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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #16 (From FUNNY GIRL)

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1.    How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

The scene would have felt different if Streisand’s performance had her belting it out by putting her character in a loud and pushy character where it could have scared off Arnstein. Brice had to keep in her quiet naive role so we could eventually feel for her success on the stage in contrast with her (Brice’s) personality. The portrayal kept her sensual and passionate about people rather than have the scene be all about Brice herself.

2.    Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

I think Arnstein’s character backing off away from the camera and Brice in the forefront set us up for what was to come of these two characters.  His eventual failure to obtain success versus Brice’s success over his.

3.       How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

Again, I think the positioning of the characters says a lot of what the future of these two characters was going to be.  The direction pulled Brice towards the camera and away from Arnstein. Streisand’s performance was deliberate, passionate, and brought her high on the steps; just like the Brice character ended up to be.

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How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

The lyrics to the song is not one to belt out, it is sung by Streisand as an emotional conversation through song to Sharif.  The setting is like a theatrical stage but the mood of the song is more somber.
 

Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

It starts with dialogue between them, and moves into song by Streisand while she walks towards the staircase.  She sings to him and he gazes at her.  You can sense the emotional connection between them.

How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

The movements of Streisand within the scene where she slowly walks away, and he follows but stops creates a bit of tension, and then she pauses at the balcony looking his way.  As she sings, he becomes interested in her song, and you begin to sense tenderness between them.

 

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  1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?  If Streisand would have presented "People" more theatrical, expressive, and belting, it would have felt more like an argument in a debate than the introspective, emotionally revealing song it is in the film.  We learn about Fanny through this song and see a real, true vulnerability in her.  Nick does too, and it is through this song that he realizes how she feels about him.
     
  2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?  Initially, Fanny walks away from Nick initially, and he follows from afar.  He is fascinated by her, and wants to learn more about her.  As she sings, Fanny glances at Nick, but does not directly look at him.  He, on the other hand, not only looks at her, but almost through her, as he tries to figure her out.  When Fanny sings the "Lovers are very special people line," she glances again at Nick, almost embarrassed, as she loves him and wants to be lovers with him but doesn't think it is possible because he is so handsome.  
     
  3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.  The direction and editing fantastically support Streisand's performance and the emotion of this scene.  The camera follows behind her, as Nick is, as she walks.  As the camera follows and gets closer, we are drawn in.  We must watch her.  Initially, both Nick and Fanny are in the frame.  However, as she sings, and as we get a closer look at her vulnerability, the camera moves in.  She is introspective and revealing, and so is the camera.  At the "Lovers are very special people" line, the camera really gets close to her.  Then, we see her almost from the side with a wider view as she looks almost embarrassed to think that a girl like her could ever hope to get a man like that.  With that view, we also see Nick, looking at her and reacting to her words and to her vulnerability.  We realize that he gets what she is feeling.  The camera lets Streisand deliver the song and captures all of the subtlety of the emotions.  This shows the complete genius of William Wyler and the way he tells a story.  Marvelous!

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1.  Well, film is different from theatre because of the Camera(s) being capable of making all kinds of shots [by the time this film was filmed] while filming & Editing as part of the post production!  Streisand’s performance of the song “People” starts from her talking with Sharif on the sidewalk.  The song is Still treated as Part of "the Date".  So, Moving camera(s) Around to create still shots and dolly shots while Zooming In and Out, then Editing all these camera shots as a polished sequence for Viewers to see everything on the big screen definitely produced a More Natural musical sequence than Only using Lighting to change audience's focus while Streisand performing this song to present her interaction with Sharif and her own thinking moments.

     Streisand's performance Is Theatrical AND Expressive, no matter this is a Musical on a Stage or a Musical in a Film.  But, with the use of camera(s), Streisand did NOT have to go for Big body movements to convey her emotions throughout the whole song.  She could make subtle facial and body movements for camera(s) to capture them.

2.  The emotional transition moments can be seen as the followings:

  • Sharif and Streisand both smile at each other and converse at the beginning. 
  • Sharif follows Streisand on the sidewalk till the railing while Streisand starts singing.  He smiles and looks at her by the fence with Streisand still on the right side of the screen.
  • On the other hand, Once Streisand starts walking on the stairs till she steps up to the landing of the stairs, she turns around to look at Sharif with her smiles to continue the interaction between them.
  • Then Streisand turns around to break the eye contact with Sharif to keep on "Thinking Out Loud" for us to "Hear":  She is happy with Sharif, and she can tell Sharif is into her, but what can the Future be for her and him?  But, at the time, Sharif is leaning against the railing, still smiling and looking captivated by her.

3.  Sharif keeps showing he is Captivated by Streisand the Whole Time while Streisand performing the song to continue their talk/date with Sharif and showing us what she is thinking about at the Same time.

     Throughout the song, camera made multiple shots of Sharif looking at Streisand or her direction by himself, Sharif following Streisand while Streisand walking away from him toward the stairs on the sidewalk, then Streisand standing on stairs looking at Sharif who is leaning against the fence and looking captivated at her, i.e. Sharif is in the scene, and at his direction, i.e. Sharif is NOT in the scene, and also Streisand singing on the landing of the stairs by herself.  The distance between them while Streisand performing the song provides the Space needed to Shift the Focus back & forth by Editing these different shots in a designed sequence for viewers to also pay attention to the Song itself, which reflects Streisand's thinking, while keeping the Romantic Interaction between Sharif and Streisand Going!

     Throughout the song, most of the shots on Sharif are shorter but Effective "Reaction" Shots to reflect that he is attracted to Streisand.  Streisand gets More Longer shots but these shots are to reflect her Thinking more often than to reflect her reactions to Sharif, though.

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  1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

The context matters. Belting on screen is always a dicey affair given the intimate nature of film vs. stage which often requires a belt, even in intimate moments.  Wyler is trying to make this a love song, and even though Sharif doesn't sing with her, it still has that feel give the way it's shot.  Her belting in this context would have been inappropriate.

  1. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

She is often embarrassed and feels out of place.  This is in keeping with her choice to play Fanny as self-aware about her appearance. He, in turn, is captivated by her.  The cuts back-and-forth show him enrapt and the final image of him in the background, watching her on the final notes emphasizes his emotional connection to her.

  1. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

She starts off timid, and slowly moves away from him.  The camera tracks her and only cuts back to him when necessary.  He never moves, never detracts.  As the song builds and her confidence is established, she plants herself on the stair - an ersatz stage - and belts out the final notes.  The camera stays on her and he reveals him in the background.  She is the star here and throughout.

 

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Daily Dose #16

1. The audience I think eventually feels that Streisand’s growing success in the film was in contrast with her personality.  She loved performing but did not love the level it took in society. The song “People” was kept in quiet performance reflecting the way she would have now liked her career.  A successful career but without the loud crazy benefits it came with.  Maybe coming back to more of a reality.

2. Fannie’s singing in the forefront shows how her role has changed from being in the background to now the forefront.  Arnstein’s character is now shown backing away from the camera as his character is now lacking the success that Fannie is now having.

3. Fannie is climbing UP the stairs the same direction her career has gone. The camera is now keeping Arnstein in the background again positioning him where is career is going; behind Fannie.

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1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

This is a scene between just Fanny and Nick. It is personal. I feel that she is fairly theatrical and very expressive, but she is speaking to just him.

2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

He watches her intently. She gets lost in her song and thoughts but looks toward him frequently. She laughs at one line. This is more like an intimate conversation. 

3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

As she sings she walks away from him. Perhaps shy about what she is getting ready to sing. They are standing far apart during most of the scene—perhaps a suggestion as to how far apart they are emotionally. 

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