My Favourite Short Films

1. I’m Here

A film about robots and love. Spike Jonze wrote and directed this and he also did Her.  An amazing short film. Powerful and emotional and still remains my favourite short film to this date.

2. Tell

Written and Directed by Film’s Riot very own Ryan Connolly. The title is a reference to it all. It is a homage to Edgar Allen’s Poe classic story Tell Tale Heart. And this is the best inspired version I have seen on screen so far.

3. Kontakt

Possibly my favourite science fiction short film yet. Simple and yet effective. About alien obsession and invasion and how it can affect a person and his personal relationship. And what it means to be alienated from others.

4. Plurality

A brilliant concept told on the screen with care. A genius short film that deserves more recognition. This is the total definition of grand scale told on the small screen. A film about true identity and corruption.

5. Doodlebug

A short film by my all time favourite director Christopher Nolan. It is only three minutes long and yet it is complicatedly brilliant.

6. Disconnected

A mirror of today’s society obsession with technology. But imagine if that all had to stop. Watch this brilliant short film and it illustrates what it would be like life without the technology you have.

7. Loom

Produced by Ridley Scott and directed by his son. A film about alienation and how reality is changed.

8. Stabbing At Leia’s 22nd Birthday Party

Directed by Chronicle’s Josh Trank.  This is just a minute long and it is just genius. I am not a fan of found footage but I am a fan of Star Wars. Enjoy,

9. Flowers

A film about disrupted love and how British society is responsible for it.

10. Alive In Joburg

The film that inspired and became District 9. Directed by Neill Blomkamp and starring Sharlto Copely. About how aliens have populated South Africa and how they are causing chaos to the people there.

Discuss Why The Development OF Sound Could Be Regarded As The Most Important Development In Filmmaking History

  • Discuss Why The Development OF Sound Could Be Regarded As The Most Important Development In Filmmaking History

This essay will delve into the development of sound and also into why it is regarded as the most important development in filmmaking history. We always say we are going to see a film at home or at the cinema. We never say we are going to see and hear a film. The reason for this is because films are intended to be classed as a visual medium. But really it is visual and sound medium.

In fact it is more arguably more of an aural medium as there are a lot of involvements to correct sound in movies. This involves sound recording, sound mixing, sound editing, voice over narration and ADR. Sound has developed more in depth as in quality wise. Each of the films is employed to examine a particular aspect of film sound, including music, editing, effects, Foley, ambiences (ambient noise), the voice, the mix process and, finally, exhibition (Whittington, 2007: 10). From that you get a realisation on why sound is important in filmmaking history. Whereas picture quality it was technically from black and white to colour. And now it went from celluloid film to higher resolution digital.

Warner Bros studio was a pioneering studio for sound. Innovate new equipment, and create an audience for feature-length, all sound films (Weis and Belton, 1985: 15). It started off with the groundbreaking achievement The Jazz Singer (1927). Warner Bros decided to state their future on sound development. It was a risk that they were willing to take. They used The Jazz Singer for the success. As the 1927-28 season opened, Vitaphone began to add new forms of sound films to it program. Though The Jazz Singer premiered on October 6, 1927, to lukewarm reviews, its four vitaphoned segments of Al Jolson’s songs proved very popular (Balio, 1985: 240). The Jazz Singer was the first ever feature length film to include dialogue. The popular quote was “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothing yet”. To record the sound, it was used on the Vitaphone.  It was ad libbed mainly because the rest of the film is silent.  This has hugely developed as now the entire film has sound and the films have dialogue throughout. Whereas The Jazz Singer that was the main dialogue whereas the rest of the film is silent. This dialogue was important so it gave the audience a taster of what dialogue sound would be. It was like giving a test to see if it reached out.

The audience could not believe that they were witnessing motion pictures with sound. They were demanding more from what they were receiving. The film’s phenomenal success suggested that sound might provide more than a cheap way of reproducing stage acts and music (Thompson and Bordwell, 2010: 178). This led to the major studios realising that sound was becoming a popular aspect towards the audience. People were so amazed by the invention of sound, that they would feel misplaced if they saw another film without sound. Seeing a narrative film without sound would be an abomination (F. Dick, 2005: 35). This was important for the studios to not lose any money or fame.

The use of non diegetic sound, such as the soundtrack score, is very effective towards a film. This is because it helps create the atmosphere involved in the film. For example, in the Steven Spielberg’s classic horror film (Jaws, 1975), we hear the famous theme to establish that the shark is coming towards its victim. “Master” theme: the tritone, the legendary “devil in music” (Niebur, 2010: 194). The reason why this scene works is through John Williams’ score. He starts off slowly paced and, once the shark is really close to the person, the music jumps up so high that we get terrified from hearing it. This creates an impression an impression of emptiness or mystery, most often without the spectator knowing it; the spectator feels its effect but does not consciously pinpoint its origin (Chion, 2003: 132).  The incidental music helps to create suspense for the audience. Without this score the film would not have worked at all. If it was mainly though cinematography then it would be suitable but not at the horror level. The music score is what helps create the terrifying atmosphere.

The Dolby surround sound system was introduced to the film industry and was an extremely important development in filmmaking history. It was the next sound resolution. Dolby cinema thus introduces a new expressive element (Chion, 2003: 151). The main reason for this was its creation of a realistic atmosphere within a film. It also helped developed noise reduction within the film. So you had no more of that hissing sound anymore. This was a huge challenge when it came to big fantasy or science fiction films such as (Star Wars, 1977), for example. This is because the film was highly fictional, so they had to make the audience believe that it was realistic enough to escape within the word of the film. “Film’s extraordinary power to imitate reality has made realism a central feature of cinema aesthetics”. (Lapsley and Westlake, 2006: 156) So it was made to appear like you are watching the events on the screen as if they were real. This helped to create a sense of realism for the audience.

An example of this is in the scene in (Empire Strikes Back, 1980). where Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader fight using light sabres. (YouTube (2014) Luke Skywalker VS Darth Vader Empire Strikes Back Bespin Duel HD watch?v=C-DeI3ohVbY)  It is an obvious statement that lightsabers do not exist in reality, but the film’s main purpose is to make it a reality within the film.  You see the two characters swinging their lightsabers, which create this terrifying techno type of a sound effect. Ben Burtt, for example, created for the Star Wars series (Irvin Kershner’s The Empire Strikes Back [1980] and Richard Marquand’s Return Of The Jedi [1983] the whir of light sabers, sounds of spaceships engines, and pneumatic doors that were memorably new audio creations (Chion, 2003: 125). Ben Burtt created something unique by controlling the sound and bring in the realism through the sound design,  This is important because it helps to create suspense as well as fear towards the audience. Without the sound it look unrealistic and will won’t make the duel scene believable.

The use of surround sound has developed into something unique in filmmaking history. This is because filmmakers want to create a realistic environment within the film. This is helped with the visual aspect of the film, but it is mainly through the sound that the film achieves a sense of realism. Walter Murch had pioneered using monaural technology (Chion, 2003: 124) .  Walter Murch started to play with sound in (Apocalypse Now, 1979).  The Helicopter scene in Apocalypse Now became a signature sound of the film. (LoBrutto, 1994: 92). This means that every single detail needs to be there or else, the audience will realize that it doesn’t sound right.

Surround sound has developed majorily during the years. For example, in Steven Spielberg’s (Saving Private Ryan, 1998). the opening scene at Omaha beach has a lot of sound effects. These include gun shots, water effects, bullets hitting the ground or water and explosions. Nothing in the camera-work, the use of lighting, colour, sound or editing draws attention to the illusionist nature of reality effect (Hayward, 2006: 334).  This is why I consider surround sound important for filmmaking. Without these effects, the film would not have worked and it would not achieve the film achieves a sense of realism despite the hand held cinematography.

 

Every film has a boom microphone to record the best sound they can possibly can. But there are times when the sound does not come out as originally planned. An example of this would be if there is a big dialogue scene and there are strong winds during that scene. As soon as they look at the footage and ear the sound they realize that the wind has ruined the scene. It was hard at first to hold the microphone when it was introduced. Microphones were insensitive and hard to move (Thompson and Bordwell, 2010: 179). It was also difficult to mix the sound as the technology was just introduced and they would get confused on how the system worked. It was difficult to mix soundtracks (Thompson and Bordwell, 2010: 179). Now, that is all developed into something more and numerous amounts of people working on just the quality of the sound. The early days of sound required more work during production. For example, if there was a non-diegetic music scene, then the people had to bring their instruments on set. If music were to be heard, the instruments had to play near the set as the scene was filed (Thompson and Bordwell, 2010: 180). Now you do that through post production stage.

This is where the invention of ADR comes in, which is of great importance. ADR stands for Automated dialogue replacement. ADR is important because it replaces the dialogue. This can be also be known as post production dubbing or even sound looping as they are all similar. The energy and realism of ADR work can be judged in the final film by the performance, pitch, tempo, and emotional intensity synchrony with the image and original track (Sonnenschein, 2001: 33).  The actors look at the footage over and over again until they can get the dialogue right. But this is considered as a pain to the actors as they have to match the mouth movements as well. If they do not, it will look out of sync and will instantly take you out of the film. When the voice is close, we hear effects of breathing, lip and tongue movements, and enhanced high frequencies that give greater presence (Sonnenschein, 2001: 33). A great example of ADR is the original (Star Wars, 1977) trilogy. The character of Darth Vader was voiced by legendary actor James Earl Jones. Ben Burtt, sound designer for Star Wars, relates how the development of Darth Vader’s sound began with many different elements of heartbeat, breathing, and machine to create his all-powerful, evil presence (Sonnenschein, 2001: 33). This is to show that even a sound of a voice can bring power towards the audience.

You can cheat it as well. For instance, if there is a dialogue scene which involves not seeing the faces of the characters, you can say whatever you can in that space of time. This contrasts with the normal dialogue in the film, which only emits from the central speaker (Sonnenschein, 2001: 159). ADR is important in getting the best sound possible. It will look odd if they add dialogue without ambience. When there are no sound effects, music, or dialogue, there must be, at the very least, room tone or environmental sound (Weis and Belton, 1985: 57). Ambience sound is also recorded separately. This is important because the sound can be blended during post-production. Ambient sound sound that envelops a scene and inhibits its space, without raising the question of the identification or visual embodiment of its source (Chion, 1990: 75). An example of this is from the scene in (Heat 1995), where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are talking in the cafe. (Youtube (2014) Heat – The Diner Scene watch?v=5gyfIvMd4T0)  Before or mostly after they film that scene, the sound crew would record the ambience involved. This is important to make it sync all throughout. “Normality” is established as a continuous flow, and the absence of sound, in the language of the sound technicians, is its “death” (Weis and Belton, 1985: 57). Without the ambient sound, the scene will make you realize that each shot is filmed in different times. This will take you out of the film instantly.

There is also voice over narration. It is used to establish what is happening. It has been used effectively in the early years such as in (Double Indemnity, 1944) for example. Walter Neff still has the strength, he recites his whole story into a dictaphone. The film then becomes a flashback in the form of a testimony that is being recorded and dramatized at the same time (F. Dick, 2005: 42). Walter is narrating throughout the film and establishes what has happened.  Voice of unseen speaker (narrator, commentator, actor, host/hostess, announcer, etc.) that is heard above a shot or scene (F. Penney, 1991: 219).  This development is important for filmmaking because it gives the audience an idea of what is happening. They gives us information on say a character or part of the plot. The voice-over also detaches us from what we’re seeing, by making it ‘past’, but it also conveys a lot of extra narrative information that ranges over and above the precise details of the ‘purge’ we’re seeing (Sider, Freeman and Sider, 2003:162) They can say it when they are filming on the day. But voice over narration makes the storytelling unique for the audience.

A unique example of effective use of voice over narration is for (The Shawshank Redemption, 1994). Morgan Freeman’s character narrates the entire film to establish what and why it’s happening. An example of this is, in the scene where he meets Andy (Tim Robbins) for the first time in the film. This gives the audience the idea of what his first impression is and what the importance of the impression is. (YouTube (2014) The Shawshank Redemption: “Red Meets Andy” watch?v=Gt75VjvRW34) We may have known what his impression was later on if voice over narration wasn’t involved within the film. Voiceover narrator engenders images with its own logic (i.e., not that of continuity editing), just long enough to establish the film’s narrative framework and setting (Chion, 1990: 172-173). But the use of it, especially for this scene, helps the audience to get to know these characters and make them believable as well. This is also where the use of realism comes in as we become interested of listening to the voice over. We seldom inquire about the source or identity of the voice because we are usually interested only in the information the voice is conveying (F.Dick, 2005: 40).  The development of voice over narration has improved vastly, mainly through the technological approach. It sounds clearer now as we now have the dolby sound which gives the crisp clear effect for the audience.

However, sound may not be important as much as cinematography. This is because we can see what is happening rather than hearing it. You would not want to hear a film over the radio because it will look weird. The best advantage is that you can use your own imagination to create what scene it is. This can be a lot easier and forgivable when it comes to a scene involving two characters with extensive dialogue. However if there a scene which involves running away from someone, it can be a lot harder to imagine. This is due to the fact you wouldn’t know how far the person is after the other person.

The use of cinematography maybe more important in filmmaking history. This is because we can witness what is occurring on screen. We know what shot is steady and what shot is hand held. The use of steady shots helps us to be engaged within the film.  For example, if there is a dialogue scene and the shot is steady, we realize that we would want to be interested within the characters. Add to narrative by opening up more space (F.Dick, 2005: 56)On the other hand the use of handheld shots is helped to create suspense and tension.  For example, in this scene in (The Bourne Ultimatum, 2007), the use of handheld shots is using to create suspense. (Youtube (2014) The Bourne Ultimatum (4/9) Movie CLIP – Bourne vs. Desh (2007) HD watch?v=uLt7lXDCHQ0)  We see the character chasing after someone, and the use of handheld shots is used to create tension. How mainstream realist cinema hails its viewers to take up the position it offers, treating the text as natural, obvious, simply there to be enjoyed (Easthope, 1993: 11). If this was shot steadily, it may have worked but not too effectively. This is because that it will end up dragging if the shot was too steady for a long amount of time.

Another development which could be regarded as an important aspect for filmmaking is the mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene therefore encompasses both where the audience can see, and the way in which we are invited to see it (Gibbs, 2002: 5).  I would class it as a development, because you can see its major improvements. For example, back in the 1960’s, it was all colourful and cheery. A great example would be (West Side Story, 1961). They are wearing bright clothes and every scene appears to be bright. This tells us that the film is light hearted and through its the mise-en-scene. Colour is an important expressive element for film-makers, and is often mobilised by means of costume, which has the advantage of a direct association with a particular character (Gibbs, 2002: 5).

Another example for important use of mise-en-scene is Double Indemnity. This is because it also conforms to the film noir genre conventions. The scene where Walter is inside Phyllis house, we see the use of chiaroscuro lighting.  This type of lighting creates prison effect though the venetian blinds. This gives us the idea that Walter is trapped and he has no way out. The femme fatale is a siren who draws the male into a murder plot (F.Dick, 2005: 138).  This development is important because it gives us the idea of what a single prop could be responsible for.

 

This has developed again with the lightsaber scene between Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in Star Wars. Obi Wan Kenobi has a blue lightsaber and Darth Vader has a red lightsaber. We know that Darth Vader is evil because his lightsaber colour is red. This illustrates the devilish side of the character. “The character of Vader himself becomes a principal symbol of evil” (Silvio and M. Vinci: 2007, 14). If we never saw the actual footage and just heard the scene we would be very confused. It could work through dialogue, but it is the prop of the lightsaber that gives the instant idea of who is good and who is evil. Red gives this devilish or demonic idea of the character. Whereas the colour blue gives this saviour or innocence idea of the character. Color is a natural ingredient of visual reality (Lehman, 1990: 62). We would not know that through sound as the mise-en-scene is more important for this scene.

I personally couldn’t forgive bad picture quality. Grainy picture quality, on the other hand, might be forgivable. For example in  (Cloverfield, 2008), it is shot using the found footage with grainy picture. But the film is enjoyable, because the sound is clear and doesn’t make it distracting to watch. We can forgive a film if it has bad picture quality, but it is highly impossible to forgive a film which includes bad sound quality. A perfect example would be Danny Boyle zombie horror film (28 Days Later, 2002). The film was shot on cheap digital cameras and we realize it because it looks too pixelated. The sound guides us of what we can witness on screen. But we can still enjoy it because the sound is extremely clear.

Overall, I think that the development of sound could be regarded as the most important development in filmmaking history. This is because there are a lot of layers involved. These include sound recording, to sound dubbing, to sound effects, to sound mixing and sound editing. I would class a film a visual and audio medium rather than just a visual medium. As I have stated that if we just hear a clip, we can grasp so much. Also we can take advantage by creating the scene using our imaginations as we hear it. It has developed dramatically as, the makers of the film now spend more time on sound rather than the footage. I would class sound as sixty percent of the film. This is mainly due to the fact that you have so much to include in a film in order to make it a believable success.

Bibliography

  1. Sonnenschein, D. (2001) Sound Design: The Expressive Power Of Music, Voice and Sound Effects In Cinema, Studio City, California: Michael Weise Productions
  2. Chion, M. Gorbman, C. (2003, 2009) Film, A Sound Art, New York, Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press
  3. Chion, M. (1990) Audio-Vision Sound On Screen,   New York, Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press
  4. Abel, R. and Altman, R. (2001) The Sounds Of Early Cinema, Indiana: Indiana University Press
  5. Weis, E and Belton, J. (1985) Theory And Practice Film Sound,  New York, Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press
  6. LoBrutto, V. (1994) Sound-On-Film Interviews With Creators Of Film Sound
  7. Sider, L., Freeman, D., and Sider, J. (2003) Soundscape The School Of Sound Lectures 1998-2001, Wallflower Press 5 Pond Street, London, NW3 2PN
  8. Whittington, W. (2007) Sound Design and Science Fiction,
  9. Thompson, K and Bordwell, D. (2010) Film History An Introduction (Third Edition) – McGraw Hill,
  10. Hayward, S. (2006) Cinema Studies The Key Concepts Third Edition – Routledge, 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
  11. Niebur, L. (2010) Special Sound The Creation And Legacy Of The BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Oxford University Press, Inc. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016
  12. F. Penney, E. (1991) The Facts On File Dictionary Of Film And Broadcast Terms – Facts On File, Inc.
  13. Lapsley, R. and Westlake, M. (2006). Film Theory An Introduction (Second Edition) – Manchester University Press, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9NR, UK
  14. Gibbs, J. (2002) Mise-En-Scene Film Style And Interpretation – Wallflower Press 5 Pond Street, Hampstead, London NW3 2PN
  15. F. Dick, B. (2005) Anatomy Of Film Fifth Edition – Palgrave Macmillan
  16. Lehman, P. (1990) An Anthology Of New Film Criticism Close Viewings – University Presses Of Florida
  17. Easthope, A (1993) Contemporary Film Theory – Addison Wesley Longman Limited, Edinburgh Gate, Harlow, Essex CM20 2JE England
  18. Silvio, C and Vinci, T (2007) Culture, Identities and Technology in the STAR WARS films – McFarland and Company INC., Publishers – Jefferson, North Carolina and London.
  19. Nalio, T (1985) The American Film Industry (Revised Edition) – The University Of Wisconsin Press 114 North Murray Street Madison, Wisconsin 53715

Filmography

  1. Crosland, A. (1927). The Jazz Singer. (DVD) US: Warner Bros
  2. Spielberg, S. (1975). Jaws. (DVD) US: Universal
  3. Lucas, G. (1977). Star Wars. (DVD) US: Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox
  4. Kershner, I. (1980). Empire Strikes Back. (DVD) US: Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox
  5. Marquand, R. (1983). Return Of The Jedi. (DVD) US: Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox
  6. Ford Coppola, F. (1979). Apocalypse Now. (DVD) US: United Artists
  7. Spielberg, S. (1998). Saving Private Ryan. (DVD) US: Paramount Pictures
  8. Mann, M. (1995). Heat. (DVD) US: Warner Bros
  9. Boyle, D. (2002). 28 Days Later (DVD) UK: 20th Century Fox
  10. Reeves, M. (2008). Cloverfield. (DVD) US: Paramount Pictures
  11. Wilder, B. (1944). Double Indemnity. (DVD) US: Paramount Pictures
  12. Robbins, J. and  Wise, R. (1961). West Side Story. (DVD) US: United Artists
  13. Greengrass, P. (2007). The Bourne Ultimatum. (DVD) US: Universal
  14. Darabont, F. (1994). The Shawshank Redemption. (DVD) US: Columbia Pictures and Polygram

Websites

 

Christopher Nolan – Auteur Theory

Christopher Nolan – Auteur Theory

An auteur is a director who manages to leave a personal stamp on their work, through both the visual expression of their ideas and techniques and the motifs which cross their many films. This essay will identify Christopher Nolan as an film auteur and identify his codes and conventions of his films. These codes and conventions mark authorship within Nolan’s films and these are the examples;

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Christopher Nolan has been known as the man who revisited the iconic superheroes like Batman in a more realistic approach. His films include (Following, 1998), (Memento, 2000), (Insomnia, 2002), (The Prestige, 2006) and (Inception, 2010). But he is mostly famous for The Dark Knight Trilogy which includes (Batman Begins, 2005), (The Dark Knight, 2008) and (The Dark Knight Rises).

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Defining an auteur is based around their stamp on films. It depends on the recurring elements or techniques involved in more than one film. Someone could only be an auteur if he or she took the conventional system seriously but simultaneously brought to it a personal mode of expression consistently apparent in the resulting films. (Schleussner, 2011: 114). Even though it has been argued that a film is to be a hard case of teamwork. But I can argue that a film can be made specifically from one person’s vision. “The auteur theory, in so far as it privileges one area of cinema over others, and the director over other factors in the process of production”. (Cooke, 2007: 411). I would argue that Nolan is a true auteur because he also writes his films as well as directing them. He has written all of his films with the exception of Insomnia.

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Nolan has been known to also write and produce the films he directs. He has no second directing unit in his film, as he prefers to direct everything from his own vision. From that alone, it makes me realize of how much of a true auteur Nolan actually is. He is technically involved in all of the aspects of his films.

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One of the key signatures that are featured in most of his films is the use of the non-linear narrative.  This occurs in Following, Memento, The Prestige and Batman Begins. Each of these films starts at the present and then goes back to the past. He used it for his low budget films like Following and Memento to give a test to see if it succeeds. I can argue it has as it has continued using it for his big budget films such as Batman Begins. “Positions the director as an auteur involved in serious filmmaking, able to apply call approach to the material as in his earlier, low-budget efforts” (Molloy, 2010: 5). This is a technique that has appeared in most of his films.  And from that, it makes me realize that Christopher Nolan is in fact an auteur.
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A big technique that is featured in all of Nolan’s films is the use of troubled protagonists. The reason this theme appears in all of Nolan’s films is because that is the key towards the story. So they can then overcome it at the end of the film. The reason of how Nolan approaches this theme in such a unique way is that the protagonist is like a lone figure who gives up on society. The protagonists are driven by revenge.  “In both Following and The Prestige we encounter protagonists who let themselves be shaped by their preserve relationships with other.” (Kania, 2009: 8). This signature is undoubtedly the main one that makes me realize that Christopher Nolan is an auteur. As he has vulnerability, the characters who have become powerful at the end film.

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Another major theme that Christopher Nolan has been known to use is the theme of betrayal. This theme has appeared in most of the film’s by Nolan. In Following Cobb betrays Bill by framing him to the police for The Blonde’s murder. In Memento, Leonard betrays himself by accidentally killing his wife and then blaming some stranger. In Insomnia Will betrays his partner by accidently killing him. This theme has been heavily appeared in the films, because mainly for the purpose of the story. What I mean by this is that the theme of betraying someone is part of the plot and reflects heavily throughout the entire film. Nolan uses these themes to pay homage to the noir films. I know that he is an auteur as he uses this theme numerously and uses it to give the noir feel towards the film.
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Nolan as an director has also been known as to collaborate frequently with actors. The most well-known actor he is known to collaborate with is in fact, Michael Caine. (IMDB (2013) Michael Caine (nm0000323/). Christopher Nolan has collaborated with Michael Caine over five films. This states that Michael Caine’s presence in his films is a major trademark that makes Nolan an auteur. Another important point to add is that Michael Caine has never been cast as the lead; he has always been the supporting character. Mainly, this is to add his presence for character emotion. For example, in (Batman Begins, 2005), there is a scene where he tells Bruce Wayne, that he will never give up on him. This establishes that he is a father figure and creates a realism effect towards the audience. He has been known as the mentor to the protagonist. Another example would be in Inception where he guides Cobb played by Leonardo DiCaprio. It is revealed that he taught him as he says “I never taught you to be a thief”. “Christopher Nolan’s CGI spectacular mind crime, unconscious heist, paranoia inflected sci-fi Inception (2010)” (Hayward, 2013: 318).  This links with the fact that Christopher Nolan creates realism very effectively. That the protagonist needs a guide and Nolan uses Michael Caine as a guide for the lead protagonist.

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Another known person that has collaborated with Christopher Nolan is the iconic music score composer Hans Zimmer. The music seems to be dark and ambient. This is to establish the realistic environment of the film. When he collaborates with Zimmer I can usually tell by the ambient atmospheric elements with the big budget blockbuster score. “Film’s extraordinary power to imitate reality has made realism a central feature of cinema aesthetics”. (Lapsley and Westlake, 2006: 156). Christopher Nolan has been known as creating a realistic dark film and The Dark Knight Trilogy is the perfect example. It includes both an ambient score to establish the realism of the film. He world often work with Hans Zimmer to establish a highly popular original soundtrack that would not only dominate the film but would also dominate itself. The score is not orchestral, it is more incidental. So each scene is suspenseful and puts it in the center of Nolan’s films.

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Overall, in my opinion, Christopher Nolan is at an most recognizable an auteur. In each of his films, he always portrays the mark of authorship be creating a realistic environment through music and characters. He casts regularly Michael Caine as the mentor of the lead character. It helps brings emotional depth towards his films. He collaborates with Hans Zimmer to create an ambient score to give a realistic environment in his films.  He also has his unique style of gritty realism whether it is a neo noir like Memento or a superhero film like The Dark Knight, The man is also responsible for introducing the iconic character known as the superhero Batman and by making him a realistic superhero. From those points, I personally consider him a true film auteur.

  1. Schweinitz, J. and Schleussner, L. (2011). Film and Stereotype A Challenge For Cinema And Theory: Columbia University Press, New York, Chichester, West Sussex

 

  1. Kania, A. (2009). Memento,  2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN: Routledge

 

  1. Molloy, C. (2010). Memento, Edinburgh University Press Ltd,  22 George Square, Edinburgh

 

  1. Cooke, P. (2007).  The Cinema Book (The Third Edition) – BFI British Film Institute, 21 Stephen St, London, W1T 1LN.
  2. Hayward, S.  (2013). Cinema Studies The Key Concepts (Fourth Edition) – 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Routledge

 

  1. Lapsley, R. and Westlake, M. (2006). Film Theory An Introduction (Second Edition) – Manchester University Press, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9NR, UK

Christopher Nolan IMDB   http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0634240/ (date accessed 12th December 2013).

Michael Caine IMDB  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000323 (accessed 14th December 2013).

  1. Nolan, C. (1998). Following. [DVD]
  2. Nolan, C. (2000). Memento. [DVD] US:
  3. Nolan, C. (2002). Insomnia. [DVD] US: Warner Bros
  4. Nolan, C. (2005). Batman Begins. [DVD] US: Warner Bros
  5. Nolan, C. (2006). The Prestige. [DVD] US: Warner Bros
  6. Nolan, C. (2008). The Dark Knight. [DVD] US: Warner Bros
  7. Nolan, C. (2010). Inception. [DVD] US: Warner Bros
  8. Nolan, C. (2012). The Dark Knight Rises. [DVD] US: Warner Bros

Film escapism

When I think of a successful film, I always think of the main possibility. And that is if the film helps me escape from the real world. Ever since I was a kid, I always refer to the movies as you are entering the matrix. If a film helps you escape from the real world, you’re entering into the matrix. It helps you eliminate the idea that the real world doesn’t exist for that duration of the movie. Because you try to forget the real world. Well, I always intend to. Hence why I love science fiction films. They are the perfect example of helping you escape the real world and enter into the world of the film.

I personally dislike the idea of a film that represents the real world. You come to the realisation that you pay so much money to watch a film at the cinema. The cinema helps you immerse yourself into that world of the film that is presented to you. I do not want to see a film on the big screen about the things that are represented in reality. Hence why I dislike the films that revolve around social realism. Such as the films by Ken Loach and Danny Boyle. They make films that establish reality and don’t do anything new to it. It feels more or less like a soap opera than an actual film.

Films have the beauty of portraying a cinematic view of the world. What I mean is I love a film that has real life issues but combines it with a plot that I out of this world. For example, Inception resolves around dreams and loss of someone. If it just focused on the loss of someone and just shoving it in non stop though out the film, then that to me makes a film not a film but a soap opera. It is because it only has the rel life issues. Where as the dream part of Inception help create this unique effect of the film. We do dream in real life, but portraying that on the grand scale is heavily astonishing.

This is my opinion in the end, but the point that I am trying to make is that I love a film that helps take you out of the real world, and help immerse yourself in the world of the film.

People Who Have Inspired Me – Neill Blomkamp

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Back in 2009, a science fiction film was released. It was an independent film that was produced by Peter Jackson. It had a budget of a shocking 30 million dollars. It was a surprise box office smash hit and went on to be nominated for the Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards. That film was of course District 9 which was Neill Blomkamp feature film debut.

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I remember seeing this film and thinking to myself just how original it was. That put a smile on my face because it was just great to see a fresh take on the science fiction genre. What I mean is that it is opened with the brilliant use of mockumentary. It helps gives this realism of the film.

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He uses hand held shots to help create the realism in his films. I find that inspiring because I also intend to shoot my films hand held. It helps give this realism and it is also great use of it. It is cheap or as they say guerrilla filmmaking but it still has its advantage and that is it helps create realism of the film.

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What Neill truly does is he combines real life events and science fiction together in the most unique way possible. This is because you doubt whether you are a watching a film or not. That to me makes a successful film and a successful director. When a film helps immerse you into that world and escapes from the real world, Blomkamp does that brilliantly.

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Elysium is another prime example of combining realism with science fiction. The action and the story is great. It is a metaphor on how the rich treats the poor and combining with grand scale action set pieces.

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Since he has only made two films which are District 9 and Elysium and he has his new film out in March Chappie. When someone inspires just after one film, that is truly saying something about someone who inspires me. It tells me that I need to watch out for him in the upcoming years because he has put on a stamp in my inspirations.