November 25, 2003
Assignments for Next Week
Handouts for this Week
Lesson for This Week
Tonight we are going to devote some time to a discussion
of filmmaking of the type that I have been ignoring for this entire
semester (with one exception) -- what is commonly called "experimental
film" (though that is a designation with which Stan Brakhage
would strongly disagree).
first film, a nine minute short by Charles and Ray Eames is POWERS
OF TEN. It is a lyrical and interesting study of relative size.
Created in 1968 it is one of a large number of architecturally interesting
film that the Eames created for the IBM Corporation in the 50s and
60s which tried to take abstract concepts and make them live for
the average human being. As usual, they combined still photographs
and live action, a score by Elmer Bernstein and a narrator to explain
concepts in an entertaining way. This footage is all about contrast.
Another Eames film which bears watching is SX-70,, a film
created to publicize the then-new Polaroid SX-70 camera. The two
montage sequences use dissolves and a straightforward organization
of material to show the myriad of uses that people in all walks
of life could have for the camera.
Here is a quote about POWERS OF TEN from an article
written by D.T. Max, from the short-lived first issue of FUSE magazine.
The film shows, among
other things, how scale can be used to organize information and
experience. The visual result is pure poetry. Powers of Ten
is also a way of thinking about connections. It makes you realize
the relation between the very small and the very large, the microscopic
and the cosmic -- what we cannot see because it is too small and
what we cannot understand because it is too large. Ultimately,
the film is an enactment of our ceaseless quest to relate other
scales to the human scale.
These films are very hard to get rent. Try Vidiots
or, if you'd like to order the DVD from Amazon.com, click on the
film's picture to get to their order page for this title. The DVD
includes several other films besides POWERS OF TEN. They also have
several other Eames collections.
If there is time we will take a look at MK12's short
film about Brazilian machismo MACHO BOX..
At various times, while teaching the lesson on Experimental films, I've
used different films as examples than the two films I used this year.
I've also used Stan Brakhage's seminal DOG STAR MAN and Mark Gustafson's
MR. RESISTOR. Click
here to see the discussions on those two films.
- CRIMSON TIDE Script
- This is the same 17 page PDF file that was handed out two weeks
ago. Note that this is a early version of the script, so it varies
from the footage that you have, which was rewritten on set.
- CRIMSON TIDE Additional
- This is a list of the additional material -- both picture, sound
effects, and music that you will be receiving this and next week
in order to complete your final CRIMSON TIDE project.
- POWERS OF TEN script/planning
- This is the sheet that Ray and Charles Eames used to plan out the
first part of their film POWERS OF TEN, which we might see tonight.
It is as organized as a script. In fact, it is a script. This is how
the Library of Congress catalog describes the film.
Sally Potter talks about Hervé
Schneid's work on THE TANGO LESSON
Potter appreciates certain things about what Schneid brings to the
process. She is by no means alone in what she likes in an editor.
The Psychology of the Cutting Room
The internal dynamics of an editing room are discussed in this article
from the ACE magazine by Edgar Burcksen, who sounds like he was a bit
too feisty for a long while at the start of his career.
Powers of Ten: A Film Dealing with the Relative Size of Things
in the Universe and the Effect of Adding Another Zero. The ultimate
Eamesian expression of systems and connections, Powers of Ten (1977,
first version 1968) explores the relative size of things from the
microscopic to the cosmic. With the camera pulling back at the rate
of 10/10 meters per second, the film travels from an aerial view of
a man in a Chicago park to the outer limits of the universe directly
above him and back down into the microscopic world contained in the
man's hand. Powers of Ten illustrates the universe as an arena of
both continuity and change, of everyday picnics and cosmic mystery.
Powers of Ten also demonstrates the Eameses' ability to make science
both fascinating and accessible to the lay person.
- Cut Scene 113 from CRIMSON TIDE
- This is a new scene from our final project. In fact, it is the
final scene in the sequence that you will be editing. As such, it
culmination of the tension that has been unfolding between our two
lead players -- Bear (Gene Hackman) and Hunter (Denzel Washington).
Next week, in addition to a new scene, you will also be receiving
all of the interstitial scenes, precut as they exist in the finished
This week, you are also getting a CD
with sound effects and music (four cues from the actual soundtrack
to CRIMSON TIDE, as written by Hans Zimmer). You do not need to use
sound effects this week, but I would like you to start working the
music into the scene. Note that the four music cuts are long.
Click here to see the
contents of the disk.
- Study for the quiz next week
- The test, made up of 25 short questions -- either multiple choice,
fill-in, or short answers -- will be based primarily on our textbook,
thought there will be a few questions that anyone who's been paying
attention in class should be able to figure out. One thing you should
consider, in addition to reviewing all of the text, is looking over
the glossary for the book. Some of the questions will test your
of terminology and you'll find pretty much everything you need to
know there. In fact it's a damned good glossary, if I must say so
myself. As for the quiz itself, I'm going to try doing it open book
(Page will open in a new window. Close window to return
On Avant-Garde Film
- Fred Camper, who compiled the Stan Brakhage Sites On The Web below,
has a number of his writings on various Avant Garde filmmakers on
the web. They are all in reference to particular filmmakers, but are
fascinating nonetheless. There are also links to the webring for avant
garde filmmaking. Webrings are collections of web sites devoted to
the same topic -- in this case avant garde film -- that are all linked
Brakhage Sites On The Web
- Stan Brankhage was a seminal filmmaker (he died on March 9, 2003)
without whom there would probably be no MTV, as we know it today.
Articles on his works, as well as a large number of obituaries, can
be found on this site.
with Ken Jacobs, film artist
- Ken Jacobs, a long time experimental filmmaker, sat down at UC Berkeley
in 1999 for an interview on his thought processes and techniques.
Happening This Week In Avant-Garde Cinema
- A rather comprehensive list of avant garde/experimental films screening
that week. It's cool that it's still happening out there -- in this
packaged cinema world.
Short Film By Maya Deren and Sasha Hamid
- A clip from "Meshes of the Afternoon", a short film by
experimental film legend Maya Deren and Alexander Hamid, who later
moved into making sponsored and exposition films with Francis Thompson.
If this loads too slowly, there is a link to a smaller version of
A Web Site For Experimental Filmmakers
- This site is a link for many experimental filmmakers, with places
for them to advertise their works and display images from them.
List Of Musical and Dance Films
- Filmsite, as the last page of a three-page survey of film musicals
put together this list of influential and worth musical and dance
films. This is part of a larger
site with surveys divided into 25 major genres (very well divided
up, if I may say so). They also have accumulated a number of Greatest
lists, including the Greatest Films, Greatest Directors (and their
films), Greatest Film Moments (they include for instance, the subjective
point-of-view camera angles in the stalking of Jamie Lee Curtis in
HALLOWEEN, and the sequence of the ticking clocks in HIGH NOON that
we looked at several weeks ago), and my personal favorite -- the 100
Most Influential People In The History Of Movies (number one is WK
Laurie Dickson, the inventor of the Kinetophonograph, called the true
"Father" of film). Their list
of favorite scenes from recent films, 1970s-1990s, includes some