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Sandra Merkatz

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  1. I am not willing to write any more posts in a forum where I am compared to Hitler, where the Holocaust is instrumentalized to make a mood against me and where my home country Austria is insulted. If that is the discussion culture of cinematography.com, then I will look for another forum where one can deal with criticism instead of being personally insulted. Thank you.
  2. "Sexy fanservice is considered the default form, because it is the one everybody seems to remember, and the easiest to add to any kind of show."


  3. As you can see, I HAVE discussed the cinematography. Do not insinuate that I want to occupy your thread in any way. I myself suggested at the beginning of the discussion that this discussion - even if it is about "Mrs. Maisel" - could be outsourced to a separate thread. It's very unfair that you're acting as if I want to "take over" this thread. This gives the impression that criticism in this thread is not welcome. Therefore I ask the moderators to copy the discussion into a new thread.
  4. I don't think it's a conservative view if you want naked skin to be shown only if it contributes to the understanding of the plot and the characters, and you're not interested in fan service. I admit my definition of fan service was not the best. On the above mentioned website tvtropes.org there is a definition that I find more appropriate. "The use of sex or sexualized situations to reward or entice viewers. While the specific term ´fanservice´ arose from the anime community, the concept is far, far older. Most fanservice is seldom explicit or graphic—that is the territory of pornography. Instead, it uses sexuality or hints at sex often in a funny or comedic way to tease and titillate the audience. (…) Some shows may have designated fanservice characters: characters who, even if they are main characters and have a role beyond fanservice, are likely to end up in a fanservicey situation." And I am of the opinion that the nude scenes I quoted fall into this category; an opinion that I have justified at length. I would like to give a counter-example to show when I consider the sight of naked breasts to be important from a dramaturgical point of view. The 1985 film "Desert Hearts" is about a lesbian love story. Towards the end of the film, the main actress is alone in her hotel room. There she is visited by the woman she met during the film and they talk to each other. The phone rings and the main character is on the phone. After the conversation is over, the woman turns around, the camera pans to the side with her, and both she and we see the other woman sitting topless in bed. In this case, I found the showing of the half-naked actress dramatically justified, because just like the main character, we too are surprised by this unexpected sight. We do not see the woman undressing, we only see the main character making a phone call. When we see the second woman again, she suddenly wears no more clothes. The special thing now is that the camera leaves it at that shot. In the next scenes you see the second woman sitting naked in bed, just from the shoulders upwards. The camera no longer shows her breasts, because it is dramaturgically no longer necessary to see them. It was only necessary in one shot so that we can understand the surprise of the main character. From the fact that the camera no longer shows "them", we can also see that this one shot actually only had a dramaturgical function. Of course, I thought about whether the scene could have been filmed differently - but I think that this (brief!) view is necessary to be able to understand the surprise of the main character, especially since the camera does not move independently, but moves along with the main character. If, for example, the naked woman had been filmed from behind and only hinted that she was naked, the viewer would no longer have been surprised together with the main character, but would have taken the position of the naked woman, so to speak. I was also glad that others noticed this way of filming the scene. On the mentioned TV-Tropes website the scene is not mentioned in the category "fan service" but "Reveal Shot". I quote the entry: ...................... Reveal Shot: A memorable one. After Vivian has left the ranch and gone to live by herself in a casino hotel room, Cay comes to visit her. Upset at how Frances treated her, Vivian vents her anger to Cay and the camera follows her into another room while she's talking and looking for a cigarette. She finds one and lights one, while still talking to Cay in the other room. Vivian: I don't have a habit of raising my voice. Or false issues. [smokes; glumly] When I retire, I will simply write short stories for my revenge about this town, these people, these gamblers. [Beat, to herself] My only clear memory is arriving. The rest is a blur...absolute blur. [She walks back into the bedroom and finds that Cay is now completely naked and sitting up in bed, looking at her] ...................... A "Reveal Shot" that serves the story and the understanding of the surprise of the main character. I couldn't agree more. As I said, it doesn't bother me if a character is naked, but only if you film it in a way that isn't dramaturgically necessary, and in the worst case is pure fan service. So the question that arises for me is how to film nudity. I have no problems with any body parts, you can show everything. As mentioned above, I am not concerned with not showing any particular body parts, but only with whether it makes sense to show them from a dramaturgical point of view. "Attractive" is a subjective term. I think the question is rather whether someone was cast because of their looks, or because of their acting talents. It also depends on the roles. When bad guys in a western look like supermodels, it seems strange to me, and then I suspect that they were cast primarily for marketing reasons. (In recordings of operas this is unfortunately also common: Studios often don't select singers who are suitable for a role, but singers who are famous and whose name attracts many buyers). I don't think it's "wrong", I think it's just unnecessary. Because if I notice that the camera shows me things only for this reason, then I don't feel taken seriously by the producers. Then I have the feeling that they want to manipulate me. That they assume that I "need" such things. I watch a film to see a story, and not voyeuristically staged naked bodies. (If I want to see something like that, there are other ways, I don't need a movie with a plot). If there is nudity in a story, then I expect it to be staged in such a way that it is part of the narrative of the story. That the way it is filmed also serves the story. That I as a viewer get information about the characters, their feelings and about the plot from the way it is filmed - and not information about how great an actor's breasts and ass look. Over the top violence I also find unnecessary, as well as sumptuous outfits, if they only serve to please the audience. I suggested at the beginning of the discussion that you can also outsource this discussion to a separate thread. But still it's about the scenes in this series. Greetings, Sandra
  5. I don´t have anything to add to the script debate. I have made it clear what I find scripts useful for and how I use them.
  6. Your whole posting assumes I'm conservative. I'm not. I condemn the Hays Code, and even know a good website where pre-code movies are presented and discussed. As you can see from my earlier mentioned "Dracula" example, the sight of naked bodies does not bother me. What does bother me is any kind of fan service. For me, fan service means showing things that are not necessary for understanding the plot and the characters, and only serve to please the viewer. When I see such fan service scenes, I always think to myself that if I want to see naked bodies, there are special websites for that. I think that Sir Michael Caine is right when he advises actors not to do full frontal nudity scenes. No. Some users did not respond to my arguments at all, but tried to stop my critical questions. And I think that my criticism was quite constructive, because I stayed objective, mentioned my sources and justified my opinion as good as I could. Like I said, that is wrong. If you've read my postings, then you should know what I'm about, and that I have no "agenda". But I'll gladly explain it again as a short version: I've studied the script, the story and the characters, and I've thought about what the scenes I quoted want to say. And then I thought about whether this message could be conveyed in another way. You say: "your apparent aversion to nudity and some vague parental warning site". That you accuse me of "apparent aversion to nudity" proves to me that you didn't read my postings in this thread, because in fact I said exactly the opposite. And the references to nudity on Imdb served me merely as a source for the fact that there are naked breasts in these scenes. You criticize that I allegedly don't consider the context of nude scenes (which is not true), but you tear out some points of my argumentation from their context. The reference to the parental warnings was only a small part of my argumentation. That too is wrong and an insinuation based on false assumptions about me. Meanwhile, I've seen the scene where Midge takes her clothes off during a performance. The camera always films the actress from a distance, so you can always see her breasts. I would have found the faces of the audience more interesting. For me, the sight of the breasts is not necessary; I think it would have been enough to show Midge from behind taking off her top and the shocked faces of the audience. I also found it striking how many women were sitting in the audience, and I think it could also be fan service that several women were looking at a half-naked woman on stage, because if I remember correctly, there was nothing in the script about how many women were sitting in the audience. I go to the opera very often, and often there is an audience discussion with the director and the actors directly before or after the premiere of a new production. In this conversation, questions are asked and the director explains his intentions, etc. Sometimes the director is also asked critical questions, which are politely phrased. And the director also answers these questions. So what is wrong with asking critical questions and explaining your point of view? I am an open-minded person and want to understand things. But some people seem to see constructive criticism as a personal attack. What "ideas about tasteful nudity" are these? I quoted another script that said that the screenwriter wanted the nudity to be filmed in tasteful, not voyeuristic, fashion.
  7. I find it regrettable that attempts are being made to stifle constructive criticism. Thank you, Phil Connolly, for addressing my criticism. I have never denied that the show is good overall. I only referred to the nude and sex scenes, which I think could have been filmed differently. It's true that I didn't see the show, but I read the complete script of the first episode, and on Imdb there was talk about seeing breasts in the scenes in question. A counter-argument was that these shots are necessary to convey a certain information to the viewer. Since I know, of course, that the context of a nude scene is important, I thought about what that information is, and then I thought about whether it could be transported in another way. I then communicated the result of my considerations. I am not alone with my opinion that at least the topless scene is probably fan service. On the TV-Tropes page https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/TheMarvelousMrsMaisel I found the following entry: I don't agree here. Woody Allen's scripts, for example, are bought and read like normal novels, and there is the "Best Screenplay" category at the Academy Awards. Scripts often contain scenes that are missing in the finished film, and they often provide information about characters, locations, etc. that you don't get in the film. There is even a separate category on this topic on tvtropes.org: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AllThereInTheScript And often the stage directions contain hints about how a character thinks or why he or she acts in a certain way. But you can often tell from the language and expressions used what the author was about. I recently read the screenplay for the horror comedy "Happy Death Day", and in it a nude scene of a female character named Tree is described as follows: It was important to the author that the camera is not voyeuristic, but that the nudity is tastefully filmed. There are no vulgar words, but also no judgmental adjectives like "hot", "sexy" etc. The author describes the reaction of the people who are completely surprised to see the young woman completely naked. This reaction is important. So, the camera should indicate that the girl is naked through tasteful camera angles, and then we should see the reaction of the people. It's not necessary to see her naked body. One hint and the following reaction of the people is enough. I agree with you, and that's why I also thought about whether these scenes in the script could be filmed differently without losing the information they are supposed to convey. Greetings, Sandra
  8. You wrote two posts I didn't respond to, and now you're claiming it's "rather silly" to discuss with me? You and I haven't had a discussion in this thread yet. The discussion has been factual and polite so far, and I would appreciate it if it stays that way. I take counter-arguments seriously, and I would like my arguments to be taken seriously as well. I have taken the trouble to read the complete script and have thought about these three quoted scenes and explained why I think that these scenes could be filmed differently without losing the message. So it's not, as you wrongly claim, about simple questions of taste, but about considerations of what the statement, the intention of the respective scene is and how it can be conveyed in an alternative way by cinematographic means. Thank you.
  9. I have now read the script of the first episode. There are three parts that I find critical. The first scene takes place in a strip club. INT. STRIP CLUB - CONTINUOUS Joel and Midge sit at a sticky table watching a stripper gyrate on stage. She hits a twirling crescendo that sends one fringed tassel flying into the audience. The room APPLAUDS AND WHISTLES. She heads offstage. Midge rushes over, picks the pastie off the floor, runs up to the stage and waves it at the retreating stripper. MIDGE Excuse me! Miss? Miss? The stripper turns and comes back. STRIPPER Thanks, Toots. Why is it important for the pastie to detach itself from the breast? And is this part of the show or not? At least there's no stage direction here that specifically requires the camera to show the breasts. You could have shown the pastie flying through the air in close-up. Or how it lands on the ground, and when the stripper turns around and comes back, you could show her from behind. The viewer knows that the pastie belongs to the stripper and that she has obviously lost it. I suppose she lost it by accident. Why can't she lose another part of her costume, e.g. a piece of her headgear, a ring, a ribbon, or something similar? Why does the screenwriter want her to have an exposed breast? EXT. PARK - NIGHT Joel is screwing Midge up against a tree. JOEL (mid screw) You know what I want? MIDGE Please don’t say a virgin. JOEL I want to make you laugh every day of your life. MIDGE Okay, but you realize you said that while you’re still in me. I find both the stage direction and the dialogue problematic here. Why are the words "screwing" and "mid screw" used here? Wouldn't it have been enough to say they were having sex? Why this vulgar expression in a stage direction? And why does Midge say, "Okay, but you realize you said that while you're still in me"? Why doesn't she say "(...) while you still have sex with me"? Sounds like fan service to me. "Let's let Madge talk dirty. It's sexy." Midge pulls down her straps and shows her boobs. We hear gasps, cheers, a couple of boos, glasses crashing to the ground... it’s complete pandemonium. Susie’s riveted. SUSIE Oh, poop! MIDGE Now, seriously... (she covers her face and stomach again leaving the boobs exposed) ... there’s no **(obscenity removed)** way Penny Pann can compete with these tits! So this is the part where Midge shows her breasts. Why doesn't the screenwriter call them breasts? Again, there is no instruction that the camera shows her breasts; it is only implied that she shows her breasts to the audience. I think, if one would have worked with insinuations here, too, then the viewer still knows that she is topless and can see from the reaction of the policemen who take her away that this is a scandal. The screenwriter describes in detail the reaction of the audience, and also how strict the policemen are. Isn't the reaction of the audience as well as the policemen proof enough that Midge goes too far here? Or in other words: the audience and the policemen in the series see her breasts and react to them in a certain way. That's how we, the audience in front of the TV, can see how drastic her behavior is. So we have all the information we need to understand the plot. So why is it important that I see her breasts as well? I think it is important that I see the reaction of the audience and the police officers. Please don't get me wrong, I have nothing against this show. I generally question whether a nude or sex scene is necessary, and if it could be shot in another way and the viewer still knows what it's about. In the examples I mentioned I think that you could do without breasts or dirty talk and the viewer could still follow the plot and get all the important information. Greetings, Sandra
  10. I find the question of the meaning and intentions of a nude scene as interesting and important as the question of why a director uses a certain camera angle, why he omitted or added a certain dialogue, or why he uses a certain lighting. Greetings, Sandra
  11. Based on the description of the plot, I also think that this is not a soft porno à la "Game of Thrones", “Rome”, “The Borgias”, “Borgia”, “Sex Education”, “Spartacus”, just to name a few. I have seen that the "scriptslug" page offers the script for the first episode. I have to read this script once to see if this scene exists there, and if so, how it is described. I have made the experience that some nude scenes are not in the script, but only appear in the film. I find your explanation of this nude scene plausible, but I would like to bring a counter argument. You say: (underline by me): "because that shocking act propels the entire story arc for the character and the whole series". If I have understood this correctly, then a female character in a scene is naked, which has consequences for the further course of the plot. But if it's an incisive experience "for the character" - why do we, the audience, have to see her naked body as well? Suppose they filmed her naked back, thus implying that she is naked. Wouldn't the viewer also have understood that this is an extremely embarrassing situation for the woman? Would the audience not understand her motivation until they had seen what her breasts looked like? I have no problem with the sight of naked bodies; in one of my favorite movies, "Bram Stoker's Dracula" there are a lot of naked breasts. But there they don't bother me, because the movie is conceived as an "erotic nightmare" and many things that happen there don't make sense. However, before I knew that Coppola conceived his film as a surreal erotic nightmare, I was also very critical of these nude scenes, because they didn't make any dramaturgical sense to me. I'm very critical of movies and series because there's just too much fan service, and many productions show naked bodies and sex only because they're allowed to and not because it's important from an artistic point of view. Or it is shown because they want to "shock" the audience - which I find strange, because explicit pictures of nude and sex scenes have been around for thousands of years. That's why I question such scenes. I want to ask you a question about my "Spartacus" (1960) example. If you don't know the movie or can't remember this scene, please forget my question. The slave takes off her clothes, but all you can see is her head and bare shoulders. Do you think it would have been better (if it was allowed) if the camera showed more of her body so you could understand her situation better? Greetings, Sandra
  12. I don't think that we are straying too far from the subject, because we are discussing whether such scenes in the series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" are necessary and what use they have. But of course we can also outsource the discussion to a separate thread. :-) I think I understand what you mean, but can't this feeling of vulnerability also be conveyed if you don't show the audience breasts and/or genitals, but only hint that the character is naked? In my "Spartacus" example, the slave also puts herself in a situation where she is at someone's mercy. She exposes herself to Spartacus - and as a spectator I have the feeling that she is vulnerable without the camera showing me her naked body. Instead, the camera shows her face, her facial expressions. Breasts have no facial expressions that can express feelings of fear, insecurity or vulnerability, but faces do. But could one interpret this nude scene in such a way that Branagh has a problem with depicting the descent into madness using only acting means as well as costumes and sets, and therefore has to resort to such means? Greetings, Sandra
  13. You're right, of course, that Imdb doesn't describe the context of each scene here, and that context certainly plays a role. That's why I ask why it's important to see male genitals in the scene in question, for example. As a comparison, I can think of a scene from the series "Mr. Bean" where Bean is supposed to paint a naked female model, but he has great difficulty looking at her at all. The camera shows the model's naked back once, so you know she's naked. And this knowledge is enough for the viewer. It is not necessary to show the breasts or the intimate area. I think that many production companies show naked skin only because they are allowed to or because of the fan service. I also think that movies and series are over-sexualized nowadays. For example, in Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus" there is a scene where the slave (played by Jean Simmons) is sent to Spartacus' cell. She undresses and stands there naked - but the camera only shows her head and bare shoulders. You know she is naked, you don't have to see it. In the modern series "Spartacus", felt gives extremely revealing sex scenes every 10 minutes, filmed with a voyeuristic camera. Sir Michael Caine also advises actors not to shoot nude scenes, and especially full frontal nudity. Can you give me 2 or 3 small examples where the filming of naked breasts or naked genitals was important for understanding the characters and the plot? Greetings, Sandra
  14. I would find the plot interesting, but I just read the parental advisory section on Imdb and wonder why such things are necessary, and especially why it's not enough to merely hint at these things instead of showing them. No offense, I'm just interested. Greetings, Sandra
  15. Another HBO production. That means there is naked skin and brutal/bloody scenes. I'll look up Imdb and read: If someone likes to watch animals being shot, or to look at naked men, then this series is definitely interesting. For my part, I have been avoiding HBO ever since they showed that horrible "Game of Thrones". Greetings, Sandra
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