Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mod 3..... i think.... this assignments makin me lose sleep

A review of Run Lola Run by Atahan Zugul

At a first glance Run Lola Run seems to have a deceptively simple premise – Lola must find 100,000 mark for her boyfriend Manni before 12 o'clock – and yes, as simple as it may seem – that is all there is to the movie. What makes it highly entertaining and interesting is the way in which this simple premise is presented in a unique experimental style and non-linear narrative structure. Three separate versions of Lola's journey are presented – offering us 3 separate realities and outcomes to the same problem at hand. However each is separate and unique from the other two – Lola's contact with other characters in each changes and so does this narrative. Unlike classical script theory – which requires the need for some underlying moral to a story – Run Lola Run is either extremely cryptic in providing one or lacks one completely – its 3 versions of reality that play out randomly. In fact – if this movie has any such deeper message – it would have to be played out and presented through it overall narrative structure and editing; something along the lines of – life is a series of random events and there is no deeper universal truth. However, Run Lola Run is as rebellious in its editing scheme as it is, in its narrative structure. Run Lola Run makes use of both classical and montage editing techniques, using them to support the overall feel of the narrative wherever needed. For instance, one of the most memorable uses of montage editing would have to be in the “life in 3 seconds” clips – where literally our senses are bombarded by a mixture of images and sounds that they present a version of a characters future. These sequences are placed so well in the scheme of the narrative – when the story's rhythm is pumping and a large exposition needs to be explained within a very small time frame while still supporting the fast rhythm of the piece – nothing does it better than montage – and the director has acknowledged this. He has adopted methods – whether they are given the stigma of being labeled as either classical or post-modern or experimental – to the telling of the narrative. For instance while 'experimental' editing techniques such as montage, jump cuts, cross cuts and animation are used extensively through the piece – they are used sparingly and only when the scene calls for their support. For example, when the movie comes to intermittent lulls between the Lola's runs, we are greeted with what can only be described as continuity editing – no jump cuts or montage sequences or cutting so jarring as to make itself known – but these scenes of a private conversation between 2 lovers called for such editing conventions – the same way a fast and moving narrative when Lola is on the run called for much more experimental and jarring cutting techniques. Hence Run Lola Run, can be seen as a rebellious piece of work that bites it finger at classic cinema or possibly as a sign of whats to come in the new trend of narrative and editing conventions of the future – nevertheless a very entertaining movie all the same.

A review of Man with a Movie Camera by Atahan Zugul

One cant but help noticing the glaring similarities between Run Lola Run and Man with a Movie Camera. The use of experimental techniques such as animation, cutting to music, jump cuts, stop motion and montage editing are but a few of the tricks within the film makers hand bag which we are greeted with in this surprisingly interesting movie. Released in 1929 – this film was well ahead of its time in editing techniques – in fact one may go so far as to say it gave birth to the modern music video. The lack of any narrative or script structure is from the get go obvious – even its director Dziga Vertov acknowledges this with the use of a short disclaimer before it begins. However its intended purpose was never to explore narrative or storytelling – rather its an experiment into the use of cinema “at creating a truly international, absolute language of cinema based on its total separation from the language of theater and literature”, Yup sounds like the rantings of a film student whose just graduated from school and works at the local diner – but don't be so short as to throw this title into the bottomless abyss of the cabinet drawer. Although lacking all semblance of a story – this is a very craftily put together piece of film – especially when one acknowledges that it was made in 1929 – its use of cutting to music and montage sequences are all too similar to those adopted by todays music videos and television series. The use of setting rhythm through cutting to the duration of clips is overwhelmingly cleverly used; as are the use of fast cuts and montage. Every attempt is made by the director in exploring the many possibilities film offers us in expressing ourselves through visual images and the manipulation of time and space. And although at times the meaning of sequences of images become almost impenetrable and immersion in the images is broken – at other times the audio and visuals are so well put together and bounce off of each other so seamlessly that it is nothing short of entertaining and deeply moving. Thus Man with a Movie Camera may be seen as an old experimental film by many – but its mastery of the visual language which film offers us and its presentation of this, are nothing short of extraordinary and an absolute joy to watch and learn from.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ahhh Mod 2 stuffs.. here we go peeps


The Blair Witch project was amongst the first productions to embrace the wide range of medias and platforms which define what digital video is. On the one hand, the film/documentary itself was shot on digital camera (and 16mm film in part), which allowed the audience to identify with the characters more easily – giving the production a home movie type appeal and adding to its realistic documentary visual appeal. Secondly the use of an ARG like website used primarily as a marketing device well before the movie was ever finished was to say the least brilliant. For one thing the website acted as exposition for the story of the Blair Witch and heightened suspense for the release of the production. Furthermore it gave audiences insights into the story and allowed them to develop something of an urban-legend amongst themselves whilst filtering information back to the film-makers of what their intended audience was expecting. This only further helped to heighten interest in the project – which was for the time being had formed its own myth and was being perceived as an actual event that had actually occurred to 3 film students. In effect the Blair Witch production had formed a niche audience for itself and instilled it with an urban legend which was still unsolved. In doing so Blair witch aligned itself alongside a very short list of films which had used cross-platform marketing to raise interest in the production whilst forming a community of online peeps who would be loyal fans upon its release.


Visually the site is a mess – gotta say its pretty hard to get around – theres just so much content thats been packed into it like a sardine can, that it makes it unbearable to say the least. However, all the visuals aside, as a concept I think this is a seriously awesome site. It gives budding scriptwriters and film makers a chance to engage a niche audience whom they can get feedback from in order to better hone their skills and improve their craft. Furthermore it provides their material some serious exposure, while at the same time forcing them to review others work – something which would definitely benefit them in doing comparative studies with their own work. A further functionality it offers is keeping these potential employees in the film making community upto date with recent news that would be of interest to them; while allowing them an opportunity to meet other budding artists whom they could possibly collaborate with in future. I think this is a great site just to get exposure and meet new people while using its resources as a test audience for concepts and potential future collaborative projects...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Module 1 Blog Entry - what the heck is digital video?

What is your understanding of Digital Video?

On its initial conception and adoption by artists of the 1920's Film was seen as an experimental media. However over time it has come to draw on many different facets of traditional art, mixing and borrowing from them in developing its own language of expression. It has done so by borrowing from the traditional arts and conforming the principles in them to suit its own media and its boundaries which give it distinction from the traditional arts. And in much the same tradition which its progenitor did so before it Digital Video is doing the same. In the 60's Digital Video was seen as experimental but with the emergence of new technologies, has come to the forefront of mainstream contemporary art. In fact the lines distinguishing Film from Digital Video are everyday becoming more and more blurry as everything seems to be heading towards a digital platform. Current trends seem to try to identify Film and Digital Video as separate entities, however this seems to be a fruitless and frugal act. This is much akin to a traditional painter trying to form a distinction between a flat head brush and a round head brush - both of them are mere tools, but the end product is nevertheless a painting. Much in the same way Digital Video and Film are mere tools of the trade, it is their end result however which is becoming more and more identical; as such trying to find a difference between these two forms of media would in no way further the understanding of this form of media in any discernible way. What separates and distinguishes this form of media from the traditional arts is the addition of a new variable temporal movement, i.e. time. However there is no discernible quality or variable which would distinguish Film from Digital Media; in fact one could go so far as to say: Digital Video is merely the next evolutionary leap of Film.