28 Ocak 2010 Perşembe

Film Noir

I have a great desire to write more about Almodóvar these days, as I loved his last film "Broken Embraces", for me it was a perfect mixture of melodrama, film noir and Pop Art. And I love every one of them. As I understood from his interviews, he is a director who repeatedly sets his stories on his memoir and souvenirs and tries to borrow from everywhere that he adores and his films are the melting pots of his own dreams, fears and interpretations.
There is always one single fact in film noir. The existence of a dangerous woman. For me, today, was "Volver" day and I don't seem to recall a better composition (see above) to describe what film noir is in any of the films that I have seen before. The breasts of the beautiful actress Penelope Cruz seem perfectly the right spot for the audience to look at but on the left side of the composition, we see Penelope's hands washing a knife. But we are not aware of it since we are stuck to these two beautiful breasts and we ignore completely the dangerous side of the character. If you have already seen the film, you will know what comes in the next scene, and will understand what I am talking about.
Douglas Sirk is considered to be the master of melodramas especially the films that he did between the years 52 to 56. Today, very few melodramas are shot but from time to time, what I would call great film directors revisit the genre. Almodóvar is one of them. Todd Haynes also explored the genre in 2002 with "Far From Heaven" heavily influenced by Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows" and of course Sidney Lumet's films can be considered to be a melodrama. I was very surprised when I found out that Lumet considered "Silence of the Lamps" one of the great melodramatic films of all time because he said there is nothing more melodramatic than a man eating human flesh. Now, that's a definition we can not find in any of the books I think!
But what makes Almodóvar's melodramas so unique is his use of vivid colors especially red heavily borrowed from Pop Art.

27 Ocak 2010 Çarşamba

You Are Boring!

Now, this is something that I wouldn't like to receive from my producer or actually from anybody else! It seems to me that Weinstein and Errol Morris had difficulties promoting their films in 1988 "The Thin Blue Line" because Morris was such a bad PR!
And this letter is Weinstein's reaction to Morris!

25 Ocak 2010 Pazartesi

Some Inspirations

I have decided to share some of things that inspired me and I was thinking of using them in my own short film which I intend to shoot in the spring. I was fascinated by lighting, colors, composition or technique.

It is not easy to understand the shot because of the titles but it is a shot of the road seen from inside the car. On the rear window, we see the reflection of Humphrey Bogart driving. It is a close up of his face.
I thought about reproducing this shot in a way that I would shoot the road and the close up of the reflection separately and I would combine them together in the editing software. I think that would create a sort of a different surreal feeling, a combination of different shots coming together to create a linear whole within the composition. And by doing it with very clear, sharp and colorful image by using an HD camera, it will possess an absurd look. But I am not really sure how it is going to end up!
I also like a composition to have layers and hierarchy within it. I believe without those, it doesn't mean anything.

This is a shot from Almodóvar's film, I love the way he plays with color. Red always signals the victim but in this particular shot, it is the telephone. The director, here, probably refers to the character who is going to call, we don't see him, but he is the Fabula. Yet without showing that character, Almodóvar points out that he is the victim. It is very clever.
In his last film, the color red plays a major role in the film. Red presents the hierarchy between the characters and changes all the time by their power, love, lust or misery.
My favorite scene from Broken Embraces can be viewed here.

The way Almodóvar chooses to use elements of pop culture fascinates me. I decided I have to combine my own work with pop references and one of the magazine that is very important for me is "Les Cahiers du Cinéma". That magazine was very important for the foundation of the New Wave French filmmakers and it is still a very important film magazine for world cinema. I don't know how am I going to use it but I just want to combine it with a very self reflexive way!

15 Ocak 2010 Cuma

Studying Cinema

David Bordwell defines film criticism and film studies in his article. I still can't decide whether I am on a path to film studies according to what I am doing, reading, watching or am I belonging to a film fan subculture (Fans are also highly evaluative in their talk (“Wasn’t the lightsabre duel cool?”) or someone who wants to produce films.
Yeah, it seems like I am quite lost, no?
Here's the link.
And, hey, I just want to add one more thing. Eric Rohmer recently died and Fatih Ozguven wrote a wonderful article about it. Ozguven was my teacher during my film studies in Bilgi University and he was the only one who recommended me that I have to see Rohmer films as much as I can.
Here's the link.
And what I though about Rohmer was in the 60's and 70's, filmmakers were also film writers and film critiques. Today, it seems to me that very few people who practice filmmaking write about films comparing to the New Wave directors like Truffaut, Godard or Rohmer. Today, film practice and film studies seems quite broke away with each other.

14 Ocak 2010 Perşembe

Godard & Allen

I just found a conversation between legendary filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Woody Allen. Godard asks Woody his relationship with cinematographers and this is what Woody feels about Gordon Willis's style which I find very close to what I like and what I expect. Let the shots tell the story!
Well, Gordon is a very American style cameraman. He is very comfortable with a very clean American style. He feels most at home when the shots are spacious not concentrating on the individual but concentrating on the whole composition of the room rather than individual. And he feels very much at home with cutting, with a simple not too much movement, simple cutting and telling the story in cuts.
The interview is here.

13 Ocak 2010 Çarşamba

Some Works!

I have been working and editing for Lanfranco Aceti since September and here are some of the works we have just finished!
Some of them are edited by myself, some of them were already finished works so I had to re-transfer and re-master but for a few, I also did some shootings that were missing in the videos and it was cool!
Here's the link.

Nana Fait de la Philosophie Sans le Savoir

10 Ocak 2010 Pazar


Wachowski Brothers first film is a film noir inspired by the films of Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock. The film was shot in color although their use of color in set design, costumes, make up and props is so monochromatic that makes the film more black and white than any other film that was shot in the 40's and 50's. As can be seen above, the color black and white were the dominant palettes of the film.
An interview from 1998 can be found here.
I hope to write more about this film in the future because I believe the film's use of color, composition, transcendental style makes it so powerful that one has to study to understand the medium. Wachowski's film noir based on a relationship of a lesbian couple led to reevaluate the film noir style in the 90's.

Through Hockney's Eyes

Are we in danger of forgetting how to look properly at the world around us? David Hockney thinks so!
Here's the link.

9 Ocak 2010 Cumartesi

11 Years

"The Matrix" was released 11 years ago in 1999. I was 14. I saw the film for the first time in a movie theater in Izmir "Karaca" and the minute I got our of the movie theater I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker.
Morpheus believes in Neo. He thinks he is the One and will be their savior. The whole story is based on the idea if he is really the One. The Oracle says that he isn't but maybe in another life. She says someone will die and that Neo has to make a choice. Neo sacrifices himself for Morpheus because he believes he is not the One and Morpheus is more important than him. He saves Morpheus and then is killed by the Agents.
But somehow, he is resurrected. He gets up and stops the bullets. He becomes the "One". If he wasn't killed, he wouldn't be the "One".
Sometimes, all it takes to understand our mission in our lives is a change. A change that will makes us aware what we want and what we desire. Neo had to die to become the "One" without that he was just a normal person.
Sometimes we do mistakes. What I learn from my mistake is actually myself. It reminds me what I love and who I care.

3 Ocak 2010 Pazar

Interview with Stanley Kubrick

I just found an interview with Stanley Kubrick conducted by Jeremy Bernstein in November 27, 1966. Kubrick never liked interviews therefore we have so few with him. This one is quite interesting. In 1966, Kubrick had just finished Dr. Strangelove and was working for his new feature, an adaptation from an Arthur C. Clark novel, A Space Odyssey: 2001.
Near the end of the interview, he discusses director's relationship with editing:
With the exception of a few directors, like David Lean and, well let’s not say who, but with the exception of a few directors, most people have their film edited by film editors as they go along. And then, when the film is done, they look at the film and dictate some notes about it and the film editor tries to do what they say and then maybe they look at it again and they do it again. But basically it’s like trying to, say, redesign a city by driving through it in a car, you know. You can notice a few things and say, you know, “put that traffic light in the middle of the street” or “those buildings over there look kind of shabby” or something, but if you really want to do it right, you must do it yourself, you know, piece by piece. So, I think by now I have enough, sort of, ability to imagine the way a scene will come out so that I can tell without editing the material if I have enough film coverage and, you know, what I can do with it, and then I edit the film with the editor myself when the film is… when I’m all finished.

I would also like to mention a wonderful book about Stanley Kubrick "Eyes Wide Open" written by Frederic Raphael who wrote the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut. The book is about his collaboration with the director while working on the screenplay in the early 90's. It was just published after the death of Kubrick and the release of the film in 1999. However Kubrick family set against the book because it was published without their permission and the family accused him for not having respect for privacy and writing a memoir on Kubrick with inaccurate information.
After a very long search, a friend of mine found the book for me in New York and gave it to me.
Although I am not sure about the accuracy of information written in the book, I just love this piece of dialog.

S.K.: I don't know. We can talk about that. We'll have to. Do you want to work on it or not?
F.R.: Of course I do. I was afraid it might be science fiction.
S.K.: Don't you like science fiction?
F.R.: I never read it. I never feel remotely interested in people who are going to be alive three centuries after I'm dead, do you?
S.K.: I don't know about people. Situations, yes!