Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Film Noir References

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
'A man named Francis relates a story about his best friend Alan and his fiancée Jane. Alan takes him to a fair where they meet Dr. Caligari, who exhibits a somnambulist, Cesare, that can predict the future. When Alan asks how long he has to live, Cesare says he has until dawn. The prophecy comes to pass, as Alan is murdered, and Cesare is a prime suspect. Cesare creeps into Jane's bedroom and abducts her, running from the townspeople and finally dying of exhaustion. Meanwhile, the police discover a dummy in Cesare's cabinet, while Caligari flees.'

The first film I set out to examine was The Cabinet of Dr.Calilagri, it was nice to see what YouTube can offer once more the full version of the film was found here along with many others that span around the 1900- 1950s period, watching the film for the first time I was unaware of what to expect, but there was something I was in search for, real depth from the get go therefore it was acknowledged these types of noir films obtain this factor, it was really interesting to see the contrast of the music playing juxtaposed with the black/white nature of the film, the temperament of the drama shown on screen mixed with the nature of it oddly didn’t seem right more surreal in a way. I was feeling a great sense of anticipation waiting for the mood to change which I guess is the point an expected factor in these types of films.

Evidence below depicts some key shots picked out from the film, pasted as screen shots to evaluate some of my thoughts also a small archive in which you can go notice what I did but with the addition of sound.

 Around about 8 minutes and 38 seconds (8:38) there is dramatic change, as the introduction of the cabinet of Dr Caliagri is revealed earlier (9:54) I noticed the initial change in the film in terms of the sounds lights, environment begin to intensify. Quoted from the film ‘That night the first of the strange series of murders occurred’. It becomes apparent when titles are shown the description of the mood detailed further.

We can see a distinct relationship between the two screen shots above and below contrasts of lighting in the scenes again give a sense of change of atmosphere. Where the shot above expresses more white than the opposition, some harsh element of black is showcased below, the environment takes on an angular approach creating the illusion and the overall effect to a more satisfactory level with the audience.

This shot in particular (15:44) took my attention because of the shadow seen on the wall as one of the characters is murdered, the fact that an element of surprise and mysteriousness has been applied we are unaware of the killer enhancing the value which I’ll take upon my work also.
Nosferatu (1922)

Count Orlok's move to Wisburg and brings the plague, this reveals his connection to the Realtor Thomas Hutter, and the Count's obsession with Hutter's wife, Ellen - the only one with the power to end the evil.

Whilst watching Nosferatu I felt that the film contained similar traits to the first motion picture, it was quite comparable in its approach again noted factors where the lights/ tonality and the surroundings the black and white composition and so on. I liked how Nosferatu brought a different kind of range to my plate. In this I mean the way the characters are displayed for example Dracula’s character being this convincing asset capturing audience attention with his movements and the versatility he shows, appealing stuff. Going back to the beginning of the film things being quite bright with a sense of happiness which doesn’t plague the movie to long as the announcement of count Dracula enters the equation. Slowly the mood changes the sounds softens ready to engage into fright. I’ve mentioned the word sounds frequently in this instance I will looks very carefully at the sounds I use significantly inspired by Nosferatu, the silent thriller contains no voice over narration the sounds play a powerful role to indentifying reasoning within scenes.

 As discussed before the elusive quietness of the scenes are really enhanced with the contrasting scenery, it shows how using black and white tones can bring out a whole new meaning, the print screen above captures happiness while the image below is more dark distraught and buried with shadow, writing about these reminds me of some previous project concepts in which depth can be found using these colour values.

 A great motivation was seeing the Dracula character feature with such mannerisms, not forgetting this was one of the most famous and iconic parts of the film, this can be found (1:19:52) near the end. The kind of features he holds is somewhat the early developments of silent horror era, with a strong fear factor. It may not be noticeable to a youth of today however in the early 1900s it was considered to be one of the most terrifying. In addition seeing the shapes casted on the wall adhere to earlier discussions about my characters and how sharp like they should be portraying a kind of fearful creature. Examining this shot (30:27) dissimilarity with other characters in the film it is evident his description is chiselled compared to the other cast members much like the environment with off set floors walls, arch ways and so on.
Inspiration and influence has come from the stair shadow scene as it’s a good reference in which people can associate with, maybe not directly to the main targeted audience (children) but the older generation as well.
'It is thought that Bram Stoker's Dracula character was modeled after Vlad the Impaler, a fifteenth century Romanian prince known for his sharp wit, pointed attacks and a generally bad temper.'
A word which featured in both films:
'SOMNAMBULISM, a state of sleep, or half-waking trance, spontaneously or artificially induced in which subconscious faculties take the place of normal consciousness and direct the body in the performance of erratic (sleep walking) or highly intellectual actions (solving problems). The personality , itself, in some cases, seems very wise and exhibits supernormal powers.'

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