Sunday, 26 December 2010

Psychological Thriller: An Introduction. -BH

A psychological thriller generally tends to use very snappy cuts, as to keep the viewer in suspense- often leaving the action very unclear as to what happened to create a strong sense of narrative enigma, leaving the audience unclear as to what happened until it is revealed later in the film, another tactic that helps the film maintain its suspense is the use of sound, such as music to create a sense of atmosphere and pro-longed sense of dread that can last for scenes on end but it can be quite passive too.

Lighting also plays a key role in the way that there is a strong use of shadow and the contrast with light, often masking things. The use of location often ties in strongly with a character and there is a repeated use of stairs and mirrors with the concept of illusion.
 The narrative often places an equal focus on character and on the plot of the film, however quite often the main character is found to be an unreliable narrator. Often the character has a back story that unravels as the film progresses and as such we gain a deeper understanding of the character as the film progresses. Often the character will have a conflict of identity- unsure about who they are or what their purpose is and as the film progresses the film explores the characters mind.

Notable Directors within the Psychological Thriller genre include:

Darren Aronofsky- Who directed Pi (1998) and Requiem for a Dream (2000).

Park Chanwook- The Korean director of the 'Vengance' Trilogy starting with Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (2002) about a man who is deaf and seeks a way to find his ill sister a new kidney.

Brian De Palma- The Director of Dressed to Kill (1980), notable for its strong use of dreams and mirrors and with strong aspects of a characters sexuality.

David Fincher- The Director of Fight Club (1999) a film about a man who is deeply unhappy with life and seeks a way to change everything around him.

Mary Harron- She directed the film American Psycho (2000) about a wealthy young businessman, it includes several narrative aspects of the genre such as a first person narrator who is shown to be unreliable as the plot pans out.

Richard Kelly- Donnie Darko (2001), follows all of the conventions and leaves the audience guessing and lets the viewer interprit the ending.

Stanley Kubrick- Films such as A Clockwork Orange (1971), focus on thecharacters mentality or in this case...lack of it.

David Lynch- Very surrealistic style of film, often the characters and the audience are left to decide what happened, for example Lost Highway (1997).

Martin Scorsese- Directed Shutter Island (2010).

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

AS media pitch/ opening ideas -BH

The basic idea is that the home is being possessed by some force unseen- much like Amnityville Horror (1979)
Dir: Stuart Rosenberg

We have a quiet suburban house with no one home, everything quiet apart from someone upstairs, the viewer can tell because of some diagetic music heard from upstairs- but apart from that it appears the house is empty and fairly void of life. The camera then goes through several empty hallways to once again establish that no one else is home part from this one person and then finally we have a low angle shot of someone ( a teenage male) on the computer doing drugs and we then hear something falling downstairs such as a pan- the boy turns around and it is the first time we see his face. As he turns his computer screen flickers to show an eye blinking and looking at him and when he turns back around it's gone. He goes to investiage this unusual sound but begins to hear voices in his head saying various things- very quiet and the viewer wondering whether or not it is in his head or not. We have several POV shots from behind the teenager but nothing is ever confirmed to be following him and as he makes his way downstairs a shadow on the wall that looks like a hand seems to be reaching for him. However as he gets into the kitchen things get louder and louder and doors slam shut and it sounds like someone is trashing the house. He enters the kitchen and everything seems perfectly fine but as he turns off the light we hear a lound noise; as he wakes up.

I enjoyed the suburban setting- the feeling that the house is condemned; despite the seeming pleasant exterior. For example the shot above- a seemingly normal house with something dark hidden away inside.
It makes a good loction for filming because it conveys that normality of a typical suburban middle class housing estate. For this reason it would make a great estblishing shot

I'd use a camera shot much like this because it conveys the aspect of binary opposition- a sense that there might be something else in the shot that the viewer cannot see.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Blade Runner (1982) Final Cut Review

Blade runner (1982) Dir. Ridley Scott, takes place in the year 2019 with Harrison Ford plaiyng the lead role of 'Blade Runner' Rick Deckard. The film has been released and re-released several times over the past 20 years since release and has been subject to several debates as which is the best version. I saw the 'Final Cut' version which is considered to be the definitive version. The genre is generally considered to by Sci Fi Noir; with the hard boiled Detective character of Deckard searching for replicants- human like androids who have come to earth in search of a means to prolong their lives. In traditional noir fashion nothing is as it seems in a dystopian world filled with the neon glare on the seedy and urban streets of L.A. On his hunt for the Replicants he encounters a woman who threatens his entire chain of beliefs.

The plot generally makes sense- although it does seem to drag significantly at some points- the cinematography matches the dark plot brilliantly- smoke and fog obscure the characters as they move though the almost endless crowds, the brilliant contrast between the light and dark fits in perfectly.
The soundtrack is very retro- it matches the action perfectly once again; very sci-fi yet still very dark.

Overall 4/5- not the best film ever but certainly not the worst

The Kill: Challanges

The kill; my 60 second long stalker esq short was mostly filmed at night. This presented several issues- It was hard to get good quality lighting that you light up the scene enough to that the audience can see what is happening clearly.I had to improvise and make use of the street lights however if I'd had more cash I would have used a lighting rig to illuminate the scenes captured; however I think filming went fairly well.
Another challenge I face was the use of only two people- myself included; this meant use of shots had to be more implicit than explicit, I had to make some very selective use of shot types, no double shots and quite afew POV shots of the stalker...stalking

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Lessons learned form our Microdrama

1) Get organised; know what you're going to do in the when you're filming, don't leave it to the last minute!
2) Chose location wisely- don't film somewhere that might cause issues further into production.
3) Film the scene from more than one angle so that you have more footage to edit and can use cross cutting.
4) Skilled actors/ good direction, make sure everyone knows how they are meant to act.
5) Make sure you know how to use the equipment at hand, i.e cameras and tri-pods in an effective manner.
6) Learn how to use the editing software provided!
7) Ensure you capture enough footage to fill out the plot so that there.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My coursework task in which...

Your mission is to carry out the following brief:
Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.
Main task: the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes.
All video and audio material must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

The coursework is worth 50% of the AS (same at A2) and the marking (detailed later) is divided into 3 sections:

The examiners will mark the coursework based on the things above, and  will scan through the blog when needed.

G321 - Simplified Marking Criteria as 1 Sheet