Monday, December 2, 2013

My Creation of The Road

If I were to make a movie of The Road, I probably would make a lot of stylistic decisions that would be artistically significant but make the movie hard to enjoy. For example, I would put no music in the movie. It would be a way to convey to the viewer at least some sense of the post apocalyptic world. Scenes would be slow and tiring and last a long time because I would want time to become meaningless to the viewer as well as make the viewer empathize with the characters by also feeling bored and fatigued watching my movie. The scenes of the man and the boy travelling and pushing their cart would be slow with the only noise being from their footsteps and the carts tires. It would last a long time and the only camera change would be if something catches their attention.
The scene where they escape from the cannibals would be quick blurry and panicked. Not much would be seen. Again, the only sound would be diagetic.
My mise-en-scenes would usually be nothing but broken pieces of society. I'd throw in an old bottle and a faded billboard here and there to remind the viewer that it is not a different world but a completely altered version of the world they currently live in.

The Road: The Son

The son spends a lot of time learning about the new world and being shielded by his father. He learns a lot about human nature and how people act out of self-interest. The son also takes after his dad in many ways, most notably his aura of selflessness. The Father acts selfless towards the son so therefore the son emulates him and acts selfless towards other people. His world is different in the way that he inherently trusts other people while the father does not. The son only knows the people they've met on the road and therefore has little insight as to how people acted before the apocalypse. This could be a valid reason as to why he is more trusting than the father because the people they meet on the road are shells of civilized human beings and have all varied greatly in how much danger they present.

The Road: The Father

I believe that The Father is Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy grew up in a nice part of tennessee with all of his siblings. He married in college and then dropped out. He moved to an incredibly impoverished area and had a son. Cormac went from living comfortable to living in poverty. His wife soon left him just like the wife in The Road and the son only knew poverty his entire life. I believe that The Road is semi-autobiographical. The world of The Road is modeled after the world that McCarthy spent his post-college years in. The Father tries to make the world seem better for his son. He convinces his son that they are different from the rest of the survivors. All he wants is what's best for his son and he's willing to fabricate things about the world and sacrifice parts of himself for his son's well-being.

The Road: Literal World

Cormac McCarthy, when talking about the world, seems to always emphasize that it is nothing but a shell of what the world once was. There are small reminders that make the father and the son see glimpses into the old world. It's bleak and it's very foreign. A quote that describes the world beautifully is on page 88-89:
"The world shrinking down about a raw core of parsible entities. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true. More fragile than he thought. How much was gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of its reality."
Basically to summarize this passage, things that people concerned themselves with in the old world are dying or already don't exist. Things that used to be important don't matter. What was once an idiom, is now just a combination of fragmented words with barely any meaning. It's a good insight into how the father sees everything because he's the character who has experienced both worlds and he understands how drastic the change has been. He's the most reliable when it comes to analyzing the new world. McCarthy uses examples and metaphors to describe very big themes and then wraps them up with a literal translation of what he's trying to describe.

The Road: Dreams

In The Road, Cormac McCarthy uses dreams to communicate how well the characters are persisting in their journey on the road. An important quote to take note of is on page 18 when the father says: "The right dreams for a man in peril were dreams of peril and all else was the call of languor and of death." The father is telling the son to take a sort of comfort in nightmares because it means that he has not given up and will continue to fight for his life. If he started having good dreams, that would be a cause for alarm because that would mean that he has slumped into a state of indifference and would be willing to accept any fate. This continues to show up as the characters are thrown into situations that really test their will to survive. One of the most significant occurrences is when the man has a flashback of himself talking to his wife. His wife tells him that "women dream of danger to those in those in their care and men of danger to themselves." She continues to say that she has become hopeless and therefore given up dreaming altogether. She has stopped using dreams as a form of escapism and accepted her fate in the new world. She commits suicide shortly afterwards.
The boy and the man refer to dreams in the same way. The man sometimes dreams of the old world and the boy has no experience in the old world to base his dreams off of yet they both accept the fact that nightmares are a good sign.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Frames

Stitches, as a graphic novel has shown me that there are certain aspects of the story that are impossible to describe using just words. A standard novel leaves a lot of the imagery open to interpretation for the reader. Stitches manages to convey a lot of emotion using it's illustrations and leaves little open for interpretation. On my first read-through of Stitches, I barely paid attention to the illustrations and just focused on the words. I went back a re-read it, paying much closer attention to all the illustrations. I came away with almost an entirely different story. The art style, the size of the frames, the coloring, the organization all contribute to the story. I will talk about art style and and coloring later in the Images post. The sizing and the organization, however, were incredibly descriptive in a way much subtler than what I'm used to reading.
Any time an event is overwhelming for David or a particularly emotionally draining moment, the frame is big and draws a lot of attention to show how meaningful it is to David. The size of the image on 190 is important because it represents a new defining feature for David. He doesn't know how to react to his new appearance and is naturally frightened. Another example of this is on 58 and 59 when the bullies see him and start chasing him. David was obviously overwhelmed and scared by these older kids and it is conveyed through a larger frame.
More than just overwhelming, it can also show how meaningful a certain event can be for David. Page 63 is significant because it shows David's doodles as a form of escapism. It portrays him crawling through a tunnel to go play with all his creations and it takes up the entire page because it shows how important it is to him to escape his bad situation in his mind.
Certain frames are smaller and organized in a certain way to convey a sort of panic or just restlessness. On page 91, there are numerous frames of David getting dragged up the stairs. It creates a panic for the reader by having him constantly changing frames. It's more unsettling to read nine suspenseful frames than one big one that draws the entire picture.
It's arguable that the frames of the novel could describe just as much as words can in a subtler more subconscious way. Rather than saying "David was panicked", the author chose to piece together multiple small frames to trick the mind into feeling panicked. It made the story unlike any other story I've read because it was much less overt and used organization and size of frames as a story-telling method.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Minority Report Scene Analysis: Picture #27

This shot is taken from the part of the movie where Jad, Fletcher, and Danny are trying to pinpoint Anderton's position. This shot is a medium three-shot because it's about waist height and there are three actors. It could actually potentially be a three-and-a-half shot because you can see John Anderton looming in the top right corner of their transparent computer monitor. The motif of thirds shows up here as well as various other moments throughout the movie. Besides the three cops, there are the three members of John Anderton's family, the three witnesses to the crimes, the three pre-cogs etc. Opacity, translucency, and transparency are also reoccurring visual motifs. In this scene, the audience is looking through the transparent computer screen at the three policemen. The color scheme is fairly consistently gloomy throughout the whole film and this scene is not extraneous to that. This scene might be considered a high-angle shot because the camera is looking down on the policemen from above the computer.

This scene also plays off of my favorite quote in the entire movie when John says "you don't have to chase me", and Fletcher says "you don't have to run." At it's most basic level of analysis, this film deals in ideas of free-will. That little exchange between Fletcher and John speaks greatly to Spielbergs idea of free-will. The idea that you don't have to do anything, yet John still runs and Fletcher still chases him.