During Module 09, you and your colleagues wrote film reviews.
For the M10 discussion, you will respond to at least three of your colleagues postings by providing information that will promote understanding of the film by providing information relating to its socio-historical context. You can see an example of this in Toshiki Yamada’s “God Bless Cowboys” where he provided links to two on-line sources. During week 09, I will respond to some of the postings with examples.
Each of your comments should be at least 100 words and include a link to at least one online citation. Among the three responses, you must include at least one link to a journal article and one link to a newspaper article.
by Toshiki Yamada
February 24, 2014
Usually, when you think about cowboys, rodeos, and horses, you do not think of young African Americans. Kendrick Domingue, a professional roper, seeks to prove us wrong.
In the documentary, The Roper (2012), we follow Kendrick’s past, present and future. Ever since he saw a cowboy rope on TV, he promised that he would be a professional roper and to this day, he practices every day to better himself. During his journey to becoming a roper in Louisiana, he hit a couple major road bumps where numerous people would criticize him for the color of his skin. In this film, there is no labeling, but we are left to a simple truth. He is black and the members participating in this sport are predominantly white. Or that is what we thought.
In an article called “America’s Black Cowboys Fight for their place in History,” CNN’s Matthew Ponsford states that in the 1800s American West, there was an assortment of races riding horses and roping cattle. Records now estimate that one in four Texan cowboys was an African American. As most of society, I thought cowboys were prominently white, but as Kendrick stated, in Texas, there are many black cowboys.
Cowboy and Professor of History Michael Searles stated that black cowboys were expected to do the dirtiest work of being a cowboy. Black cowboys were treated differently than slaves though because they needed their independence. The question is why almost every cowboy movie has all white cowboys. John Ferguson, a film writer for the documentary, The Forgotten Cowboys blames Hollywood for dismissing the role of black cowboys. “America was a divided country – segregation – Hollywood played their part down. Compare Clint Eastwood or John Wayne to the black cowboys. It just does not fit the image. Black cowboy. A hero.”
The Roper does just that. It shows Kendrick as an underdog that overcomes what others believe of him, and successfully enjoys is career now. The documentary is shot just like an old Western movie from the start. It opens with a pan shot of Kendrick strapping up his cowboy boots. There is also a light green filter and western-style soundtrack throughout the film just to give it an old film appeal to it.
This documentary shows two cultures starting to collect into one society. Old dirt roads are replaced with pavement, stables replaced with gas stations and cars instead of horses. This symbolizes how Kendrick and the rest of the cowboys in Louisiana are different, but they accept each other.
Ponsford, Matthew. “America’s Black Cowboys Fight for Their Place in History.” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 16 Feb. 2014
I will provide you with three postings from my classmates
Incident by the bank 2018
The short film that I choose to view through the cinematography perspective is “Incident by a bank” this film is about two individuals carrying out a broad daylight failed bank robbery. The movies plays out through different interactions that individuals have when this event is happening. This could be by standers, people within the bank, and even cars driving by with people not knowing whats going on. The cinematography in this movie is not as usual as it seems. The director Ruben Ostlund develops an even bigger idea by using a unusual cinematography feature.
This film is shot in one setting with one single camera. Usually in most common movies we are placed in different camera angles and lighting in order to grasp a better sense. However this is different in this film. The film stars off as a extreme wide shot. At 1:00 the camera is set to view the scene as a whole. We are able to see the people walking, conservation displayed, the building etc. This wide shot helps us identify exactly what the tone of the film. As the film plays out, at about 1:40 the camera then zooms to focusing on one conversation between two individuals. This two-shot aspect is displayed to take the audiences attention off to the bigger picture. Suddenly at about 3:15 we are disturbed just like the conversation between the two people with the two masked robbers. As the camera follows a 4:20-4:36. There is a transition into the next scene. I feel like this was put in place to make the audience feel as though they are traveling at the same time as the robbers are as well. Nevertheless, as the men go into the other bank and carry out their task, the camera still is focusing on the building at 4:54. However, we still gain a perspective of what is going on outside of the building. The camera shadows the people in the community walking by and even a bus full of nonchalant party people. As the robbery continues, people outside the building become relevant to the camera. Their conversation is captured by a simple low angle to make their conversations seemingly relevant to the audience. This small capture gives the audience to feel as though they are watching the exact moment that the two individuals are. At about the 8:00 mark when the robbers are being captured. The camera pans out between the pedestrians watching the scene play out as well as the robbers. I feel as though the filmmakers used this feature to help the audience not only see but to feel the reaction that the pedestrians is feeling. Without this pan we wouldn’t be able to see both sides.
Although lighting is a profound feature that is used in cinematography. I do not feel as though this was considered to be useful throughout this movie. The camera zooming in on certain scenes provided a sense of shedding light to the important feature. Nevertheless, due to the film being shot outside, I think the regular day light provided enough lighting. The filmmakers did an excellent job to have only one camera angle.
2. Living with anxiety
In the short film Living with Social Anxiety (2017), the creators are attempting you to feel what it is actually like to suffer from severe anxiety. The primary way they do this is focusing on cinematography tricks through the course of this short film. Following a young girl who has trouble with anxiety, the opening shot is intelligently focused on her and two individuals. She is clearly not enthused and is flying solo, as they speak she smokes her cigarette alone. The next shot, being one that focuses through a keyhole is seemingly telling us that this is a look into this individuals life.
At 0:24, she speaks about wanting to show her true colors, while the camera focuses on her colorful socks, another clever blend of camera movement and narration. The close shots on her doing activities leads us to develop an idea in our heads of how this individual acts. The quick cuts take us from one moment to another, clearly developing a deeper and deeper connection to the protagonist. This film is filled with unique shots which keep the story telling interesting while providing glimpses at the main characters life. At 1:00, a shot from inside the fridge gives us a different perspective and angle on her daily life. As these shots continue to roll, she gives insightful narration into how difficult life can be when plagued with anxiety. From 1:20 – 1:40, the camera cuts to her doing an activity while its name is on the screen, this is paired with more narration and begins to truly immerse you into the struggles that she faces in her daily life. It becomes clearly apparent that things we may take for granted are extremely difficult for individuals battling anxiety.
Through the entire film, the style of cuts through her life continues, at 2:25, we see he from a distant shot, all alone, running to work. This can be seen as a parallel to the feeling one may go through when battling social pressures and social anxiety. The shot at 4:09 again beautifully illustrates her gravitation to being alone. As the train passes by, we see the creativity shine, she has a book up to her face and her headphones on, being more clear than ever that she wants nothing to do with anyone around. At 5:00 as she is blocked by her canvas, the shot slowly zooms in and she is sitting in front of her many works, these works are extremely expressive and uncanny for someone who is so reserved. She states that art is her true escape and that people may not necessarily know these art pieces represent her true emotions or feelings.
Through this film, we saw many different aspects of this individuals life, each represented with a jump cut, often showing a struggle. However, the last shot of the film is an opportunity for things to come full circle. It comes back to the first shot with her and the three girls, she finally takes charge and moves to the open seat between them and the film finishes. This short film used extremely clever camera angles and shots to tell an extremely compelling and entertaining story. It allowed us to get an inside into the life of an individual facing struggles we may or may not be familiar with.
3. Active Shooter (2018)
The short film Active Shooter (2018) is about a father who is watching a news broadcast about a active shooter situation at a high school and suspecting that the shooter is probably his son. He suspects his son might be the shooter because of an heated arguments they had prior or because his son had a falling out with his girlfriend. So he believes one of these two incidents might of triggered his son to kill others and hurt himself.
Cinematography is basically the art or the process of using motion pictures. lighting, and visual effects to create the narrative and experience for the viewer. In the beginning of Active Shooter at around the 00:12 point a extremely wide shot is used to show the High School as the news reporter is doing her broadcast. We are able to see the high school building and parts of the school athletic field as well. Then at the 00:38 mark as the father is dialing 911 the director is using an extremely close up shot because all that we can see is his head and his hand as he have the phone up to his ear. During this same scene at the 00:53 point while the father is still on the phone the director moves to a medium wide shot because we are now able to see a great deal of the upper half of his body.
The opening scene to the part where the father and son gets into the heated argument uses an extremely wide shot. This can be found at the 02;31 mark in the film. We are able to get a complete view of the living room the scene is situated in. This scene was really important because this was one of the incident the father thought about when asking what might of triggered his son. During the 03;42 mark we use the director use the high angle as the father reads a letter found in his son room. The camera is basically looking downward and over the father shoulder so that the viewers are able to get a good look at the contents of the letter.
During the 10:00 mark the father starts to call his son girlfriend mother to see if they had a falling out and if she had spoken with her daughter today. The director is using a wide shot in this scene as the father walks back in the living room with the TV because we are able to see him from head to toe. At exactly the 10:55 mark during this same phone call the director switches to a side close up shot to show the father face as he talks on the phone still. There was various lighting used in these scenes as we saw some that were bright and then were some that had a dimness to it.