Friday, May 30, 2014

Blog #4 - Game of Thrones clip

This scene follows Daenerys Targaryen giving a speech to the enslaved peoples of Meereen. All along I was watching the clip, I found myself asking, how did Daenerys project her voice enough to be heard by the slaves who are so high up? As she projects her voice to the audience, the camera conveys her figure through a high angle shot. This shot demonstrates how small and frail she appears in contrast to all the men standing and sitting high up on the castle. Also during her speech, the camera swivels to the slaves and rulers in the form of close-ups and medium shots capturing their looks of disbelief, confusion, and fear. After all it is hard to comprehend that a woman, small and dainty, could manage to destroy so many empires with the loyalty of freed slaves. The scene does provide a low angle shot of her army, but its purpose is not to appear inferior. On the contrary the shot conveys the extent and power of her army.

At 1.41 Daenerys yells fire to her army and the camera illustrates her facial expression in a low angle shot. Thus it successfully executes her power and authority over the enemies she has come to destroy. As the collection of chains are catapulted onto the castle, that is when one can truly see how far Daenerys is from her listeners. Perhaps the greatest part of the scene is at the end. After all the chains have been catapulted, the camera follows an enslaved male picking up a chain through a low angle shot. The shot signifies a change that will come for those slaves in the form of freedom. The people of Meereen will no longer be inferior; they will have a choice to either serve or walk free. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Final Project

Link: The Daily Life of Daphne Joy

Aronson Awards Extra Credit Post

The Ceremony for the Aronson Awards was filled with inspirational speeches, examples of exemplary advocate journalism and brilliant writers in the field. Thought the ceremony was small it had a lifetime full of wisdom presented. One presenter did a documentary film called After Trayvon where he spoke with black men on how it was to live in a wealthy neighborhood. The creator gave an anecdote about how when he first moved to Brooklyn he felt uncomfortable passing black men on a stoop made him stiffen and feel uncomfortable. I was able to speak to him later in the event and saw through his work and personality how brave he was to say something that isn't but needs to be said, how stereotypes lead people to think certain thoughts and can even alter lifestyles and in some tragic cases such as Trayvon Martin's, their lives. Another prestigious writer who received an award, David Carr who writes for the New York Times spoke of how he was once homeless and built his way up using handwork, talent and   knowledge. His perseverance was awe-inspiring since he literally came from nothing to greatness.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Memento" Opening Scene Analysis

“Memento” s (2000) opening scene begins with slow, melancholic music. Leonard’s (Guy Pierce’s character) hand slowly fades in, is shot in color, and is shown in the frame holding a polaroid picture. The picture is of a dead body, faced down, and the walls are covered in blood. He waves the polaroid picture to help dry/develop it (even though the picture is shown to be completely developed), but when the picture is back in the frame, it looks slightly less developed than it did 10-12 seconds prior. This is when the viewer notices something isn’t “right”. Leonard shakes the picture a total of four times, with a 10-12 second interval in between each time, until the picture is a light gray and no longer visible. You realize the entire scene is being played backward. We now see Leonard’s series of backward motions, appearing as if he’s putting the polaroid back into the camera, the flash of the camera goes off after taking the picture, his face has splatters of blood on it, the scene then cuts to show a river of blood shown on the ground flowing backward, cuts again to show a bullet casing, cuts again to show broken, bloodied eye glasses, then the body that was pictured on the polaroid, lying face down on the ground and covered in blood. The camera cuts back to Leonard as his gun is mid-air, flying back into his hand and makes a loud clacking sound, then he kneels down. The music turns suspenseful. The bullet casing is shown again, this time it’s spinning on the ground, the glasses come off the ground and back onto the body’s face as it’s rising off the ground, the casing quickly goes into the Leonard’s gun’s barrel, the shot fires back into the gun, and we now see the body’s face as he turns to look at Leonard, which ends of being Teddy (Joe Pantoliano’s character), and screams “No!” The camera quickly switches onto the next scene, which is shot in black in white this time, and the first scene in this sequence is of Leonard’s lips, slowly panning up to his eyes, as you hear him having an internal dialogue saying “So where are you?” You’re in some motel room. You just wake up…and… you’re in a motel room. There’s the key. It feels like maybe it’s just the first time you’ve been there, but, perhaps, you’ve been there for a week, three months… it’s… kinda hard to say, I don’t know… it’s just an anonymous room…” all while he looks around, he looks confused and observant of his surroundings as he’s sitting on the bed. Then the scene cuts out. These two scenes and how they were carefully shot, edited, and played, play an extremely important role into understanding “Memento”. The unconventional backward play of the opening scene is key, and the polaroid scene is a dead giveaway, and then made even more obvious when the rest of the sequence is played. However, why is this scene shot in color, and the following is completely different in location, and is now in black and white? The only way to make sense of it is watching the film in its entirety. Scenes are played and alternate between black and white and color, and don’t follow chronologically. This is when you realize the entire film can be broken down to 22 colored scenes, and 22 black and white scenes. The 22 colored scenes are all being played backward, not in motion, but backward chronologically, while the black and white scenes are played chronologically. This is why the first two scenes are important, especially the first one because while it is being played in backward MOTION, it is a huge clue into understanding that every color sequence that precedes is playing backward (chronologically). "Memento" is an incredibly well thought-out, amazing movie.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brought to you by: Ricky Saiz

Beyonce nearly brought the house down with her new album. She surprised everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE... even the director of the sexiest music video on her album - Ricky Saiz.

Video director and filmmaker, Ricky Saiz is not only the director of Beyonce's very sexy music video, Yonce, but he is also the co-head designer and co-head of creative for the iconic hip-hop clothing brand Supreme.

The video epitomizes a lo-fi character, one that is embedded in reality with handheld, old film cameras. The aspect that keeps me coming back to this video is the raw nature of it all - it is very natural, very raw, very New York. Even when you compare this video to other ones on this self-titled album, this one sticks out as being the realest and the truest of them all, and this is due in part to its stylistic approach. Victoria Secret models Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman and Joan Smalls were a wonderful addition to the establishment of this effect.

Stylistically speaking, the close-up shots of varying body parts gave us an insider look of the voyeurism that was taking place. These shots make us feel like we are a part of this 'party', from the fishnets to the shoulder and an extreme close up of Beyonce's breasts, we are brought into this very sexual session that these girls and Beyonce are taking part in. It's sexual, but appropriate at the same time. Beyonce keeps it classy, of course (she is not Miley...).

The best shot, in my opinion, is that of Beyonce's gyrating action at 1:17. How many takes did this shot require, you may ask? Two. Yes, you read right. She's a natural! Ricky Saiz has said that nothing was choreographed, and his brilliant self was able to capture such a splendid shot, a memorable one, indeed.

Fun fact: Justin Timberlake is drumming on a bucket in the background. Hard to believe, huh? Check the production credits! ;)