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June 2001, Week 1


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 6 Jun 2001 11:49:28 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (40 lines)
Mike Frank comment:

> to wit:  in my introduction to cinema classes i
> often show the opening of TOUCH OF EVIL without previous
> comment and  ask the students to tell me what they
> notice . . . even after  i run the clip two or three times
> most of the students have not noticed the fact that it is all
> a single take  . . . their viewing protocols focus exclusively
> on the actions and characters protrayed and in effect they
> MAKE  the cinematography all but invisible

I think that this is generally true unless the film has announced
itself as a technical tour-de-force.  So, one goes to ROPE or TIME CODE
to see how the trick is done.  And, concentrating on the long "takes"
(actually spliced together from separate reels), the viewer may notice
when the camera passes behind a couch or back to allow the reel changes
to be made and miss the two actual cuts that do occur in the film.  If
announced in advance, "Watch the continuous opening shot of TOUCH OF
EVIL," students are then likely to notice (especially if they're going
to be tested on it!).

Most films, though, however foregrounded their technique are discussed
by filmgoers and popular press reviewers in terms of the reconstructed
story/fabula rather than the surface plot/syuzhet.

Don Larsson

Donald F. Larsson
English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001

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