Because I am the DOP, DP, camera woman or whatever you want to call me, I am the one in charge of operating the camera. Original, I know. But the difference here is that I have had no previous experience in working with DSLR’s. So from there, I went through quite a bit of DLSR tutorials: for begginers, DSLR filmmaking, the basis of photography, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. And also I studied on the basic functions of the Canon 600D, since it was the camera we eventually decided to shoot with. Since I didn’t have experience to rely on, I brushed up on my studies and tested the camera out before we began shooting so that on the day of the shoot, I would have complete confidence and knowledge that I had taken the best footage I could take with a week’s worth of online tutorials and camera testing.
In January 2014, I plan on attending DSLR tutorials at university as well as ask for a camera loan so that I can further practice the use of the camera. That and I plan on saving up money so that I can, in the next couple of months, buy my own profissional camera.
In this class we learned that many films, especially from the early 1920’s, were considered experimental films. This means that they didn’t follow the rules of mainstream cinema, most often questioning some issues regarding sexuality, religion, politics and life in general which earned them the label of “outcasts” by the general film industry and even the audience who wasn’t used to having such taboo topics being brought forth so openly. An example of one of these films is “Meshes Of The Afternoon” (1943), that we watched in class, and being it an “out of the box” storyline, it’s meaning will create waves of mixed opinions due to its subjective interpretation.
Some may think she was dreaming the whole time, others believe that what was shown was her in limbo after being murdered thus she’s reliving the moments up until her death, or she could have killed herself and what we’re seeing is a woman that has no idea of what is happening, then she could’ve had an affair with a men who gave her the flower, the same men that comes visit her and tries to kiss her, maybe that’s why he killed her so his wife would never know… Basically the options for they “whys” and the “whats” of this film are nearly endless, being there no right or wrong answer. And that’s what I think is brilliant about it. Personally, I normally don’t dig much into the experimental genre but when there’s a film that even though we don’t fully grasp its concept and why the characters acted the way they did or why that had to happen, we still find it interesting, then I think the director made a good job! This is just one of the many films in this specific genre that created a cult following due to its endless possibilities story wise. But avant-garde makes its influence known in all art forms, from music to sculpture to painting to photography to architecture.
So I can say that from this class I learned that the interpretation of said avant-garde films can be limitless and that the experimental genre can influence any existent art form.
Today we saw the Oscar award-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”. I have never seen it before, although I knew somewhat what it was about. And I have to say that the movie wasn’t as amazing, for me, as I was told it would be. It was an ok movie, which I think focused more on character development than actually being type cast as an action film. I guess it is a romance, due to the fact that the story revolves around this boy Jamal who is in live, since childhood, with Latika a girl from the slum as well. It follows his life story showing, for most of the film, flashbacks of everything that happen up until the point where we, the audience, catches up with the film’s reality. The other focal point of the film is the fact that Jamal upon entering the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” from Mumbai, he finds himself being the winner of the biggest amount ever in his country which gets him into serious trouble. He ends up being repeatedly tortured because the game makers can’t, or don’t, want to believe that he actually won the game fair and square, which eventually propels the story forward as he retells his life story to one of the police officers who interrogate him. This is the basis of the story, which obviously secondary characters who only serve to enhance the story with different plots and actually make the life of the protagonist quite difficult, if I am to be honest. Overall it was an average movie for me, and not one I think deserved as much recognition as the one it had.
Yesterday I went to see the sequel to the worldwide famous “The Hunger Games”, and I honestly didn’t go with the idea of it being very good because even though the first one wasn’t bad, it still didn’t amaze me or made me feel as emotionally invested as I thought it would. But alas, it was a good film! Surprisingly so. I had read the book previsouly to have seen either of them and I have to say that the director and screenwriter have stayed up until now very loway to the books which pleases the fans. And for people who haven’t read them, then can still understand the storyline and relate to some of the characters. Now this in this film, we see a completly different Katniss. She is not the defenseless (well she was never really ‘defenseless’ but you know what I mean) little girl we saw in the first one who had no hope of surviving in the feared Hunger Games and yet she surprised everyone, most of all herself when she surpassed every single obstacle that came her way. And we can see how that eventually came to affect her in this sequel. We see her battle a somewhat post-traumatic disorder, where she has hallucination of the people she killed in the arena. Young kids, just like her. She sees them all the time, in her sleep and when she feels most troubled in her waking state. But out of all of them, the one she never forgets and that haunts her the most is the memory of Rue. The little girl who was her ally in the first film, and the one she couldn’t save from the hands of another tribute who killed her in cold blood. She never forgave herself, and probably never will, and it’s with that regret that when she apologizes for Rue’s untimely death to her family in District 11, when the Victory Tour commences, an old man just lifts of his hand with the three fingers lifted in a sign of respect, admiration, love, but most of all of revolution. That simple gesture triggers a whole series of events throughout the film, because that is where you see the first signs of the eminent revolution begin within the districts and the Capitol itself. We see Katniss trying to overcame everything and everyone that tries to break her down. Yet we do see her mental state starting to progressively start to deteriorate through the film and is it an incredible journey to be able to accompany. Later, when they existing victors are all reaped once again to fight till the death in a new version of the Games, we see the alliances form and we see that this time around, they all know what they need to do to win. Yet, this time it’s not about one of them winning. No. It’s about saving Katniss. Why? Because she’s the mockingjay. She’s the symbol of hope. The beacon of an eminent revolution to, finally, take down the power of the Capitol once and for all. and if she dies, the hope dies with her. So some of the victors have been assembled so their sole purpose within the Games is to protect Katniss at all costs. Even if it means losing their own lives in the process. This is all happening without Katniss having the slightest clue because they all know that if she knew, that was going on, that they were trying ti save her life instead of Peeta’s or someone else’s then things would have been very different. So we embark on this journey of pain, loss, fear and hope. I also quite enjoyed that in this movie they focused a lot on psychological pain rather than the physical part. We see the deterioration of the character’s mental states. The scene when Katniss and Finnick hear in the jaberjays the screams of pain of their loves one’s, specifically Prim (Katniss’s little sister) and Annie (Finnick’s beloved), we see the extent of how “damaged” they both are. And it is thrilling and very emotionally intense to watch, even if it is just on screen, people go through that.
So I can definitely day that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was a very enjoyable experience and that Jennifer Lawrence was definitely the star in it without a doubt.
As a follow up from last week we delved, finally!, into the importance of visualizing our story and how the audience might receive it, from the point of the screenwriter. We talked about how important it is to the screenwriter to be able to write with a clear mind as to be able to place the story and characters in the specific time line as well as being able to already imagine specific actors in the roles, even if they never get Vivien Leigh or Laurence Olivier portraying their characters. Yet one can dream… But that’s beside the point. The point being that a screenwriter has to think of what actor, or what “type” of actor, would best fit into a specific stereotype as well as thinking of stereotypes and genres and specific actors in relation to casting. As it is already evident, the screenwriter has a lot on his hands! It’s not just about the story, it’s about everything that goes along with it. In regards to the audience it is essential to be able to place the viewer properly within the film storyline. You can either offer an a cinematic experience where the viewer is simply the viewer, watching the action from the outside or you can quite literally consciously “write” them into the film as to make them feel like they are an integral part of the story’s development.