BU Film School

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

FT 551 Lecture: Wednesday, January 14

About the short film
Categories: dramatic, documentary, experimental, animation.

Feature film defined by excess (special effects, stars, marketing, etc.). Short film defined by economy of means. Like the relationship of haiku to epic poetry.

Feature film structure: individual has problem, seeks solution. Film needs to give information about individual, problem, solution -- filled with specific details. Short film has potential for more universal expression, can do more with less.

Shorts more expansive and open to possibility, but also more difficult than features.

Homework: 3 Ideas
Must come up with three ideas for a short film (not necessarily what will end up as thesis film, though that is mandated goal of class). E-mail them to professor, everyone else in class as .rtf files. Must give feedback to minimum of five people. Eventually one of these ideas will be selected for development (from treatment all the way through second draft).

Film notes
"Worm Charmer," Roz Mortimer. Surreal, Tim Burton-like. Starts out like a documentary but gets progressively stranger. Dollhouse built like normal house, woman can move back and forth. Crawls through dirt, eats worms, puts worms in bed. Example of production values, funding.

Passage à l'acte, Martin Arnold. Uses footage (breakfast scene) from To Kill a Mockingbird. Footage repeated, accelerated, etc. to emphasize sounds/rhythms, puppetry, aggressive dad/son, passive mom (neighbor).

Pacific 231, Jean Mitry. Train ride. Numerous angles, definite beginning, middle and end. Concentrated all efforts on one thing.

"9 1/2 Finger," Axel Gaube, Ilona Goldschmidt, Rainer Servos and Valeria Valenzuela. Lots of close-ups, focused on hands and activities. Very clear sound, almost painful in a chalkboard-screech way. Engaging and scary.

HKG, Gerard Holthuis. Airplanes at first like whales (with appropriate sounds), leaping in the sky. Later, loom over Hong Kong, casting huge shadows over exotic, bustling town. Made before airport was moved. Beautiful shots. Holthuis a traveler.

Cat's Cradle, Liz Hughes. Absurd tale of family trying to give father proper sendoff/burial. Try to bury him (ground too hard), set him on fire (won't fit into furnace). Everyone else ignores them. Finally leave him in movie theater. A woman sits down next to him, he falls to side, she leans his head on shoulder.

The Comb, the Quay Brothers. Surreal animation. Great camera/tech. More associative than narrative.

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