Flippin Sweet Dude

November 24, 2014

Nastalghia

Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , , — erika @ 8:46 pm

Nostalghia is a foreign film written in Italian by a Russian director. I had a hard time deciding what was actually going on in the film, between reading the subtitles fast enough to understanding the plot of the film. This is not a dialogue based film, it relies greatly on other background sounds in the film and lack of sound. In fact to me, I felt that the actors were constantly “breaking the fourth wall” while talking. You couldn’t always see they were talking to someone because they were the only one in the shot and sometimes I thought they may actually be talking to themselves while looking at the camera. That made the editing for me seem really disjointed. I understood that Andrei was from Russia and was visiting Italy to research a Russian composer who lived in Italy for a while. I didn’t understand why it was so intriguing to the other characters to know he was from Russia doing research.

The lighting in the film changed from feeling stark black and white to having some color come through in certain scenes, like when Eugenia is in the hall and Andrei tells her she is beautiful, you can really tell that she has red hair. There were plenty of instances where the camera would be a medium close up and then it would pull focus and move farther away helping you to see just how far away someone was or making it seem they were really lost in thought. When Andrei is talking to Domenico the scene changes multiple times making you wonder if you are still in him dilapidated home or outside. The images were not always clear when you would move to a different scene and it would take a deliberate amount of time to come into focus and really let you know what you were looking at.

The sounds and music in the film were not comforting to me in any way. They seemed harsh and at some times I thought it sounded like a circular saw going off in the background which was grating on my nerves. It was hard for me to follow and completely know when the characters were reminiscing about their lives and what was currently happening. The film seemed to jump back and forth from the past to the present. I think Andrei was homesick for his wife and children, but wasn’t very proactive in getting back home soon. I want to know where the dog fits in. The dog seemed to be in past and present scenes and in both Domenico’s and Andre’s dreams. I don’t know what his specific importance was though.

In the final scenes where Domenico was preaching and shouting the ramblings of a madman, most of the other people in the scene were stationary and I felt that they were statues. It was as if he was invisible to them, but it also felt like time was standing still for everyone else. It was a very dramatic ending with him pouring fuel on himself and lighting himself on fire. The one man on the ground that mimicked his actions made me wonder if he was part of Domenicos imaginings of what he was to do next. Why do we not see what exactly happens to Andrei as he finally makes it across the bath with the lighted candle? We just hear a thud making me assume that he dies too, not returning home to his family. Then you end the film with Andrei sitting on the ground with his home in Russia behind him as the focus is pulled through again and makes it look farther away and his home is left in between the streets of Italy.

October 20, 2014

Jaws

Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , , , — erika @ 5:06 pm

I haven’t watched Jaws since I was a kid and it was showing on television. I must say that when this film came out, the special effects were awesome for the time and technology. I was and still am to a certain extent terrified to swim or be in the ocean due to the fear instilled in me as a child of man eating sharks in the water. The scenes when you see Jaws, the great white shark, come out of the water with mouth open wide ready to devour everything in his path were very real to me as a kid. Watching it now, I can see that it is not real and was a mechanical shark. You could not have convinced me of that as a kid, but as you can compare it to what can be done with graphics and editing I do see a difference now. The cinematography for this movie was done in a way to help the story flow and most times now when I watch any film, it there are any underwater shots of people swimming or playing in the water I find myself wondering when the shark attack will be. That is part of the setting up of the shots in this movie showing us as the viewer where the action will be coming from, down below the surface of the ocean. The director does a good job at showing you a conversation of the little boy pleading with his mother for just 10 more minutes of play in the water. Then he goes and grabs the yellow floatation device and heads out to the water. Everyone else is just playing and splashing around, so the focus is on this one child floating and splashing. Add to that the iconic music of the two off sounding notes that always lead to the shark attacking and you find yourself on the edge of your seat thinking, get out of the water all of you crazy people. How do they not know the shark attack is about to happen.

When movies can play on our own real life fears it makes them seem more real and you become sucked into the suspension of disbelief. Even though logically, I can tell myself that this shark can’t break up a boat that size, my fear of sharks in general helps to fuel this film into more of a reality than it is. The music is well known and you would have to have lived under a rock to not know that da dum, da dum, da dum sound means you are going to be shark food. The fact that this shark keeps coming back after being harpooned, shot, stabbed and many other things is now when I see it jumping out of reality for me. It just doesn’t seem to fit with the nature I think they have. I think once it eats someone, it’s not going to turn right around looking for another person, but that is just my opinion. I did enjoy the finale as Jaws comes charging towards the boat with the tank in his mouth, knowing full well that this is going to end explosively. My favorite line being “Smile, you son of a bitch” as the police chief fires his gun and the shark explodes magnificently. Now the threat has been neutralized and the waters are safe once again. Of course you really can’t convince my mind of that, therefore, to this day I still will only dip my toes in the ocean water.

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