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’67 Bonnie & Clyde

What a way to end the semester with this amazing film. I did not lose interest throughout ANY scene in this film… everything about it was pure awesomeness ūüėÄ Okay, where to start… The first scene where Bonnie was in her house, it was interesting how the camera was teasing the audience in which i actually thought “something ” going to be revealed. Also, in the next scene where Bonnie and Clyde are drinking a soda from a bottle, there was one low angle shot which captures Clyde drinking his soda. To me, that was a use of a phallic symbol and looking at Bonnie’s reaction and how she is drinking her soda from the bottle, there was just some obvious sexual tension going on between the two and the camera captured this perfectly. Also, what captured my attention were Bonnie’s and Clyde’s appearance: their physical beauty, how they dress, and how they presented themselves. I believe the film ended brutally beautiful, and they got what they deserved. This was definitely my kind of film!

Response to Breathless

Recently in class we watched Breathless (1960) directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Although it was not one of my favorite films screened this semester, i thought the storyline was entertaining and it was shot in a unique way. Michael’s character kept me interested in the film ¬†in which he was very straightforward. This is seen in the beginning in the film when he is speaking to the viewer about France, and when he is in the room with his girlfriend trying to seduce her. I thought it was really interesting when Michael is speaking to the viewer about France. It is very rare to see this in a film, but it worked well. The scene that stood out the most to me was the jump cut scene where Michael and Patricia were in his car. Although the jump cuts are are really noticeable, i did not distract me from what was happening in the scene. It worked really well and it made the scene more unique. Overall, Breathless was an okay film in my opinion but i will definitely watch it again in my free time.

Psycho (1960), distributed by Paramount and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a psychological thriller film that depicts the encounter between two individuals: Marion Crane and Norman Bates. Marion is a young woman who works as a secretary, is in love with a man who is married, and is in desperate need of money. One day, her employer walks in to her office and hands Marion forty thousand dollars in which she is asked to deposit in the bank. However, Marion decides to steal the money and leave Phoenix immediately. After an encounter with the police, Marion decides to spend the night at the Bates Motel, where she meets Norman Bates. At first, Norman seems like a charming man in which he invites Marion to have dinner with him. Norman speaks to Marion about his hobbies and his mother as she listens and eats dinner. Marion decides to go back to her room and as she is undressing, Norman peeps through a hole on the wall and watches her undress. We then realize that Norman is not as charming as he appears. As Marion takes a shower, a figure of a woman enters the bathroom and stabs Marion to death. Although the famous shower scene is well known throughout film history, it is very interesting what occurs after Marion’s death. The scene where Norman is getting rid of Marion’s body is very important in which we realize who Norman Bates really is and the symbolism behind everything that is left behind.

After Norman cleans up after Marion’s death, he decides to get rid of her body. The scene starts off with a medium shot of Norman getting out of the hotel room and entering Marion’s car. He reverses the car so the trunk could be facing the door. In a high angle shot, Norman opens up the trunk which appears empty and then the camera cuts back to him entering the room. We then see Norman in a medium shot inside the room as the camera follows him in a pan/tilt motion. As he kneels down to wrap Marion’s body, he appears very dark in which it almost looks like a silhouette image of him. The only light that seems to be on Norman is the bathroom light which is only hitting the left side of his face. The use of minimal lighting in this shot makes the whole situation appear more dramatic and evil. Although there is minimal light, it is interesting to see the bathroom in the background appear in sharp focus. The bathroom appearing sharp as Norman is wrapping Marion’s body could be set as a reminder of how abruptly Marion got killed in the film. As Norman is about to pick up the body, there appears to be a jump cut in which the shot is very similar to the one before. As Norman picks up Marion’s body, the camera cuts to an outside shot of him placing the body gently in the trunk. Norman looks around to see if he is being watched and walks back into the hotel room. Cutting back to the hotel room, Norman turns on the lights and we see a close-up shot of him picking up the room key from the floor. Next shot, we follow Norman picking up Marion’s belongings, including her shoes, in smooth pans. The camera then cuts to a shot of the newspaper sitting on the night table. This shot is important because we as viewers know the forty thousand dollars are inside the newspaper, but Norman has no clue. As he is busy packing away the evidence left behind from Marion’s death, he almost forgets the biggest piece of evidence. However, its evidence that proves that Marion was there, not that she got murdered. The camera cuts back outside in which Norman is placing Marion’s suitcase, bucket & mop from the murder. Norman looks back to make sure he did not miss anything. Cut back inside, Norman notices the newspaper and cuts to a point of view shot of the newspaper. He grabs it, turns out the lights, shuts the door and heads back outside in which he throws the newspaper inside the trunk. The next shot, Norman enters the car and drives off.

As viewers, we automatically assume Norman is going to get rid of the body someplace very desolate. The scene continues with a close-up of the license plate of the car as Norman drives up slowly to the swamp. The camera is now positioned at a high angle in which we see Norman stepping out of the car and pushing it down to the swamp. The car is very important in this scene in which it represents what is left of Marion. In the beginning of the film, there is a big emphasis on Marion’s car in where many of her scenes took place. For example, Marion’s boss noticing her when she leaves Phoenix, sleeping in her car, trading in her car, and driving in the rain. It seemed that the car was a character of its own, and just like Marion’s character, they both left the film very suddenly in Norman’s hands. Norman then stops and stares at the car going into the swamp. The camera cuts to a close-up of him watching Marion’s car go down. As Norman is watching, he seems to be eating something. Is not until later we realize he was eating candy. Throughout the film, Norman shows several awkward mannerisms. It seems that every time he is nervous, he appears to be eating candy. The candy could represent some type of reliever for him when he is feeling nervous in which he eats and chews on it very fast. The camera cuts to a point of view shot of the car and it suddenly stops sinking. We cut back to Norman as he panics for a second and stops chewing his candy. He looks around him as if he doesn’t know what he is going to do. The camera cuts back to the car fully sinking and we get a reaction shot of Norman with a small smirk on his face. The swamp scene had good use of diegetic music in which we hear crickets, the sound of a car going through grass, and sound of bubbles as the car is sinking. This is sound occurring within the plot, which Norman is listening to as he is patiently waiting for the car to sink.

In conclusion, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is arguably one of the best psychological thriller films of all time. Norman Bates’ character was brilliant in which we believe he is a charming man, but is the complete opposite. The film has endless memorable scenes that would forever be embedded in our brains. Fifty years after the film’s release, Psycho still attract film lovers and will go down in history books as one of the greatest thrillers of all time.

Psycho !!

First and foremost I would like to say that I love Alfred Hitchcock’s films. I could not wait to watch Psycho in class today, and although I have watched this film many times before, i never get tired of it.¬† What is so memorable about this film has to be the shower scene. I love how there is so many camera angles in such a small space. One of the first shots that always stands out to me is the POV shot of the shower head. I have no idea how that was shot taken in which we do not see any water hitting the lens. I also love the closeups of¬† Marion and the fast cuts that Hitchcock made in order to make this scene more suspensful, dramatic, and quick. The camera angles also makes this scene more suspenseful in which we see a bunch of closeups of the victims face and her body parts. I also love how the knife never penetrated the victim in this scene. We as viewers know exactly what is going on without having the knife stabbing Marion which is pretty interesting. I cannot talk about this scene without mentioning the music. The shower scene was cut perfectly to the score in which it added more suspense. In a way, the score is pretty painful to hear but it fits perfectly with the scene because that is what Marion is feeling. The musical score that is playing as Marion is getting stab will forever be known for this particular scene. The lighting is also interesting in this scene in which we only see the silhouette of the stabber as he/she is coming in. Although the stabber appears dark, we get the idea that its a “woman”. I cannot stress how much i love this film, and i will definitely write more about it in my film analysis.

Recently in class, Written on the Wind was screened and it was one of the most entertaining films that I’ve watched this semester. The first thing that stood out to me was the color of the film. I absolutely loved how saturated the color was although it was obviously not natural color. I was so used to watching black and white films in class, so this definitely popped out automatically. What I also enjoyed about this film was the music. At times it was a bit too dramatic but it fit well with the scenes. My favorite scene where music was used was when Lucy was dancing to loud music in her room while her father was dying in the stairs. It was very ironic but if it wasn’t for the music, this scene would have not been as dramatic. Lucy was my least favorite character in the film but for some reason i wanted to know what she was going to do next. Her character was very entertaining although i wanted to smack her. The last half hour of the film was very suspenseful that i just wanted more and more and in the end I was very satisfied. This is a film that I will definitely watch again in my own time.

Ozu’s Early Summer was recently screened in class, and it became one of my least favorite films screened this semester. I was looking forward to watching a Japanese film since I’m a fan of many others, such as Rashomon, but i felt disappointed in the end. I knew what the plot was about and it seemed interesting at first but i felt that the plot was moving a bit too slow. Plots like in Early Summer are so common nowadays in which the storyline moves very quickly. Perhaps that’s why i believe some parts of the film were not entertaining. Also, i kept getting distracted by the violations of the 180 degree rule in several scenes. For example, when Noriko and her sister-in-law were sitting on the cliff by the beach , it seemed that both characters were speaking and looking at the camera instead of speaking to each other. There was also a lot of space in the framing of the individual shots. It seemed that both characters were too centered, and it gave a sense of awkwardness. It was definitely distracting since I’m so used to watching films without these violations. Overall, Early Summer was an interesting film with its choice of camera angles and cinematography, but not entertaining for my taste.

Response to Umberto D

Throughout the first half of the semester, the film that i have enjoyed the most was Umberto D. The simplicity of the plot makes this film very entertaining. What i really enjoyed about this film were the characters and how the dog played a big role in the film. It seemed the the whole plot was centered on the dog since it helped Umberto gain hope throughout his struggles. I was a bit annoyed with Umberto in a few scenes, especially when he ran into his past co-workers and he did not want to ask for money. In a way, asking for money could be a bit embarrassing but when it comes to certain situations (getting evicted), no person should feel ashamed to ask. I also felt sympathetic for Umberto when his landlord would treat him like trash and when he thought of suicide as a solution. Besides the plot, it was really interesting to know that most of the actors in this film were not professionals, and they obviously did a great job with their roles. Overall, Umberto D was a great film and immediately recommended this film to my other peers.

Umberto D’s Way of Begging

A film that was recently screened in class was Umberto D, an Italian film directed by Vittorio de Sica. Released in 1952 by Real Film productions, Umberto D tells the story of an elderly man, Umberto Domenico Ferrari, living in Rome, Italy trying to keep his small apartment with the little money that he has. Throughout the film, we see the struggles that Umberto goes through to get fifteen thousand lire for his monthly rent. The only friends Umberto has are the maid and his dog Flike, but even with the support of his two friends, lonely Umberto considers suicide. With no money and nowhere to go, Umberto realizes there is hope for a new life with his only companion, Flike. In Umberto D, there is one important scene in which Umberto decides to leave all shame behind, and beg for money in the street. However, he does not go through it for long in which he places Flike to beg for money instead. This scene reflects the struggles that individuals go through in everyday life, and the solutions that individuals seek after facing harsh realities.

In the previous scene, the main focus is a beggar in the street who has no shame begging for money in a demanding way. Umberto keeps noticing the beggar and decides to do the same, but in a different manner. First and foremost, the film is shot in black and white. The first shot of the scene, a long shot, Umberto is walking with Flike down a small ramp in a city street. Umberto seems really upset at the fact that he has no money to pay his rent as he is looking down, slows down and leans against the ramp wall. The camera slowly zooms in to a waist shot, and Umberto slowly lifts up his right arm up to his chest and opens his hand with palm up. This is the first shot in the film in which we see Umberto begging for money. Although he had tried selling his watch and book, he had not verbally asked anyone for money. Umberto had several opportunities to ask his old co-workers for money, but never did. Instead, he came close to begging although he did not have the strength to do it all the way through. The camera cuts to a medium shot of Umberto with his palm open as a man is walking towards him. Umberto keeps opening and closing his hand, showing uncertainty if he should beg or not. When the man gets close to Umberto, he abruptly opens his hand.  The camera cuts to the first shot, showing the man reaching for his pockets. As he is doing so, Umberto looks away and quickly turns his hand, showing sign of regret. Cutting back to a medium shot, Umberto seems hurt and upset at the fact that he thought of this idea. He then comes up with a different solution, by using Flike as a beggar. A long shot appears of Umberto placing his hat on Flykes mouth. He looks around, and runs to hide. The camera cuts to a waist shot of Umberto looking at Flyke from afar, and cuts to a point of view shot of Umberto looking at Flyke holding on the hat with his teeth. The shots go back and forth between the too, and Umberto demands Flyke to be still as people walk around him. We then see a medium shot of a particular man who is walking by. By the framing of the shot, we know that this man will come into the scene. Umberto seems startled when he notices the man, and a long shot show when all of the three characters unite. The man ruins Umberto’s idea since he knows both Flyke and Umberto. Several cuts are made as Umberto and the man have a few words, shot in medium close ups. As they continue conversing, the camera follows Umberto and the man in a continuing tracking shot. The man gets on a bus, while Umberto stands outside in a medium shot. He appears pensive, as if he wants to ask the man for money or help, but decides not to. The camera cuts to knee shot of Umberto as the bus drives away, leaving Umberto alone in the busy street of Rome.

As for the editing of this scene, it appeared very basic and simple. There were multiple medium and medium close-up shots. The long shots were used to emphasize the environment that Umberto and Flyke were in; busy streets with busy people having somewhere to go. All the shots in this scene were sharp, especially the long shots which had a lot of depth of field. The medium close-ups had soft backgrounds, mostly used to focus the viewer on what the character is saying. Throughout the scene, a classical song was playing that mostly consisted of string instruments, such a violins and violas. The music is slow paced, saddening, and somewhat depressing, which reflects what Umberto is going through in life.

In conclusion, this scene reflects what many individuals face in their daily lives. Umberto went thought many struggles to find a solution to his problem, and it is something that many can relate too. Even when it comes to selling your personal belongings to receive money, we have all been through it. However, Umberto never asked for help and never verbally asked for money which. Perhaps, that could have been his solution, but he did not have the courage to do so.

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