December 31, 2008

simple cinema pleasures

I like:

-low angle shots -- Orson once said something like "I just think everything looks better from down there." One of hundreds of things we agree on.

-deep-field shots -- for simple subjects, long shots are best (anything closer than a medium shot should be used only sparingly), but complex subjects and deep focus are better than everything.

-dynamic, fluid rhythm -- I love a subject, a camera, and (most importantly) an idea in motion; a film ought to ride the wind.

-understatement -- especially in story and character; instead of swelling music, instead of a bold, romantic skyline, instead of a long, impassioned declaration of love, the characters ought to kiss quickly and get on with their lives. One (overstated) example, I could name thousands more.

-a comic sensibility -- when you can comprehend all the suffering and nothingness of humanity, finding something to smile about can be the most difficult challenge of all. Perhaps it is the only worthy challenge of art.

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