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Establishing shot, Ashmolean museum, moving in to a three-quarter shot close-up, then the narrative can begin, assuming narrative, of course. Assumption dashed, for instead of a narrative, we are taken back outside again, given a new detail, one we've seen before but might have missed: the nets protecting the frieze, protecting the bosses on the facade of a building. Begs the question: what is more fragile, a painting, architecture, or the human body? Perhaps a deer or a rabbit? Or the ego of a prince? So the film opens with a monumental fragility, a building-at-risk which is two hundred years younger than the painting which gives this film its name.

And yet, how fragile could the building be, isn't it a protector? It has bars on its windows, to keep the paintings from escaping, and nets to prevent the frescoes from leaping to their death...

The camera pans left to right in many of the early shots, and once we enter the gallery, this motion is contrasted by the wall of portraits, nearly all of whom face opposite the direction of the pan — into the pan — except the last, in which one of the two subjects looks along the line of the pan with the pan — anticipating another wall of paintings, as if to say, you're finished with this wall, something else awaits you. The first shot of the paintings cuts, though, teasing us with the awaits after the corner. The next shot of the paintings reveals UccelloO's The Hunt and again the film teases us, because while we get a glimpse of the entire painting, it quickly cuts to a real tree, both close up (out of focus) and distant (sharp focus), an allover effect not dissimilar to an expressionist response to the frustrations of form, though this is peaceful, beautiful. The wind comes from frame right, a rightward wind.

And children exit the Ashmolean from frame left, an army echoing the leftmost hunters in the painting.

In the next shot, a lone couple walk quickly towards the the childrenO's crusade, but the camera still moves in the same direction as the children, tracing the moss-darkened stone of the wall.

A congealed closeup of ivy, the darkness behind the leaves reminiscent of the darkness deep in The HuntO's canopy of trees, which we have yet to see in close-up, though the film is a quarter of the way in. As if reminding us about what is natural around us, we cut to a shot of the facade with a banner blowing in the wind…

Here we see some of the magic of The Hunt: the light on the trunks of trees, a light which extends to the top, a faery luminescence that ought to be deep shadow; and the vibrant reds and oranges and ochres in the attire and the horses and the dogs; the near symmetry around a center maypole tree, the onrush of humans into the magical density of a forest, mirroring each other, invaders who scatter before them wildlife, bringing noise and clamor.

A shock when we cut — when it cuts — from the painting back to the walking mass of teenagers, who trudge along the sidewalk, out of focus. (We should be reminded that we do not choose when a filmO's cut happens, only that we feel the blade.) Mercifully, we cut back to complete the pan across the painting. Then a surprise cut closeup of the painting, followed by another closeup of the leaves on a tree, and another closeup of the painting. The cuts, like men on horseback, hunt us as we hunt the shot.

What a surprise, then, to see the river behind the leaves. The painting seems less lively once the water enters the film. Further shots of the flowing fronds of the willows drive this home. People seem to have noticed the painting, and at the halfway mark of the film, these viewers begin to intrude upon our examination of the painting — we forget that we are viewers of the film, rather than viewers of the painting in the film. One's silent judgment of the other patrons is only relieved by the return to nature outside, where nobody blocks our view...

At four minutes, the film begins to settle into a new rhythm, as the camera shows us nature, extended shots of leaves, still or in the wind, motionless ponds that remind us of the textured surface of a painted canvas, brief returns to the Ashmolean as if considering a reentry, but ultimately, it is the grounds that we visit. A lone bicycle, a lone walker, these give us the peace of the portraits preceding the hunt.

At five minutes, we get to see a few more details of both the facade and The Hunt, with our first tilts downward along the vertical axis of the frame: two columns on the facade, three columns of Uccello's willowy trees.

The language of the film reaches something akin to familiarity, if not fluency, at 5:07. We let ourselves be lulled for a few moments. The verticality of a curtain of willow branches, with the dark depth behind. A very wide shot of the grounds that wrap around and come towards us along the sides, also with central depth. A gentle pan right in the same direction that a calm horse and rider face. This specific shot continues longer than the rhythm of the film previously suggested, and so we are shocked by the flowers frenetic in their response to breezes, twitching back and forth, up and down within their extreme limits. But then the true shock.

A perfect square of darkness formed by the top half of a doorway, surrounded in its perfection with utter symmetry, frames multiplying within the frame, a geometric depth hinted at by The Hunt, achieved by The Hunt, but as yet unseen outside the world of the painting. Here, though, it hits us, the sole lamp, its reflection, and its sibling on the other side of the glass, the reflection of a gothic arch on the facade of a building behind us.

How do we cope with such beauty except by forcibly ignoring it when it hasn't been captured by the camera?

Relief from this shot only comes with the following shot of an angled symmetry, the branches on the lower right equaled by the reflection of the top of a tree in the upper right, the surface of the void trapped between them.

A fish jumps. We can relax once more.

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