Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Repulsion is a 1965 film directed by Roman Polanski. Repulsion was Polanski's first English language film and was filmed in Britain. It is widely considered a masterpiece of the psychological thriller genre and is the first installment of Polanski's 'apartment trilogy', the other two being Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant. The plot follows a young Belgian woman who lives in Kensington, London, with her sister. She suffers from androphobia, which is the fear of men. When her sister leaves on holiday with her married boyfriend, the young Belgian woman is left to withdraw deeper into her paranoia. She refuses to leave her apartment and experiences spiralling hallucinations. Food rots around her and her sister's flat falls to shambles. She blugeons a would-be suitor to death with a candlestick, and later, fends off the sexual advances of her landlord before slashing him to death with a cut-throat razor. When her sister returns, she discovers the dead mens' bodies and finds the young Belgian woman hidden under her bed, who appears catatonic and only a shell of her former self. At the end the audience sees a photograph of the young woman as a chld, who seems uninterested in the taking of a family photograph and as the camera zooms in, she is offset from the rest of the family with the look of a 'trapped animal'. This leads us to believe that the underlying reason for her phobia and psychological distress lies in possible childhood trauma.
I really enjoyed watching Repulsion which, surprisingly, i'd never even heard of before. I liked the way that as the narrative progressed, the protagonist's paranoia grew deeper. But we are never fully sure of the reasons behind her fear of men, as we experience the protagonist's fear throughthe cracks in the flat and the rotting food, as well as the dream sequences. This is almost a metaphorical representation of her paranoia, representing how the woman feels. I found it tobe quite full-on, putting us in the protagonist's shoes; the cracks in the walls and the hands coming fro the wall weren't real, but we are able to see them just as she does. I don't think there's one time where we don't see what she is seeing, but we are still able to tell she is paranoid. Even when we see her kill two people, her innocense allows us to forgive her. So I feel this films works extremely well as a psychological thriller because of the way the director makes the film confront us.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
One of the first ideas i had was of animals being attracted to a light source which would be late at night and in a woods. I thought the colour choice in this idea would be interesting because i could make it quite fantasy like with a lot of 'magical' colours, giving a great visual aesthetic. I had the idea of either using a frog on a rock surrounded by water, staring at the light source, or buterflies attracted to the light source, both would be surronded by a typical forest/wood environment with trees, plants and rocks. When i thought about this idea, i felt the idea of creating animals would be difficult, but butterflies wouldn't be too hard. But, looking back at the idea now, after Phil's 'conceptual hand grenade', I feel this idea is too sci fi and fantasy related, althoug it has an eerie feeing, it doesn't seem ordinary enough.
Another idea i had was of a hand or body part in a broken floor board, the rest of the room would be empty and there would be a window with a car either pulling up or away outside, depending on how you interpret it. It would also be late at light with the moonlight shining through the window and onto the hand. I thought the walls could be red with a crack coming up one of them, and the floor boards would be quite sctratched and marked. I really liked this idea to start of with because i felt the idea of the car was quite ambiguous, not knowing whether it was just parking or about to pull away. I felt the way it was frozen made the audience feel the character's despair, seeing the car in the window and waiting for something to happen, but it doesn't. Again though, after Phil's comments, i feel this is too obvious, it isn't ordinary and follows a 'horror film' cliche.
I also had an idea of some baths in a room where the light shines in through a window, again, it's at night. I had the idea that these could be filled with either soil and plants, whilst the ground is flooded or covered in soil. An alternative idea was that the bath was blood stained, but the room was flooded. The camera angle would only allow you to see one bath full on and the corner of another one. To me, this idea was quite eerie because you are wondering what has gone on or if anyone one is under the soil. A lot of questions could be asked in this image, but i feel that it is too horror-like and doesn't seem ordinary. This was the problem i was having, i was making the image to obvious and giving too much away.
Another idea i had, which other people seem to have gone for, was a child's rooom or living room where there was a teddy bear in the corner and toys which had been played with but were all over the floor. The idea of the bear alone seems quite uncanny, i always wonder whether they are able to see things, it's possibly those black eyes they usually have, something i'd associate with evil. In this scene, there would be a car either coming or going that we could see through the window, similar to the idea with the hand in the floor boards. To me, this scene could be perceived in two ways, a typical room where a child has not bothered to clean up its mess or someone has kidnapped the child and is about to drive off. I feel this idea is much more ordinary than my other ideas and not so full on with genre cliches. It also has some ambiguity in there and the sense of the bear seeing everything, for me, is uncanny. It's the idea that the bear might be able to tell you something, but it can't.
One of the other ideas i had came when i was round a friend's house, there was some sort of hair machine (maybe a big hair dryer) in the corner of the room, i couldn't help but keep staring at it, not only did it seem out of place in an ordinary living room, but it looked like it had a face with the way the buttons were positioned. I liked this idea of something being out of place because it can often seem quite strange or uncomfortable. For this scene, i pretty much copied the whole room because it was such an ordinary living room and this 'out of place' object seemed so eerie. In my idea though, i felt that it should be isolated in the corner to draw your attraction, so we don't see the whole living room, our focus is on the corner of the room. For me, this idea could still work, but i did find it a little bit boring. It didn't have that eerieness and uncanny feeling that some of the other ideas had, although i do feel this idea is a lot more ordinary than the others, which was what Phil was saying.
When i was looking out of my kitchen window to my lovely view of the industrial site across the river. I always expect to see people working there; there's usually cranes, forklifts, and a big boat that they load onto. However, when i look across the river and nothing is going on during the daytime, especially Sundays, it seems so empty and desolate, like something should be happening but it isn't. For me, that is eerieness of abandonment, which is why Alan and Phil have talked to me about these abandoned places. This gave me the idea of an abandoned industrial site, with cranes and machines in a desolate area. I pretty much discarded this idea straight away because i had already decided on my two favourite ideas, but after listening t Phil's comments, i feel that this idea was heading in the right direction, at the time i seemed to think the more obvious ones would be better.
My next idea, again, was discarded early because of my preferred choices but looking at the links and websites Phil gave me, it was going down the right path, following the abandoned idea. The scene was a theme park, in particular a carousel, which was desolate or abandoned. Thise follows the conversation that I had with Alan, talking about how we expect these places to be full of people, so when they're not, it seems a little unnerving. My idea was focused around the carousel, and i felt this would be hard to do, but for some reason, i didn't follow up on this idea and look at a theme park as a whole. I feel it's possible that i might end up going back to the theme park idea after looking at the sites Phil sent me, it definitely ticks all the right boxes.
Another idea i had was a chair in a mental institute, which looking at some of the photography from different websites, is a popular idea. I liked the way it was just a chair in a room, but when i think of mental institutes it reminds me of how they are portrayed in films, and my mind starts to wonder what has happened in this chair and room. Essentially, it's not what we see in this image, althought it is eerie, it's what we imagine happened. I still really like this idea, and since i've been looking at the abandoned buildings photography, i feel it's worth pursuing. It also seems that this image would possibly look better in black and white or monochromatic colours and the chair would be the focal point with a broken window in the background. I will definitely keep looking into different images for this one because i feel it could work well.
I also came up with the idea of either a petrol station at night, or an abandoned petrol station. It seems that Dan has gone with this idea, and Alan was saying, it's the movies that have made our minds think badly of these sorts of places. I suppose this is another cliche in a way, we often find abandoned and desolate petrol stations in films, but i still like this idea. I suppose i probably like because it's such a filmic shot. Although, i feel the abandoned idea would work better for somewhere like a theme park, swimming pool, or mental institue etc.
The last idea i had from my original thumbnails was a clock smashed on the floor because the sense of time and the way the scene was frozen, to me, feels quite eerie. Time doesn't stop it keeps in motion so something like this could be quite unnerving, It also makes you wonder what happended at that time and why is the clock smashed. in this scene i feel the focal point would be the clock, possible an old pocket watch, and the rest of the scene would be blurred or out of focus. I like this idea because i find the idea of frozen time quite unnerving, but it is a bit basic and simple.
When Phil chucked a 'conceptual hand grenade' my way, i thought i was struggling for ideas, when in actual fact, it seems i alreadyhad some decent ideas, i just chose the wrong ones to look into. Some of the ones i discarded seem to be better than my preferred choices. A lot of them seem to follow that idea of abandonment which i am now coming back round to after Phil and Alan's advice. it seems if i would have stuck with those ideas, i would have been on the right path to start off with.
Looking at these ideas, you can see how Gregory Crewdson had influenced them, but as Phil said, 'the strength of Crewdson's work is that he plays knowingly with genre - but without confirming or denying the various possibilities suggested.' Therefore, my ideas need to be more pared back to their essence and i need to try to make the ordinary work a little harder for me. This is why i have begun to look at abandoned buildings and sites thanks to the help of Phil and Alan. You expect or want something to be happening in these places, but they're so desolate, that they transform from an ordinary place to something quite eerie and unnerving.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
My second main idea was a living room which is rather tidy and normal, but the mirror is wonky or has slightly fallen down. I thought something could be knocked off the fire place from this, either stopped in motion or smashed on the floor. The canera will be offset to angle and the mirror will reflect throught to the bathroom where blood is spilled on the floor and up the shower curtain. I'm not too sure how the bathrrom will look, but i will create a murder scene, where we aren't too sure if the killer is still in the house or not. The offset camera angle and wonky mirror will hopefully create a distorted feeling, similar to the different angles Phil has been talking when we were watching films like The Haunting.
I will be posting some thumbnail sketches with notes soon, and hoepfully develop them into something i can take into Photoshop and Maya for my final piece. I will also be considering other ideas and new possibilities to make sure i get the best possible end product.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Invaders from Mars is a 1953 science fiction film based on a story treatment by John Tucker Battle and directed by William Cameron Menzies. The story follows a small boy who sees a flying saucer land near his home. His scientist father goes to investigate, but when he returns, there is an unusual mark on the back of his neck and he behaves in a different, cold and hostile manner. Gradually, the boy realises there is a conspiracy in which the people of the town are one by one becoming cold and inhuman. With the help of a local astronomer and physician, he learns that the flying saucer has buried itself in a sandpit just behind his home and is the vanguard of an invasion from Mars. As the story unfolds, the army gets involved in an attempt to penetrae he underground hideout established by the martians. The film begins to get quite silly from here, with people dressed in green suits for the martians and the leader is a head with tentacles in a 'fish bowl'. Ths was probably the result of the production team running out of budget towards the end. After the hideout is blown up, the scene shifts and boy s back in his bed. Everthing seems as though it were a nightmare as the boy goes to his parents' room and they reassure him to go back to sleep. But thunder wakes the boy up again to the sight of the same UFO landing at the sandpit near his house. Although, in the British release there was an alternate ending eliminating the dream concept and the boy's parents seem to be replaced by the 'Lady in white' and astronomer.
After watching his film for the first time, i came back thinking this was possibly one of the worst films i've ever seen. But after thinking about it, I found that i enjoyed the first half of this film, except some of the dodgy acting, because the storyline was quite similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It also had that intensity as you wonder whether anyone will believe what the boy is saying. particularly found the little girl to be quite freaky and a lot of the scenes created that tense and eerie feeling of loneliness. But, the rest of the film seemed to let down what was, for me, a great start to a film. I would like to see if the remakes done it better because i think it had a lot of potential. The story after a while, becomes laughable and totally unserious, which is what ruins the film. I found the scenes where the characters got sucked underground were ridiculous and the costume designer should have been shot after those 'martians' ie people in green suits waddling. i felt the storyline was there, but the execution of it was lacklustre which may have been a result of budgeting issues. If i'm honest, i wouldn't want to see this version again, but i would definitely consider watching the other versions.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
2. NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
3. CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE THIRD KIND
4. BLUE VELVET
Vertigo is one Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films and is a meiaon on the nature of images, identity, and desire. The protagonist falls in love with the image of a woman who, incidentally, doesn't actually exist. Unable to possess her, he finds another woman and tries to transform her into the woman he desires. His romantic obsession culminates in an extraordina scene that takes place in a hotel room, when he is trying to transform the woman. After completing the make-over, she emerges from the bathroom and walks towards him, ghostlike, in a haunting green haze. It is among the most surreal and dreamlike moments in film history.
Night of the Hunter was Charles Laughton's only film as adiector and is among the most haunting and visually stunning movies ever made. Shot in luminous black and white, the film depicts an ordinary small town as a place of dark shadows and secrets. The gothic tale is setin motion when an evil preacher comes to town in search of money, kept hidden by two children at the behest of their deceased father. In his maniacal efforts to uncover the money, he marries their other and then ceremoniously murders her in their wedding bed. The image of her corpse floating among weeds at the bottom of a riverbed is a beautiful as it is terrifying. The orpans' journey down the river in flight from the preacher is a magical play between good and evil, light and darkness, and inocence and corruption.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a Steven Spielberg film which finds a perfect tension between domestic normality and transendence. When Ray Neary witnesses a series of extraterrstrial evens in the night skies over his suburban subdivision, he begins makin a seres of totemic mounds from household mateials. This obsessive activity climaxes with him constructing an extraordinary structure in his living room, built from appliances and backyard debris. This sequence brings the normal and the paranormal together into a perfect and unescapable union.
Blue Velvet is a David Lynch film which reinvents American iconography, to explore the darkes most private fascinations and sinister fixations existing behind the closed doors of an ordinary non-descript town. Jeffrey Beaumnt happens upon a grotesque discovery that hurtles him intthe midst of a decidedly unwholesome series of events, and a journey into the dark characters populating the intoxicating underworld of his town. He becomes dangerously obsessed and illicitly involved with dorothy Vallens, Frank's terrified sexual slave. In an emblematic scene, Jeffrey watches Frank and Dorothy frm inside a closet in her apartment; blurring the line between witness and participant, desire and guilt and love and violence.
Safe is a Todd Hayne haunting, dream like film set in the 1980's in an affluent LA suburb. The protagonist is an empty vessel who wanders through the film as a wanton somnambulist. The heightened colour and carefuly stylized light operate in contrast to her hollow interior. In a central scene, taking place in the aftermath of a failed sexual encounter, the motionless camera witnessesthe despair and anxiety between the protagonist and her husband. As they sit seperately on their bed, the frame perfectly describes their isolated situation.
I've only seen Night of the Hunter, but looking at pictures from the films, I can definitely see how these films have influenced Crewdson's work. In particular Vertigo, Close Encounter of the Third Kind and Safe all resemble a close likeness to Crewdson's photographs. They all have that eerieness that is depicted so well in his photographs, more so in his Twilight and Beneath the Roses series.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Celebration is a census-designated place (a concentration on population) and an unincorporated master-planned community, developed by The Walt Disney Company. It's located in northwest Osceola County in Florida. Celebratio has sucessfuly combined education, health, community, technlogy and architecture in a community with a strong sense of self. In the early 1990's, the Disney Development Company esablshed the Celebration Company to spearhead its development. World-renowned achitects designed celebraton to be a new and exciting place to live, work and play. Total investment frthe project s estimated at $2.5 billion. The community was developed to concentrate on population, allowing the government to look at statistical daa such as ethnicity, gender, age, household income etc... It is seperated into areas refered to as villages. During the utumn, leaf shaped confetti shoots out of the lamp posts on Market Street to similate falling Autumn leaves. In the holiday season, suds pour out of the lamp posts to replicate snow while Christmas music sreams from the sidewaks. There is a water fountain tha comes out from the ground; it is located next to the lake surrounded by palm trees and benches. It currently has approximately 9,000 residents with 4,060 homes and condominiums. Residents first moved in during the summer of 1996. A yealater the school and health centre opened, before a university center in 2001 and a High school in 2003. It has gone on to win major awards including '1996 Development of the Year', '1998 American Society of Landscape Architects Award of Excellence' and '2001 Urban Land Institues Award for Excellence as Best New Community.'
What i love about Celebration Town is the resemblence it bares to film suburban communities we see in films like Stepford Wives, Edward Scissorhands and Halloween. That idea of a community that is so perfect and wonderful that nothing bad could happen, which perhaps creates the eerie feeling of falseness that we associate with them.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 science fiction film based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney It was directed by Don Siegel. The story follows a doctor who finds that the local townspeople are being replaced by 'replicas,' produced from plant-like pods. These replicas bare an indistiguishable resemblence to their victims, except they have no emotions. They 'dispose' of their human victims and aim to replace the entire human race. The film has been hailed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," and was selected for prservation in the United States National Film Registry. It has been praised as one of science fiction's greatest films and represents social and cultural issues surrounding the time of its making. Film critics believe that the film connotes issues with the fear of communism uprising, as the Americans believed there was a heightened influence from communism on American institutions by soviet agents. This idea is often referred to as McCarthyism. Some, however, believe that he film connotes a fear of the American government, and shows possible alienation and paranoia within American society around its time. The BBC wrote, "The sense of post-war, anti-communist paranoia is acute, as is the temptation to view the film as a metaphor for the tyranny of the McCarthy era." However, the creators behind the film and story stand their ground, stating there is no intended political allegory in the work. Wale Mirisch wrote, "People began to read meanings into the pictures that were never intended. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an example of that... From personal knowledge, neither Walter Wanger nor Don Siegel, who directed it, nor Dan Mainwaring, who wrote the script nor the original author Jack Finney, nor myself saw it as anything other than a thriller, pure and simple." I've always wanted to watch this film, but have never got round to doing so. I must say, it was well worth the way and rightly deserves its place in Sci Fi's hall of fame. It was an absolute classic sci fi and an enjoyable watch throughout. I loved the way that the film didn't rely on visual aesthetics as we see nowadays, the fear and horror was more of a psychological thing, from an audiences' point of view. Not only is the idea original, the film was well made for its time and i wouldn't have much to say in terms of criticism.