Working Toward Specificity In Visualization

The first version of your film began the first time you read the screenplay, or perhaps, if you were the author, while you were writing. Another version was born after the detective work, and perhaps the latest version after the staging. There will be more versions — or maybe we should start calling them revisions — as we begin to explore the best way of rendering each moment within the context of the entire film. The Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, in a lecture to film students (published as a monograph titled On the Composition of the Short Fiction Scenario), read a short screenplay by L. Leonov, The Feast at Zhirmuna, as an example of an exemplary scenario. Then he asked the students to think about how they would shoot it. It is instructive how Eisenstein suggested they go about this visualization.

We liked two details which very strongly revealed the personalities of the main characters. I'll read them to you again: "Oneisim mechanically peels off a thin strip of chipped paint and crushes it between his fingers. Pensively: 'Always meant to re-do this porch. My nephew promised to send us some whitewash, but I guess he forgot. . . . OK, afterwards!" And also: "The old woman picks a wild flower on the path and trudges back to the house." I ask you to think of how you would direct and shoot these two scenes (their length, shooting angle, etc.), taking into account the psychological loading of these details and their significance in the general development of the action. You should also try to imagine how the old man should be standing over the body of the old woman when he says "lioness," how the door is closed in the kindergarten, how the German would stick his knee in the cracked door, and how near and from which side it should be shot.

Don't concern yourself with complex stylistic questions; don't struggle with graphic problems of the shots. Set up shots so that the meaning of the inner-shot action is clear. A shot should be like a line in a poem: self-contained, with its idea crystal clear.

0 0

Post a comment