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Schultze Gets The Blues


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#1 Charlie Seper

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 11:51 AM

I've loaded 11?stills and a small 40?second clip from the movie here: Schultze

I can't really say there's a great story here or even a good story. I suppose its marginally good. But the film is incredibly well made without all the clichés of today's filmmakers. Almost all of the shots are held for no less than 20-seconds and many are a minute or more. There are precious few hokey soap box opera close-ups. In fact, I don't think there are really any. This may be the closest thing to a close-up in the whole film:

Posted Image

Its really a throwback to the great days of filmmaking. I don't remember seeing a single zoom and hardly any pans. There don't appear to be any handheld shots either. I mean, there could be but I don't remember them. Just put the cam on a tripod and rely on good actors to act good. There are several shots where the camera is in the next room like so:

Posted Image

Sometimes Schultze will walk in and out of a room several times while the cam sit still waiting for him to reappear from the next room.

And while I could care less about the "look" of color and so forth in a frame of film or video, I must say that this film looks stunning:

Posted Image

The movie is very understating from the beginning. Even the music score is very modest and at times practically inconspicuous. Yet it still has quite an effect on the viewer. If you click on the web page above, I've loaded a short clip from a funeral scene in the film where Schultze and friends are gathered beside the grave while he plays the most unusual funeral dirge on the accordion that I've ever heard. And they mixed it so that you feel like you're standing where the camera is, a' ways across from the gathering, hearing the accordion in the distance along with the wind ever so softly. There's a similar understated aural thing going on during the closing credits. As the film fades to black, the windmill goes out of site and the credits start to roll but you still hear the winds and other extraneous sounds from the field where the windmill sits. But you just barely hear them. I found myself reaching for the volume knob on my stereo while the credits were rolling, trying to hear all this stuff going on in the background. You'll hear clanging sounds, someone walking through gravel, some people singing in the far distance... all kinds of little things that really captured my imagination.

It?s a very different film. I wasn't crazy about the story but I was enthralled with how it was told throughout.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 02:43 PM

I enjoyed this film very much. One critic sort of described it as a less sentimental version of "About Schmidt".

The deadpan framing style (i.e. the notion comedy plays best in a wide master) is reminiscent of Jarmusch, Kubrick, Lester, Wes Anderson, etc. Goes back to the Silent Era like Buster Keaton. So I found it refreshing in "Schultze Gets the Blues" although nothing innovative. I think it had a terrific sense of "place", which shooting in wide masters helped to achieve.
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#3 Louis

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:50 PM

Just watched this movie, and enjoyed it tremendously. My question is: when I looked closely at the movement on screen, there seems to be a slight hint of the shutter blur you get when you watch something shot on video, but according to the imdb, it was shot on film (and it looks like it of course). Did anyone else notice motion blur like that, or am I crazy (or possibly both)?
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#4 Charlie Seper

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 05:23 PM

Well I'm glad you guys liked it. I haven't been able to find anyone else that ever heard of it.

I didn't notice the blur Louis.
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#5 georg lamshöft

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 12:47 PM

I'm pretty surprised about the opinions of this movie - especially talking about great cinematographic/technical achivements. I have seen a few minutes of it and it immediately reminded me of this typical "cheap" look of german films. Ok, in fact these films ARE cheap but I've heard that so often from german actors, critics etc. : "we don't need f/x, we don't need big lighting..." but in fact I think in a strange way they are just jealous - they've always made movies with low budget, low technology and they got used to it.
I always have the feeling that this mentality does not appreciate the work of cinematographers etc. - would everbody work this way we wouldn't have all the technology that made many movies even possible.
It's right, these minimalistic movies have advantages, their story doesn't need to be mass-compatible (does this word exists in english?) and they don't have senseless special effects, slow-motion everywhere...
But is it really necessary? Computers also have disadvantages but is this a reason to throw them away? What I'm trying to say: all the possibilities in modern cinema can get used to increase the quality of the movie and were invented for this reason, nevertheless they seduce many blockbuster-producers in a wrong way ("we do it because we can, we have 200.000.000$ to spend"...).
Is this movie-technique really the right way or makes it just this impression because we got used to a different kind of cinema? Just because we want to see change from time to time? Trust me, would all films be made in this "minimalistic" way it would get pretty boring...

I've always been fascinated by differences in society caused by the mentality. I rarely use "US-engineering" (for a good reason... :P ) but your mentality seems pretty perfect für making entertainment-stuff. Many people have enough of this blockbuster-"we make movies to make as much money as possible"thing and every time a foreign film is really great people say how good movies are without hollywood etc. but when you look back the last decades, where are 80-90% of the top-movies coming from?
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#6 georg lamshöft

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 12:59 PM

Editiing doesn't work...
I think the different styles all over the world are a good thing - but people should stop this "small and nice movie vs. big and evil hollywood"-thinking. They could leanr from each others. The germans that a bigger budget can increase quality and a cinematographer is not somebody who just holds the camera... and hollywood-producers could learn that making movies is different from selling e.g. cars ("we take the oscar-winner from here, a little bit drama, a little bit erotic..."), that exactly the opposite thinking can lead to success.
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#7 Charlie Seper

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 01:34 PM

"every time a foreign film is really great people say how good movies are without hollywood etc. but when you look back the last decades, where are 80-90% of the top-movies coming from?"

Like I said, I didn't think it was a good movie. I said it has well done. But even a bad story can be well done. Or a good story can be poorly done. Look at Stephen King novels. He has some good stories but he doesn't tell them well.

If you're saying that most independent films are bad, I agree. But when you talk about 80-90% of the top movies from the last few decades, let's go back a bit further. Few movie scholars would argue that the majority of great films were made before 1945, and most of them were made in much the same way "Schultze" was made. We'd be better off to look at films made the way they were then and figure out what we're doing wrong now. There's a reason why so many of these big blockbuster films don't hold up well after just a decade or so of their release. Hardly anyone would look at "Star Wars" today and think of it as a great film. But people will always think of, "The Good Earth" as an extraordinary achievement.

And I have to say that it does seem to me that the movies that take a more low-key approach are the ones that hold-up over the long haul. Today's movies try to hard. Its like a girl trying to act sexy. If there's anything that's NOT sexy, it?s a girl trying to act sexy.

Edited by Charlie Seper, 08 October 2005 - 01:35 PM.

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#8 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 02:55 PM

Few movie scholars would argue that the majority of great films were made before 1945, and most of them were made in much the same way "Schultze" was made. We'd be better off to look at films made the way they were then and figure out what we're doing wrong now. There's a reason why so many of these big blockbuster films don't hold up well after just a decade or so of their release. Hardly anyone would look at "Star Wars" today and think of it as a great film. But people will always think of, "The Good Earth" as an extraordinary achievement.


not trying to flame or anything, but at the time, citizen kane contained an astounding number of shots that utilized techniques that were considered new & fancy (though i personally consider it to be the most overrated film of all time).

in my opinion, there's a somewhat symbiotic relationship between huge-trite-stupidly-expensive-effects-movies and low/no-budget-art-films.

the cheap art films supply the conceptual and creative research & development for the studio system, so they can brutally pillage ideas from them. and the big studio fueled vfx industry continues to leapfrog itself with its technology, most of which later ends up being incorporated into reasonably-priced software. keep this in mind the next time you use good color correction software, do a quick & cheap sky replacement, or even superimpose titles (whether digitally or optically).

of course, this same "trickle down" effect (i apologize for using republican rhetoric... not a bush sr. fan) is responsible for nearly all technological and ergonomic improvements in film cameras as well.

and "star wars" is a very good film.

- jaan

Edited by jaan, 08 October 2005 - 02:56 PM.

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#9 Charlie Seper

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 03:46 PM

citizen kane contained an astounding number of shots that utilized techniques that were considered new & fancy (though i personally consider it to be the most overrated film of all time).

Agreed; so is "Gone With The Wind". Even "Star Wars" was better than GWTW.

this same "trickle down" effect (i apologize for using republican rhetoric... not a bush sr. fan)

That's a Reaganism.

I don't believe I've ever seen this trickle down effect with "reasonably priced software" because of anything a big studio ever did. If we ever managed to get any software prices to drop it was usually in spite of the big studios who have repeatedly done everything they could to squash independent filmmakers. This would include the ridiculous price of film and film development. They've kept up a media war for the past two years now trying to do everything in their power to debase and discourage hi-def cams. And hi-def cams are the true hope of all independent filmmakers. They've also done everything they can to squash the Landmark Theatre chain and others like it by trying to buy them up. If you're a friend to independent films you're targeted plain and simple.

But really, I don't know where you come off thinking that software prices for video have gotten cheaper. I keep watching them go up and up, as if most NLE suits and effects weren't priced out of sight already. The one and only thing that's helped to bring software prices down in any facet of the computer world has been the freeware movement.
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#10 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 06:20 PM

That's a Reaganism.


though "trickle down" is the same thing as supply-side reaganomics, i only recall bush sr. ever actually uttering those words. but whatevs, i'm probably wrong.


I don't believe I've ever seen this trickle down effect with "reasonably priced software" because of anything a big studio ever did...


well, this is going to sound snippy, even if i try not to, but...
just off the top of my head: non-linear digital editing, foundational digital compositing toolsets, alpha channels, and a little piece of software called photoshop were originally developed from within ILM.
and all compositing and 3D software to ever exist have benefitted from the vfx trickle down. really, it's like the plastics industry and NASA.

like i mentioned before, this isn't the studios' direct doing, but their appetite for vfx fueled the vfx houses to make these advancements.

...This would include the ridiculous price of film and film development...
...But really, I don't know where you come off thinking that software prices for video have gotten cheaper. I keep watching them go up and up, as if most NLE suits and effects weren't priced out of sight already. The one and only thing that's helped to bring software prices down in any facet of the computer world has been the freeware movement.


do you have a final cut pro or after effects setup? try to estimate what a setup with those capabilities would have cost you ten years ago. and though advancements in computing power are also to thank for that, a lot of the advancements in graphics computing was done by SGI in the 80s & 90s, who tailored their product line to the vfx industry.

and as for the thing about the costs of film & labwork... you think taking away the millions of dollars the studios spend on that will somehow give us little guys savings? let's see what the prices are like when they're producing filmstock in smaller runs and half the labs close their doors.

you hate the vfx-filled garbage that the studios cram the theaters with. understood. me too. but you can't ignore the obvious truth that the system results in some benefits for us small timers.
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#11 Charlie Seper

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 06:56 PM

I don't deny that a lot of the software was developed by people like Lucas who had the backing of big studios to pay for the research. What I deny is that its somehow made it cheaper for us. That's what you seemed to imply. I don't know what Premiere or other NLE's would have cost 10-years ago. I know what they cost 4 or 5 years ago though and they've gone up in price every year. We might get a trickle down by way of products but I haven't seen it in the prices. Do you not think that any software over $500 is outrages in price? Boy I sure do. I feel like I'm being raped every time I even look at a lot of the more expensive software.

I don't know what will happen about the price of film in the future. It may be that as hi-def takes over that the price of film stock and developing will be forced to come down if its going to compete. It could be as you see it too though. We'll just have to wait and see.
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#12 Michael Most

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 06:37 PM

Do you not think that any software over $500 is outrages in price? Boy I sure do. I feel like I'm being raped every time I even look at a lot of the more expensive software.


Please say you're kidding.

Do you have any idea at all as to how many man hours it takes to write, debug, and support commercial software, particularly video editing software? Do you have any idea how small the market is for such products? Hopefully you've never tried to create or run a business, because if you have, you might understand the financial realities behind such things. To arbitrarily quote a number as a point at which the cost of software becomes "outrageous" is to not have any understanding of the business behind its creation, let alone its maintenance and support. If you're 12 years old (I have no idea how old you are, but my guess is you're considerably under 30) and have no income or career, $500 might seem like a lot to spend on a hobby - and perhaps it is. But if you're a professional who relies on high end tools, $500 is a drop in the bucket. As is $1000, the cost of, say, Final Cut Pro - especially when one considers that the capabilities of that program on commodity hardware actually exceed the Avid Media Composers of even 5 years ago at almost 100 times that price.

Pricepoints are relative. They are relative to how much it costs to create, manufacture, distribute, and support the product, and how many of those products can realistically be sold. Businesses exist to make money. They don't exist to support the hobbies of teenagers and lose money in the process.
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#13 Andy Sparaco SOC

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 08:25 PM

Gosh this is really getting heated. FYI 5 years ago top drawer PC/Mac based NLE software was between 5K and 10K.

In other matters I did not realize that there was an industry wide plot to suppress HD Production.

I'm going to donate some money to Sony and Panasonic , they must need help.

Lots of interesting ideas thrown about-here are two more "follow the money" and look closely at the "food chain"

Filmmakers used to tell the manufacturers what they needed and they responded and the "art and craft"moved forward

And then the "art and craft" became "mass market and hobbyfied"

Now the manufactuers have there Advertising/Marketing Folks tell us what to think and what we need and it's called progress regardless how stupid it works. Aren't you amazed how nothing ever works cost effectively unless rendered as data and stored on a hard drive. Clearly defined format standards and nothing works -maybe someone should introduce the manufactuers to email! And of course every 18 months there is something completely new which makes everything obsolete- sort of like consumer electronics-hmm I wonder if there is a connection.

The folks who most directly apply the image creation technology no longer shape the medium.

Useful tools get lost.

(history,irony, sense of humor)
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#14 Michael Most

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 06:33 PM

Gosh this is really getting heated. FYI 5 years ago top drawer PC/Mac based NLE software was between 5K and 10K.


5 years ago, in around 2000, a full blown Avid Media Composer, with storage and Film Options, Meridien based, was still close to $100,000. That was my basis for comparison in terms of price. Software only solutions, such as Final Cut, were not really used much by professionals 5 years ago because of stability and support issues, among other things.
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#15 Andy Sparaco SOC

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 07:49 PM

FYI:
A Targa RTX 2000 System with Speed Razor or Discreet edit was 15 to 25k. Discreet Edit was one of the finest editing programs ever written and cost about 5K Avid sharded the same board set. Of Course I got everything for free as a beta test site, so maybe my memory is "soft". A whole lot of these systems are still cranking away.

The real point is that computer based editing has reduced the cost of editorial by quantum leaps. What required a 4 million dollar post production facility in 1990 can be done on a laptop today. If you are a smart worker do not believe what the manufacturers say you must have to deliver a finished product. Owning any type of video tape equipment is not justifiable unless you have a continuing gig. You can easily have a outside supplier convert you material to digital media and use computer and portable drives to get off the videotape treadmill. What treadmill -the treadmill which takes more $$ out of your pocket and moves it to the manufactuers.

The manufacturers are determined to take the lion share of profit from the business of film and videotape production. You could once make a good living and charge a reasonable price.. today it is a buyers market.


You have to sell what you can do not what you do it with- or you will not make a living...
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