Im working on a Film question and need guidance to help me study.
The Assignment: Please demonstrate your knowledge of the influence of Welles by citing an example of a trick shot from both The Best Years of Our Lives AND a modern film. Please also post a link from the modern film example to show your point. This assignment is not a lengthy writing exercise and should be easily done in less than a page.
Please note one trick shot (deep focus, long tracking shot ( see here for examples of long, unbroken shots), fast/slow motion photography, long zoom, use of mirrors, etc.) in the film “The Best Years of Our Lives” and, more importantly, a recent movie. What is really helpful is when you can link an example of the shot via a YouTube URL or other means. For example, check out some showmanship filmmaking in this trailer (Links to an external site.)
for the picture “Requiem for a Dream”. If you are slightly confused about what to look for in a movie for your analysis, let me help. The idea is that there are tons of really creative “trick” shots in modern movies that originated in how Welles and Tolland thought movies should look like. Think about City Lights, It Happened One Night or Casablanca. They are shot very straightforwardly with the camera simply capturing the action. Welles and Tolland changed all that by creating the idea of a showman director who will do tricks with the camera that create a whole different experience for the audience that they could never get, say, from watching a stage play. A trick shot is NOT a pan or a tilt or wind blowing through somebodys hair. Nor is it a stunt. It is a shot unlike others because it uses highly creative visual imagination and great skill to accomplish. A long, unbroken take
can qualify as can the creative use of split screening, fast/slow motion, shooting through walls (here
combined with a long shot) As discussed, Orson Welles created the whole trick shot showcase in Citizen Kane. Look at the opening of this shot (Links to an external site.)
as the camera soars over the rooftop, through a sign, through glass and finally descending down into a close up. That is one trick shot. Or here
where we pull through a wall via the open window and then continue to see the action both inside and outside. There are many other director stunts such as going for long stretches of no dialogue that are also common in film. Consider this clip
, here we have all kinds of trick photography such as slow motion and
fast motion, stylized costuming, stylized color correction, etc. It is
an artistic leap way beyond It Happened One Night and is a direct child of Welles’ concepts of what a movie could and should be.
Now for a sample analysis:
Children of Men makes use of the long tracking shot throughout the entire movie. The long takes give the film a real time feel and make the scenes seem more dramatic. There are scenes throughout the movie that go for more than two minutes without cutting. My favorite scene is where the heroes are trying to escape with the pregnant girl but are attacked. The entire car chase scene is film in one shot even with the car escaping in reverse. This (Links to an external site.) is the longest clip I could find but the actual scene in the movie continues.
(There is more to this analysis where it cites The Best Years of Our Lives but I cut it so as to not give away a scene from that movie to you)
The influence of Welles is all over film, it should not be hard to find some really fascinating examples! Try to have some fun with this one.
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