I found Ebert’s suggestions on how to thoroughly read movies pretty fascinating. I’ve long been captivated by cinema and it was once my dream to be a screenwriter, I would often re-watch my favorite movies to exhaustion attempting to gain a better understanding of what made them seem so brilliant to me. I think Ebert’s methods would have worked wonders for me if I had tried them back when I was a movie fanatic. Instead of repeatedly absorbing the movie as a whole, it’s better to slow the process down and methodically pick apart scenes frame by frame. It’s a daunting task (something that Ebert admitted in the article) but I would tend to agree that it would lead to a much more thorough analysis of any film. However, I think when partaking in this method, a group is critical, or at least a small panel of friends. Like Ebert says, the ‘rules’ of film making are not absolute, they can be broken and still be effective in communicating an emotion. Because of this flexibility I think an active audience is necessary to properly analyze the film, everyone has a unique point of view and therefore a unique interpretation of what is happening on screen. Ebert even mentioned that despite watching Citizen Kane 30 times before bringing it to one of these mass critical viewings, an audience member pointed out something that he himself never managed to catch. All in all I think the advice Ebert gave was beneficial and I am interested to try it out with a few of my friends, perhaps we could discover something in a film that we never really gave a second thought too.
Because I’ve always been a big fan of Kubrick I watched both of the videos pertaining to his cinematography, the one point perspective video and the match cut video. While I watched the one point perspective video, I noticed that a large portion of Kubrick’s most famous, and most haunting, visuals were filmed from this perspective. There is something about that angle that makes the subject unsettling and otherworldly. Also the unnatural symmetry that is usually present in these scenes contribute to the uncomfortable atmosphere. The twins scene in the Shining is a prime example of this technique in action. The match cut is also such a brilliant editing trick. The one in 2001 and in Lawrence of Arabia have always been some of my favorite pieces of visual film making. It’s like visual poetry, creating a metaphor with images alone. I tried to incorporate some elements of this technique in my assignment.
I also watched the 20 best cinematic techniques video. What I was most impressed with in this video were all the long, fluid tracking and crane shots. The Goodfellas intro and the car scene in Children of Men always blow me away. The amount of effort it must take to mask all the dolly tracks and choreograph all the actors to create one seamless movement with the camera must be astonishing. I think it would be difficult for me to recreate any of the shots that they accomplish in this video, but I thought it was quite the testament to the sheer skill of film making.