June 13th, 2013

the mechanism of moviemaking

An interesting look at how soundtrack production fits into the mechanism of moviemaking (in this case for Star Trek: Into Darkness).

December 4th, 2011

forgone chaos

An interview with Rem Koolhaas in De Standaard. Lots of interesting ideas about architecture, filmmaking, East/West philosophies and the individual, celebrity…

Dat alles zo geregeld is, dat geldt toch vooral voor het welvarende westerse deel van de wereld?

‘Dat is zo. Dat is het bijzondere van mijn vroege ervaringen in Indonesië. Je hebt al jong ervaren hoe er in andere delen van de wereld geleefd wordt. Het was een chaos en dat was vanzelfsprekend. Daar werd verder geen oordeel over geveld. Ik heb tot mijn twaalfde op zes verschillende scholen gezeten. Nu zou het bijna als een misdaad worden gezien, maar mij heeft het veel gebracht. Talent voor organisatie, openstaan voor mogelijkheden, gretigheid voor het nieuwe.’

Verlangt u terug naar die chaos?

‘Ik lijd niet aan nostalgie.’

Wat voor jongen was u op de middelbare school?

‘Een van de vreemde dingen is dat ik door mijn ervaring in Azië niet zo aan mezelf denk als een ik. Het is niet dat ik de vraag wil ontvluchten. Het is meer dat ik geen westers persoon ben met een duidelijk afgebakend ik.’

‘Toen ik op de middelbare school zat, las ik alles van Dostojevski. Ik begon in film geïnteresseerd te raken, in kunst. School was bijzaak.’

Het individuele is te belangrijk in dit deel van de wereld?

‘Het is niet productief. Het is een obstakel om, eh, de manier waarop ik architect ben en bouw… (Hij tekent met een blauwe balpen vierkantjes op een vel papier.) Het is niet mijn ik dat bouwt en waar anderen dan een relatie mee moeten hebben. Het is: een vormeloze massa die iets wil bereiken en waar ik een onderdeel van ben. Dat heb ik aan Indonesië overgehouden. Ik zag al snel dat die opstelling me grote vrijheden gaf. De openheid, het permanent rekening houden met de andere kant. Ik ben vroeg doordrongen geraakt van het feit dat het Westen niet alles is.’

Waarom ging u in 1972 naar New York?

Opeens monter: ‘Ik had het gevoel dat er met New York iets te doen viel. Ik was geïnteresseerd in moderne architectuur en in Europa waren er vooral manifesten, geen realiseringen. In de VS, of in elk geval in New York, was het andersom: geen manifesten, wel realiseringen. Maar zoals ik dat nu zeg, zo had ik het toen nog niet doorgrond. Er was alleen dat gevoel dat ik daar iets kon doen.’

Hoe is het om ‘stararchitect’ te zijn?

‘Mensen kunnen zich niet meer voorstellen dat een normaal persoon de rol van architect kan vervullen. Ze willen dat je een celebrity bent. Vervolgens is iedere poging tot echte communicatie gedoemd om te mislukken.’

Waarom willen mensen dat?

‘Het is een effect van de markteconomie. Belangstelling voor ideeën heeft plaatsgemaakt voor aanbidding van roem.’

Wilt u dat dan ook het liefst als architect: kunnen doen wat u wilt?

‘Nee. Ik geloof in de tegendruk van de opdrachtgever. Dat meen ik oprecht. Door tegenstand kom je tot betere dingen. Of door samenwerking. Je kunt dit vak niet doen zonder dat andere mensen willen wat jij wilt.’

More here. Thanks Arnaud for the heads-up. The last point reminds me of this quote from Panamarenko.

September 14th, 2011

the zeigarnik effect vs procrastination

Psyblog:

One of the simplest methods for beating procrastination in almost any task was inspired by busy waiters.

It’s called the Zeigarnik effect after a Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik (above left), who noticed an odd thing while sitting in a restaurant in Vienna. The waiters seemed only to remember orders which were in the process of being served. When completed, the orders evaporated from their memory.

Zeigarnik went back to the lab to test out a theory about what was going on. She asked participants to do twenty or so simple little tasks in the lab, like solving puzzles and stringing beads (Zeigarnik, 1927). Except some of the time they were interrupted half way through the task. Afterwards she asked them which activities they remembered doing. People were about twice as likely to remember the tasks during which they’d been interrupted than those they completed.

What does this have to do with procrastination? I’ll give you another clue…

Read further at psyblog.

June 5th, 2011

yes it was my camera, and there was very little they could do about it

Woody Allen taking the cake for smartassery in a 1971 interview.

May 15th, 2011

die toten seelen

I like especially 01:34 to 04:40.

From Wim Wenders’ Falsche Bewegung (1975).

April 27th, 2011

pure cinema / 6.18.67

At the end of his tenture at USC, 24-year-old George Lucas went to Arizona to follow the production of the western, McKenna’s Gold for three months. He made this short visual tone-poem while there.

16.18.67

Pure Cinema is the film theory and practice whereby movie makers create a more emotionally intense experience using autonomous film techniques, as opposed to using stories, characters, or actors.

Unlike nearly all other fare offered via celluloid, pure cinema rejects the link and the character traits of artistic predecessors such as literature or theatre. It declares cinema to be its own independent art form that should not borrow from any other. As such, “pure cinema” is made up of nonstory, noncharacter films that convey abstract emotional experiences through unique cinematic devices such as montage (the Kuleshov Effect), camera movement and camera angles, sound-visual relationships, super-impositions and other optical effects, and visual composition.

Pure cinema.

April 26th, 2011

if you find exiting exciting

If you find exiting exciting then you’ll love this early Lumiere Bros footage.

March 14th, 2011

the wisdom of hysteria

February 16th, 2011

LOVE / HATE

February 4th, 2011

down here on earth

The Galaxy Song from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

February 2nd, 2011

Sátántangó

Hungarian director Béla Tarr’s film Sátántangó has a running time of over seven hours. Thankfully that’s not the only remarkable thing about it.

January 8th, 2011

the closet scenario

A closet scenario or closet screenplay “is a screenplay intended not to be produced/performed but instead to be read by a solitary reader or, sometimes, out loud in a small group”. Wiki.

From Friedrich Schiller’s Preface to his Die Räuber (a closet drama):

This play is to be regarded merely as a spectacular narrative in which, for the purpose of tracing out the innermost workings of the soul, advantage has been taken of dramatic modes, without otherwise conforming to the stringent rules of theatrical composition or seeking the dubious advantage of stage production. … A greater amount of incident is crowded together in this play than was possible to confine within the narrow limits prescribed by Aristotle and Batteux … And for this reason, I would have been ill-advised to attempt bringing my drama to the stage.

Kevin Alexander Boon in Script Culture and the American Screenplay:

Whether or not a screenplay is ultimately produced (read: performed) is a matter of consequence, not necessity.

These quotes head an article by one Quimby Melton, discussing closet dramas and closet screenplays, called Production’s “Dubious Advantage”.

November 25th, 2010

I’m afraid not, Moochie.

Thanks Thaïs for bringing this to my attention.

November 12th, 2010

creative obsession


“Achieving the end of the exercise was never the point of the exercise to begin with, was it?”

Adam Savage has some beautiful obsessions, and he’s clearly very proud of his fanaticism.

October 18th, 2010

no sympathy for falling ants

Biomechanics @ wiki:

If an animal were scaled up by a considerable amount, its muscular strength would be severely reduced since the cross section of its muscles would increase by the square of the scaling factor while their mass would increase by the cube of the scaling factor. As a result of this, cardiovascular functions would be severely limited.

In the case of flying animals, their wing loading would be increased if they were scaled up, and they would therefore have to fly faster to gain the same amount of lift. Air resistance per unit mass is also higher for smaller animals, which is why a small animal like an ant cannot die by falling from any height.

As was elucidated by Haldane, large animals do not look like small animals: an elephant cannot be mistaken for a mouse scaled up in size. The bones of an elephant are necessarily proportionately much larger than the the bones of a mouse, because they must carry proportionately higher weight. Because of this, the giant animals seen in horror movies (e.g., Godzilla) are unrealistic, as their sheer size would force them to collapse. However, it’s no coincidence that the largest animals in existence today are giant aquatic animals, because the buoyancy of water negates to some extent the effects of gravity. Therefore, sea creatures can grow to very large sizes without the same musculoskeletal structures that would be required of similarly sized land creatures.

I’d guessed it was something to do with the scaling of physical laws. But here it is explained rather elegantly.

I’d love to see a biomechanically accurate Godzilla.

October 6th, 2010

revolution 909

I like this music video (Roman Coppola, 1996). The track is Revolution 909 by Daft Punk.

Finding this video was a happy accident. I was looking for information about Sofia Coppola’s new film (Somewhere), when I found myself on a wikipedia trail. I was surprised to learn Francis Ford Coppola’s family tree contains not only his famous offspring, directors Sofia and Roman Coppola, but also Nicholas Cage and Jason Schwarzman, who are Francis Ford’s nephews and therefore the cousins of Sofia and Roman. And there are more Hollywood names in the tree.

October 3rd, 2010

it was a fauxcellarm

If you think you hear your phone ringing but find you’re mistaken, then it was just a fauxcellarm. Equally, if you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket, only to discover your phone is lying silently on the table, it could also be described as fauxcellarm or ringxiety. I applaud whomever came up with these terms to describe phantom ringing (wiki).

The phenomenon can be a simple mishearing or it could have a psychosomatic origin:

An intense “need” for contact, such as experienced during involuntary extended isolation may produce a similar effect although not explicitly named as such.

An example of this is shown in the 1971 movie “The Omega Man” at ~8m:20s where Robert Neville (played by Charlton Heston) — obviously entirely alone in a large city for several years — hears all the phones around him ring at once, but then reminds himself that “… There is no phone ringing, damnit!” at ~8m:55s as he cowers exhibiting something between shame and anger.

The New York Times has an article about the phenomenon from 2006.

August 21st, 2010

the earth is round but everything on it is flat

This video — a clip from the musical Gigi— is part of Slate magazine’s fun little round-up of the ways Hollywood represents foreign characters/locations on screen.

We tend to take language for granted; how foreign speech is handled in film shapes our experience as viewers, usually without our knowing it. The accompanying slide show explores the various ways that filmmakers negotiate foreign speech, highlighting those films that approach the problem as an opportunity to deepen the story.

See more examples at Slate.






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