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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

'1917' Is A Mind-Boggling Technological Achievement-But Not A Great Film

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...that is the title of Justin Chang's NPR review of 1917 at the link.

Short 6m57s audio:

https://archive.org/details/1917isamindbogglingtechnologicalachievementbutnotagreatfilm

I guess he is of the school of Robby Muller who didn't like the camera to distract from the film's message.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Chang

Couldn't argue much with Chang's critical views of the film. He had valid points, albeit nitpicky to me. But where one can argue is when it comes to the art...is 1917 a great film or not? Of course, art is always in the eye of the beholder.

To me 1917 is a stupendous film.

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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I will say that I immensely enjoyed 1917. I was emotionally exhausted at its end. Having said this, I feel like I’ve already seen the continuous shot gimmick on BIRDMAN. Nothing new here.  Not best picture in my opinion because it wasn’t fresh enough but what a story! 

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I agree with Mr Irwin above.

Saw it, it was technically fine, but when I asked all my friends after the name of ANY character in the film, none could say. And honestly, after the final "scene," I walked away with nothing more than a want for a cigarette.

Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do something.

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It's a decent movie but no "Paths of Glory", "Gallipoli" or "All Quiet on the Western Front".  

I could have done without the white-water rapids with a waterfall sequence -- war is dangerous enough, you don't have to threaten the character with drowning, smashing into rocks, and then falling over a waterfall! That was the only sequence that felt extraneous to me, like I was watching an Indiana Jones movie for a brief moment.

The night work alone -- in the burning village and the moving shadows from overhead flares -- is well-worth the price of admission for any cinematographer!

The advantage of the single shot sequence is that it tends to be very subjective and emotional, putting you in the middle of the action with the main character. The disadvantage is that it becomes harder to fall back into more objective angles that place the character into a broader social/historical context.  So with this single shot technique you feel the plight of the soldier more, not knowing what dangers lie ahead, knowing nothing more than what they can see and what others tell them... but you have a harder time knowing the military objectives nor get to see opposing viewpoints. But that's just a different story I guess.

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The night work was fantastic, no doubt. But yes, the rapids (which looked rather computer-ish) and perhaps the fire-side "chat" scene felt a little.. eh.

Then again; what do I know. It's not something of the caliber I would ever do, or really, honestly, be interested in doing in that style.

Edited by Adrian Sierkowski

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You know, I just realized that it’s also the same story as Apocalypse Now, only on foot with a different message being delivered in a different war. 
 

G

Edited by Gregory Irwin

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2 hours ago, Gregory Irwin said:

You know, I just realized that it’s also the same story as Apocalypse Now, only on foot with a different message being delivered in a different war. 
 

G

How weird .. I just read this sitting by the Mekong river in Cambodia !   

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47 minutes ago, Robin R Probyn said:

How weird .. I just read this sitting by the Mekong river in Cambodia !   

I thought you were in Hawaii! 🤷🏻‍♂️

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10 minutes ago, Gregory Irwin said:

I thought you were in Hawaii! 🤷🏻‍♂️

That was holiday sir.. based in Tokyo .. but now on a shoot in Cambodia .. 

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1 hour ago, David Mullen ASC said:

"Never get out of the f---ing trench, man! Never get out of the trench!"

This is all art to us now (popular art), but let's not forget that it's modeled on, an exploration of, the experience of people who were about to live or die in the next event....What is art compared to the transcendent moment of death, liberation, realization...

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I really liked 1917, it's not politically charged like so many war films, but it's just a moment in a given war, which I like. Story is simple, characters are pretty detailed and of course it was well made. I wouldn't be surprised if it wins best director and best film. Is it the best film of 2019? nope... but it's in the top 10 for sure. Having seen most of everything that's nominated, I can say for the record, I don't think anything else fires on so many cylinders. I'd say Joker, but it has too much social unacceptable violence and I can't imagine it winning for that reason alone. Everything else had too many issues so that's why I think it will default to 1917 this year. 

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Mendes should have gone the Ang Lee route for even more immersion.
And BIGGER!
8K 240fps 3D 🙂

Haven't seen the movie, is on the watch list.

...


Without spoiling and all knowing it is one continuous shot,
i've seen in the trailer day and night scenes, could somebody describe when does it start and end? Night to Day?

2 hours seems small range to me for realtime(?) transition from night to day...

 

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6 hours ago, Adrian Sierkowski said:

Well we're working backwards in our wars, maybe.

it may partially be because Nazi and Communist themes have already been exhausted years ago. 

another thing is that in recent socioeconomic times the viewers like to distant themselves more from reality which traditionally asks for more fantasy +scifi+ distant history films instead of ones based on today's world.

the third reason is that the things leading to the Nazi regime and the WWII are too close to today's political climate.... we don't want to see Nazis and other right-wing extremists on screen when we see them in everyday life😱   

so the WW1 is distant enough past that it is possible to write reasonably good movies of it which are not too connected to todays world. good entertainment for the masses and the companies know it. 

Remember that a movie can be good in other ways than just based on film theory analyzing. A film can for example be "Financially Great", like the Star Wars series, without being good as a movie in theoretical sense. Or the Marvel flicks, they have all your favourite characters and familiar plots and they give you exactly what you wanted but are pretty boring and predictable and they even tend to all look the same (one of the reasons may be that Ben Davis has shot most of them I think) . they are good fan service but not much more. Same thing with Disney movies, they very rarely present anything new and are mostly concentrated on endless remakes of their old classics instead of inventing anything new. Like the Lion King or Jungle Book, they have the same characters and songs and everything...just the graphics updated a little

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How do I delete this post?

G

Edited by Gregory Irwin

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On 1/15/2020 at 2:40 PM, Adrian Sierkowski said:

The night work was fantastic, no doubt. But yes, the rapids (which looked rather computer-ish) and perhaps the fire-side "chat" scene felt a little.. eh.

Then again; what do I know. It's not something of the caliber I would ever do, or really, honestly, be interested in doing in that style.

Do you think the rapids were computer?

I wondered why he did not drown. The rapids looked pretty rough. He had no flotation device. I don't remember if he had any heavy gear on, but heavy boots and all don't help. 

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On 1/15/2020 at 9:22 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

I really liked 1917, it's not politically charged like so many war films, but it's just a moment in a given war, which I like. Story is simple, characters are pretty detailed and of course it was well made. I wouldn't be surprised if it wins best director and best film. Is it the best film of 2019? nope... but it's in the top 10 for sure. Having seen most of everything that's nominated, I can say for the record, I don't think anything else fires on so many cylinders. I'd say Joker, but it has too much social unacceptable violence and I can't imagine it winning for that reason alone. Everything else had too many issues so that's why I think it will default to 1917 this year. 

 

Social acceptability?

All this PC stuff is crap. The lying politicians got the people all bamboozled, don't they. These PC freaks are not even running for political office, yet they have to be PC at ALL costs. PC is nothing more than code the lying politicians invented to not say anything that would hurt their chances at getting elected. PC has nothing to do with truth, it only has to do with what can be sold to a confused society.

I read an article the other day about the PC people and 'cancel culture' as in destroying people, companies, cities or states that toe the PC party line.

https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/life/with-cancel-culture-political-correctness-has-indeed-gone-mad

That is their greatest joy isn't it...destroying anything they don't agree with in their narrow world view.

That is one of the joys about working underground. You are already cancelled as far as the curators and art world goes. When you are underground, as long as it is legal, you do as you like and let the proverbial chips fall where they may. 

I have not seen the Joker. From the TV clips I saw it did not appeal to me. But in the soft civil war America is in, our world may get more and more violent as one side forces its will on the other. So maybe I should see Joker as a prognosticator and just for the violence.

If the violence is that noteworthy that it would knock Joker down from receiving best picture, that it would rightly deserve, then I should see what it is all about. 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Really fantastic work by Deakins, and the whole camera department, can't imagine the complexity of it, got a taste in behind the scenes videos but not enough ! It's not among his most interesting work as, as he said, he couldn't light many of the exteriors (they only shot during cloudy weather, and obviously the one take aspect precluded classic lighting), but technically, it's insane. The flare scene is a standout, and super inspired.

Saw it in IMAX too and I can't imagine seeing it in a 2.40 AR although it's Deakins' preferred aspect ratio, the 1.9 AR really works well. Like all oner movies, there's an inherent distraction to it, that calls attention to it, but I wonder if it would be as immersive and tense if shot and edited traditionally. Maybe, maybe not. The flare scene and the rapids descent all the way to the battlefield are the standouts. The Alexa LF looks pretty great, although it's no 35mm obviously ^^

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On 1/15/2020 at 1:53 PM, Adrian Sierkowski said:

I agree with Mr Irwin above.

Saw it, it was technically fine, but when I asked all my friends after the name of ANY character in the film, none could say. And honestly, after the final "scene," I walked away with nothing more than a want for a cigarette.

Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do something.

When IS the best time to do it??

Seems a 2 day story is a perfect candidate.

The critic Chang is also an editor. He was baffled, as he said in his review, where the cuts were. May be a case of sour grapes. 

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People throw up 'Its been done before'

GD, hasn't it all been done before more or less? Hoyte had some fresh technique with infrared in Ad Adstra and it was snubbed.

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I watched 1917 on Saturday at the cinema......I thought the film was great.....similar to Peter Weir's (1981) GALLIPOLI, the Mel Gibson film which I still feel is a much better film in an emotional sense......a very memorable film still to this day.....

anyway, 1917, the only criticism I have about it is the fact I have motion sickness and I felt the camera was too close on the frame to the actors and it was making me feel mildly nauseous hahahaha yes Im pathetic.....(I remember going on that Star Wars ride in the Los Angeles Disneyland when I visited in 1995 I rode it with eyes closed!!!)

....I thought the steadicam person could have filmed 1m further away than they were to get rid of the' Call of Duty' POV computer game vibe with fast moves......which would also allow us to see more of the fantastic backgrounds that were created of the trenches for the film

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There are three big pans in the film that were painful to see in laser IMAX, everything else looks great but the judder was some of the worst I've ever seen, dat 24 fps !

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On 1/17/2020 at 6:57 AM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I have not seen the Joker. From the TV clips I saw it did not appeal to me. But in the soft civil war America is in, our world may get more and more violent as one side forces its will on the other. So maybe I should see Joker as a prognosticator and just for the violence.

Well, the fact it doesn't appeal to you is exactly the issue. You should watch it before founding an opinion about it and the counter culture of being politically correct. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell

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1 hour ago, Manu Delpech said:

There are three big pans in the film that were painful to see in laser IMAX, everything else looks great but the judder was some of the worst I've ever seen, dat 24 fps !

The old IMAX  documentary films kept pans slow enough but Hollywood faster camera moves are shown up on the big screen.

I do remember some pans in "Everest" looked juddery - but on a 30m screen the subject was moving about 2-3m between each frame drawing attention to the frame rate. 

But I guess 1917 gets round the IMAX edit pace issue 🙂 

 

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