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Which films would you screen to teach 'Visual Storytelling'?


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#1 Morgan Peline

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:24 PM

Hi,

I might be teaching a class in 'Visual Storytelling'.
Obviously, there are hundreds of great films to screen for this subject.
Personally, I would screen 'The Godfather', 'Blue' and 'Wall-E' amongst others.

What would you screen?

This could be an interesting thread to see if we all like the same films! Probably!
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:29 PM

Hi,

I might be teaching a class in 'Visual Storytelling'.
Obviously, there are hundreds of great films to screen for this subject.
Personally, I would screen 'The Godfather', 'Blue' and 'Wall-E' amongst others.

What would you screen?

This could be an interesting thread to see if we all like the same films! Probably!


"Stagecoach": I think a person who has never seen it could follow the storyline with the sound off.
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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 08:30 PM

Buster Keaton's The General. A masterpiece of the silent era, and after 85 years still more entertaining than just about every modern blockbuster.
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#4 Brian Rose

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 08:50 PM

Buster Keaton's The General. A masterpiece of the silent era, and after 85 years still more entertaining than just about every modern blockbuster.


Ditto. Visual cinema has to start with the silent cinema, and Keaton is the perfect way to introduce new minds to a part of cinema history they're likely to dismiss. And Keaton is the best of them all as an introduction, though I'd personally go with "Sherlock, Jr." It is his most jam packed actioner, it's a very manageable length, and it's also quite advanced in its deconstruction of the cinema.

After that, anything Hitchcock, who even in the sound era never really gave up being a silent filmmaker, and his films are hugely visual. Why, look at what he did in the remake of "The Man Who Knew Too Much," pulling off a lengthy climax without a word of dialogue!
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#5 Mike Lary

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 12:55 AM

'The Sacrifice' or 'The Mirror' - Tarkovsky
'The New World' - Malick
'The Spirit of the Beehive' - Erice
'The Passion of Joan of Arc' - Dreyer
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:17 AM

I'd go with Sunrise (1927). It, in my opinion, is the single best example of pure visual storytelling available.
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#7 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 07:23 AM

I took a class with Michael Goi, ASC, "camera and visual storytelling" at the Maine Workshop a few years ago.
Every day we would screen clips from at least 3 or 4 different movies (along with what we had shot the day before) and discuss them, and then at night we would pick one movie to watch. One night we watched "Visions of Light", and frankly it made us want to watch every single movie shown in that documentary.

Some random titles I would pick, and there's no way it's a complete list (obviously this is a matter of personal preference and I'm leaving out of this some of my favorite movies): L'avventura, The passenger, Rear Window, "il buono, il brutto, il cattivo" and "once upon a time in the west", Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Diving bell and the butterfly.
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#8 Morgan Peline

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 07:29 AM

I took a class with Michael Goi, ASC, "camera and visual storytelling" at the Maine Workshop a few years ago.
Every day we would screen clips from at least 3 or 4 different movies (along with what we had shot the day before) and discuss them, and then at night we would pick one movie to watch. One night we watched "Visions of Light", and frankly it made us want to watch every single movie shown in that documentary.

Some random titles I would pick, and there's no way it's a complete list (obviously this is a matter of personal preference and I'm leaving out of this some of my favorite movies): L'avventura, The passenger, Rear Window, "il buono, il brutto, il cattivo" and "once upon a time in the west", Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Diving bell and the butterfly.


Which clips that he screened touched you the most?

Wow, I've just realized that I have never watched Stagecoach! And I haven't watched a Buster Keaton movie in over 25 years! I'd better get to then DVD shop...
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#9 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:46 AM

Which clips that he screened touched you the most?


Morgan, I found my notes from the class and I realized there were many more than just 4 clips per morning (for 7-8 days), so it's hard to say. As I wrote earlier, maybe watching Visions of Light was one of the best things, because it's so packed with great shots that makes you want to watch all those movies. I must say that workshop was a really important thing for me, it affected me deeply and made things extremely clear regarding what I really wanted to do. After attending it, I went back to Italy, quit my job as assistant director and moved to the camera department.

The things is, the class was structured thematically, so for every topic there would be different clips.
For instance, when the topic was "breaking down the script visually", we saw clips from Rendez-vous (Lelouch), The great train robbery, a little princess, the good the bad and the ugly, la jetee, the graduate, and more. Then we were handed two pages of a script and we would go and shoot those in the afternoon. The following morning we would review what we had shot, and we would move on to the next topic(s) (like framing, camera movement, character introduction, use and abuse of the close-up, use of negative space, use of color, choice of lenses and its psychological effect, etc.)
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#10 Robert Costello

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 11:29 AM

I would perhaps show a film like Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) by Maya Deren- She wrote a few great articles, "Adventures in Creative Film-making", "Planning By Eye", and "Creative Cutting" that the students might benefit from-

Also The Lumière Brothers' First Films(1996). The narration by Bertrand Tavernier does a really wonderful job of suggesting how chance and serendipity can alter the narrative within a frame that lasts only 40-60 seconds-
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#11 Tom Jensen

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 12:30 PM

I love Keaton but as cameramen, you have to see "The Cameraman."
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#12 Joe Zakko

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 05:17 PM

Taxi Driver/Raging Bull, chinatown for examples of point of view filmmaking and getting inside a character's head.

2001 a space odyssey/theshining, Children of men, Royal Tenenbaums, There Will Be Blood for examples of how the visual style of a film is one of the most important things in the film and how it influences the story.

The Third Man for dutch angles

Breathless for jump cuts (not sure if that applies here, as that is a topic for editing, and not cinematography)

Out of the past for low key lighting

Obviously you just show select scenes from some of these movies to get the point across
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#13 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 06:10 PM

I'm actually taking a class like that right now and it's great. My prof has shown clips from Raging Bull, The Conformist, Brazil, Run Lola Run, Stranger Than Paradise, Rashomon and others.

It all depends on what visual component you are discussing.
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#14 Morgan Peline

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:01 PM

This is for two extra-curricular studies classes for college undergrads. One class will be a 'Film Appreciation' class. And the other will be an 'Introduction to basic filmmaking' class. Many of the student will be students in technical subjects like Engineering and the Sciences so I will probably use many different types of scene to give them an appreciation of how interesting and varied films can be.
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#15 Brandon Brown

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 01:06 AM

I'd recommend:

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (Kubrick)
"The Bride Wore Black" (Truffaut)
"Carrie" or "Obsession" (De Palma)
"The Mirror" (Tarkovsky)
"Repulsion" (Polanski)
"Touch of Evil" (Welles)
"Vertigo" or "Rear Window" (Hitchcock)
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#16 Don Norman

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 02:15 AM

I think "Lawrence of Arabia" would be another good example of visual storytelling.

I posted this on AICN about LOA:

There are many clever/brilliant touches in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA that I've discovered with repeat viewings. A few examples: O'Toole using his dagger as a mirror when he first puts on the Arab garb (he sees his virtuous, heroic self-image) and again later at the massacre of the retreating Turks where he sees his ironic "barbarous and cruel" self-image; the scene with the sour grapes which is an omen of the "bitter fruits of victory" feeling that Lawrence has after the taking of Damascus; the left-to-right movement of Lawrence in his travels which was meant to convey the idea that Lawrence was on a personal as well as physical journey. That last sequence of Lawrence in the car going back to Egypt (note the right-to-left movement) and eventually home to England has a lot in it: his love for the desert and its people (his standing up and looking at the camels and their riders going in the opposite direction), an omen of his eventual fate and cause of his death (the motorcycle passing by), and his enigmatic character (the dirty windshield obscuring his face). There's a lot of discussion of the music and how the movie works on multiple levels here:

http://tinyurl.com/252u4kn or: http://www.filmscoremonthly.co m/board/posts.cfm?forumID=1&pa geID=1&threadID=52145&archive= 0
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#17 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:00 PM

"Le Circle Rouge" (1970), Jean-Pierre Melville (DP Henri Decae).
"La Double Vie de Veronique" (1991), Krzysztof Kieslowski (DP Slawomir Idziak).
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#18 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 05:23 PM

The opening sequence of "Up"
Any Jacque Tati film
"Run Lola Run" comes to mind, in terms of telling a story using a very kinetic style of filmmaking.
"Jaws", for its use of emoting what we can't see.
"Assassination of Jesse James", sans its narration, which I really don't care for.
"The Proposition", so many excellent visual choices in it, and every one works for the story. Especially the scene with Emily Watson in the bath.
"A Simple Plan", excellent practice in pacing and letting a film "breathe"
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#19 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 06:37 AM

Scarface - particularly the use of mis-en-scene in showing Al Pacino's character's gradual rise from newly arrived immigrant with burning ambitions to top gangster boss, virtually drunk with power.

Baraka - not so much story telling but the conveying of themes - effectively done without a single word of dialogue.

Battleship Potemkin - Russian piece of silent cinema with some very arresting visuals.
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#20 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 03:23 PM

Well, Kubrick is a must.

I would also make sure I exposed them to foreign masters like Bergman and Kurosawa.
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