Nov 24 Surrealism Cinema

Surrealist cinema (1924-1929)

Surrealist cinema is a modernist film theory lanched in Paris in the 1920s. Related to an earlier tradition of Dada cinema, surrealist cinema is characterised by juxtaposition, the rejection of reality, and a frequent use of shocking imagery.

Developed in the early twentieth century, surrealism is an artistic and literary style which draws upon irrational imagery and the subconsciousmind. Surrealist artists approach both art and life with aims to review and redefine accepted parameters of reality.
Surrealists should not, however, be mistaken as whimsical or incapable of logical thought; rather, most Surrealist promote themselves as revolutionaries.Surrealism opposes compartmentalization of experiences; surrealists often synthesize life with dreams.In the 1930’s, after the Surrealist movement had progressed for about a decade, several writers and museum officials repeatedly described Surrealism as having “amusing” and “escapist” elements.Surrealist works cannot be defined by style or form, but rather as results of the practice of surrealism. Rather than a fixed aesthetic, surrealism can be defined as an ever-shifting art form.
Leaders of the Movement: Guillaume Apollinaire and André Breton.
L’age D’or (1932)    

L’Age d’or began as a second collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali after their first film Un Chien Andalou. After a falling out it was completed by Bunuel. It is a surrealist work that is a scathing attack on bourgeois society and the Roman Catholic Church. The film consists of a series of interlinked vignettes about a couple who are passionately in love, but cannot consummate their passion because they are constantly thwarted by family, the Church, and society in general. There are violent expressive religious scenes and shocking sexual images as well, such as a young woman performing fellatio on the toe of a statue. There are also excerpts of a short science film about a scorpion cut into the film. It is a strange and unique piece of cinema. Bunuel went on to make many extradordinary films usually with a surreal aspect to them. They include Los Olivados (1950), The Exterminating Angel (1962), Belle de jour (1967), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977).

L’Afe D’or: violent, absurd images

Un Chien Andalou

File:Andalou.jpg File:Cow's Eye.jpg

Un Chien Andalou  is a 1929 silent surrealist short film by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí. It was Buñuel’s first film and was initially released in 1929 to a limited showing in Paris, but became popular and ran for eight months.

The film has no plot in the conventional sense of the word. The chronology of the film is disjointed, jumping from the initial “once upon a time” to “eight years later” without the events or characters changing very much. It uses dream logic in narrative flow that can be described in terms of then-popular Freudian free association, presenting a series of tenuously related scenes.

File:Dali Priest Un chien andalou.PNGFile:Pierre Batcheff in un chien andalou.jpg

In spite of varying interpretations made since the film originated, Buñuel made clear throughout his writings that, between Dalí and himself, the only rule for the writing of the script was that “no idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted.”  Moreover, he stated that, “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything. The only method of investigation of the symbols would be, perhaps, psychoanalysis.

The aim of Surrealism Cinema: to free individual ideas, let people express themselves freely. it’s a movement of liberty, explore your deep conscious, and reveal your hidden instinct.

Luis Buñuel (1900-1966)

Buñuel calls Un Chien Andalou “a passionate call to murder

Leaders of the Movement: Guillaume Apollinaire and André Breton

André Breton (French 1896-1966)

André Breton was a French writer and poet. He is known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as “pure psychic automatism”.
Notes: to break the luxury way of living, to see the corruption behind ordinary daily life,, accept the fantasy for small things, behind these small things reveal the true beauty, reveal what’s behind the daily life, the normal life.
Example: modern cinema Blue Velvet, opening scene
anther example came into my mind: American Beauty
These two movies both show that  behind the shinning surface, there is another evil world, the world delusion the reality. 
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) vader can de psychoanalyse
Comtede Lautreamont (Isidore Ducasse 1846-1870) Les Chants de Moldoror (1868)
Surrealist Strategies in the Fine Arts and Literature
  • Frottage (wrijven)
  • Ecriture antomatique (try to write without thinking, keep the flow, let it go on)
  • Collage (turn two different elements into a third totally different thing, a third meaning)
  • Cadavre exquis (example: project on the wall, cloud; or two pieces of paper, rub one over the other, then leave some trace on the bottom paper)

Surrealism Cinema Characteristics:

Antinarrative: attracting causality itself, many surrealist films teas us to find a narrative logic that is simple absent.

Dream Logic: causality is as evasive as in a dream, events are juxtaposed for their disturbing effect.

Character psychology is nonexistent.

Favorite themes in Surrealist Films:

  • sexual desires
  • Blasphemy.
  • Ecstacy.
  • Vilence.
  • Bizarre Humor.

Stylistic Characteristics of  Surrealism Cinema:

Muse-en-scene: Influenced by surrealist painting

Editing: Amalgam of some Imprssionist devices

(many dissolves and superimposition but  without the story to motivate them, such as day dream etc.)

A-moro: doesn’t want to tell story, but still use some devices, continue editing-invisible editing (logic, space, time , rules seems nature), for to hook the viewers, appear nature, but it’s artificial, even looks nature.


Salvador Pali

Germaine Dulac (1882-1942) 

The Seashell and the Clergyman (1927)

Directed in 1927 by Germaine Dulac and scripted by Antonin Artaud, THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN is generally considered to be the first Surrealist film, even if at its Studio des Ursulines premiere, the Surrealist group provoked an uproar that would become one of the great “scandals” of the 1920s.  Along with contemporary musical accompaniments, this DVD edition features a video account of the premiere and a presentation of the film and its importance in the history of cinema and feminism.  Dulac writes: “My entire effort has been to search, in the action of Antonin Artaud’s script, for harmonic points, and to link them through well thought out and composed rhythms.  I can say that not one image of the Clergyman was delivered by chance.”  For Artaud, “It’s a film of pure images.”

This bilingual (French-English) box set with a DVD and a book is an indispensable resource not only for researchers and students but also for enthusiasts who want to learn more about the film.  It offers the possibility to rediscover Germaine Dulac’s famous film in its restored version while it facilitates comprehension of this avant-garde masterpiece thanks to the perspectives opened up by the various artistic and theoretic contributions of the participants.

Max Ernst: illustratie uit La femme 100 têtes 


In 1929 Surrealist artist Max Ernst published the first of a series of collage novels. It was a kind of comic strip, but not a real comic book, selecting fragments of wood engravings from nineteenth-century magazines, encyclopaedias and trivial novels. Some collages parody famous works of art. The newly forged combinations of scientific instruments and floating figures and of landscapes with unexpected interiors guarantee the odd dream world identified so closely with Surrealism. These scenes were praised in the book’s introduction. This was to be ‘the ideal picture book of this age’, and the future was to leap forth from it. ‘Children’s eyes, wide with awe, that open like butterflies’ wings on the shore of a lake’. The time had now come – according to the introduction – for ‘the first hundred visions of fairies’. These prophetic words came from André Breton, the executuve director of surrealism.

why Surrealism stopped?
1 sponsors stopped
2 two leaders changed direction

Nov 8

French Impressionism (1918-1928) & Surrealism

French Impressionist Cinema, also referred to as the first avant-garde or narrative avant-garde, is a term applied to a group of French films and filmmakers of the 1920s.

French Impressionist Cinema, also referred to as the first avant-garde or narrative avant-garde, is a term applied to a group of French films and filmmakers of the 1920s.

Based on David Bordwell’s Family resemblance model 4

I. Camerawork

A. Camera distance: close-up (as synecdoche, symbol or subjective image)

B. Camera angle (high or low)

C. Camera movement (independent of subject, for graphic effects, point-of-view)

II. Mise-en-scene

A. Lighting (single source, shadows indicating off-screen actions, variety of lighting situations)

B. Décor

C. Arrangement and movement of figures in space

III. Optical Devices

A. As transitions

B. As magical effects

C. As emphasizing significant details

D. As pictoral decoration

E. As conveyors of abstract meanings

F. As indications of objectivity (mental images, semi-subjective images, optical subjectivity)

IV. Characteristic Editing Patterns

A. Temporal relations between shots (Flashback or fantasy)

B. Spatial relation between shots (synthetic, glance/object, crosscutting)

C. Rhythmic relations between shots


Napoleon (1927)









L’Agrent (1983)


Cœur fidèle (1923)

Cœur fidèle is a 1923 French drama film directed by Jean Epstein. It has the alternative English title Faithful Heart. The film tells a melodramatic story of thwarted romance, set against a background of the Marseille docks, and experiments with many techniques of camerawork and editing.

The adventurous technical experiments of the film are balanced by the realism of the setting. The characters are unglamorous and belong to a working-class milieu, living in cheap lodgings, frequenting rough bar-rooms. Cœur fidèle is one of several early films to use the location of the Marseille dockside, and the evocative images of looming ships and deserted wharfs contribute to a style which would be characterized over the next decade and a half as “poetic realism”.



Eve Francis  FIÈVRE  (1921)

The French Impressionism is the art of the emotions.

1 intimate psychological stories

2 changing emotions and experiences

3 inner motivation

The form of the Impressionism used a lot of technique, for example, in the movie Napoleon

1 new lens (275mm)

2 multiple frame images

3 wide screen ratio

4 handheld camera

5 enormous mobility of the camera, which introduces of sound in the film

The movement stopped  in 1929, but, the involvement of the French Impressions is still a lot.

French Impressionist films relied on quick editing techniques and camerawork in order to relay the message of the film. With regards to the camerawork, the filmmakers used techniques such as superimpositions, filters, framing shots, slow motion, using the camera out of focus and using camera movement to help convey the emotions of the characters and the mood of the story. In “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” several of these techniques are apparent, especially the quick cuts, and the framing shots. In Impressionist films the “rhythm was central” (Thompson 91).


Oct 5th. Quotes from the book could be used as dialogue

“Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart.”

“It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”

“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads – at least that’s where I imagine it – there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”

“Taking crazy things seriously is a serious waste of time.”

“What do you think? I’m not a starfish or a pepper tree. I’m a living, breathing human being. Of course I’ve been in love.”

“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”

“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.”

“Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”

“Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”

“According to Aristophanes in Plato’s The Banquet, in the ancient world of legend there were three types of people.
In ancient times people weren’t simply male or female, but one of three types : male/male, male/female or female/female. In other words, each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangment and never really gave it much thought. But then God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing half.”

“Not just beautiful, though–the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.”

“Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That’s the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still.”

“Things outside you are projections of what’s inside you, and what’s inside you is a projection of what’s outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you’re stepping into the labyrinth inside.”

“I’m free, I think. I shut my eyes and think hard and deep about how free I am, but I can’t really understand what it means. All I know is I’m totally alone. All alone in an unfamiliar place, like some solitary explorer who’s lost his compass and his map. Is this what it means to be free? I don’t know, and I give up thinking about it.”

“When I wake up, my pillow’s cold and damp with tears. But tears for what? I have no idea.”

“That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”

“If you think God’s there, He is. If you don’t, He isn’t. And if that’s what God’s like, I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“In everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.”

“My shadow is only half of what it should be.”
“Everyone has their shortcomings.”

“Time expands, then contracts, all in tune with the stirrings of the heart.”

“As long as there’s such a thing as time, everybody’s damaged in the end, changed into something else. It always happens, sooner or later.”

“I’ll never see them again. I know that. And they know that. And knowing this, we say farewell.”

“Each person feels pain in his own way, each has his own scars.”

“I’ve built a wall around me, never letting anybody inside and trying not to venture outside myself”

“In dreams begins responsiblities.”

“They tell us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,but I don’t believe that.” he said.

Then, a moment later, he added: “Oh,the fear is there, all right. It comes to us in many different forms, at different times, and overwhelms us. But the most frightening thing we can do at such times is to turn our backs on it, to close our eyes. For then we take the most precious thing inside us and surrender it to something else. In my case, that something was the wave.”

“The pillow smells like the sunlight, a precious smell.”

“People soon get tired of things that aren’t boring, but not of what is boring.”

“I don’t know what it means to live.”

“Well, think of what I’m doing to you right now. For me I’m the self, and you’re the object. For you, of course, it’s the exact opposite—you’re the self to you and I’m the object. And by exchanging self and object, we can project ourselves onto the other and gain self-consciousness. Volitionally.” “I still don’t get it, but it sure feels good.” “That’s the whole idea,” the girl said.”

“But metaphors help eliminate what separates you and me.”

“no matter how far you run. Distance might not solve anything”

“What I think is this: You should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for the other half of your shadow.”

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that has nothing to do with you, This storm is you. Something inside you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up the sky like pulverized bones.”

“This is the extent of his knowledge of the sea: it was very big, it was salty, and fish lived there.”

“Does G get angry because it follows F in the alphabet? Does page 68 in a book start a revolution because it follows 67?”

“Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe. Of course it’s important to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Individual errors in judgment can usually be corrected. As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around. But intolerant, narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form, and continue to thrive. They’re a lost cause, and I don’t want anyone like that coming in here.”

“our responsibility begins with our imagination”

“A deaf composer’s like a cook who’s lost his sense of taste. A frog that’s lost its webbed feet. A truck driver with his license revoked. That would throw anybody for a loop, don’t you think? But Beethoven didn’t let it get to him. Sure, he must have been a little depressed at first, but he didn’t let misfortune get him down. It was like, Problem? What problem? He composed more than ever and came up with better music than anything he’d ever written. I really admire the guy. Like this Archduke Trio–he was nearly deaf when he wrote it, can you believe it? What I’m trying to say is, it must be tough on you not being able to read, but it’s not the end of the world. You might not be able to read, but there are things only you can do. That’s what you gotta focus on–your strengths. Like being able to talk with the stone.”

“Every time you see a flood like that on the news you tell yourself: That’s it. That’s my heart.”

“I want you to remember me. If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”

“It was a strange feeling, like touching a void.”

“Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”

“Everytime you see a flood like that on the news you tell yourself: That’s it. That’s my heart.”

“Time passes slowly. Nobody says a word, everyone lost in quiet reading. One person sits at a desk jotting down notes, but the rest are sitting there silently, not moving, totally absorbed. Just like me.”

“It feels like everything’s been decided in advance that I’m following a path somebody else has already mapped out for me. It doesn’t matter how much I think things over, how much effort I put into it. In fact, the harder i try, the more I lose my sense of who I am. It’s like my identity’s an orbit that I’ve strayed far away from, and that really hurts. But more than that, it scares me. Just thinking about it makes me flinch.”

“The Earth, time, concepts, love, life, faith justice, evil – they’re all fluid and in transition. They don’t stay in one form or in one place forever. The whole universe is like some big FedEx box.”

“Sometimes fate is like a small sand-storm that keeps changing directions. You change direction, but the sand-storm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before death. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside you. So all you can do is to give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging your ears so the sand doesn’t get in and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverised bones. That’s the kind of sand-storm you need to imagine”

“In traveling, a companion, in life, compassion.”

“A deserted library in the morning – there’s something about it that really gets to me. All possible words and ideas are there, resting peacefully.” p.336”

“The weather service reported that there weren’t any atmospheric conditions present that might have led to fish raining from the sky.”

“In traveling, a companion, in life, compassion,'” she repeats, making sure of it. If she had paper and pencil, it wouldn’t surprise me if she wrote it down. “So what does that really mean? In simple terms.”
I think it over. It takes me a while to gather my thoughts, but she waits patiently.
“I think it means,” I say, “that chance encounters are what keep us going. In simple terms.”

“Once you’re lost, you panic. You’re in total despair, not knowing what to do. I hate it when that happens. Sex can be a real pain that way, ‘cause when you get in the mood all you can think about is what’s right under your nose – that’s sex, all right.”

“Nature is actually unnatural”

“It’s easy to forget things you don’t need anymore.”

“When someone is trying very hard to get something, they don’t. And when they’re running away from something as hard as they can, it usually catches up with them.”

“You’re afraid of imagination and even more afraid of dreams. Afraid of the resposibility that begins in dreams. But you have to sleep and dreams are a part of sleep. When you’re awake you can suppress imagination but you can’t supress dreams.”

“Your problem is that your shadow is a bit – how should I put it? Faint. I thought this the first time I laid eyes on you, that the shadow you cast on the ground is only half as dark as that of ordinary people… What I think is this: You should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for the other half of your shadow”

“The facts and techniques or whatever they teach you in class isn’t going to be very
useful in the real world, that’s for sure.”

“I stare at this ceaseless, rushing crowd and imagine a time a hundred years from now. In a hundred years everybody here-me included-will have disappeared from the face of the earth and turned into ashes or dust. A weird thought, but everything in front of me starts to seem unreal, like a gust of wind could blow it all away.”

Oct 5th. Film Plan

6. Have you investigated a specific environment, to sub-culture, clothing, phrase or way of life characters. Describe it.

The topics I want to do reaserch;

  1. Love between the same gender ?
  2. In a relationship  of three people, how much love you have, and how much love you can share?
  3. In this modern age with a wider understanding of gender some people choose to re-state those as:
    • Homosexual- “attracted to people of a broadly similar gender”
    • Heterosexual – “attracted to people of a broadly different gender”

    In traditional dictionaries:

    • Homosexual is defined as “only attracted to the same sex”
    • Heterosexual is defined as “only attracted to the opposite sex”

7. Have you researched techniques you use in your movie to a particular film style or color, or timing or technique. Describe it.

I want to use Match Cut, I never use this techinique before, but I think it’s a nice idea to connect three different stories.

8. If that is not enough in previous answers emerged: who did you talk to and what insights have you been planning for your film?

(Next step is to write a movie plan in which your final choices, the final shape and structure emerge and fiction: a vision scenario & direction)

Sep 30th. Film Plan

First Draft.

1 Project Title :

I don’t know yet

2 Based on which book?

Kafka on the Shore

3 Motivation for this book. What attracts you most in this book?

I read this book a couple of years ago when I was still in college. I remembered that was a hot and humid summer, during the end of one semester, but I was attracted to it immediately. You can’t help but reading, reading, reading. Strangely after I finish the book, I was in that fantasy for a long time, I coounl’d get out of that feeling or I didn’t want to get out of it.

The book put me in a state between reality and fantasy. I like this kind of feeling.

4 Characters of main characters
(Documentary or fiction?)
Describe the main characters to create an image of the person and role in the film.

“In ancient times people werent just simply male or female, but one of three: male/male, male/female or female/female. Each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangement and never really gave it much thought. But then God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing other half.”

This quota from the book inspired me for a short story. I want to make a fiction, a love story between three people. Two women and one man. They are lovers, they love each other.

This is a bit difference as what mentioned in the book, in this story, it was three people in one body in ancient time. Or it is just a phrase when people are still looking for the original the other half part. It is a life long process.

What will happen if you think someone is your original half, while he/she thinks someone else is his/her original half, some one else but you?

What will happen if you feel there are two people you both like, you think they both could be  other half of you? In this case, you should choose both or neither?

So my short movie will be based on this concept.

4. Theme
What did you discover about your topic? How did you find (read, field research, people speaking)

I want to find out all the lines in the book which i can make up a new dialogue, or a monologue for each of the three characters.

And also do some research about love in general. When in love, people think/behave/talk differently.

Philosophically speaking, “Need is a biological instinct that is articulated in demand, yet demand has a double function: on the one hand, it articulates need, and on the other, acts as a demand for love. Even after the need articulated in demand is satisfied, the demand for love remains unsatisfied. This remainder is desire.

For Lacan, “desire is neither the appetite for satisfaction nor the demand for love, but the difference that results from the subtraction of the first from the second.” Lacan adds that “desire begins to take shape in the margin in which demand becomes separated from need.”

When in love, we have insecurity, desire, demand. All this emotions make us as human beings.

How can we overcome our insecurity in love, meet our demand in love, satisfied all our desire in love?

5. Style and Form
What other designs (films, photos, paintings, music etc.) you have seen on this assignment?
What does that affect your design?

I like to use beautiful images with monologue of the main characters, to show their loneliness and inner world. I want to tell the small story in three different small parts, they look as if irrelevant, but they interwoven with each other actually. Because the three characters are lovers to each other.

I would like to tell stories through images. Let the images do the talking. The images will create a subtle sad, sentimental atmosphere. We are searching, searching for the lost part. It’s a life long time search. Some are lucky, can find the right one at the right time, some spend the whole life looking for the right one.

Sep 26th Monday: Sound Film Research

A sound film, as we know from the name, is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image. The opposite to a sound film is silent film.

The first public exhibition of projected sound film was in 1900, Pairs. Because of the inadequate of recording quality and amplification, the early sound-on-disc systems didn’t have reliable synchronization. Later on, innovations in sound-on-film made led to the first commercial screening of short motion pictures using the technology.

It was in the mid-to late 1920s in the United States, where the first step of commercialization of sound cinema were taken place. At first, sound films were known as “talking pictures”, but they were really short films. The earliest feature-length movies with recorded sound only had music and effect.

People at time had different reaction towards this new sound-on-film systems. Although it was quiet popular in America, cause it helped secure Hollywood’s position as one the world’s most powerful cultural and commercial system, while in Europe, film makers and critics they worried the new development in sound would subvert the aesthetic virtues of silent movie. And in other Asian countries, for instance Japan and India, sound in films developed inevitable.

How was the Early Days for sound-on-film

In the early days, because of the inadequate of technology, sound were captured on cylinder, disc, or film, but none of these technology was adequate to big-league commercial purposes. The result of this was that for many major Hollywood film studios there was little benefit for them in producing sound motion pictures.

(to be continued )

Topic of Research

We need to do a research, which can last for the whole semester, and also has to be related to one of the courses we are having now.

There are two courses I personally really like, one is AV technique, the other is Sound Design.

I couldn’t help wondering : What is like in the old days, the days there were no color correction or sound design in movies? How did people cope with that? How did they make the movie still attractive?

A lot of classic movies were black and white, and even silent movies. They were made more then 50 years ago. If nowadays we are still watching the movies made 50 years ago, no color correction or no fancy sound design, will the people 50 years later still watch our movies, which are made by fast lenses, good color grading, and super good sound design? Will the people in the future still watch all these just like we are still watching the old black and white and even silent movies?

The more questions I asked myself, the more I am triggered to find out. Then I decided to do a research of  this.

Of course I am not the first one who raised this topic, and I am sure I will not be the last one either. This is a big question, I first need to narrow down my research field, find a point to start with.

  • When start using color in black and white movies?

While some color film processes (including hand coloring) were experimented with and in limited use from the earliest days of the motion picture, the switch from most films being in black-and-white to most being in color was gradual, taking place from the 1930s to the 1960s. Even when most studios had the capability to make color films, they were not heavily utilized as tinting techniques and the Technicolor process were expensive and difficult.

For years color films were not capable of rendering realistic hues, thus mostly historical films or musicals were made in color and many directors preferred to use black-and-white stock. For the years 1940–1966 a separate Academy Award for Best Art Direction was given for black-and-white movies, along with one for color.

  • How is Black and white style movies in modern time?

Since the invention of color, black-and-white  media often connotes something “nostalgic”, historic, or anachronistic.

Celebrity (1998) by Woody Allen was shot entirely in black-and-white, and Allen has often made use of the practice since Manhattan in 1979.

The Wizard of Oz (1939), American History X and Pleasantville play with the concept of the black-and-white anachronism, using it to selectively portray scenes and characters who are either more outdated or dull than the characters and scenes shot in full-color.

 Sin City

Wim Wenders’ 1987 film Wings of Desire uses sepia-tone black-and-white for the scenes shot from the angels’ perspective. When Damiel, the angel (the film’s main character), becomes a human, the film changes to color emphasising his new “real life” view of the world.

Since the late 1960s, few mainstream films have been shot entirely in black-and-white. Some modern film directors will occasionally shoot movies in black and white as an artistic choice, though it is much less common for a major Hollywood production.