Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The cut of "Somewhere West"


David Marek creates a unique piece of cinema- similar in style to those filmmakers he looks up to. He creates a deeply transcendental road trip film about one cancer patient's journey coming to terms with death. The film itself really plays around with the use of editing and how much one can do while still maintaining a clear story.

David Marek largely employs a lot of dissociative editing for the picture- loses certain aspects of traditional narrative editing while maintaing at least one of the principles of editing such as sound or picture to keep the story moving forward.

The film is not afraid to jump around in time and spatially. On of the hardest hitting moments of the film for me personally comes from the cut out of the conversation the protagonist is having with his sister to a lock of her hair on her shirt. It is almost as if the subject at hand is such much for this character to handle and he is so disconnected from it at the beginning that the audience themselves is also disconnected with him.

The film also plays with holding onto cuts for a much longer time. Marek believes that the long take has the ability for moods and feelings to slowly wash over the audience. It is with a cut that they become conscious of the fact that they are watching a movie and their tolerance for this long take resets. Marek holds many moments of the film on single long take shots. For example, he plays a 5 minute dolly slowly pushing in for a scene between the protagonist and his friend in their car talking and trying to sleep. An even more emotional example of this would be the final shot of the movie. We, the audience, are left behind in a sense as the friend wheels the protagonist off into the distance over the horizon. Slowly, they just fade out and then come back; however, now, the protagonist is gone. This moment is really beautiful and leaves the audience with the perfect mindset to end the movie.

Marek also uses time lapses as well to help progress the story forward as life around the protagonist moves on and fades in a very spiritual way. Now since his days are limited, every moment is a blessing and truly beautiful. With these time lapses, the landscapes themselves are also able to take on a character as we move from one to the next in this road trip.

Overall, with the use of cutting- or lack thereof, Marek is able to create a truly unique piece of cinema. He almost creates his own niche of filmmaking- one where the audience is able to participate with the film and based on how much the give into the picture, get back a spirituality or sense of peace like the character.

THE WORLD OF THE MUPPETS (extracredit post)

                                           The world of the Muppets

The Muppets inhabit a truly magical world. It is one where it is completely natural for characters to break out in song. They live in a heightened world. This is not to say that everything is exactly hunky dory, though. Granted, the majority of the world is super clean, exaggerated, and bold; however, there is also another side of the world on the opposite side of the spectrum- one that is grimy and almost scary.

The set design of the film really pushes and drives the story. Without it, the story wouldn't be able to hold itself together. The Muppets is a very theatrical show with a heavy emphasis on its sets and the extremes they are able to go to.

For the aesthetic of the production design, the movie is very bold and saturated. Everything is crisp. Smalltown, USA is unrealistically perfect and highly theatrical. For example, the house of the protagonists is a mixture of eye popping primary colors which match to the bright colors of the similiar neighboring houses. However, even with extensive location scouting, this perfect 50's esque "Father Knows Best"/Perfect American Family aesthetic was impossible to find to the dot. The production team needed to supplement what was already there in their chosen location with additional set dressings as well as a completely new paint job. The colors of the set are bright and deep. It seems as if the town is ready to burst into song at any possible moment, which of course, they do.

However, the movie takes a turn for the worse once they leave this idyllic perfect small town. The protagonists come to Los Angeles and experience a completely separate kind of world. It is much grittier and darker; however, it still matches the other world and holds itself in the same movie due to how heightened and theatrical this darker world is. There are more natural sets, yet they still contain some theatricality whether it be in the almost perfect cobwebs or dust lining Kermit's mansion.

Truly, the production design plays a large part in The Muppets. The Muppets requires this theatrical type of aesthetic to work and without it, the movie would simply fall flat, which is slightly apparent by previous less successful Muppets movies that didn't have such an aesthetic with its production design.

With the production design, the Muppets really does have everything.