• Guido's finger is still in the air, giving a bookend to the fantasy. (This formal announcing of when one mode of reality ends and another begins will end soon. Reality and fantasy will become mixed, and logic will not matter to our understanding and appreciation of the story.)

• The entrance of the producer and his entourage through the doorway has been anticipated by the man pacing in the very same doorway. And it is a grand entrance, signaling the beginning of the event.

• Before the lights dim, Fellini uses an over-the-shoulder of Guido to resolve his and the producer's spatial separation.

• The rich tapestry of the screen tests, a testimony to all of the work Guido has put into this project — intercut with the actions and reactions of the audience, the growing pressure on Guido to make some decisions, Guido's argument with Luisa, and finally the entrance of Claudia — and her and Guido's exit from the auditorium need no comment from me. The dramatic clash of images and relationships both on the screen and in the audience speak for themselves. The collision between Guido's personal and professional lives forces him to flee the scene of the accident. The arrival of Claudia gives him the excuse to do that.

But what we will discover is that he cannot flee his problem. He can make no decision about casting until he knows what story he wants to tell. And he must find that story tonight! Who says he must make it tonight? We, the audience. And Fellini and his screenwriters knew that. A jolt in the narrative thrust is needed, so the stage is changed, and Fellini has Claudia move with alacrity down the stairs of that stage, a bounce in her step, and into her car. Her momentum supplies momentum to the story. We don't know where we are going next, but we understand that wherever it is Guido will come to a decision (exhaust his action) by the end of this night. And if the audience knows these things about a story, it makes sense that the director should also.

INTERIOR, CLAUDIA'S CAR: An intimate scene shot totally in separation until the car comes to a stop. The intimacy is supported by the lighting. Each head floats in a black limbo. Only Guido's eyes are lit. And the position of the camera, between Guido and Claudia, acknowledges the intimate dynamics — each shot containing the suggestion of the other character.

• Fellini starts out with a medium close shot of Guido, and then goes in tight and stays there until Claudia throws his question back at him. "How about you? Could you?" Guido's reaction is a narrative beat. The question stumps him momentarily. To make sure that this has a palpable impact on the audience, Fellini articulates this narrative beat (director's beat) with a change in image size (back to the medium close shot).

• Claudia is fully lit, and shot in a three-quarter profile, suggesting even more the presence of Guido, and the attention he is paying to her. (All of this from the objective narrator without a hint of a subjective voice or even a POV.)

When Guido says, "It's obvious she could be his salvation," Fellini acknowledges the significance of this statement by significantly changing, for the first time, the angle on Claudia to a tighter, full profile. This cut to the new image of Claudia punctuates the importance of what Guido has just said. His optimism here is an extremely important plot point. (Imagine this scene without these last two very small changes, and note how they significantly affect the dramatic content. Not everything a director does is pyrotechnic; in fact, most is not.)

COURTYARD OF OLD BUILDING NEAR SPRINGS: A complete and economical introduction of the new location using the car's headlights.

0 0

Post a comment