Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

Posts Tagged ‘continuity

Before Dawn (2005)

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This 12-minute film by Hungarian filmmaker Balint Kenyeres shows us how impressive cinematography can heighten the impact of a film. The entire film is one continuous shot, no cuts, tracking a truck transporting refugees through a wheatfield in the wee hours of the morning. Suite101.com writer Rhett Murphy summarizes the filmmaking techniques employed here:

Shot by Matyas Erdely, the look is muted in grey tones. Color is primarily used with the truck (hope) and the lone refugee (hope destroyed). Sound is used purely for story and suspense – from birds taking flight (freedom), to the truck (hope), to the chaotic captures (hope destroyed). Everything here is laser-focused on the story.

The economy of filmmaking used here – from the lack of cuts to the single setting to the sparse color to the lone close-up – serve to make this film a complete and unique experience. The film racked up plenty of awards and film festival screenings.

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Written by Alisa Hathaway

April 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

The Sealed Room (1909)

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D.W. Griffith, the grandfather of cinema that made one of the most controversial and racist films ever made (The Birth of a Nation), showcases a bit of his own black humor with this film. He was one of the first filmmakers that translated the idea of “connecting space” to the screen, building the concept of continuity that we now see as a necessity in believable film. This film includes examples of eyeline match, where the characters eyes look right and indicate that the next scene takes place to the right of the current scene. A tragic story like this one would have been rare in the early cinematic days, and this one is done with some of the same Vaudevillian melodrama that defined American comedies of the time.

PBS’s American Masters series says of Griffith: “Griffith’s films became part of history in the making—unleashing the power of movies as a catalyst for social change. More than anyone of the silent era, he saw film’s potential as an expressive medium, and exploited that potential.”

You can learn more about his life and work on the PBS website.

Written by Alisa Hathaway

February 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

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