Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Expression and Movement


a)age young-adult/young-adult
b)sex male/female
c)type of movement to mimic: penguin/snake/penguin/snake
d)adjective adventurous/timid
1. whats going on in the characters mind? life is boring/ life is great
2. whats going on while they are interacting with the ball? this is awesome/we are gonna die
3. whats going on after they interacting with the ball? well that was fun/ thank god its gone.

Narration Presentation

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reaction to Experimental Films

In class we watched a bunch of experimental films including a few by Brakhage. Although I can understand from all of the readings and class discussions the interesting structural elements that help to construct these pieces as well as the unique visual components of the work, I really struggle when it comes to purely enjoying the films from the perspective of a viewer. Out of all of the pieces, I enjoyed the one that Brakhage did during the time that he was living with his in-laws, having a new child and struggling with money. The film was a struggle to watch and I can understand the visual friction that he created when I think about the work in terms of his life. I guess that if I think about these films not as films but more as art objects, I can feel more comfortable talking about them. I almost feel like this is some sort of flaw with me. In college, as an art history major, everyone who I was in class with really enjoyed these films and to me, I just drew a blank. As I said, I got them conceptually but when I just watched them I felt a void. Maybe that this struggle I feel with the disharmony between what I see and what I know is a part of the experience. Maybe with time I will have an A-ha! moment.


The character development and narrative of Amélie is structured through an elaborate rhythmic system of lists. The film opens with a narration that is declarative while demonstrating the cadence of a sporting announcement. Each line that is spoken to in the introduction sounds like a shopping list of things that happened on a particular day. The technique is so interesting because it allows the narrator to communicate to the audience who the character of Amélie is in terms of her background, what the setting of the film is, who the supporting cast of characters are and begins to build the viewer’s curiosity about what kind of journey this character will be taking in her life. In addition to the verbal lists that are established at the onset of the film, the director has beautifully crafted visual as well as audible lists for the viewer. Every frame of the film seems to have a strong base color of red or green and then subtle colors pop out in front of those colors, like a layered palette, forcing the viewer to take in each element of the scene individually. The importance of each visual element becomes apparent through this system. You see a scene flooded with every kind of green, from the water to the trees, to the bridge (almost like a Monet painting) and then, strongly sitting on the bridge in the foreground is Amélie skipping stones in her red dress. It’s a strongly composed image, but also quite compelling and focusing. To top off this already emotionally charged set up, the director added the list- like element of the sound. Each individual sound is layered upon the other, in the same way that the colors are revealed. In the scene where Amélie sees her love interest for the first time, you hear her footsteps approaching him, then you hear the action of what he is doing (scrapping under a photo booth), you hear the counter sound of her breath being taken away from her and then you hear her footsteps moving away into the distance with speed. The sounds remind me of how when you play a xylophone you bang onto each key and the let the sound resonate until a new key is hit. All of the individual notes are heard clearly, but the resonance and juxtaposition of the notes creates a song. The dialogue of the film continues in this list- like structure. When characters tell stories about their lives to each other, they list events and anecdotes but in a very rhythmic manner. Although the film does have a very strong narrative and progression, I am reminded of the reading that we did on experimental film and how a director can successfully evoke a mood or emotion by emphasizing a sound or rhythm via repetition. In the film, even the quirky book of photobooth pictures which are an obsessive collection act as a sort of list or compilation of items that serve as both an activity within the story as an extension of the love interest’s character. While Amélie is a love story and a personal journey, I feel that the reason that the story is so successful is that feelings of love, uncertainty and hope are established to the point that they resonate with the viewer. The movie ultimately becomes about representing a feeling. I find myself personally very connected to the film because I can relate to the protagonist. I am a list maker. I am sometimes looked at as neurotic and I think that I use lists as a tool to organize myself and shield myself from the unpredictability of life. I think that the story uses lists in a similar way. The parts of the film that slow down and are almost silent are the areas where Amélie truly develops as a character and the story moves forward. This is because it is a moment to breathe and let things happen as they are- with out manipulation or structuring systems. I guess that this balance between the “list-like” moments and breaths of air would be considered themes and variations. The end result is an intensely layered network of sounds, words, colors and textures.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Presentation_ Portrait Project

Film Art_ Experimental Film

I like this reading because although I am personally a more literal creator, I really appreciate experimental film and the emotive qualities that it can produce in a completely different way than more traditional methods of film making. I think it takes a lot to accept experimental film making because aside from all of the theory and techniques the most important thing is that the concept is exceptionally strong. This is because the concept is the guiding principle of the entire work.

Some Notes:
Experimental films are made to - express personal experiences or viewpoints
- express a mood or quality
- explore the medium
Experimental films sometimes use narrative form.
In abstract form the entire film is organized around the changing pictorial qualities of line, color, shape, size and movement of images
Abstract films are organized by themes and variations
rhythm of editing is as important as the rhythm of movement

Associational formal systems- suggest ideas and expressive qualities by grouping images that may not have any immediate logical connection.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Readings Closure and Narrative

I was really interested in the reading on Closure. In my narrative strategies class we had to write short stories. Everyone in class had trouble with their endings. Some people in the class left their endings very open and others had a specific event that closed their stories. In the class we are studying Aristotle's Poetics and exploring narrative structures that are (this particular reading implied) conventional. There is definitely room for an open ended story but somehow in the context of my Narrative Strategies class it just felt really uncomfortable. In this reading, the importance of the cohesiveness of the story really came through to me. Even if your ending doesn't have closure, it can still be a valid ending if the story is cohesive from beginning to end.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mapping Project

For my project I took the concept of the geography of the body and explored ways to map personal stories. I am interested in scarring and how scars are used to tell stories. My mapping is both emotional and time based. The story that is revealed as whole becomes a story of the woman's life. Here are some images of my project which do not do justice to the actual project.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Narrative as a Formal System and McCloud Reading

In the reading from Film Art, the chapter 'Narrative as a Formal System' presented many familiar concepts. I feel that a lot of this reading that I am doing on the topic of narrative for my major studio class and my narrative strategies class has pretty obvious information, however the terminology and cohesive study of the material which formalizes a system to speak collectively about it is new to me. The terms that stick out to me from this reading are:

- parallelism- 'setting up a similiarity among different elements'
- diegesis-'the total world of the story's action'
- causal motivation- determining the cause of an incident
- temporal order- arrangement of events in time
- the exposition-'the portion of the plot that lays out important story events and character traits in the opening situation'

On a side note, even though my group is presenting on the chapter about Time Frames in Scott McCloud's book, I came across this video on storyboarding where some Disney artist's compare it to comics at one point.