Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Marcos Cooper

Would Today's Audiences Enjoy The Shots And Pace of "Parallax View"

Recommended Posts

The Parallax View is an extraordinary film, of course, but a lot of the shots are stately, grand, geometric, still, and long in a way that seems very different from what we see today. 

So the question is: If someone were to remake The Parallax View with new actors and updated costumes, sets, and lighting but followed Gordon Willis shot list, would audiences would enjoy or understand the extraordinarily wide shots, long takes, and mostly static camera? And would a studio release it?  

The wides look like this. The semiotics are all about tiny human figures being overwhelmed by the immense buildings and natural world that holds them prisoner.

 

ParalaxView.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There will always be a crowd for art films and, at least in Europe, there will always be funding.

There seems to be a consensus that audiences today are more used to faster pacing, cuts, movement of camera etc. Google "David Bordwell intensified continuity" if you want a more academic take on it. 

I think that streaming will greatly help preserve som of that "auteur" spirit, "Twin Peaks The Return" surely ticks a lot of the boxes you mention. Recently Amazon Prime released "Too Old To Die Young" By Nicolas Refn with Darius Khondji as the main cinematographer and that show has ridiculously slow pans, tilts and zooms that can seem tedious even for "art film lovers". 

Some of the producers might not always like it though: 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think we should conflate an audience's enjoyment to a film with the cinematographer's style. Most audiences like a film because it's a story that they can connect with or want to see, not a style of cinematography. Cinematography style comes and goes with fads, technology, and budgets. The stories are what get audiences in the door (and coming back).

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel proves that a show can use long, on shot sequences stuffed tightly with fast dialogue. Audiences love the show. (Kudos to M. David Mullen, ASC for brilliant work on the show!)

Most importantly, though, is the context of when a film is released. Easy Rider is a counterculture film that came out in the 60's; it's a low budget film for sure, but it was hugely successful because of when it came out (middle of counterculture in the USA). Fast forward to the 90's with Clerks and everything starts to sound familiar.

Cinematography is only one piece of the puzzle for a film. Amazing cinematography can't save uneven editing, brilliant production design can't recover weak acting, and no amount of editing can fix a bad story. Most importantly, a film resonates with audiences within the context of its release.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the still in the first post up there, but I can't say the rest of the trailer really grabbed me.

P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

‘The Parallax View’ is available on Amazon Prime again. I just re-watched it last night, and if anything the cinematography (specifically the framing) is what holds it together for me.

On the whole, the film has a intentional flattened affect that I think would be the major challenge for general audiences. The film purposefully withholds showing anything exciting or emotional, or does so in a distanced way. Scenes that normally would be there as payoff are omitted. The ending is abrupt and provocative. It refuses the empathetic power of cinema. That’s what makes it hard to watch.

It has a lot in common with a modern film like ‘Only God Forgives’ by Nicolas Winding Refn. I find it to be the least satisfying of Alan Pakula’s ‘paranoia trilogy’ (‘Klute’ and ‘All the President’s Men’), but maybe that also makes it the least compromised. It’s worth watching, that’s for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I hadn't watched the Lynch clip.

Is he always like that?

Apparently so. He’s not into being rushed or being told how to do things. He sees himself as an artist, and I think he gets very frustrated with conventional thinking.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Apparently so. He’s not into being rushed or being told how to do things. He sees himself as an artist, and I think he gets very frustrated with conventional thinking.

I've always taken the position that it's horrible management technique, regardless of the motivation.

I have raised my voice on a film set precisely once, ever, to make known an incipient safety hazard, and I don't think anyone would have felt personally attacked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I've always taken the position that it's horrible management technique, regardless of the motivation.

If you think that’s bad, you’d be shocked by the behavior of many of the great directors of the past (and a few current ones). The documented abuse some of them heaped on their actors and crew were incredible. But they were still loved by those around them despite it. Pretty wild from our modern perspective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I rewatched this movie because of this thread.  It's an engaging thriller with a pretty tight script and some genuine surprises in my opinion.  (I think my favorite part is when Warren Beatty runs onto a commercial plane and pays the stewardess cash after the plane is in the air like he barely caught a bus.:) 

I've been rewatching a handful of movies from the 60's to 70's era and it's funny to me how the string of paranoid dramas with ambiguous to very dark endings ("Easy Rider", "The French Connection," "Midnight Cowboy," "The Conversation," "The Godfather"... this movie, to name a few) practically teed up the blow-up-the-shark-and-swim-away-happily-ever-after movie to knock audiences socks off in 1975.  I sometimes imagine what the ending of "Jaws" would have been like if Steven Spielberg adhered to the style of the day.  Maybe they never find the shark and it ends with Roy Scheider sitting on the beach wondering if he imagined the whole thing in his head as he watches the waves crash over and over and over... roll credits?

Edited by Justin Hayward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Justin Hayward said:

I rewatched this movie because of this thread.  It's an engaging thriller with a pretty tight script and some genuine surprises in my opinion.  (I think my favorite part is when Warren Beatty runs onto a commercial plane and pays the stewardess cash after the plane is in the air like he barely caught a bus.:) 

I've been rewatching a handful of movies from the 60's to 70's era and it's funny to me how the string of paranoid dramas with ambiguous to very dark endings ("Easy Rider", "The French Connection," "Midnight Cowboy," "The Conversation," "The Godfather"... this movie, to name a few) practically teed up the blow-up-the-shark-and-swim-away-happily-ever-after movie to knock audiences socks off in 1975.  I sometimes imagine what the ending of "Jaws" would have been like if Steven Spielberg adhered to the style of the day.  Maybe they never find the shark and it ends with Roy Scheider sitting on the beach wondering if he imagined the whole thing in his head as he watches the waves crash over and over and over... roll credits?

You can really see the effect of the assassinations of the Kennedys and MLK, Vietnam, and the violent racist backlash to the Civil Rights movement on popular American culture back then. Just like now, many people back then preferred escapism in their entertainment. There’s a reason Marvel movies do so well in these dark times...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/10/2020 at 5:42 PM, Justin Hayward said:

I've been rewatching a handful of movies from the 60's to 70's era and it's funny to me how the string of paranoid dramas with ambiguous to very dark endings ("Easy Rider", "The French Connection," "Midnight Cowboy," "The Conversation," "The Godfather"... this movie, to name a few) practically teed up the blow-up-the-shark-and-swim-away-happily-ever-after movie to knock audiences socks off in 1975.  I sometimes imagine what the ending of "Jaws" would have been like if Steven Spielberg adhered to the style of the day.  Maybe they never find the shark and it ends with Roy Scheider sitting on the beach wondering if he imagined the whole thing in his head as he watches the waves crash over and over and over... roll credits?

I've always thought that "Rocky" (1976) was the perfect example of the crossover from the gritty realism of the early 70's to the feel-good fantasies of the late 70's, it's a mix of both, almost as if the script kept changing as trends were changing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just watched this for the first time on Amazon Prime last night. I was struck by some of the framing that was used. In addition to the scene shown by the OP, there is scene that takes place at a dam and the framing really gave me a sense of doom in that you could feel the power and speed of the water as it's release into the river behind the actors. No green screen here - just (I think) a long lens compressing the space between the actors as the cascading waters rush towards them.

I enjoy a movie that takes its time with well-developed shots. Something I think is missing a little bit in most blockbusters today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  


  • Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Just Cinema Gear



    FJS International



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    G-Force Grips



    The Original Slider



    Glidecam



    Ritter Battery



    Serious Gear



    CineLab



    Visual Products



    Abel Cine



    Wooden Camera



    Metropolis Post



    Tai Audio



    Paralinx LLC



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Rig Wheels Passport


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...