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Epstein had already demonstrated that the continuous and the discontinuous were never opposed to each other in cinema. What are opposed, or at least distinguished, are rather two ways of reconciling them.

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Movies are, for the most part, made up of short runs of continuous action, called shots, spliced together with cuts. With a cut, a filmmaker can instantaneously replace most of what is available in your visual field with completely different stuff. This is something that never happened in the 3.5 billion years or so that it took our visual systems to develop. You might think, then, that cutting might cause something of a disturbance when it first appeared. And yet nothing in contemporary reports suggests that it did. […]

What if we could go back in time and collect the reactions of naïve viewers on their very first experience with film editing?

It turns out that we can, sort of. There are a decent number of people on the planet who still don’t have TVs, and the psychologists Sermin Ildirar and Stephan Schwan have capitalised on their existence to ask how first-time viewers experience cuts. […] There was no evidence that the viewers found cuts in the films to be shocking or incomprehensible. […]

I think the explanation is that, although we don’t think of our visual experience as being chopped up like a Paul Greengrass fight sequence, actually it is.

Simply put, visual perception is much jerkier than we realise. First, we blink. Blinks happen every couple of seconds, and when they do we are blind for a couple of tenths of a second. Second, we move our eyes. Want to have a little fun? Take a close-up selfie video of your eyeball while you watch a minute’s worth of a movie on your computer or TV. You’ll see your eyeball jerking around two or three times every second.

{ Aeon | Continue reading }

Against those who defined Italian neo-realism by its social content, Bazin put forward the fundamental requirement of formal aesthetic criteria. According to him, it was a matter of a new form of reality, said to be dispersive, elliptical, errant or wavering, working in blocs, with deliberately weak connections and floating events. The real was no longer represented or reproduced but “aimed at.” Instead of representing an already deciphered real, neo-realism aimed at an always ambiguous, to be deciphered, real; this is why the sequence shot tended to replace the montage of representations. […]

[I]n Umberto D, De Sica constructs the famous sequence quoted as an example by Bazin: the young maid going into the kitchen in the morning, making a series of mechanical, weary gestures, cleaning a bit, driving the ants away from a water fountain, picking up the coffee grinder, stretching out her foot to close the door with her toe. And her eyes meet her pregnant woman’s belly, and it is as though all the misery in the world were going to be born. This is how, in an ordinary or everyday situation, in the course of a series of gestures, which are insignificant but all the more obedient to simple sensory-motor schemata, what has suddenly been brought about is a pure optical situation to which the little maid has no response or reaction. The eyes, the belly, that is what an encounter is … […] The Lonely Woman [Viaggio in ltalia] follows a female tourist struck to the core by the simple unfolding of images or visual cliches in which she discovers something unbearable, beyond the limit of what she can person- ally bear. This is a cinema of the seer and no longer of the agent.

What defines neo-realism is this build-up of purely optical situations (and sound ones, although there was no synchronized sound at the start of neo-realism), which are fundamentally distinct from the sensory-motor situations of the action-image in the old realism. […]

It is clear from the outset that cinema had a special relationship with belief. […] The modern fact is that we no longer believe in this world. We do not even believe in the events which happen to us, love, death, as if they only halfconcerned us. It is not we who make cinema; it is the world which looks to us like a bad film. […] The link between man and the world is broken. Henceforth, this link must become an object of belief: it is the impossible which can only be restored within a faith. Belief is no longer addressed to a different or transformed world. Man is in the world as if in a pure optical and sound situation.

{ Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2, The Time-Image, 1985 | PDF, 17.2 MB }

‘Free from what?’ —Nietzsche

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{ Adam Savage’s Overlook Hotel Maze Model | watch video }

I’d tell you to eat a shit sandwich, but you probably don’t like the taste of bread

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So how did such a turkey ever escape the studio lot? A significant part of the answer lies in the dumbing-down of the audience that began decades ago, when studios discovered that kids would turn out to see almost any piece of junk on any weekend provided the marketing departments did their jobs. Movies weren’t the only coarseners of pop culture, but they led the way, with the eager assent of the paying public.

{ Joe Morgenstern/WSJ | Continue reading }

‘That something is irrational is no argument against its existence, but rather a condition for it.’ –Nietzsche

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With the First Amendment, you’re never protecting Jefferson; it’s usually protecting some guy who’s burning a flag or doing something stupid. […]

Here’s the brilliant thing they did. You embarrass them first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills.

{ George Clooney/Deadline | Continue reading }

photo { Christopher Morris }

‘I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.’ —Steve Martin

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It’s called “beauty work.” It’s a digital procedure of sorts, in which a handful of skilled artists use highly specialized software in the final stages of post-production to slim, de-age and enhance actors’ faces and bodies. […]

Under strict non-disclosure agreements, Hollywood A-listers have been quietly slipping in and out of a few bland office buildings around town, many to sit in on days-long retouching sessions, directing the artists to make every frame suitable. […]

Hips are narrowed, calves slimmed, turkey-necks tucked. Pores are tightened. Eye-bags reduced (often, entire hangovers are erased). Hair is thickened, teeth whitened. Underarm-skin is de-jiggled. Belly fat obliterated, abs raised.

{ Mashable | Continue reading }

‘What is good is easy to get, and what is terrible is easy to endure.’ –Epicurus

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{ Ad for Blow-Up, 1966 | more }

‘Pendant les premiers temps de son mariage, il se croit heureux. En fait il est hébété, il a reçu un coup sur la tête.’ –Léon Tolstoi

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Love stories are dynamic processes that begin, develop, and often stay for a relatively long time in a stationary or fluctuating regime, before possibly fading. Although they are, undoubtedly, the most important dynamic process in our life, they have only recently been cast in the formal frame of dynamical systems theory.

In particular, why it is so difficult to predict the evolution of sentimental relationships continues to be largely unexplained. A common reason for this is that love stories reflect the turbulence of the surrounding social environment. But we can also imagine that the interplay of the characters involved contributes to make the story unpredictable—that is, chaotic.

In other words, we conjecture that sentimental chaos can have a relevant endogenous origin. To support this intriguing conjecture, we mimic a real and well-documented love story with a mathematical model in which the environment is kept constant, and show that the model is chaotic. The case we analyze is the triangle described in Jules et Jim, an autobiographic novel by Henri-Pierre Roché that became famous worldwide after the success of the homonymous film directed by François Truffaut.

The results fully support our conjecture and also highlight the genius of François Truffaut.

{ Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science | PDF }

photo { Man Ray, Rayograph, 1925 }

Krzysztof, a physics professor, has more faith in computers and logic than in God. It is winter. His son, Pawel, anxious to try out a new pair of skates, asks him if he can go out to the local pond which has just frozen over. Krzysztof determines that the ice is thick enough through a series of scientific calculations. Pawel goes skating, the ice breaks, and he drowns.

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{ Collapse of Antarctic ice sheet is underway and unstoppable but will take centuries | What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? }

quote { Krzysztof Kieślowski, The Decalogue I, 1988 }

Driver Take Me to O’Block

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After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. […] That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind.

{ No Film School | Continue reading }

Two roads diverged and you took both

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Lawsuit Accuses Hit Show New Girl of “Blatant Plagiarism”

[…]

In documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, it’s clear Counts and Gold aren’t fucking around.

{ Defamer | Continue reading }

images { 1 | Jayne Mansfield, 1964 }

‘Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed.’ —Homer

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{ Behind the Scenes Look at the Horror Classic “The Shining” }

Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality

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Summer movies are often described as formulaic. But what few people know is that there is actually a formula—one that lays out, on a page-by-page basis, exactly what should happen when in a screenplay. It’s as if a mad scientist has discovered a secret process for making a perfect, or at least perfectly conventional, summer blockbuster.

The formula didn’t come from a mad scientist. Instead it came from a screenplay guidebook, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. In the book, author Blake Snyder, a successful spec screenwriter who became an influential screenplay guru, preaches a variant on the basic three-act structure that has dominated blockbuster filmmaking since the late 1970s. […]

Instead of a broad overview of how a screen story fits together, his book broke down the three-act structure into a detailed “beat sheet”: 15 key story “beats”—pivotal events that have to happen—and then gave each of those beats a name and a screenplay page number. Given that each page of a screenplay is expected to equal a minute of film, this makes Snyder’s guide essentially a minute-to-minute movie formula.

{ Slate | Continue reading }

photo { Ralph Crane }