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On 6/12/94 /Donald LArson wrote:
>In reference to the recent discussion of anamorphic/wide-screen vs. "flat"
>processes:
>Has anyone seen Spike Lee's CROOKLYN yet?  There is a whole sequence in that
>film in which Troy (sp?), the daughter, does to live with relatives in a
>
>middle-class suburban "normal" hell-hole; the whole episode is shot with
>an anamorphic lens but left "squeezed".
>
>I assume that the process is meant to convey a subjective sense of Troy's
>being "squeezed" by the restrictive lifestyle of the household.  It's a
>cute idea--and in line with other "subjective" bits in the film (Troy's
>nightmares, the glueheads walking upside down, et al.)--but I don't think
>the sequence really works.  For one thing, it's much too long and gets
>to be merely annoying after a while.  Secondly, until quite late into the
>sequence, when the scenes are crosscut with scenes in Brooklyn, there's
>nothing to confirm that it is in fact a subjective effect.  I was tempted
>to run out and complain to the theater management, but waited, knowing it
>was in Lee's style to do something like that on purpose.  I really had
>to restrain myself, though.  (Aside from that and the rather obsessive
>soundtrack, I like the film--it's one of Lee's lightest and maybe his most
>personal.)
-----
My reaction was much the same as Donald's.  Fortunately, I knew ahead of
time about the squeezed material (this list, I think, and the CROOKLYN
press kit).  This whole bit WAS too long, and Lee should have done more (or
simply something) to cue viewers that this was an aesthetic choice rather
than a gaffe.  Projection in movie houses, particularly multipexes, is so
slipshod these days that anything is possible.  I saw SPEED this weekend
with three feet of image hanging off both ends of the screen, and this is
apparently standard practice at this venue with widescreen films.
--Richard