Monday, 14 July 2014

Dissecting the short form: Pete's 5 short films



This dissection and reflection post was originally written as a part of a communal blog - Making a Film 2011 - a blog that is no longer online - and this is the second assignment I contributed to that blog in the first week of the module. This was done for the Planning and Making a Film module I undertook in the penultimate year of my BA (Hons). The module's practice was undertaken between October 2011 to June 2012 and it provided me with a hugely enriching experience. For a more detailed overview of the module and the projects I undertook as a part of it, see Planning and Making a Film: The student filmmaking experience.



Memories


3 things I did like: 

  • It’s brave enough to tell its story entirely visually. There is no pointless voiceover narration explaining what the film is clearly showing you. 
  • The use of celluloid film acts as a good visual metaphor for the memories that a person continually records and stacks up over time. 
  • The dark colour grading gives the film a melancholy feel which fits well with someone who is losing their memories. 

2 things I did not like:

  • I don’t think there was enough attention taken with the flashback sequences; they are too forced to come across as being representations of events which happened in the past. 
  • The fact that the strips of film were lying in places where the memories had actually taken place did not become immediately apparent to me; in fact, it was only on the third or fourth viewing that I realised this. 

1 way I would improve the film:

  • I would put much more care into the flashbacks sequences so that they didn’t visually looked to forced. Also, so that there wasn’t the reflection of a Subway restaurant sign in the window (1:56 – 1:57), which destroys the whole illusion of these events having taken place in the past.


The Black Hole


3 things I liked:

  • The opening iris, as it foreshadows what’s to come.
  • The dull lighting of the office visually enables the spectator to feel the boredom of the protagonist. 
  • The fact that the film relies entirely upon visuals and sound effects to tell its story.

2 things I did not like:

  • The piece of tape which is holding the paper to the safe seems to appear from nowhere.
  • All the money on the floor suddenly finds itself in a bag; however, this is probably just down to a jump cut. 

1 way I would improve the film:

  • I would put a closing iris at the end of the film, just because it would perfectly bookend with the opening iris at the beginning. It would also be symbolic with how the black hole has left the protagonist closed in the safe. 


I Hate

This film and it's uploaded are no longer on YouTube. The film was originally found by following this url: http://youtu.be/3gFnzZQNTuA

3 things I did like: 

  • I like this film because I hate stereotypes and the subject matter presents them, ultimately, as being a very real part of all us. 
  • The use of close-ups ensures that the film is continually intimate and focused entirely on the protagonist’s inner-personality, or personalities. 
  • As much as we already realise the film is going to delve into the protagonist’s personality the light and shadowed effect across her face visually reinforces the fact that it will be an unpleasant side of her personality. 

2 things I did not like: 

  • The explanation that the protagonist gives at the end, because I felt this was unnecessary and was clearly laid down in the preceding material. 
  • The protagonist’s cigarette has the ability to grow back.

1 way I would improve the film: 

  • I would get rid of the “My name is Gloria” bits and the end explanation as they are unnecessary. All they do is make the subject matter of the film specific to one individual; whereas, without them the subject matter would be more general to any individual and, ultimately, the film would come across as being much broader. 


Blind Luck


3 things I did like: 

  • The soft focus effect not only emphasises the blindness of the blind man but also the boredom of the shop worker. 
  • The close-ups on the two main characters (1:14 – 1:26) allows the spectator to look right into the eyes of the two characters’ differing attitudes.
  • The silence which surrounds the two characters (1:14 – 1:26) emphasises the blind man’s vulnerability. 

2 things I did not like:

  • Behind the shop worker, the blind on the cigarette kiosk is down, which makes the film look like it was shot when the shop was closed; probably because the film was shot when the shop was closed (there are also no newspapers on the newspaper stand).
  • The ka-ching sound is not in sync with the shop worker’s eyes springing up (1:13 – 1:15). 

1 way I would improve the film:

  • I would let the scratching of the scratch card continue for a bit longer, just to rub into the already simmering boredom of the shop worker. 


First Press


3 things I did like:

  • The punch line conclusion.
  • The gangster film iconography.
  • The scene with the three supporting characters (1:33 – 1:56) works to momentarily make the spectator think that the protagonist has, in fact, murdered a human being. 

2 things I did not like:

  • The voiceover narration, however, this film is supposed to come across stylistically like a gangster film, and many gangster films, especially those of Martin Scorsese, have voiceover narration. 
  • The shots (1:34 – 1:49) of the protagonist using a phone and his foot to press the flower. I just thought this was taking it too far and a bit over the top.

1 way I would improve the film:

  • I would get rid of the shots where the protagonist uses a phone and his foot to press the flower. 


My favourite film: Blind Luck

This is my favourite simply because it presents a potentially realistic situation that everyone can very easily imagine themselves in. A film is definitely on top form when it can delve into the spectator and challenge them to question their own morals. But, for me, the ultimate winning factor is how the blind man quite unknowingly enacts revenge by tearing up the scratch card. He will never know what he missed out on and the dreams he shattered, and I love that. 


The knowledge generated from this exercise was built upon by writing a log line for each of these short films and writing an alternative ending for the practice short film we had to make for this module: Dissection, Definitions and a Dead End: Pete's Loglines, ending and 6th short film
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