Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Back at University: The Black Mirror

From this point on, I will share with you all my University project briefs, artist influences and processes after my initial summer project work. :)

First project: The Black Mirror

My initial project is centered around producing a body of work by watching four films and finding inspiration from them. Here are my initial thoughts when I watched all four films:

'Drowning by Numbers' (1988) 
 Dir. Peter Greenway

My overall initial response to this film was a bit confusing. It seemed that there were too many conflicting narratives which didn't compliment each other, making the film quite hard to watch as a first-time viewer. However, I found that there was a lot of substance within the film with a variety of themes such as: sex, death, games, numbers, women as a dominant gender, rules and conventions and the absurd. Also, I was intrigued by the portrayal of insects and animals in this film as they appeared to be a large part of the games and numbers in the film.

Some key scenes in the film I was particularly interested in were:

The Opening Scene

-Symmetrical composition with dead bird in foreground as a sense of foreboding for the deaths in the film.
-The dark space around the main focal imagery signifies a sense of fear and danger.
-"Once you've counted a hundred, all the other hundreds are the same"

 "Those who wish to dream of romance build their cards with the seven of hearts"

-Again, the composition is quite symmetrical to keep in theme with order and functionality.
-The overall tones used in this screenshot are dull with a hint of red, a common colour palette used throughout the film.
-I was intrigued by the idea that cards can influence how someone can dream, therefore an idea could be to illustrate how each suit of cards can interpret dreams, or perhaps what kind of random objects could influence dreams in a particular way.

The Second Post-Drowning Scene

-Symmetrical composition is once again the focus of this scene.
-Red worn by the woman could connote the blood and death of her husband, or her lust which she was never satisfied by, and which led to her becoming the murderer as a consequence.

'Delicatessen' (1991)
Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro

Set in a post-apocalyptic war time period, there were natural dull, dark tones to set the mood of the overall film. Even though there is a serious undertone in this film, the director still manages to include an element of comedy to make the mood more light-hearted and fun to watch. There is also a noticeable choice of cartoon-like characters which compliment this sense of fun and silliness.

Overall delicatessen focuses on themes of death, poverty and fear, which contrast with ideas of comedy, love and the absurd. The audio choices made by the directors were also fun and rhythmic, often setting the tone of the film in a comical way.

'Gone to Earth - The Hunting' (1949)

After watching this film I was initially struck by the connection between people and nature and how there is a huge focus on the natural English countryside.

I was also captured by the focus on the sky, which portrayed the beauty of the countryside and set a mellow mood.

'La Jetée' (1962)

This film was initially viewed in its original language, French. Therefore, as I was unable to fully translate the commentary, I was forced to use the visual alone to figure out the narrative in the film.

After watching all the film I decided I didn't feel inspired, but was left confused. If it was watched with English sub-titles I may have enjoyed it more, but the black and white, slide-show style of the overall film didn't interest me, but perhaps bored me with its slow pace and confusing story line. I will not continue to look into this film.

After viewing all of the films, I have come to the conclusion that I will analyse 'Drowning by Numbers' in more depth and take inspiration for the development of my work.