Monday, November 24, 2014

Movement and Editing

There are a lot of movies about love and a lot of movies about time. But rarely do such movies have a variety of film techniques to make these themes well integrated throughout the movie. However, they are usually diverse in nature. Amelie, Across the Universe, and Vanilla Sky are not films that usually go together. Neither are Snatch, Memento, and Donnie Darko. But both sets of films have common themes within them. The first set all tell stories of love, and the second set revolves around time. All six films are very well made, and use a variety  techniques. However, in the first three films, movement is largely used to convey their message of love, and in the second three, editing is used to great effect to show time. Both techniques are used in all of the films, but movement is more prevalent in some, just as editing is in the others. Through the use of movement and editing respectively, similar themes of love and time were presented in six very different films.

Love is frequently shown in movies with lots of kissing and holding hands and being mushy. In Amelie, it's a little different. Amelie is all about love, but she doesn't show it physically until she meets the man she's been leading on a chase for the entire movie. No, Amelie is clever, and actually for most of the movie is alone except for her friends. But she loves them too.
There is a very nice scene where Amelie uses old letters from her landlady's husband to make a new letter to bring some sort of closure. In that scene, it goes into fast motion when she is cutting the letters and rearranging the words. This movement shows how hard she is working to make everyone around her happy and that she works very fast to do so. By going into fast motion to bring someone joy, Amelie is showing her love for everyone around her. Across the Universe uses the opposite technique to tell a different love story. In the middle of a song, there is a scene where everyone is underwater and naked. The important part, though, is that everybody is moving in slow motion.
It shows everyone's feelings and relationships at the time. In the forefront for most of the time is the main character Jude and his girlfriend Lucy. As they are together in the water, their heads make a heart. Their lack of any real movement shows how in love they are. They don't want to move and disrupt anything. They are very happy to just stay there together. It is a peaceful scene, and it gives the viewer a nice feeling. Jude and Lucy's love makes the scene feel calm, even though the rest of the movie is more chaotic. In Vanilla Sky, the entire movie is chaos as David messes up his dream world. But throughout is the love story he never got to live. David is in a car with his ex-girlfriend. She drives off the road to commit suicide while David is in the car. He is heavily scarred on his face, but still tries to go back to a different girl he met and is falling in love with. He finds Sofia while she is dancing and asks her out.
That scene has a lot of kinetic symbolism because she is dancing and he is limping. Sofia can remain loosely framed to show how free she is, how much she can move, but David stays tightly framed and walks stiffly, because he is trapped within his own body. The fact that she agrees to go out with him shows how powerful their love is, for it can overcome the obstacle of David being scarred and unable to move. Sofia knows that she won't be able to thrive if she is with him, but she is willing to give up that chance for him. Not only in Vanilla Sky but also in Amelie and Across the Universe - everyone finds their someone special. Everyone finds love somewhere. 

Time is a very important part of the world. Everything works on a schedule and everything has a time limit. Snatch is all about time and how little of it they have. Throughout the entire movie, they are worried about how they're going to find a new fighter in time, or if they'll be able to get somewhere fast enough, or being able to steal something and get away successfully. At the very end of the movie, when Bricktop's goons are about to shoot the main characters, there are a lot of things happening simultaneously, shown to the viewer with flashbacks and narrative segmentation.

Mickey's fellow gypsies have taken down the men lying in wait to attack them while Mickey was drawing out his fight to give them more time to fight theirs. This is also an example of parallel editing, how Mickey's fighting matches with the fighting the other gypsies are doing. All of these things give the impression that time has slowed down, when in actuality nothing has changed except everyone getting caught up to speed with everything going on. This feeling of just finding something out that makes the whole movie fall into place is essentially all of Memento. Leonard can't remember further back into the past than about five minutes, so all of Memento is told backwards. With this style of narrative comes some challenges, but the editor of this movie was well up to the task. The opening scene really sets the stage for the rest of the movie.
Someone gets shot in the head and someone else takes a Polaroid snapshot of it. But the key thing here is that the entire scene runs in reverse. This shows how the rest of the movie will be told in small increments and how Leonard sees things. Like the opening shot of the Polaroid developing in reverse, his memories fade after a few moments. This makes time impossible for him to perceive, and through editing, the movie shows this in just a few shots. Donnie Darko has a similar skewed version of time. The entire movie takes place in a tangent universe, a universe that Donnie has to bring to an end in order to save the rest of the universe. The last few seconds of the movie are the same as what happens after the first few minutes. Any piece of this movie can be used to show time because it is a movie about time travel. The biggest proof of the time travel, however, is Frank the giant bunny.
At the end of the movie he is shot in the eye, but for the rest of the movie he is wandering around and guiding Donnie through the tangent universe. The way Frank is edited in the film is interesting because he could be a figment of Donnie's imagination. The viewer doesn't know for sure that Frank is real until the very end, when he appears as a regular dude and not the mysterious guide he has been for the entire film. Frank is the best way to show time throughout the film because he is an important part of time for the whole thing. He tells Donnie when the world is going to end and he is one of the most helpful characters in the movie when it comes to the time travelling. Though Donnie Darko presented the most complicated time, all three of the films used the concept of time well through their editing.

All six of the movies - Amelie, Across the Universe, Vanilla Sky, Snatch, Memento, and Donnie Darko - used a variety of film techniques with regard to movement or editing to show the message of either love or time. A well-made film with a message like love or time can connect all sorts of movies. Most people would never consider grouping these six movies into these two groups, but it is possible because of how they were made. With common techniques and common themes, these movies are more alike than at first glance. 

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