Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging by David Bordwell

By David Bordwell

A movie tells its tale not just via discussion and actors' performances but in addition in the course of the director's keep watch over of stream and shot layout. "Figures Traced in gentle "is an in depth attention of ways cinematic staging incorporates the tale, expresses emotion, and beguiles the viewers via pictorial composition. Ranging over the full heritage of cinema, David Bordwell specializes in 4 filmmakers' specified contributions to the method. In-depth chapters research Louis Feuillade, grasp of the 1910s serial; Kenji Mizoguchi, the nice jap director who labored from the Nineteen Twenties to the Nineteen Fifties; Theo Angelopoulos, who started his profession as a political modernist within the overdue Nineteen Sixties; and Hou Hsiao-hsien, the Taiwanese filmmaker who within the Eighties grew to become the preeminent Asian director. For comparability, Bordwell attracts on motion pictures by way of Howard Hawks, Michelangelo Antonioni, Yasujiro Ozu, Takeshi Kitano, and plenty of different administrators. beautifully illustrated with greater than 500 body enlargements and sixteen colour illustrations, "Figures Traced in mild "situates its shut research of version sequences within the context of the technological, commercial, and cultural tendencies that formed the directors' methods to staging.

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65) , it's usually a moving shot. Today's H ollywood style is always on the move-if not through cutting, then through camerawork. What has gone almost completely unexplored is the unbudging long take. It can occasionally be found in 1960s and 1 970s films (for example, Nashville, 1 975) , but it became much rarer in the 1980s. Today perhaps the most radical thing you can do in Hollywood is put your camera on a tripod, set it a fair distance from the action, and let the whole scene play out. STAG I N G A N D STY L E 29 64 The "moving master" in Do the Right Thing (1989), as Sal's son complains about working in a black neighborhood .

The argument I 'll be pursuing runs counter to explanatory frameworks that have dom­ inated film historiography. These have been macroscopic accounts, tracing film style (or other aspects of films) to a spirit of an age, an ideology, national culture, or epochal con­ ditions such as "modernity" or "postmodernity. " I 'll try to show in the last chapter that for the most part these frameworks are vague; their proponents have not spelled out the causal mechanisms by which such elusive factors could shape the fine-grained qualities we can find in the films; and those proponents have proven reluctant to test their claims through counterexamples.

Style informs our experience of a film at many levels. G e n e ra l ly spea k i n g , i n b l ocki n g a n d fra m i n g a s h ot, the m o s t i m porta nt th i n g i s to m a ke s u re t h e a u d i e n ce i s looki n g where you want them to look. Yo u h ave to m a ke s u re they clearly u n d e rsta nd the story point that i s t a k­ i n g p l ace, a n d that they gra s p a l l of the perti n e n t i n fo rmation wh i l e sort of i g n o r i n g everyt h i n g t h a t ' s not i m porta nt. S h ort of fo rce-feed i n g the i s s u e b y b l a c k i n g o u t everyth i n g e l s e i n t h e fra m e or p rov i d i n g b l i n k i n g a r rows, t h i s is p r i m a r i l y acco m p l i s h e d t h ro u g h s h ot-co m p o s i t i o n and ca refu l b l ocki n g .

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