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About Truan

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  • Interests
    Within cinema - interested in all of it, but some specific areas of interest are: classic cinema, film noir, horror (Universal, Hammer, Carpenter, Romero), sci-fi, foreign, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Woody Allen, 1980's/'90's indies; the history, art, and technology; love and collect one-sheets (posters); film scores; drive-ins; did I mention movie theater popcorn? That counts as a cinema-related interest, right? I love movie theater popcorn.
    Some other interests:
    natural sciences (astronomy, weather, paleontology, oceanography...)
    outdoors - hiking/backpacking/camping; canoe, etc.; surfing; trail running
    environmental issues
  1. I haven’t seen this version, but based on these couple of exchanges I’m going to assume the characters are going to be more important. There is not much plot or situation setup so far, although it appears Abbot and the skier recognize or know one another, setting up a question in our mind. However, based on our lessons on the Hitchcock Touch, I’m guessing that there’s going to be an early form of a MacGuffin that at least gets these characters into a chase-type, suspenseful situation. I’m very excited to watch this one (I really enjoy the 1956 Jimmy Stewart/Doris Day version), and to watch
  2. Hitch sets up the sound design of BLACKMAIL in a realistic way. Before Alice enters the room, the woman’s voice is quieter and more muffled, but as Alice opens the door and enters, the woman’s voice is louder and the words understandable. Then, when Alice enters the phone booth and shuts its door, the woman’s voice again fades, then comes back when Alice exits the phone booth. Now, when the family sits down to breakfast and the woman is still rambling on about a knife, we go into a close-up of Alice, emphasizing her far-off stare, indicating her inward focus, and it’s at this point Hitc
  3. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? The first set of POV dolly shots instill a sense of dread, unease, and uncertainty, as we are with the two boys (dollying backwards) as they march slowly closer (dollying forward) to the headmaster. The second set of POV dolly shots, in addition to the dread and unease, definitely add to the suspense of the situation. We wonder which of the two boys t
  4. Regarding the set design, I just remembered that the living room set in THE RING reminded me of the living room in ROPE.
  5. 2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. In the Expressionist tradition, Hitch uses superimpositions and dissolves in the editing, and zooms, changes in focus, and image distortion in the cinematography to show the boxer’s growing suspicion, concern, and anger over what could be going on in the next room with his wife and his rival. A shot representing the boxer
  6. 1. The most obvious difference between the last two Daily Doses would be tone, PLEASURE GARDEN starting as lighter, upbeat, jovial, while THE LODGER is darker, more serious and menacing. Both films do, however, make use of blonde (and even more specifically curly blond haired) women as subject matter and as objects of men’s obsession. 2. As far as the Hitchcock style, the reflection shot of the man mimicking the killer in THE LODGER is foretelling of Hitchcock’s use of reflections or viewing through lenses in many of his movies, for example in NORTH BY NORTHWEST with Cary Gran
  7. 3. As an early talkie that is transitioning from the "silent film era," how well do you think this scene uses synchronous sound and music in the construction of its gags? I don't think the film makes full use of the advantage of synchronous sound. The dialogue is standard fare to move the plot along and set up the gags, nothing pertinent and nothing that couldn't be inferred through body language, action, etc., or stated through title cards. The perfume and shaving gags are completely silent gags anyway. There is no wit or character personality really expressed through the actual words.
  8. Ha! Yes, I agree. Being a big fan of Allen's work, I love that this course gives me a chance and a reason to explore his influences.
  9. 3. What impact do you think documentaries, compilation films, and essays like these have had on popular opinion about the silent film era? Judging from my limited viewing of slapstick compared to what I know about it and what images my mind conjures up about it, I’d say a lot. Slapstick is a genre that had never interested me much. I could appreciate the genius of the gags and performances, but I don’t think I’ve seen one complete film by the big three – Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd…clips, yes, but not an entire film. (A travesty, I know, and as a film buff, I’ve been meaning to rectify that
  10. I wanted to add a quick note on the style of the video lectures so far. It's definitely not what I expected, especially after having taken and loved the Noir Summer course and its more standard lecture-style videos in the historic Paramount movie palace. But I enjoyed it, and I think its more relaxed and farcical style taken from the more light-hearted world of sports commentary is an inspired idea and fits the genre we're studying. (And the telestrator does help to slow down and examine fast-moving gags.) Compliments for trying something new and keeping it interesting. Look forward to se
  11. I don't necessarily think slapstick need be ritualistic. I do think that slapstick films (or films that employ slapstick elements) can have running gags (gags that are repeated multiple times throughout the film that create recognition and anticipation in the audience) and motifs (repeated elements of any kind), but it strikes me that when Kramer mentions the "professional and ritualistic nature" of the slapstick actions, he is writing about the general ritual elements of the actions in the slapstick genre as a whole - not within one film - that alert the audience to its make-believe nature.
  12. I know the Lumiere brothers made the first version of this seminal slapstick film. I'm not sure if it's entirely settled whether or not Alice Guy made the other version that we've seen, but, regardless, if anyone is interested here's a chronology of her life from the book Alice Guy-Blache: Lost Visionary of the Cinema. She's cinema's first female director, and had a fascinating and prolific career, turning out well over 1,000 films.
  13. I would say this is a good example (and probably one of the first uses) of dramatic irony in film, a storytelling device in which the audience knows something that a character doesn't. In this case we know that the boy has his foot on the hose, while the gardener does not, creating suspense and humor. I imagine there will be more uses of this device in the films seen throughout the course.
  14. The film was remade several times by other filmmakers around that time, including Georges Melies. The Lumiere brothers even remade L'arroseur I think twice themselves. I'm not entirely sure whether the other version we've seen is one of the Lumieres' or Alice Guy's. Regardless, Alice Guy has the distinction of being cinema's first female director, and she had a prolific career. (The version where the prankster gets spanked is definitely the original Lumiere, from 1895.) And Francois Truffaut paid homage to it in his 1957 short Les Mistons.
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