Shot Breakdown 006: BETRAYAL (2012)

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This week I’m bringing you an arthouse film from Russia which competed at the 69th Venice Film Festival. What particularly struck me is the cinematography of this film. Shot in the fall it presents a rich, somber and gloomy palette of colors. Study this to see how mood and atmosphere is conveyed through weather. Russian cinema has been struggling since the fall of Soviet Union but it is slowly re-entering world cinema. Self taught filmmaking team of Andrei Zvyagintsev and Mikhail Krichman – director and cinematographer respectively – are some of those people who have proven that true Russian cinema is not dead yet. Betrayal comes from Kirill Serebrennikov. Watch the trailer below



SHOT BREAKDOWN 006: BETRAYAL (2012)

betrayal


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Shot Breakdown 005: MANHATTAN (1979)

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The beautiful black & white cinematography of Manhattan by Gordon Willis is also a testament to storytelling being done with simplicity. There are quite a bit of long takes and single setups which cover pages of dialogue with effectiveness which is rarely found in modern day cinema.


SHOT BREAKDOWN 005: MANHATTAN (1979)

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Shot Breakdown 004: Boardwalk Empire

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As an avid viewer of the series, I’ve done a shot breakdown for S4E5 of Boardwalk Empire, which utilizes some very interesting compositions to underline dialogue.


SHOT BREAKDOWN 004: BOARDWALK EMPIRE (S4E5)

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Shot Breakdown 003: DIE HARD (1988)

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John McTiernan’s classic actioner Die Hard is broken down from top to bottom. To supplement his discussions of the film through my condensed commentaries – you can also now take your time and study how he strung together the images together to form scenes and sequences.


SHOT BREAKDOWN 003: DIE HARD (1988)

die hard


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Shot Breakdown 002: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

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It goes on. This is Dario Argentos debut, a solid one at that – photographed by master cinematographer Vittorio Storaro who would go on to photograph Francis Ford Coppolas Apocalypse Now


SHOT BREAKDOWN 002: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

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Shot Breakdown 001: HEAT (1995)

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It’s here. Introducing a little idea I’ve based on how John McTiernan approached studying films outside of actually making them. Breaking down a commercial, music video, or a film is in no way a new way of studying the art of filmmaking – at least its editorial and visual aspects. This has been done by virtually every filmmaker. This is also an approach many of the world’s strongest film schools actually favor in the classrooms (that is, if the professor is good)

“What he used to make me memorize was the shots. He’d say, “Ok, learn that movie!” – by learn that movie he meant; you sit down with a bunch of pile of paper and pencils and write – shot for shot – the movie from memory. I learned a bunch of movies that way. I learned 8 1/2 that way which is a very complex film. I learned Clockwork Orange…His notion was that if you really wanna become a filmmaker, you have to get that conversant. You have to be able to carry that much in your mind. . . .he made me learn to think of movies as a chain of images where you would fashion the entire chain of images. Just like a music student could hold a concerto in his mind, you should hold the movie in your mind; the images – nevermind the words, the images – “Where is the camera for that shot. What kind of lens was it? What was the camera doing?” – on every shot, on every one of – well most movies have about a thousand shots.” – John McTiernan

For anyone who’s been following this little blog for almost a year now are hopefully quite aware of what a huge proponent I am of reverse engineering the visual medium to the point of scrutiny in order to study how a moving narrative is put together. Of course it’s not the ONLY thing one should be doing, but it is most certainly one of the most important concepts that’s important to grasp.

I’ve broken down every shot of Michael Mann‘s Heat and then some (down to actor’s ever changing facial expressions and body movements + camera movements) just so the act of looking at every shot doesn’t lose the power that watching the actual film has, because the details are all kept in the breakdown (minus sound) – but we’re not concentrating on sound here.

So without further banter…


SHOT BREAKDOWN 001: HEAT (1995)

heat-breakdown


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