckless

The Thin Red Line -- alligator

Bigger Than Life -- bigger than life

In one of his classic play on words, Godard might have altered his original=
phrase to
NICHOLAS RAY *IS* CINEMA SCOPE

Gabe
13357


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:34pm
Subject: Re: ELEPHANT widescreen
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Elizabeth Nolan wrote:
> And speaking of elephant (pardon the bad pun, borrowed from the Marx
> Bros) I have seen ELEPHANT on DVD (not in a theater). The DVD offers
> both 1.33 and wide screen versions. I watched the 1.33 and found to
> my surprise and puzzlement that some scenes looked pan and scanned,
> or even not scanned at all, with part of the image looking off-frame
> (the opening scene with the father and son in the car; the scene
with
> the three girls going to the cafeteria). I still have to check out
> the wide screen version. Can anyone comment on this?
> JPC
>
> I've seen ELEPHANT in the theater and have the DVD (won it
> in a local raffle) which I'll watch someday. But I am curious. I
know
> there is a difference between WS and 1:33, but I wonder why you
> would select 1:33 when WS is available? I always choose WS on
> my DVD selections which I watch on my 15 inch computer laptop.
>
> Elizabeth


I selected 1:33 because that's the aspect ratio he supposedly shot
his film in, and that has been widely publicised (actually it's not
1:33 or even 1:37). The film was supposed to be shown in 1:33 in
theatres, but how many theaters these day are equipped to show 1:33
properly?

After watching both versions I realized that what had looked to me
like a pan&scan in a few shots were merely some rather erratic
camera moves during one of the very long takes (e.g. the three girls
talking as they walk down the hall).

JPC
13358


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:39pm
Subject: Re: Bunuel 1 and 2 (was: Allegory)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "cairnsdavid1967"
wrote:

>
> Yeah, I'm with you there. Though EL is a fantastic thing, and
> situated in the midst of the Mexican melodramas.

Bunuel has said "El has nothuing whatsoever to do with Mexico." The
author of a book about Bunuel and Mexico groups Archibaldo -- that
amazing masterpiece -- and El with films like Susana because they
reflect "the crisis of masculinity," but that crisis was worldwide,
so I don't see it. He tried to be a Mexican commercial director, but
Olvidados already showed his real aim was to make a comeback on the
international stage, and when the Mrexican industry began to decline
because of competition from H'wd in 1953, everything he did from then
on was aimed at conquering other markets.

If Bosley Crowther hadn't been the critic at the times, he might have
conquered the American arthouse market with The Young One, made in
between Shadows and The Connection and the same year as Verboten and
Private Property (big hit), with which it has perhaps more in common.
American indies were happening, and no doubt LB and his blacklisted
colleagues thought it could happen for them. Crowther's blithering
idiocy, and bad luck with the weather when they opened in NY,
necessitated an end run through Spain and France with Viridiana.
After that there was no stopping him.

> DEATH IN THE GARDEN begins turgidly but gets increasingly Bunuelian
> as it goes on. One sequence involving a skinned snake, a priest
> shredding his bible, and a crawling mass of ants, could almost come
> from UN CHIEN ANDALOU.

That snake shot and the cut to the Champs Elysee afterward, with the
toot-toot of taxis, which turns out to be a postcard, is sheer
genius. I also love the moment when the same character suddenly
throws his diamonds in the stream, and we realize he's gone mad. Most
of the film is a good genre piece, but as LB said, he and Raymond
Queneau had a problem licking the script.
13359


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:52pm
Subject: Re: Walsh's Distant Drums
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> Anyone have a good (or bad) word on Walsh's Distant Drums? Should I
break an
> ankle to see it?
>
> Kevin John
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

You should. it's a great Walsh. Underrated. I'd love to see it
again myself.
13360


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:52pm
Subject: Re: Christian Bale (was: Comic Con films)
 
>
>
> The next movies I saw were THE MACHINIST and Christian Bale is
> remarkable. You'll hear about his weight loss (which is actually
> dangerous at his level as the kidneys begin to lose their
position
> essentially wallpapered by tissue ontp the back of abdominal
wall.
> The
> kidneys begin to sag which isn't a problem. The problem is that
the
> ureters (which go from the kidney to the bladder) can get a kink
in
> them, especially where they insert into the bladder and they you
have
> pressure and back-up problems with the kidneys themselves being
> injured
> over time... it was a problem for many Holocaust survivors).
Bale
> really looks emaciated and there is some cgi to make him look
really
> thin (at least I heard that someplace). It is interesting
because
> even
> though something is eating away at him psychologically, his
gaunt look
> does not prohibit some forms of pleasure and that joy is
something
> seldom seen in emaciated people. His performance is
> remarkable. You'll hear more about THE MACHINIST. A lot of
metaphors
> going on in that movie. I liked it.

Christian Bale is a remarkable actor with a huge following of teenage
girls and depressive tendencies. I hope he doesn't become a casualty
like Clift and Dean. His performance in American Psycho is
unbelievable. I understand that when DiCaprio essayed the role for
Oliver Stone -- who the people at Lions Gate wanted to direct once
they attached Leonardo and pulled it away from Bale and Harron --
Stone just laughed at his reading and walked out. (Other H'wd actors,
including Matt Damon, told the Lions Gate people to bug off because
the part belonged to Bale, who had worked with Harron two years
preparing for it.) I don't think any American actor could have played
that part -- you need someone from a tradition where star acting and
character acting are interchangeable.
13361


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:57pm
Subject: Re: different ratios for different shots
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > Dan,
.
>
> Storyboarding eliminates some of this adaptive process, but,
> surprisingly, not all of it. Probably a detailed storyboard by an
> experienced director would do a lot more to bridge the gap than my
> stick-figure storyboards.

Hitchcock's sketches for the cameraman and other collaborators (as
opposed to actual storyboards done for some sequences by professional
illustrators) were extremely rudimentary, but Boyle told me they were
better than a storyboard because they always gave you the visual
dynamics of the shot.
13362


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Walsh's Distant Drums
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
> Anyone have a good (or bad) word on Walsh's Distant Drums? Should I
break an
> ankle to see it?
>
> Kevin John

Yes. It's a remake of Objective, Burma. A brilliant one, as I recall.
13363


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:00pm
Subject: Re: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Elizabeth Anne Nolan"
wrote:
> Thanks for posting your article. People in general
> don't know how salient AIDS is in the lives of many.
>
> When I started working as in ER MD in 1984, I had
> to insist that gloves be left out on the counter for
> all to use rather than having to go to cabinets and
> drawers (I was not paranoid, just recognized the
> significance of the problem).
>
> On a personal level, my life plan to continue in a
> variety of relationships (as a heterosexual female)
> became unrealistic for me.
>
> {{I would often tell male / female friends that they
> could say that their doctor friend told them they were
> crazy to not insist on a HIV test before getting
> involved with someone. HIV testing was not a
> confortable topic for heterosexual people.}}
>
> I came across this article about 15,000 people dying
> in the heat wave last summer. It is very hard for
> people to take an objective view of their behavior
> relative to their health... drinking water is not that
> hard to do and the need to go urinate lets you know
> you are drinking enough water. Simple enough.
>
> Other cooling measures require more effort, but
> essentially no medications are involved.
>
> And still, 15,000 people die over a the course of
> a heat wave; hard to believe.
>
> http://www.reuters.com/printerFriendlyPopup.jhtml?
type=healthNews&storyID=5816380
>
A fascinating analogy, as far as it goes.
13364


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:15pm
Subject: Re: Bunuel 1 and 2 (was: Allegory)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:

>
> That snake shot and the cut to the Champs Elysee afterward, with
the
> toot-toot of taxis, which turns out to be a postcard, is sheer
> genius. I also love the moment when the same character suddenly
> throws his diamonds in the stream, and we realize he's gone mad.
Most
> of the film is a good genre piece, but as LB said, he and Raymond
> Queneau had a problem licking the script.

I haven't seen the film since it came out and the only thing I
remembered about it was the shock of that postcard!.. Re: Queneau:
one can dream about LB and RQ working on an original script together!
They both had a tremendous sense of humor, and Queneau was active in
the Surrealist group in the mid to late twenties. He must have loved
L'AGE D'OR...

JPC
13365


From: hotlove666
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:21pm
Subject: Re: Bunuel 1 and 2 (was: Allegory)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:

>
> I haven't seen the film since it came out and the only thing I
> remembered about it was the shock of that postcard!.. Re: Queneau:
> one can dream about LB and RQ working on an original script
together!
> They both had a tremendous sense of humor, and Queneau was active
in
> the Surrealist group in the mid to late twenties. He must have
loved
> L'AGE D'OR...
>
> JPC

Queneau had a funny scene for Death in the Garden that LB couldn't
work in. Signoret, the town hooker, is buying a bar of soap at the
local dry goods store when she hears that an army detachment is
coming to put down the rebellion. "Make that six bars," she says.
13366


From:
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:33pm
Subject: The Young One help (Was: Bunuel 1 and 2)
 
For fear of being lumped in with Crowther, now would be a good time to
mention that I still don't get The Young One. Just watched it again last night. I'm
totally missing the irony, "a la Swift" or otherwise. I believe it was Bill
who mentioned in the live chat that the film uses class to trump race. How is
race trumped in the film? I know the young girl functions as a sort of
pre-ideological midpoint or no point through which to view the musician and the game
warden. But I fail to see how the film is treating the musician as anything but
a victim of racist circumstance and the game warden as anything but a racist
who must come around to see the error of his evil prejudice by the end. It all
seems pretty straightforward to me and yet because I know this is Bunuel, it
can't be all that straightforward.

Help?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
13367


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:41pm
Subject: Re: Red Line 7000 (Was: on the misuse of 'Scope)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
>
>
> I'm crazy about "Land of the Pharoahs," and I suspect
> Faulkner had more to do with the script than Hawks'
> joke suggests. What's not to like? The building of the
> pyramids, James Robertson Justice hamming it up, Dewey
> Martin in a tea towel, and Joan Collins at her most
> iconographically magnificent.
>
> Perfect when double-featured with Philippe Garrel's
> "La Cicatrice Interieure."
>
>
> Intriguing double bill. I'm sure you could provide more...

There used to be triple-feature shows in some neighborhood
cinemas (when there still was such a thing as a neighborhood cinema).
I saw Jerry Lewis's "The Patsy" with "The Thin Red Line" (the 1964
version) and... i forget the third title (I may have skipped it). It
was in a theatre in the upper reaches of Manhattan...

JPC
>
> __________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Yahoo! Mail - 50x more storage than other providers!
> http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
13368


From: peckinpah20012000
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:09pm
Subject: Pierre Schondoerrfer.
 
I wish to gain some feedback on the films of Schondoerrfer most well
known for THE 317TH PLATOON with Bruno Cremer and Jacques Perrin.
Viewing some recent French films such as UNDER THE SAND (with Cremer)
and THE MAN ON THE TRAIN (with Jean Rochefort who appears in LE
CRABBE-TAMBOUR with Perrin) stimulates me to mail this enquiry and
learn from those who have seen all his films.

I often run the final sequence of DIEN BIEN PHU (1992), with the
Viet-Minh suddently appearing from the hills to take the French
garrison into captivity, whenever I screen THE 317TH PLATOON in my
Vietnam and Film Class.

Has any one ever seen THE HONOR OF A CAPTAIN with Jacques Perrin and
does it exist somewhere in a subtitled version? Amazon.com.ca have
listed it as forthcoming as an import DVD for the last year. The
director (who is a veteran of DIEN BIEN PHU)uses actors such as
Cremer, Rochefort, and Perrin effectively and appears to be an
inetresting chronicler of disillusionment with the French military
experience in Indo-China and Algeria.
13369


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:51pm
Subject: Re: Re: Christian Bale (was: Comic Con films)
 
--- hotlove666 wrote:


>
> Christian Bale is a remarkable actor with a huge
> following of teenage
> girls and depressive tendencies.

Thus making him perfect for "Velvet Goldmine."

I hope he doesn't
> become a casualty
> like Clift and Dean.


From your lips. . .

His performance in American
> Psycho is
> unbelievable.

So is his performance in "Empire of the Sun."







__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail - 50x more storage than other providers!
http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
13370


From:
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:16pm
Subject: Re: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
This is a terrific article!
Wish more people would be concerned about real issues in the world such as
AIDS.

Mike Grost
13371


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jul 29, 2004 11:36pm
Subject: Re: Re: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
Thanks Mike and I wish they would too.

--- MG4273@a... wrote:

> This is a terrific article!
> Wish more people would be concerned about real
> issues in the world such as
> AIDS.
>
> Mike Grost
>




__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail - 50x more storage than other providers!
http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
13372


From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:09am
Subject: Re: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
Dan Sallitt wrote:

>In my memory, WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES is very Academy ratio. Isn't
>this a 1.33:1 film? - Dan
>
>
By 1958, it's my understanding that virtually all American theaters were
showing non-scope films in 1.85:1. Prints might arrive in 1.33:1, and
they would be masked to 1.85:1. In theory, cinematographers knew that,
and were framing for 1.85:1, but I'm not convinced that is right. I
suggested much earlier an actually useful research project for aspiring
film historians on our list: talk to as many surviving cinematographers
who shot films between 1954 and 1970 as possible, and ask what aspect
ratio(s) they, and their directors, were framing for.

I was able to show "Wind Across the Everglades" in 35mm a few years
back. The print was 1.33:1. We looked at that and 1.85 in advance and
1.85 looked kind of tight to me. I compromised and we showed it in 1.66
and it looked "right." I've done the same thing with 50s Sirks.

I'm not convinced, though, that it was "in" anything. Maybe they were
really framing in 1.33, or trying to frame for both 1.33 and 1.85,
knowing that films might be shown on TV too. Surely later they were
doing that.

Fred Camper
13373


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:45am
Subject: Re: on the misuse of 'Scope [correction]
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
I
> suggested much earlier an actually useful research project for
aspiring
> film historians on our list: talk to as many surviving
cinematographers
> who shot films between 1954 and 1970 as possible, and ask what
aspect
> ratio(s) they, and their directors, were framing for.


This would be an immensely useful and enlightening research
project, as opposed to so much meanningless stuff.
>
13374


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:53am
Subject: Re: Slightly -- but not entirely -- off-topic
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> Thanks Mike and I wish they would too.
>
> --- MG4273@a... wrote:
>
> > This is a terrific article!
> > Wish more people would be concerned about real
> > issues in the world such as
> > AIDS.
> >
> > Mike Grost
> >
>
> Mike, David, lots of people are concerned, you know. But this is
not an AIDS forum as far as I know. Personally, my life has been very
affected by AIDS -- my brother-in-law died of AIDS and his sister --
my wife -- was so distraught that it contributed to ruin our marriage
(we're still good friends). And there are several friends of his,
hers or mine who died of AIDS too. And there are lots of issues that
we should be concerned about and maybe are or maybe are not, but
which, after all, have no place on this board. Where do you draw the
line? Everyday I read some horror story about what's happening here
or there in the world and it affects me -- as it does others too, I'm
sure. Should we bring it all here? I don't think so, but that
doesn't mean we don't "care".

JPC
>
>
> __________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Yahoo! Mail - 50x more storage than other providers!
> http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
13375


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 3:04am
Subject: film technique question
 
After doing it in-camera and before the dominance of computer editing,
what was the next-most-primitive way of creating split-screen and
frames within the frame? I just saw POLYESTER this evening and aside
from all the other great things about the film, it uses the technique
a few times (mainly when someone calls the Fishpaw residence, or
Francine calls out), and since it was made in 1981, he could not have
used Final Cut Pro or anything, but it doesn't look like double
exposure, either.

Is it done by using an optical printer?

-Jaime
13376


From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 3:19am
Subject: Re: film technique question
 
Jaime N. Christley wrote:

>
>Is it done by using an optical printer?
>
>
>
Don't know about "Polyester," but that was the standard way to make
split screen in the pre-video age. In camera was for "amateurs" and
avant-gardists. It's a pretty basic operation with the optical printer.

Fred Camper
13377


From: Chris Fujiwara
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 3:39am
Subject: the aspect ratio project
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
> I
> > suggested much earlier an actually useful research project for
> aspiring
> > film historians on our list: talk to as many surviving
> cinematographers
> > who shot films between 1954 and 1970 as possible, and ask what
> aspect
> > ratio(s) they, and their directors, were framing for.

Someone with access to a good film book library could also look
through back issues of American Cinematographer, the ASC's magazine.
From 1954 on, ASC members probably contributed quite a few articles
about aspect ratios for non-anamorphic shooting.

There was also the American Cinematographer Manual, which I think was
first published in the early 1960s, and which addressed aspect
ratios. I used to have an edition from 1964 or so. The author's
recommendation, as you would expect, was that non-anamorphic films
intended both for theatrical exhibition and eventual TV showing be
composed so that they would look fine both at 1.33 and 1.85.

I'd be very surprised to hear that, since the late 1950s, such was
not the usual practice of Hollywood cinematographers - with some bias
toward 1.85 as you can tell from the excessive head room and
occasional boom intrusions often visible when non-anamorphic films
are shown in 1.33.

Exhibitors' magazines in the post-'Scope era often listed the
recommended aspect ratio for films - but this of course doesn't
necessarily indicate what the director and DP wanted.
13378


From: hotlove666
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:29am
Subject: Re: Pierre Schoendoerrfer.
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "peckinpah20012000"
wrote:
> I wish to gain some feedback on the films of Schoendoerrfer

When I reported for duty for the first time in 1978 at the CdC in
Paris, the only film that they had recently reviewed which I had seen
was Le Crabe Tambour. Given that they hated it, this was perverse,
but I had first had dinner with a charming couple, the Doinels. She
once worked for Truffaut and said he took the name from her; her
husband - the Captain - was retired Army. He sat brooding in the
corner and said nothing. She told me I had to see CT so I did. I
liked it. I thought the handling of the Heart of Darkness plot was a
little more ept than in Apocalypse, Now, which the CdC was even then
yearning to salute. I've never understood why a Red like Jacques
Perrin would work with Schoendoerrfer if he was really all that right-
wing. But many things in French cinema and society are still
mysteries to me.
13379


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:52am
Subject: Re: film technique question
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:


> Don't know about "Polyester," but that was the standard way to make
> split screen in the pre-video age. In camera was for "amateurs" and
> avant-gardists. It's a pretty basic operation with the optical printer.

Do you know how these filmmakers used the optical printing process to
essentially "wipe away" the part of the film that the
frame-within-a-frame would occupy? The following is my primitive
grasp of the process, beginning with Murnau et al.: with in-camera
double exposure the filmmaker would cover up (using duct tape if
necessary) the part of the camera lens that would correspond to the
space the second/third/fourth exposure would occupy. Then, the
optical printer made this process more automated - "transcribing," in
the lab, upon 1 or 10 or 14 or 1,000 frames, the information from
another shot, or a small subsection of another shot, thereby
eliminating the necessity to do meticulous in-camera rewinding and
reshooting. But if you print one frame upon another - or if you type
a short story on top of a sheet of newspaper - you end up with one
image/text superimposed on another, each transparent to the other.
This isn't what I saw in movies like AIRPORT, POLYESTER, or a thousand
others that used frames-within-frames, wipes, and non-in-camera
split-screens.

-Jaime
13380


From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 5:27am
Subject: Re: Re: film technique question
 
Jaime N. Christley wrote:

>--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
>
>
>Do you know how these filmmakers used the optical printing process to
>essentially "wipe away" the part of the film that the
>frame-within-a-frame would occupy?
>

First, I'm no expert on optical printing; if someone else knows more,
please speak up with additions and corrections. What I can do is tell
you one way this could have been done, the way I think is most likely.

An optical printer is a part of a projector mechanism pointed at a part
of a camera mechanism on a "bed" that allows them to be positioned
precisely with respect to one another, and moved precisely too. It
allows frame by frame rephotography. An "optical zoom," for example,
could be made by bringing them closer one frame at a time, though in
recent years I supposed it will be made by using a zoom lens..

And by the way, as I learned in Brazil when my translator didn't know
the word for it, the word for "optical printer" in Portuguese is
"truca," unless my memory fails.

One thing you can do with an optical printer is run more than one film
strip at a time through the projector side. If there are two, which is
most common, this is called "bipacking." Though it's expensive, Brakhage
made some films this way (the first, I believe, being "Sexual
Meditations: Open Field;" "Coupling" was another), to get a different
kind of superimposition. With superimpositions made in the camera, or by
making two passes of the print stock, light adds to light; a bright area
in one image will dominate a dark in the other. Bipacked
superimpositions are subtractive: the dark areas in one layer will
dominate the white areas in another, as you can imagine, because the
light that's passing through the two layers to the print stock has to
pass through both at the same time.

Now imagine a simple split screen. You run image A bipacked with a strip
of film that is white on the left and black on the right. The result is
that your print stock has been exposed to the left side of image A on
its left side, with the right side unexposed because it's being blocked
by the second strip, your "matte." If the matte doesn't move, as in the
case of a static two-frame split frame, there's a way to do this that
doesn't involve a strip of film, by just blocking one side. Then you
rewind the print stock in the optical printer camera and run image B
bipacked with a strip of film that is black on the left and white on the
right, or image B blocked in a more static way, by a fixed matte that
just blocks it. If you've lined everything up properly you have a neat
split screen. Wipes, a more sophisticated optical effect, are I believe
made similarly, or at lesat they could be; maybe there's a shortcut I
haven't thought of. For a wipe the portion you are blocking varies from
frame to frame, so you'd definitely need to bipack a strip of film with
the black portion varying from frame to frame. To print the image on the
other side of the wipe, your bipacked matte roll would just be the
negative of the first one.

Mattes are the way one part of an image can be cut out and replaced by
another, as in old time "special effects."

Fred Camper
13381


From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 3:39pm
Subject: triple features / cutting edge / genre progression
 
> There used to be triple-feature shows in some neighborhood
> cinemas JPC

Shrek2
Day after Tomorrow
The Terminal
can be seen at the Chula Vista Vogue for $3.00 this week.

I wouldn't call it a "triple feature." Just three films showing
together.
The Harvard Square theater used to have great double features that
changed daily or every other day.

Interesting that with all the films produced today, it seems like it
would
be difficult to create a true double feature, notwithstanding the
remakes.

Any suggestions for double features using recently released films only?
Elephant, Zero Day, Bowling for Columbine would be a bit much for
anyone to tolerate.

There was a TV feature called something like SEX, LIES, etc...
which showed the progress cutting edge of 'sexuality' in independent
films from Sex, Lies, Videotape to Happiness. I think double features
which show how a particular genre or content keeps pushing the
envelope would be interesting.

I read somewhere that the IS THIS THE END OF RICO? line
signals a change from the redemption of the gangster (with
one pre-death act of kindness) to the death of Rico without the
possibility of redemption.

I think the progressive 'cutting edge' of films is not often discussed
outside of frontal nudity and like issues.

HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE will be talked about
as the stoner buddy road trip with ASIAN characters. It is funny
and gets a lot of laughs. I think you could find an early Caucasian
film to double feature with it. Any suggestions?
13382


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:02pm
Subject: Re: film technique question
 
Wow, thanks for all this, Fred - you claim not to be an expert in
optical printing but there's a lot here to chew over!

It sounds like what may happen with the within-the-frame frames
(like someone calling on the phone, and they don't take up a whole
side, just a box in the center), the film is prepared before or
after with a section that is left unexposed, or totally exposed, and
that part is dropped in later, using an optical printer.

I'm fascinated by these techniques, but unfortunately classes I took
at NYU's film production school had answers that were limited to:
masking/matting/blocking part of the camera lens (for the "split
screen" material to be shot later), and the obvious solution, use a
computer.

-Jaime

> First, I'm no expert on optical printing; if someone else knows
more,
> please speak up with additions and corrections. What I can do is
tell
> you one way this could have been done, the way I think is most
likely.
>
> An optical printer is a part of a projector mechanism pointed at a
part
> of a camera mechanism on a "bed" that allows them to be positioned
> precisely with respect to one another, and moved precisely too. It
> allows frame by frame rephotography. An "optical zoom," for
example,
> could be made by bringing them closer one frame at a time, though
in
> recent years I supposed it will be made by using a zoom lens..
>
> And by the way, as I learned in Brazil when my translator didn't
know
> the word for it, the word for "optical printer" in Portuguese is
> "truca," unless my memory fails.
>
> One thing you can do with an optical printer is run more than one
film
> strip at a time through the projector side. If there are two,
which is
> most common, this is called "bipacking." Though it's expensive,
Brakhage
> made some films this way (the first, I believe, being "Sexual
> Meditations: Open Field;" "Coupling" was another), to get a
different
> kind of superimposition. With superimpositions made in the camera,
or by
> making two passes of the print stock, light adds to light; a
bright area
> in one image will dominate a dark in the other. Bipacked
> superimpositions are subtractive: the dark areas in one layer will
> dominate the white areas in another, as you can imagine, because
the
> light that's passing through the two layers to the print stock has
to
> pass through both at the same time.
>
> Now imagine a simple split screen. You run image A bipacked with a
strip
> of film that is white on the left and black on the right. The
result is
> that your print stock has been exposed to the left side of image A
on
> its left side, with the right side unexposed because it's being
blocked
> by the second strip, your "matte." If the matte doesn't move, as
in the
> case of a static two-frame split frame, there's a way to do this
that
> doesn't involve a strip of film, by just blocking one side. Then
you
> rewind the print stock in the optical printer camera and run image
B
> bipacked with a strip of film that is black on the left and white
on the
> right, or image B blocked in a more static way, by a fixed matte
that
> just blocks it. If you've lined everything up properly you have a
neat
> split screen. Wipes, a more sophisticated optical effect, are I
believe
> made similarly, or at lesat they could be; maybe there's a
shortcut I
> haven't thought of. For a wipe the portion you are blocking varies
from
> frame to frame, so you'd definitely need to bipack a strip of film
with
> the black portion varying from frame to frame. To print the image
on the
> other side of the wipe, your bipacked matte roll would just be the
> negative of the first one.
>
> Mattes are the way one part of an image can be cut out and
replaced by
> another, as in old time "special effects."
>
> Fred Camper
13383


From: samfilms2003
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:25pm
Subject: Re: film technique question
 
> so you'd definitely need to bipack a strip of film with
> the black portion varying from frame to frame. To print the image on the
> other side of the wipe, your bipacked matte roll would just be the
> negative of the first one.

Known as a "Travelling matte"

All of this very common up untill the days of Digital.

> Mattes are the way one part of an image can be cut out and replaced by
> another, as in old time "special effects."

You'd be urprised how much doing it "in camera" happened on even Hollywood
movies. All those Albert Whitlock matte paintings (Star Wars, The Sting,
probably hundreds... were based on in camera double exposures

This subject is way too broad to get into here.

The ASC has a bunch of publications that cover this stuff.
13384


From: samfilms2003
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:31pm
Subject: Re: the aspect ratio project
 
Although I gave the issue away to a film composer friend who is a huge
fan of the film, I did have an issue AC magazine which covered the
shooting of "Night of The Hunter" and it made
particular mention of Laughton and Stanley Cortez, ASC'
decision to shoot it for 1.37 and going against the tide in
doing so...

(If only they'd been able to do "The Naked And The Dead" which
was their planned follow-up)

-Sam



> Someone with access to a good film book library could also look
> through back issues of American Cinematographer, the ASC's magazine.
> From 1954 on, ASC members probably contributed quite a few articles
> about aspect ratios for non-anamorphic shooting.
13385


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:56pm
Subject: Re: aspect ratio project
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
I
> suggested much earlier an actually useful research project for
aspiring
> film historians on our list: talk to as many surviving
cinematographers
> who shot films between 1954 and 1970 as possible, and ask what
aspect
> ratio(s) they, and their directors, were framing for.

Is anybody up for this, for real? I'd be more than pleased to get
together with some fellow New Yorker(s) to pound Manhattan pavement,
searching for any 54-70 cinematographers. It would be time-
consuming but theoretically pretty simple. Let me know off-list, on-
list, whatever.

Just curious, you've set the ceiling at 1970 - why is that?

-Jaime
13386


From: samfilms2003
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 5:17pm
Subject: Re: Pierre Schondoerrfer.
 
> Has any one ever seen THE HONOR OF A CAPTAIN with Jacques Perrin and
> does it exist somewhere in a subtitled version?

Is this the same film as "Le Crabe Tambour" ? I have seen that, although
quite a few years ago, and previous to my very specific film interest in
Vietnam & its history.

I don't know how much I can comment on it in depth, and in context.
I was struck by what I sensed as a wistfull, somewhat pro-colonial point of
view, but would have to (& very much hope to) see again before saying
more.

Perhaps, an attachment to a time, place, comraderie was more the issue
as colonial nostalghia.

The shots from a patrol boat navigating the canals in the Mekong Delta
are very much in my mind, as I shot similar imagery in Vietnam this
past March.

-Sam Wells



Pierre Schoendoerffer


Amazon.com.ca have
> listed it as forthcoming as an import DVD for the last year. The
> director (who is a veteran of DIEN BIEN PHU)uses actors such as
> Cremer, Rochefort, and Perrin effectively and appears to be an
> inetresting chronicler of disillusionment with the French military
> experience in Indo-China and Algeria.
13387


From: Michael Worrall
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 5:35pm
Subject: Same Film, Different Ratios and other ratio issues
 
Though not an admirer of either version, the film adaptation
of "Oklahoma" was shot in two versions: CinemaScope and TODD-AO.
(It was a Fox/Mike Todd production.) Also "Seven Brides for Seven
Brothers" was shot in both 2:35 and 1:85 for different theatrical
exhibitions.

There's also Cinerama -- would this be a novelty ratio?-- and the
very bogus SuperScope which takes the 1:37 image and cuts off the
top and bottom when reprinted for anamorphic. Fortunately, I have
been able to see the academy versions of "Invasion of the Body
Snatchers" and "While the City Sleeps."

As for framing for 1:33 or 1:85 it is an issue that I have been
pondering if the script I have written gets the green light to go
into production. Since there is no guarantee that the film will ever
get picked up for theatrical distribution, along with the fact that
it will be shot on DV, the producer and I are thinking of shooting
it without masking. Since neither of us is in the position to
dictate the terms of a video release, we'd rather shoot the project
so it does not get mutilated for home video. Now I have always been
a film purist, but I created the script in mind with the image
problems that arise from going from 24fps to 30fps and actually work
it into the "film's" aesthetic.

On the questions of Super 35, I have to ask just what then are the
filmmakers framing for? John Boorman had to shoot "Beyond Rangoon"
in Super 35 and he was not pleased by it, resulting in him going
outside the studios to get funding for "The General" so he could
shoot it in anamorphic. (And also B&W).

Michael Worrall
13388


From: Michael Worrall
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 5:43pm
Subject: Same Film, Different Ratios and other ratio issues (correction)
 
> it will be shot on DV, the producer and I are thinking of shooting
> it without masking. Since neither of us is in the position to
> dictate the terms of a video release, we'd rather shoot the
project
> so it does not get mutilated for home video.

Sorry, a little bit got cut out (or perhaps cropped?) It should
read "we'd rather shoot the film without masking so it does not get
mutilated on home video, but in the chance we do get a theatrical
distributor, it can be shown in 1:85 without also getting mutilated."
13389


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:07pm
Subject: Re: Same Film, Different Ratios and other ratio issues (correction)
 
> "we'd rather shoot the film without masking so it does not get
> mutilated on home video, but in the chance we do get a theatrical
> distributor, it can be shown in 1:85 without also getting mutilated."

When you say "without masking," do you mean 1.33:1? If so, that would
mean that you'd have to refrain from using the top and bottom of the
screen, so that a 1.85:1 projection wouldn't cut off the tops and
bottoms of things. This will probably mean that your 1.33:1
compositions will be more spacious on top and bottom. It's hard to
compose for two ratios at once, and no fun, to my mind.

If, however, you shot the film 16:9 (1.78:1), you could always
distribute it letterboxed on video, and a 1.85:1 projection wouldn't
change the frame shape all that much.

Of course, whatever you do, there is always the dreaded "television safe
area," which excludes the outer areas of the image in case of an
overscanned TV image. Shooting in 16:9 actually makes it less of a
worry to ignore the safe area and use the top and bottom of the image,
because the letterboxing effect makes it harder for a rogue TV to lose
information.

- Dan
13390


From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:13pm
Subject: Re: Re: aspect ratio project
 
Jaime N. Christley wrote:

>Just curious, you've set the ceiling at 1970 - why is that?
>
>
There's nothing magical about that year. Research away! It can be done
by phone, though, and obviously retired cinematographers are going to be
everywhere. My theory though is that by a certain point almost no
theaters were equipped to show 1.33:1, and everyone in Hollywood knew
that, and one can assume, perhaps, that they were framing for both 1.85
and 1.33, as Dan suggests. But even then, one would want to know what
was the aspect ratio preferred by the film's makers, if any.

Fred Camper
13391


From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:15pm
Subject: "What Brought you to Hollywood?" Ford replied: "A train".
 
I read the following about FORD on IMDB:

Embarrassed Jean-Luc Godard, then a young journalist for Les Cahiers du
Cinema, during an interview. When Godard asked the famous question:
"What Brought you to Hollywood?" Ford replied: "A train".

I wonder if that "TRAIN" was the one bolting from the screen onto the
first moviegoers running from their seats!

Earlier today I purchased Gerald PERRY's INTERVIEWS with Ford. If I
find Jean-Luc Godard's essay and followup question, I'll post it.
Perhaps one of you know it.

Too bad Godard didn't make reference to the cinematic train and say
something like "I've seen that train and it took me Paris."
13392


From: Gabe Klinger
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:37pm
Subject: Re: aspect ratio project
 
Pity. I would have loved to ask Conrad Hall about the aspect ratio on FAT CITY. I
swear you can't tel on the DVD which version (1.37 or 1.85) has more visual
information. This was one where I even measured certain objects on the screen to
find out, but from this arose even more confusion....

It just occured to me that anyone dropping in on this discussion who has no idea
about aspect ratios, aperture plates, projection in general, and who sees all fo these
strange numbers (1.33, 1.66, 1.77, 2.66, whatever) will think we're all a bunch of
fucking weirdos. Of course they probably think we're weirdos anyway.

Gabe
13393


From: samfilms2003
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:39pm
Subject: Re: Pierre Schoendoerffer.
 
Of course, Coutard was a combat cameraman during the "French War"

Coutard also directed a film in Vietnam, unseen by me "Hoa Binh" which
I remember got a lot of flack from the Left.

I still want to see Schoendoerffer's doc "The Anderson Platoon" made
in - 68 ? - during the American war and shown on CBS.

-Sam

PS Also worth noting perhaps that French Communist Party offered
no real opposition to the recolonization of Vietnam after WWII,
at least as far as any sources I am familiar with claim

..

> When I reported for duty for the first time in 1978 at the CdC in
> Paris, the only film that they had recently reviewed which I had seen
> was Le Crabe Tambour. Given that they hated it, this was perverse,
> but I had first had dinner with a charming couple, the Doinels. She
> once worked for Truffaut and said he took the name from her; her
> husband - the Captain - was retired Army. He sat brooding in the
> corner and said nothing. She told me I had to see CT so I did. I
> liked it. I thought the handling of the Heart of Darkness plot was a
> little more ept than in Apocalypse, Now, which the CdC was even then
> yearning to salute. I've never understood why a Red like Jacques
> Perrin would work with Schoendoerrfer if he was really all that right-
> wing. But many things in French cinema and society are still
> mysteries to me.

13394


From: Andy Rector
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:43pm
Subject: Santiago Alvarez in Los Angeles
 
79 Primaveras by Santiago Alvarez, his film on Ho Chi Minh, will be
playing on Friday August 6th, 8pm, at the Track 16 Gallery, Bergamont
Station (2525 Michigan Ave. C-1, Santa Monica).
A seat must be reserved by calling 310-264-4678

It is showing as part of a glorious tribute to Cuban poster art.

yours,
andy
13395


From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:44pm
Subject: Re: Re: aspect ratio project
 
Gabe Klinger wrote:

>
>It just occurred to me that anyone dropping in on this discussion....will think we're all a bunch of
>fucking weirdos.....
>
Not if they no how to do a basic 'Net search. Then they'll enter
something like

film aspect ratios

into google and get many hits, the first of which, at
http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/anamorphic/aspectratios/widescreenorama.html
, will give them some basics. The fourth hit,
http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/anamorphic/aspectratios/widescreenorama.html
, seems to be better.

Much more likely to think us weird are those "ordinary" movie fans who
read one of my disquisitions on space in something like "Day of the
Outlaw" or "Skidoo!" and then actually see the movie in question.

I do have a good collection of R. Crumb's "Weirdo" comics.

Fred Camper
13396


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:53pm
Subject: Re: aspect ratio project
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Gabe Klinger"
wrote:
> Pity. I would have loved to ask Conrad Hall about the aspect ratio
on FAT CITY. I
> swear you can't tel on the DVD which version (1.37 or 1.85) has
more visual
> information. This was one where I even measured certain objects on
the screen to
> find out, but from this arose even more confusion....

Ah, sounds like the time I tried to figure out which video version
of F FOR FAKE had the correct aspect ratio - the Japanese DVD or the
Criterion laserdisc. One thing I discovered is that one must take
into account a conventional television set's tendency to trim part
of the left, right, top, and bottom of a 1.33:1 image - a flaw in
the technology called overscan.

You might consider asking Hall's son, Conrad W. Hall, who is a
cinematographer-on-the-rise, he recently shot THE PUNISHER and PANIC
ROOM. Also the film's AC, Thomas Del Ruth, appears to be working
regularly as a cinematographer - STAND BY ME, THE BREAKFAST CLUB,
and recently TV shows like ER and THE WEST WING.

-Jaime
13397


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:17pm
Subject: Re: Same Film, Different Ratios and other ratio issues (correction)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:


> When you say "without masking," do you mean 1.33:1? If so, that
would
> mean that you'd have to refrain from using the top and bottom of
the
> screen, so that a 1.85:1 projection wouldn't cut off the tops and
> bottoms of things. This will probably mean that your 1.33:1
> compositions will be more spacious on top and bottom. It's hard
to
> compose for two ratios at once, and no fun, to my mind.

Composing for 1.33 and 1.85 would simply mean getting a 1.85 ground
glass (or making some doo-dad that would do the same thing) and
keeping C-stands and track and mics out of the entire frame (1.85
and 1.33 alike). Whatever effect you were going for with 1.85 would
be dissipated in an open-matte presentation, but them's the breaks.

You're right that composing an "artful" shot for both ratios at the
same time is hard. You're essentially making two subtly different
films at the same time.

-Jaime
13398


From: hotlove666
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:19pm
Subject: Re: The Young One help (Was: Bunuel 1 and 2)
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:

Kevin - I answered you at length offline, but I'm not sure you go it.
For the Marxist interpretation of TYO, see Durgnat's chapter in his
book on Bunuel. To me, it's about two marginal characters who
realize that they have a lot in common (the Army, being on the
bottom of the totem pole) while sparring sarcastically during their
truce. In addition, by feeling the weight of the Law on him for
having seduced Evvie, Miller is more ready to hear that Traver is
innocent of the rape charge. It's male solidarity as well as class
solidarity -- and of course, blackmail. To me TYO is basically a
comedy of manners about poor people, where much of the
comedy is built around the men's reactions to Key Meersman --
whose performance I really like.

I don't agree with Luc Moullet that it's about a world ruled by the
law of Nature -- that's the subject of the short story, not the fllm.
Despite all the animal imagery, Bunuel didn't see human
beings as being natural-but-repressed: "The ucs. is structured
like a language," etc. The determining factors in TYO are Traver's
taboo against killing a white man; the taboo on Evvie which Miller
gets in trouble for breaking; Miller's racism as a projection of his
own desires onto Traver (not as old an idea in 1960 as it is now);
the reverend's racism vs. Evvie's total lack of concern w. skin
color; the Reverend's acting-out in the river etc.

Jean Douchet: "In Bunuel the screen is a window seperating the
audience -- who are accorded honorary status as healthy
because of the position they occupy -- from the characters, who
are sick."

I also recalled in my e-mail seeing A Perfect World for the first
time just after reseeing TYO - I was struck by the fact that
Costner was basically the only character in the Eastwood film,
with the boy positioned as the pov that validates him for the
audience, whereas Traver, Miller and Evvie are all real
characters. It creates a very different dynamic -- and less
constricted images. TYO is one of LB's most beautiful films.

JR has a good essay on TYO in Essential Cinema, probably
also available online.

In context, TYO to me is part of LB's experiment with socialist
realism, which his old friend Aragon was advocating/practicing in
Paris in the 50s. The other examples are Cela s'appelle
l'aurore, La mort en ce jardin and La fievere monte a el Pao. TYO
is the best of the four, followed closely by Cela s'appelle, but I
don't think soicialist realism was LB's axe. Critical realism --
Tristana, Nazarin, Viridiana, Diary of a Chambermaid -- was
more suited to his love of ambiguity.

Even so, Jean Butler, in an interviewer Robert Keser tipped me
off to, thought that LB's "amorality" had seduced and corrupted
her husband while they were writing The Young One. It's true
that he kind of gives Miller - who rapes Evvie and tries to kill
Traver in cold blood - a free pass, but that's one of the things I
like about the movie!
13399


From: hotlove666
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:21pm
Subject: Re: Pierre Schoendoerffer.
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "samfilms2003"
wrote:
>
> Of course, Coutard was a combat cameraman during the
"French War"

Very important to the impact of the film.

> Coutard also directed a film in Vietnam, unseen by me "Hoa
Binh" which
> I remember got a lot of flack from the Left.

I barely remember it, but being by Coutard, it was gorgeous.
13400


From: hotlove666
Date: Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:23pm
Subject: OT: Weirdos
 
>
> I do have a good collection of R. Crumb's "Weirdo" comics.
>
> Fred Camper

I have 'em all, including the Frenchified issue called "Verre d'Eau
Comics," with a glass of water on the cover dimly reflecting a
salacious act in progress.

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