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“Look like we’re spanning time together”

Wow … i recently saw Buffalo 66 and i have to say that i loved the movie.   The main character in the film, Billy Brown who is also the Director and writer of the film does an amazing job. the Film is about a Young adult who has been let out of jail and immediately kip naps a young women named  Layla ( Christina Ricci) and tells her that she must pretend to be his girlfriend in front of his parents or he’ll slit her throat. Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo)  is first seen a psychotic person but soon enough out perception of him changes once with met the unstable parents he has. Once we meet Billy brown’s parents begin to see that some of the problem Billy has as  an adult is a direct result of his parents lack of love for their child. the mother is a passionate Buffalo Bills fan, but i mean this women is a die hard fan much like all buffalo fans are, anyways the mother goes on to say that she has never missed a game of the Buffalo Bill except the day Billy was Born.  She then says” i Wish i never had him”   At the parents house during the dinner table we see moment of flashback into billy childhood we learn why he went away to jail, turns out billy placed a bet and had no money to cover his loss.  the bookie played my mickey rourke tells him to confess to a crime his friend is accused of and serve the time.

The movie is interesting because the director ignores the principle rules of cinema by  totally ignoring the 180 degree rule, shooting the back of actors heads while there talking ,and in some scenes not having the actor in the center of the frame.  i think  Vincent Gallo, the director, does this on purpose and makes a film without any rules that visually makes no sense to represent the dysfunction of billy’s family and life.

Billy’s character has some serious issues in the movie but Layla the girl who he has kid napped sees right through all his issues and sees billy for the man he is.  there relationship evolves throughout the film.. i would recommend for everyone to watch this film, it is a great film, interesting and bit weird, but what keeps you engaged in the film. If anyone has seen this film comment me back, i would love to hear your thoughts on the film.

Buffalo 66 See it !!!

Meshes of Wacky Land

Meshes of the afternoon is a great short film of the American avant-garde time.  Every time i watch this short film i try to figure out exactly whats going on. i have come to the conclusion that the short is about Maya’s nightmares and what we see is her inner thoughts while shes sleeping.  we begin to enter her dream when we see the camera track back into the long tube like shape and after that i have no idea what’s going on.  In some ways  meshes of the afternoon could be scary and frightening, i remember the first time that i watched it, i was some what scared of the black caped person with the mirror as their face, imagine seeing that in your nightmare…Oh BOY! not for me, i would wake up right away. the soundtrack of the short also adds a creepy feeling by the manner in which is goes out and in repeatedly.

I’m always amazed at the visual effects that are in meshes of the afternoon, i gotta say that Maya Deren was some what ahead of her time with the special effects. there is one scene that i can’t understand … huh who am i kidding most the scenes i cant make sense of. However one in particular also comes to mind, which is the scene where Maya daren looks likes shes flying down the stairs, I would love to ask her how she created some of the special effects in her short film.  Another question i would love to ask her is, What was her motivation or how the idea sparked up for creating meshes of the afternoon? Did she actually have a dream like that ? that would be interesting.

Film Analysis 2 “Le Jetee”

The Film La Jetee by Chris maker is a film that was created during the French new wave cinema.  This was a time in French cinema history when filmmakers were exploring a different way of making cinema and at the same time expressing their artist abilities.  The new wave of cinema in France began in the late 1950’s and evolved throughout the 60’s, this new artist  style could not have be possible without the  surrealist films of the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Many of the famous directors of the New wave which include Godard, Rivette, Rohmer, Chabrol, and Maker believed in the aesthetics of mise-en-scene over montage.  These directors of the new wave did not see themselves are a filmmaker or a director of the crew, but they saw themselves are artist, just like a famous painter would.  These directors were firm believers that directors could be auteurs, a director whom was an artist with a style and a vision.  Auteurs that come to mind of present day cinema would be Martin Scorsese, he is director that always has a style and certain aura to his film and in many ways Scorsese is an expressionist.

The New wave of Cinema was different and premiered never before seen style of films. Critics during era expressed that the new types of film was a revolt against the film their father’s used to watch, which in many ways was true.  New styles of films emerged that include never before seen styles of filmmaker for example, Chris Maker’s Film La Jetee; a short film composed of all still images followed with a soundtrack and voiceover narration.  Other stylistic techniques associated with the new wave were jumps cuts, direct address, slow motion, and direct sound.

The film La jetee is a film that was made during the new wave of cinema and is a unique film because of the way it was shot and contrasted together.  The film is composed of all still image accompanied with a voice over, one would think that this would be a dull film to watch, on the contrary.   The film is so well executed artistically and cinematographically the images placed together make a clear narrative with a plot to follow.  This of course is something that the director had to extensively think about and figure out; you can imagine how difficult it must have been to figure out which series of images help tell a specific scene, similar to contrasting a visual essay.  Another element that Chris Maker had to carefully think about was the quality of his cinematography.  The cinematography of the film is beautiful along with the dramatic lighting, which is just great. The lighting of the underground scene where the German Scientist is performing the experiments on the prisoners is exceptional.  The lighting gives the scene a great dramatic element with the soft shadows that are casted upon the characters and the main prisoner.   Without the cinematography of the in this film, the film itself would not work because the viewer needs a coherent understanding visually of what is occurring in the scene.

The film La Jetee is about a man who is a preson under German regime after France has fallen to German arms.  The main character of the film is treated as a giny-pig for the Germans to test experiments on.  The German scientist want to make a connection with peoples dreams and also perform test on the prisoners to find out if they can travel into the future or into the past.

The scene that I have chosen to analyze is the scene right after the fall of pairs.  I would like to mention that the series of images that show the fall of pairs are horrific along with the religious music that accompanied the scene. A fantastic and artist scene from start to finish, I would have chosen to analyze it, but it seemed to short.  The scene that I created a shot list for is the scene where we first see various prisoner havening experiments preformed on and we see the results of the experiments on the prisoners.  The first shot we see if of the prisoner in a low-key light hallway walking with a dazed and confused look on his face.  The next shot we see is a low angle shot of a stone figure, which looks like a mythological Greek God. Then the third shot is important shot because we see a shot of the scientist who has those some unique pair of spectacles on his face.  This scientist is seen repeatedly throughout the film and is seen at the end of the film when the main character realizes that the moment he remembers as a child at the Airport is really the moment of his death.  Throughout the underground scene we hear a voice over who is explaining what is going on in the scene and interlaced with the voiceover is the low whisper of German voices.  The whisper of the voice seems to come from the German scientists who are circled around the subject.  The next series of shots are medium shots of the prisoners however each shot is from a different angel; perhaps this was done with a purpose from the director to represent the prisoner’s confusion.  The following shots are more medium shots of the scientist and prisoners along with these shot we hear a heart pounding sound effect with adds to the suspense and drama of the scene.  Like I mention before, La Jetee is a film of still images therefore sound effects and music are an essential part of the film, in order for the film to come alive and keep the viewer engaged.  The next shot that we se is a shot of an angel. The angel could have some symbolism, however I believe it could be foreshadowing the angel that will come into his life soon enough, which is the women he sees in his dreams.

The Cinematography of the film is amazing and quiet beautiful. It is evident that the director wanted to express his quality of pictures.  The film has beautiful shadows and in some scenes there are soft shadows with low-key scenes that are artist and expresses the realism.  The music goes well with the images in the scene and the music is appropriate for the images.   I have watched this film several times and the music that I always think of first is the background score for the images of Paris falling.

The Film La Jetee is a great example of film made within the new wave French cinema.  The decision of the director to choose to make the whole film out of still images is form of the new artist visions the directors had during the time.  Other great directors like Godard were exploring techniques that were unorthodox to cinema.  In the film Breathless Godard works with jump cuts and incorporates them in his film. These are just some example of styles and new techniques director were exploring along with direct sound and direct address.


This thanksgiving break was a Good break, and not because I got to eat some delicious, succulent turkey, with crane berry sauce, and gravy pushing up against some corn bread, who am I kidding,

Yes that why I look forward to thanksgiving break!  But this was different, this year’s break had a cinematic treat, this year there was a bonus.  My thanksgiving break movie was Breathless by Jean Luc Godard and I watched it a couple times.  I really like this film like most French films I see.

The movie breathless is a great film from start to finish.  There are so many great shots and I’m talking about all types of shots there are long takes, shots from different angles and through the unveiling of the film we see shots with fantastic, smooth tracking shots. A great example of one is the tracking shot of Micheal Poiccard and the banker at the bank, the smoothness of that tracking shot is great.

This was the first film I saw of Jean luc Godard and I have to say I was not ready for all the jumps cuts, if you’re not prepared for the jumps cut, you may look away and turn back and think to yourself “did I just miss something” and accidently hit the track back button to find out if your DVD jump forward.  But as unorthodox and contrary to cinematic style it was to make a film with evident and apparent jump cuts, you learn to follow them somehow and adapt to the jump cuts.   The same could be said about other cinematic styles Godard grace us with in his film much of which are seen in Breathless.  There’s something about Godard that you have to tell your friends before you suggest this film,

Perhaps mention to them “you may not like the film from the start and will not like what’s going on with the rapid jump cuts and fast pace dialogue between the characters and at times narrative could get out of focus.  But once you grab pace with the film you begin to like it!”

In the Film Breathless are long takes with dialogue and the camera tracks along with the couple as there walking to capture their dialogue and action. A great example is the scene in the bank; the camera tacks with the two gentlemen very smoothing as they walk through the bank so causally and Micheal Poiccard get the checks that he is suggested to sign over to his name.  This is the million dollar check that comes back toward the end of the film.  The camera work is very pleasing for the viewer in this long take; it serves a following technique and then lingers around when the gentlemen walk back.  Then we see the camera ped down and settle to capture Mr. Poiccard telephone call.  The scene continues as a long take and until Micheal Pioccard exist the bank, simulantously the detectives walk in. Then we see the first cut in the scene, which is a bit of a jump cut because it ellipses over the action of the detective walking up to the desk.  What we see is a jump cut from the detective walking into the bank to him at front of the desk asking the women at the desk a question. A very nice scene that I personally like and like watching as example of a well executed long take.

Another element that I liked about the film was how it was shot on Location.  The cinematography was just amazing in the film along with many other films we watched this semester.  Another great cinematography film that comes to mind is Umberto D.  The film Breathless has beautiful scenes in the day capturing the country side of France and the classy and stylish urban landscape of pairs.  A great scene that captures the beautiful vineyard countryside of France is in the very beginning of the film when Micheal Poiccard has stolen his first car and is flying down the road passing cars.  Again in this scene Godard uses many jumps cuts in his film and these series of jump cuts serve as a purpose. Godard uses the jump cuts to signify how fast Poiccard is driving down the road by placing jump cuts just before the cars is passing the other cars on the road.

“Hate the smell of dampness, don’t you?”

Homage to hitchcock’s suspense music I thought it was great that we watched Psycho last week in class, because personally I am a big fan of Albert Hitchcock’s work.  Hitchcock was a innovator during his time and the newsreel that was shown in class before the film is a great example.  Hitchcock was really a master at his craft because never before until Hitchcock came around did a director put his name on the film like he did and now its a common trend you see with director in Hollywood; selling their film with their names associated with their work.  I want to note sometime else that i thought was witty and hilarious of Hitchcock to do which the sign he posted outside the premier of Psycho “no one … and we mean No ONE will be admitted to theater after the film begins and that include the President of the United States and the Queen of England, may God bless her soul.” i just thought that was funniest thing i saw last week. typical Hitchcock humor.

Now let me stop rambling on about the newsreel and begin to talk about the film itself.. I can remember the first time i watched psycho, however the one i watched was the recent remark of it.. you know.. the one with Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates.  Then soon after i watched the original psycho I fell in love with it right away.  the 1960’s psycho is timeless for me it never gets old, the music, dialogue and visually is just shot so well.  i love Hitchcock’s technique to change from a wide angle shot to a close up. A great example of  this is when, the cop pulls over Marion Crane and we see a wide angle shot of the cop pulling over and walking over towards the car and then cut to a CU of the cop huge face in the window.

My favorite character in the film would have to be Norman bates.  i just love the way he delivers his lines in his film and his character is very convincing. like prof Herzog mentioned, it a shame that Anthony Perkins has to be stuck with all the following psycho films because he truly is a great actor. A little side not here, but this time that i watched the film in class i noticed the clouds that loomed over Norman Bates home, if anyone remembers them they were artistically beautiful they way the contrast of white gray clouds went with the dark night of the scene. Just truly Amazing.

Check it out!  at the top of my post is link to a track i created in a sound class paying homage to hitchcock’s music. created the track using protools, ENjoy!


Cool Photo i took from Roosevelt island, looking over towards Manhattan. Hope You Enjoy!

Mr. Orsen Welles

The Timeless Classic “Citizens Kane”

I want to start of saying, I’m so glad that we watched Citizen Kane in class because it is one of my all time favorite movies.  i personally like the film because of  the aura and history that lies with the film, not to mention that Orson Welles has some of the most unique shots ever captured on film.  there are plenty of  ambiguious long shots and shot with super creative depth of field.

the Film is interesting in way it is segmented because, at the begin of the film after we have heard the famous last words of foster Kane…RoseeBudd. when then immediately are giving a brief summary of Charles Kane’s life courtesy of the “news on the March”.  A little side note,  the only time we see Charles foster Kane in the present is when he says “Rosebud” every other time in the film we see Kane it’s a flashback of a characters memory.  the newsreels is interesting because it sets up a story for the film, we learn that Mr. Kane was separated from his parents by Mr. thatcher at an young age.  we learn that Mr. Kane is left a great fortune and becomes one of Americas finest icons, we also learned about his two marriage along with the two divorces.  we are told that he lost his only son in a tragic car accident.  the newreels provides a story for the fim and then soon after the end of the newsreel, we as the viewer identify the plot of the movie which is, Mr. thompson (the reporter) must figure out the meaning of Charles Foster Kanes last Word.  Mr. Thompson is told by his colleagues to go to any extent and visit his closest friends and family to figure the meaning of “Rosebud”. Right after My Thompson is asked to find out about Rosebud, he says something that is foreshadowing to the whole film.  Mr. Thompson say, perhaps the word doesn’t mean anything at all, some other reports shout out “maybe its a horse he lost with.”  and at the end of the film when Mr. Thompson has interviewed all the friends and family, some reporters ask him “did you ever find out what rosebud mean?” and Mr. Thompson replies “no i didn’t, it doesn’t mean much” and goes on to say ” i don’t think ONE word can explain a mans life.” 

The dynamic shots of depth of field in the film are extremely creative, although the idea of where the camera should be placed is Orsen welles vision, much credit is deserved to cameraman Gregg toland.  In the interview reading for class about orsen welles, mr welles talks about the expertise of Gregg Toland and how hewas one of the best cameramen around at the time of filming Citizen Kane.  The Film has exquisite shot from beginning to end, there’s a variety of long shot where the camera seems to be moving by itself, along with various shots where there are no cuts at all for over a min and the camera pans and moves with the subjects in the scene.  One shot, or shall i say series of shots  i like is at the start of the very start of film,  the scene which has a lugubrious feeling to it and we see Xanadu at night with the one room light on at the up right hand corner of the frame.  the fascinating things about those shots is one there all drawings which appear  real and as we get closer to the Room light from different angels, we even see a shot from the reflection of some water,however the point is  the Room light is always positioned at the upper right hand corner of the frame till with are close to the light and see it turn off.  i like to call it of it a little camera magic. Orsen Well is the MAGICMAN… Now you see me… now you dont !.a little ricky bobby, Talladeja nights for ya entertaniment.

I wanna leave off saying, Citizen Kane is good film to watch and if you love film making , its a great film to take notes on and learn different type of camera shots.  like i said before I’m a big fan of the film along with other great Hollywood classic, i often find myself going to my town library and taking out this film, perhaps i should just buy the film and stop paying those pesty library late fees i always seem to pay.  anyway there it is class, my blog entry for Citizen Kane, till next time.. take it easy class and stay up!

P.S  Check out Kenny Powers on HBO sunday nights.. one funniest shows this fall on T.V.

Public Enemy

The movie that we watched in class last week was fantastic and exciting to watch.  the movie represents the original gangster films and portraysthe time and the era of the 1930’s in a correct way.  the time when crime was at an all time high and bootlegging was avenue for making some doe.  the film reminded me about public enemies 2009 with johnny deep, similar time era however in the 2009 film the crime was more about robbing banks.  but similarities between the films are the cars, the clothing, the talk , the flare of the gangster and of course the beautiful women whom always accompany the gangsters.

Going back to the original film public enemy, i enjoyed the story which involved the conflict between the two brothers, we learned from the start of the film that troubles between the two brothers had always been present.  the conflict between go0d brother who goes off the army and the not so good brother who is a street worker then turns into an original gangster is the struggle of the film.  the two brothers frequently encounter themselves at home and in every scene their tensions fly high… during the disputes, i kept feeling so sad for the mother, she only wanted for her family to be happy and together.  there is a particular scene where the family is all reunited and tom powers brings a keg or barrel of beer to the dinner table … (hilarious, i wish i can do that). the dinner table is well set up it seems that the mother has slaved all day over the stove to prepare the meal, and the two brothers problems can’t spare the moment. like always the two brothers begin to fight and again the POOr mother is helpless and begs them to stop fighting.  i really felt the mothers pain, you can just see that all she hoped for her two only sons to get along.

I liked the film, so far i think it is the best film shown in class so far, not that M was not a good film, hey class if you liked watching public enemy, i encourage you guys to go watch The Town, i saw it on Sunday and i truly loved the film, the movie is filled with twists and great action scenes.

Whats up Class

whats going on class, my name is Alex Cortes and i am a media studies major however i am more passionate about the film side of it. i enjoy doing camera work and also like to working on editing jobs. I’m hoping history of cinema will strengthen my film skills by understanding what brilliant directors did in the past that can be seen on the big screen today. I am a full time student and work as well, my summer job is caddying at golf course. sports that i like to play are soccer and basketball and enjoying watching both on my HD television. I look forward to blogging and reading cool posts.


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