Wednesday, 2 February 2011

'Watching' Documentary

 The ‘Watching’ Documentary showed us different styles of openings to films as well as their purpose. Also it referenced to people who work in the industry and allowed us to see their opinions and views on the different ways of opening a film. 

In the documentary Thomas Sutcliffe stated the risk of instance arousal by comparing films to food and saying that its human nature for us to want something instantly such as when we order pizza and expect it to come as soon as possible. He says that this need for instant need happens with "pizzas, cars and computers and emotions". However there’s a risk to wanting things as soon as possible, especially if that want is linked with the film industry, "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible." What he means by this is that for a film to be successful that film needs to capture the audiences’ attention within the first 20 minutes otherwise the audience may get bored and decide to not even see the film at all. Therefore, this temptations for ‘instance arousal’ is in a way ‘irresistible’, because without it there wouldn’t be any viewing audience as you would have lost them, however Jean Jacques Beineix tries to explain that there may be a risk with this ‘instant arousal’, and Thomas agrees with this point by saying that "you have to accept to wait, nurse , nurture your desire , to make it grow and then the satisfaction comes’, and what he means by this is that if you give everything and build up the opening of the film to the best it could possibly be, then there is no desire and eagerness on the side of the audience because you’ve given them your best already in just the opening and so what is left for the rest of the film? Therefore showing how fragile this balance between having an effective grabbing opening and at the same time not building it up too much really is.
The documentary also mentions that ‘a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little', this is a great piece of advice that I too plan on following for my own production because its saying that the opening of the film must be able to not reveal too much information but at the same time still manage to keep the audience interested and allow them to understand what is going on.
An opening which the documentary talked about was the 'classic opening'. This opening is when the film begins with an establishing shot (usually New York city from the East) then close up of the building and up the building, in through the window, and a character shot, this way establishing the setting and the main character instantly. Stanley Kauffmann says that in his opinion this classic opening works because it covers the basic what, where, who and when questions.
Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Se7en on the other hand is highly effective as it went against what usual opening titles do. The documentary narrator said that Cooper knew that director David Fincher wanted a ' sequence that would tune the viewers to the right dissident pitch', as the audience expects  the opening to "settle" them into their seats and "be part of the transitional time where you're getting ready to take in what it is". The sequence, according to Cooper, became the" first scene of the movie", it told a story and the nature of the main character. It foreshadowed the events of the movie as well as it was able to grab the audience’s attention through the shock of the disturbed images and off pitch music.
Orson Welles on the other hand wanted his opening to go straight into the film with no titles, however Universal were not happy with this as they still wanted to be recognised mainly through their theme music and Orson Welles’ opening did not do that as it started off differently to any other movie, by taking the audience right into the film with no time to understand what is going on.
The opening of casino however uses a favourite trick of Film Noir. This trick is when  the  film’s opening is not really a beginning but a sort of ending, and so once it has happen it takes us back to the events that lead to this happening, which then leaves the audience looking forward to and  waiting with anticipation to see what is to come.
And finally, the documentary also mentioned The Shining opening and how successful it was with creating suspense through the camera usage as the tracking shot from a birds point of view almost mimics the idea of a predator  following its pray and this is done through the tracking shot. This title sequence was effective as it was kept simple yet it manages to create worry because we knew as the audience that something was just not right through the tracking shot as well as the mise en scene that seemed like the middle of nowhere.

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