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August 1996, Week 3


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Peter Latham <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 20:10:16 -0500
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Pip Chodorov writes:
Jean Epstein, the French filmmaker and theorist ... saw slow motion as a
temporal microscopic, doing in time what a microscope does in space:
magnifying, rendering details apparent, heightening the mystical,
contemplative nature of seeing.
I suggest that "slow-mo" is most often used to prolong a climatic scene -
as when the hero (in almost any thriller) finally dispatches the
villain.You see a building blowing up and up and on and on... Another use
is to heighten the sense of helplessness when, for example, a hero tries in
vain to prevent someone from falling. You see the hero running towards the
victim crying "Noooooo" as the victim falls.
These are two obvious uses.It seems that much the same effect could be
achieved by intercutting a large number of shots of people watching the
action in addition to those of the principals.High Noon (1952) is an
If the slo-mo provides "microscopic" perpsective of a process, what is the
function of the freeze-frame ending? Is it to provide a "macroscopic"
perspective on the characters and theme of the film?
By the way, what was the first freeze-frame ending? The first I can
remember is the ending of one of Hitchcock's films - Topaz I think in the
I would value any thoughts you might have.
"Live every day as though it were your last and one day you're sure to be
right." Breaker Morant (1979)
Peter S. Latham
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