Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another Neat Dissolve

From Max Ophuls' "The Earrings of Madame de…", 1953

Like Preminger in "River of No Return" , Ophuls uses fire to connect two shots during a dissolve, though without the feeble metaphor.

The sentry is cold.

As the image dissolves we begin to see a fire.

The sentry turns and hunches over as though to warm himself over the General's fire.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Seamless Transition in "The Earrings of Madame de…"

Max Ophuls, 1953

After a long tracking shot of Louise (Danielle Darrieux) and Fabrizio (Vittorio De Sica) dancing at a ball, Ophuls fades to a shot of this painting and more dancing on a later night.  He employs a clever technique to maintain kinesis.

Here, the painting.

Darrieux steps in from the right of the camera, De Sica from the left.

They meet in the center of the frame .

Here they continue twirling as though they had been embracing before the shot began.

The camera resumes tracking along with them.

Had Ophuls faded from a shot of the dancing couple to another shot of dancing the image would have been cluttered.  A tracking shot where the camera met up with the couple to its left or right would have lost some kinetic tension; dancing into a motionless frame from the side would have had the same effect.  Here it is as if the camera moves backward between their heads—they seem to materialize in the center of the frame already in progress.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Few More From "The Forsaken Land"

Vimukthi Jayasundara, 2006.

This may be the only Sri Lankan film I've seen.  Elliptically edited and nearly silent, "The Forsaken Land" brings to mind Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang, of whom I'm a great fan,  or even Lucretia Martel's excellent "La Cienaga".  Jayasundara's quiet assurance with his material promises exciting things for the future.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Films of Joseph Cornell: Part Three

"Jacks Dream", "1930-1970".

Cornell lived for most of his life with his mother and his brother Robert in Flushing, Queens. He was devoted to caring for Robert who was disabled by cerebral palsy. Filmmaker and Cornell Scholar Jeanne Liotta has suggested that Robert enjoyed watching films and that perhaps Cornell would take the footage and reorder it to keep it fresh for his brother.

Friday, January 2, 2009