John Cassavetes

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"In a body of work in which gender roles always matter, Sarah is, in more ways than one, the ultimate Cassavetes woman, and Robert the ultimate Cassavetes man. Sarah, an emotional live wire, is kin to Mabel Longhetti in A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Myrtle Gordon in Opening Night (1977), women who struggle valiantly with their capacity and need for love, with “how to love” and “where to put it.” A boozy charmer in a rumpled tux, with a knack for turning all interactions into transactions, Robert is a more cultured brother to the suave strip-club owner Cosmo Vitelli in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), or an alternate-world variant of the suburbanites in Husbands (1970), more successful and even more hollow.” — Dennis Lim (A Fitful Flow)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

I think there is something that is organic to film and unique to it as an art form, which is the nature of time and how to portray it in film. And I am interested in that question of, What is time in film? So I would say I’ve grown more interested in that question over time. It’s something I contemplate each time I make a film, but I’m hardly an original thinker in terms of this. Take the very famous example of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, where three different approaches to a similar reality are explored.

My understanding of filmic time is that it’s always moving forward in one clear, linear fashion, and at the end of two hours you come to the end. It’s only in parts of the story that you may periodically dip into the past. I think that if you approach telling a story the way Rashomondoes, what you do is dissolve any factual basis for determining what is true and what is not true. By having all three versions of events moving forward simultaneously, you dissolve the underlying concept of a single truth that’s presumed to be there. And I think that this is probably something very difficult to achieve in any other art form.

But at its essence, film is a collection of chopped-up time. I mean, I guess once in a while you have something that’s actual contiguous time that’s shot almost like a documentary recording of real time, but in general filming occurs over a longer time period: you shoot scenes over different days and then you edit that. Of course, the audience in theory experiences it as a linear story, but for those of us who are creating it, it’s a complete non-linear mishmash of time from the very beginning, and we’ll do brazen things like take a close-up from a scene that didn’t belong in the scene at all and pop it in in the editing.

[Bomb]

In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

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Towards the end (at about 1:20:33[1]) of the film essay In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni by Guy Debord a black screen announces:

“Ici les spectateurs, privés de tout, seront en outre privés d’images.””Here the audience, deprived of everything, will also be deprived of images.”

Read more at the use of the blank screen in the cinematic works of Guy Debord.

Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)

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"Have you ever heard the expression ‘let sleeping dogs lie’? Sometimes you’re better off not knowing" – Jack Gittes

Chinatown tells the story of Jack Gittes, a private detective who specialises in matrimonial cases. Gittes is hired by Evelyn Mulwray, who suspects that her husband Hollis, builder of the city’s water supply systems, is having an affair. After revelations about the identity of Mrs. Mulwry arise, Gittes finds himself embroiled in a web of scandal, deceit, incest, murder and municipal corruption.

Polanski’s use of wide, panoramic shots throughout create the emphasis on not just focusing on the character, but looking at the big picture. The camerawork and cinematography is simply enticing and sets the 1920s mood subtly.

 

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“Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my daughter.
[Gittes slaps Evelyn]
Jake Gittes: I said I want the truth!
Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my sister…
[slap]
Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my daughter…
[slap]
Evelyn Mulwray: My sister, my daughter.
[More slaps]
Jake Gittes: I said I want the truth!
Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my sister AND my daughter!”

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LE BAL. Ettore SCOLA. 1983.

One cheesy dance-hall, no dialogue, some wonderful music equals great visual jokes, tragic observation about mankind and  the 50 year history of Europe in front of you. Different characters live through their dances from 1930s to the 1980s as the time passes by and politics, social behavior, and fashion change with each new epoch… For less than two hours we would go through the wars, peace, racial conflicts, student riots of 1968 while Ettore Scola’s camera never leaves the ballroom.  The film was nominated by the Academy for the Best Foreign Language movie award. It should’ve been nominated for the best Universal Language award – the language of music and film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVJdvA4eSGg

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