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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 7:21 pm 
davidhare wrote:
For him it's a visual means to dissociate individual actors and create the "Crowd". Also a way to maintain continuous action in long takes.

...and Kubrick uses the zoom to reveal details that comment upon the individual. Jancso and Angelopoulos use the zoom to move between framings that would otherwise not be possible, essential to the poetic rhythm of their filmmaking. Visconti, I think, is drawn to the visceral effect of the zoom, pulling us deeper into his characters' emotions. Etc.


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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 9:28 pm 
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Certainly the use of the zoom throws up the whole notion of Bazin's "open frame" and continuous takes, against decoupage or montage. I'm personally glad it's now used so sparingly. For one thing the quality of exposure or the actual film grain, lighting etc seems to be critical and so many zooms in movies end up looking awful.

OAT mentions Snow and Wavelength, certainly a perfect example of the "visceral" use of the zoom. To me Visconti's zooms in, say the Damned and Death in Venice simply become ubiquitous and lazy.


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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 5:25 pm 
davidhare wrote:
Certainly the use of the zoom throws up the whole notion of Bazin's "open frame" and continuous takes, against decoupage or montage. I'm personally glad it's now used so sparingly.

As long as you acknowledge that's a highly conservative position.

davidhare wrote:
For one thing the quality of exposure or the actual film grain, lighting etc seems to be critical and so many zooms in movies end up looking awful.

Don't see what you're getting at here. The zooms in Jancso/Angelopoulos/Kubrick are technically flawless.


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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 7:26 pm 
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David, it is not a good idea to limit the number of tools a cinematographer uses to help tell the story, and I believe that many cinematographers get routed into a way of thinking that actually narrow their ideas due to this type of attitude. But beyond that the zoom is a tool, just like a dolly or steadi-cam or a crane. I can't agree with you saying they shouldn't use one of the tools in the toolbox. I'm not saying it should be used in every film, but I just don't understand knocking intelligent directors whom, to me at least, use it just beautifully, and this includes basically all of the great directors. You forgot a big advocate of the zoom, Sergio Leone, and yes, Stanley Kubrick did great zooms as well. In "Full Metal Jacket" the zoom through the hole in the wall to Arliss Howard before he gets shot is just brilliant. And in "The Conformist" with the woman lying on the desk and it zooms back to the huge room with the black and white pattern on the floor. Sven Nykvist and Ingmar Bergman used the zoom in a similar manner within a few of their films, as well.

I also love the zoom in "Death in Venice" of the whore in the mirror...one of the ten greatest shots in any film ever. With that said, it seems to be a technique that was more utilized in films during the late 60's and early 70's, you rarely see it used anymore (Brian De Palma, with his brilliant 'de-zooming,' being one exception), and I think much of it has to do with the idea that it is a "no, no" and cinematographers stay away from it, but if it helps tell the story then why never use it? Is Altman really the only director who does it to your specifications?

Personally, I think what needs to be looked into is handheld, which is still very much being used (and overused) in many films. I like handheld too, sometimes I love it, but only selectively where I feel it has an ultimate purpose (whether in a singular scene, such as the forest sequence in "The Conformist," or the basis of a film's style, such as "Husbands and Wives" or "Rosetta"). To a lesser extent (because you just don't see them that often) I do feel the same way about zooms, but I think far, far more than one director have utilized them in an intelligent and meaningful way.


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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 8:29 pm 
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Ugetsu, Kubrick was technically meticulous, to the point of having new lenses invented for things like the 2001 wide shots, or the candle lit scenes in Barry Lyndon. Not to mention the steadicam shooting in Shining. What Im saying is the early days of unrestrained zooming in good to bad movies often resulted in poor, grainy images. Modern filmmakers arent going to let that happen, just as modrern filmmakers are far more aware of preserving their work on fade proof color stocks, and so on. Indeed the zoom or telephoto is very much PART of an "armamentarium" of technical tools.

Which part of Bazin's "open frame" thesis do you take as "conservative? Among the people I know whenever there's discussion of montage/decoupage vs long take or such, it's generally in the context of older filmmakers, and more importantly is subservient to directors whose mise-en-scene exists to acommodate the meanings of their films, like Preminger or Antonioni.

This whole discussion of zooms/ telephotos etc probably derserves its own thread now. Enough people have rightly zoomed in on the use of it throughout contemporary world cinema to start anew. Good to see the forum focussing on film language and aesthetics.


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 4:57 am 
Perhaps I misread your comment. I took it that you were rejecting Bazin in favour of Eisensteinian montage.


Last edited by Anonymous on Mon May 22, 2006 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 7:37 am 
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Nonononononono!!!

What sort of a fag do you think I am?


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:31 am 
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Believe it or not, it comes to Netflix Instant Watch on June 1st. At least according to Feedfliks.


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 4:18 pm 
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I know the phenomenon of posting in a dead thread on the anniversary of the previous post is not unknown, but surely four years is a record? (And I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have noticed if David's previous post hadn't been so eye-catching!)


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 4:46 pm 
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I was wondering why there was so much discussion in the last few days about this. Guess I should have looked more closely at the year stamp!

Since I've only seen a grubby pan-and-scan German dub of this film, I'll give this another go on Netflix and hope that its better. But I remember thinking that Camus's book really does not translate to film well. Taking Rotunno from the streets and beaches and placing him in a stuffy, crowded court room to film a long and preposterous trial brings the narrative to a grinding halt. And Mastroianni may have seemed an obvious choice to play the protagonist, bearing as he did a passing resemblance to Camus and having performed the existential malaise bit very well in La Dolce Vita, but he seemed bloated and past his prime in this.


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 5:16 pm 
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I hate Netflix's choppy streaming on Macs, but I'll make an exception for this one. Yowza!


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 5:30 pm 
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zedz wrote:
I know the phenomenon of posting in a dead thread on the anniversary of the previous post is not unknown, but surely four years is a record?

I sure as fuck didn't know.

Why wait? It's on youtube with English subs. Ah, but I guess it's the German version tartarlamb mentioned.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:06 am 
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Numero Trois wrote:
Believe it or not, it comes to Netflix Instant Watch on June 1st. At least according to Feedfliks.


This seems like a cruel joke, but Netflix is actually streaming the 1945 Orson Welles film "The Stranger" through the listing of the Visconti film. I was really, really hoping that Paramount (I'm guessing they still have the American distribution rights) would've licensed a restored print for showing on Netflix (as they recently have with "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and other films that are MIA on DVD) but it doesn't look like that's happening. If we're lucky, somebody screwed up at Netflix and Visconti's film will be streaming soon, but... I doubt it.

Looks like the widescreen German dub with English subtitles on youtube is the only way to go for now.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:53 pm 
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This thread's been dead for quite a while, but... since I just stumbled across it again... I thought I'd let those interested know that the Italian version of "The Stranger" is available on-line, with English subtitles, here. It's been there (off and on) for a few years now, as have the German, Spanish, and English dubs.

Image


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